Podcast Episode #21: Dr. Stu McGill

StrongFirst Podcast Episode #21


Dr. Stu McGill joins the show for a second time to talk about breathing and when to use what kind of breathing. Dr. McGill also talks to your host Craig Marker about picking up odd objects, wedging, and getting strong with power breathing.

Show Notes

01:20 – A general history of Dr. McGill’s exposure to the science and history of breathing.

03:20 – Dr. McGill’s work with Dr. Clayton Skaggs and the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team.

05:34 – The baseline mechanics of breathing.

06:15 – The different types of breathing for different activities.

10:00 – Pavel’s technique and breathing.

12:00 – More on power breathing for a pulse of strength.

14:45 – The breathing concerns for people with heart conditions or risk for stroke.

18:20 – How to pressurize the brain to eliminate the possibility of a stroke.

19:20 – Why core strength effects performance in Jiu Jitsu.

22:14 – What is neural density and how to create it.

26:13 – How to use the instruction and mind trick of push the earth away.

29:05 – The neurology of the kettlebell swing.

31:20 – Dr. McGill’s suggestions for picking up oddly shaped objects.

36:25 – What to do about flexion when it comes to rowers.

41:33 – Dr. McGill’s thoughts on squatting and where your feet should be.

49:30 – What is needed for people who sit at the desk all day?

52:30 – Flexibility tunes the body, it doesn’t create more mobility.

53:16 – Why posture matters.

3 Key Points:

  1. Your breathing when at rest can help indicate your probability for injury in performance.>
  2. Discover your weakness and then breathe to look after that.
  3. If you pick up a heavy load you are most injury-resistant with a neutral spine using the hips as a fulcrum.

Tweetable Quotes

The great athletes do high-level breath work to succeed. - Dr. McGill Click To Tweet
Your ultimate performance is defined by your thought and neural drive. -Dr. McGill Click To Tweet
Posture reveals your soul. -Dr. McGill Click To Tweet

Resources Mentioned

Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance-Sixth Edition
Back Mechanic by Dr. Stuart McGill (2015-09-30)
Gift of Injury
Video of McGill’s Big 3

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Craig Marker
Craig Marker, Ph.D. CSCS, StrongFirst Certified Senior Instructor Emeritus, is a fitness enthusiast who has spent his life trying to help people improve their lives. As a professor, he works with students on how best to understand research and place it into context. He has published over fifty articles, chapters, and textbooks on psychology and research methods.

As a researcher, he understands the cutting edge of strength, sports performance, body composition, and nutrition. As a psychologist, he has focused on research and treatment of anxiety disorders, which positions him to understand the motivation and the fear of making life changes.

Craig’s upcoming book, the The Antifragile Self, takes on the topic of building a stronger person in the mental and physical domains.

As a StrongFirst Certified Elite Instructor, Craig views kettlebells as one tool in the trade of forging a better person.

Visit his intentional community in Atlanta: Strength.University.
Craig Marker on Twitter

5 thoughts on “Podcast Episode #21: Dr. Stu McGill

  • “Your breathing when at rest can help indicate your probability for injury in performance.”

    Everybody breathes, so how does this indicate probability for injury? What aspect of breathing is the indicator? Is it breathing with upper lung versus lower lung? Breathing fast versus breathing slow? Breathing with diaphragm versus breathing with back extensors? Please help. I sincerely want to know. Thanks.

  • I cannot find the study by Skaggs and McGill about the Cardinals baseball team, breathing, and injury. Can you find it?

  • Excellent! Thank you Craig and Stu. If you ever do another, it would be great to discuss the bent press.

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