McGill's big 3


McGill's Big Three exercises, named after Dr. Stuart McGill, are a set of protocols designed to strengthen the back and reduce pain. They are highly recommended across various fields, including physical therapy and sports medicine. However, Dr. McGill emphasizes that these exercises should not be seen as the only solution for back health. Here’s a brief overview of the Big Three:

  1. Curl-Up: This exercise replaces traditional sit-ups or crunches. It is performed by lying down, placing one knee up, the other leg extended, and both hands beneath the lower back to maintain its natural arch. The curl-up strengthens the abdominal wall while minimizing stress on the spine 1.

  2. Side Plank: For this exercise, start by lying on your side with your knees slightly bent. Push one arm down to lift your body while keeping your knees and feet stacked for stability. Side planks are essential for stabilizing the spine and preventing back pain 2.

  3. Bird Dog: This involves getting on all fours, extending one arm forward and the opposite leg backward. Maintain stability by keeping the extended hand in a fist and avoid raising the leg too high to prevent arching the lower back excessively 3.

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Though the Big Three are valuable, Dr. McGill and suggest incorporating other protocols and treatments to ensure comprehensive back health 4.