Lower Back Pain and the Fitness Professional

About the Author: Eric Cressey

Some amazing statistics for you:

• 80% of Americans have lower back pain at some point in their lives.

• At any given moment, 31 million Americans are experiencing back pain. That’s roughly one out of every ten people you encounter every day!

• More than 50% of all American employees have back pain each year. In fact, back pain is second only to upper respiratory infections as a leading cause for doctor’s office.

• Each year, Americans spend more than $50 BILLION on back pain – and this estimate is very conservative, given that not all associated costs are easily identified.

Now, consider that the basis for modern physical therapy is exercise. However, we can’t send everyone to physical therapy for every minor ache and pain – so fitness professionals need to pick up the slack. To that end, Dr. Stuart McGill – the world’s premier spine biomechanist – has published several fantastic books and countless journal articles dealing with how to train for Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance.

Unfortunately, while you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

In January, I spoke to a crowd of roughly 115 fitness professionals in Atlanta. When I asked how many of them had heard of Stuart McGill, five hands went up.

This past weekend, my first lecture in Maryland was attended by 90 fitness professionals; three hands went up to acknowledge that they had heard of Dr. McGill.

Want to know who four of these eight people were?

• Mike Boyle, Alwyn Cosgrove, and Chuck Wolf – the three other presenters in Atlanta
• Brett Jones – one of the other presenters in Maryland

Factor me in, and you see that if you had read Dr. McGill’s work, you stood a 60% chance of being a speaker at one of these two highly respected conferences in the fitness industry. Go figure: the ones who have put in the legwork to read and get better are the ones who are presenting instead of just attending. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

The truth is that we exist in an extremely unregulated industry. On one hand, it’s a bad thing, in that all trainers quickly get a bad rap because their incompetent weekend certification trainers are ruining spines with sit-ups, hyperextension machines, and leg presses. However, on the other hand, it makes it that much easier to differentiate yourself as being top-notch.

Do you want to be the one hurting people or helping them?

Two investments every trainer should own if they want to be in the top 10% of their field in a matter of one week of reading and viewing:

Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance
Building the Efficient Athlete

Eric Cressey