It’s Swollen When You Wake Up In The Morning

Osmotic Superhydration…. now THAT’S science-y!!  What does it mean? According to Dr. Stuart McGill, one of the world’s foremost back researchers on back health and function, your spine swells with fluid while you sleep.  Dr. McGill recommends avoiding stretching your back first thing in the morning, particularly for those with back pain.  If at all possible, I recommend avoiding intense exercise until you’ve been awake for 30 to 60 minutes just to be on the safe side.  You can go for a walk, drink coffee, work on your spoken word poetry act, etc., but it’s probably not the ideal time to do a deadlift 1 rep max.

Dr. McGill.  One sexy moustached mo fo.

Dr. McGill’s work has been profoundly influential to the entire fitness industry.  As one of the world’s premier experts on the back and a highly respected researcher, Dr. McGill has pretty much single handedly convinced most of the top trainers in the industry to quit programming spinal flexion (bending at the low back, like in a situp or a crunch) and to focus more on training the core to resist movement (as in a plank). The subject remains controversial (of particular note is Fitness Super Hero Nick Tumminello’s disseminating of other viewpoints on this topic), and in a future article I’ll go more into detail as to my own feelings on the matter.   If nothing else, its fair to say, Dr. McGill has given the industry a lot to think about.

For you fitness professionals and (and ultra curious laymen) check out this pdf article that sums up a lot of McGill’s thoughts on the subject.  While this is one of those issues where not everyone will agree, I do think if people have entrusted you with their body’s wellbeing, you should at least be aware of this debate and listen to a very smart dude’s point of view.  The article is a little dense, but delicious. Like a chocolate cake of knowledge bombs.


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