The McGill Big 3: Your Answer for a Stable Core

<<***leading up to our highly anticipated sitting is the new smoking workshop we couldn’t say all the bases were covered if we didn’t shine some light on one of the main culprit of psoas issues “Poor ab Workouts” *** 
The response for the workshop has been a lot more than expected so clearly its something in demand.. stay tuned for more details in the coming week>> 

Why what you think are core exercises Might Not Cut It & in many cases doing more harm than good

Have you ever thought that doing endless crunches was the secret to a strong core?
If so, you’re not alone, but there’s more to the story. Dr. Stuart McGill, a prominent spine expert from right here in Ontario  (Retired professor from University of Waterloo) is world famous for taking a different approach with his “McGill Big 3” exercises.

These routines are specifically designed to Protect your Back & Hips while getting the job done strengthening your core.

Below we are are breaking down each of these exercises so you can see why they might be better for you than the everyday crunches looked at as ab / core training 101

the big 3 ab and core work breakdown


Deep Dive in the McGill Big 3 Exercises

Video attached does the best job of explaining the details but a brief text write up is attached as well

1. The Modified Curl-Up

Forget what you know about traditional crunches. The McGill Curl-Up is different. You start lying down with one leg flat and the other bent, which is already less strain on your back. Place your hands under your lower back for support—this helps keep your spine natural, not flat. Now, gently lift your head and shoulders without tucking your chin or leading with your neck. This version is all about engaging your core with minimal movement, avoiding the spine-wrenching of classic crunches.

2. The Side Plank

Here’s where we work the sides of your core, not just the front. Lie on your side and prop yourself up on one elbow. Align your body so it forms a straight line from your head to your feet, resting on the side of your foot. The goal? Hold yourself up without letting your hips sag. It’s tougher than it sounds, but it’s great for building strength along your sides, which really helps with overall balance and even everyday activities.

3. The Bird-Dog

Looking to improve balance and coordination? The Bird-Dog is your go-to. Start on all fours. Now, extend one arm and the opposite leg until they’re in line with your body. Hold it, then switch sides. This isn’t just about strength; it’s about control. By working opposite limbs simultaneously, you’re forcing your core to work hard to keep you stable, which is excellent for your lower back.

Why Choose the McGill Big 3 Over Crunches?

Crunches often target just one part of the core and can put a lot of pressure on your spine over time. leading to discomfort or even injury. The McGill Big 3  keeps your spine safe and builds strength more holistically.

These exercises are grounded in years of research and a deep understanding of biomechanics, making them a smarter choice for long-term health and strength. not to say you cant mix things up once in a while but NO you wouldn’t want to be doing crunches 100’s of reps per whether recreational of pro athlete.

Making the Switch to McGill’s Methods

Incorporating the McGill Big 3 into your routine is straightforward. while flying straight in the face of most MMA conditioning programs the best part about the big 3 is you can start slow and at your own pace, gradually increasing intensity as your core gets stronger.

When it comes to actual core development that is so important in combat sports and athletics in general it isn’t about quick fixes; it’s about building lasting strength and stability that supports not just your workouts but your everyday life.

Wrapping It Up

Switching from traditional crunches to the McGill Big 3 could be a game-changer for your fitness routine. At the end of the day its a really about being smart with the forces we put on our spine while getting a comprehensive core workout.

Give these exercises a try, and you might just feel the difference they make in your strength, stability, and Core health.