Episode 9 – Dr. Stuart McGill – Part 2: Be an Athlete 24/7

In this Episode:

  • Introduction
  • Micromovements
  • Corrective Exercise
  • Myths for Cyclists
  • Strength Training Approaches for Cyclists and Triathletes
  • Coaching
  • Key Points for Cyclists and Triathletes to Express Athleticism
  • Conclusion




Show Notes:

0:43 –


  • Video on HV Training YouTube channel
    • You can see Dr. McGill’s models there
  • Book recommendation for coaches: “How to Lie With Statistics”
    • Importance of reading research articles
  • Most advanced and up to date programming on TrainingPeaks University
    • Cycling version: Strength Training for Cycling Success
    • Triathlon version: Strength Training for Triathlon Success
      • Two very different programs


4:34 –


  • Typical issue with cyclists
  • As soon as you damage an endplate or get a little bit of a disc bulge it changes the mechanics of the joint
  • Very rarely do you find a cyclist whose primary concern and first injury is to the facet joints
    • It almost always starts out as a bad disc and then later on the facet joints ;22become the primary – which forms the cascade
  • We try to stiffen the laxity – not mobilize it – and once it’s stiffened it responds to the joints above and below


7:34 –

Corrective Exercise

  • Recreational cyclists typically have a kyphotic head position where they lose range of motion and the shoulder joint is out of position
  • Cyclists need healthy range of motion and strength endurance for the upper back too
  • “Corrective exercise is to combat chronic stresses caused by the sport”- Dr. McGill
  • It would be beneficial to do some thoracic extension work for cyclists to restack the spine and fix posture


9:22 –

Myths for Cyclists

  • Dr. McGill them the clipboard to write down what they need (in terms of athletic variables) to be the very best in their sport
  • After he asks what the weakest part of their athletic game is
  • “I think they’d be very wise to spend more time in self-analysis – what is the weakest part of my game?” – Dr. McGill
  • “If an athlete struggles to answer that – they have nothing to guide their training – you have to know what you’re training!” – Dr. McGill
    • Cyclist culture doesn’t help with finding this answer
  • Graded exposure – not in a crude way
    • Practice good spine hygiene throughout the day and get you back on the bike
    • Set up the bike to fit the athlete and minimize stress concentrations
    • Audit body response from limited bi-daily exposure
      • “Don’t get greedy” – Dr. McGill
      • Let your body adapt


16:50 –

Strength Training Approaches for Cyclists and Triathletes

  • It depends!
  • Stiffer core for cyclists
  • Program in cycles – don’t overtrain
  • Train the body to be a tuned machine
    • You want an interplay between strength, stiffness, mobility, elasticity, endurance, etc.
  • Be an athlete 24/7
    • Eat well
    • Treat your body well and practice movement hygiene throughout the day
      • It will lead to a bigger training capacity
  • Good technique in the weight room
    • Limit the volume


19:59 –


  • So much misinformation and people speaking in definites
  • Decide what suits your personality (as a coach)
  • “Coaches are innately very perceptive and they know how to treat athlete A differently from athlete B” – Dr. McGill
    • They also recognize the uniqueness and differences in anatomy, mechanics, architecture, physiology, etc. of each athlete
  • Understand your strengths and weaknesses
  • It’s very much an art and a science
  • Look at the variance within a research paper, not just the average results
    • Variance = key
  • “People choose science to make a point that is convenient rather than truthful – it always comes back to it depends and some people are uncomfortable with that answer” – Dr. McGill
  • Nothing else matters except if the athlete can produce the force, tension, and stiffness at the right time to be able to execute the sport
  • Combines
    • The record holder very rarely even make the teams
      • What’s the content validity of some of those tests?


30:37 –

Key Points for Cyclists and Triathletes to Express Athleticism

  • Keep working on developing knowledge of how the body works
  • “You must have proximal stability to unleash distal mobility” – Dr. McGill
    • You must generate force and transmit it through the linkage


32:58 –


  • It depends!
  • Formulate an idea of what’s going on and then slowly move in that direction
    • Micro-adjusting
  • Where can you find Dr. McGill?
    • Backfitpro.com
    • Back Fit Pro on social media
    • Seminars


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Menachem Brodie

Menachem Brodie

Coaching since 2000, Menachem Brodie has been working with athletes in a number of settings, and a broad variety of sports.

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