I cant believe the amazing amount feedback we had on my last post displaying Mark’s videos! It just goes to show how important this Low back pain stuff is.

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Today, (as promised in my last post) I’m going to discuss the negative side of looking at the spine the way displayed in  Mark Young’s videos. But, before I do so – I would like to first congratulated Mark for his fantastic video idea.

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Secondly, I’d like to apologize for the delay in this Blog response. Last week was very hectic as I traveled to Arlington Va, to present at the 2010 IDEA Personal Trainer Institute convention. This was a sold out event and I was honored to be a part of it along with such names a Gary Gray, Todd Durkin and Bill Sonnemaker.

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Both of my classes, Secrets of Joint Mobility and Dynamic Warm Up – New Concepts & Techniques, were filled to capacity with best and brightest fitness professionals in the area. I had a blast teaching at this event and I wanted to thank IDEA for again, having me as a presenter and THANK YOU to everyone who attended – You ALL made this event a fun and memorable part of my life!

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Now, lets talk more about the Spine and Spinal research!

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In Mark’s videos, he used Pig spines to show us an inside look at what commonly used exercises may be risky for the back. Using pig spines for research is fairly standard at Universities as is by world renowned back specialist, Stuart McGill who also uses pig spines in his research which can found all over the internet and his two amazing books – Low Back Disorders and Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance.

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Now, the problem with looking at pig spines is that sometimes we end up hitting the bullseye of the wrong target. As my good friend, mentor and world famous PT, Mark Comerford says “Pig spines are great to look at physiology, but not biomechanics – Pigs don’t have upright spines”

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What Comerford says is an obvious truth that I’m still astounded has been missed by some incredibly smart people! With no disrespect to Stuart McGill – who cares how many flexion cycles it takes to buckle a dead pig spine!

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First off, upright flexion is not normal pig function. The only time a pig stands upright (on two legs) is when it’s trying to hump another pig.

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Secondly, pigs don’t have any functional movement similarities to humans what so ever. This goes back to what Comerford said above.

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And, third – this is dead spine with no muscles to control force and no regenerative qualities that a living creature would have. I could get into all the science here. But, instead I’ll give you this analogy:

You take a frog out of the swamp and place it into a glass box with a few plants, some water and artificial light. You still will never find out how it lives in the swamp. All you will know is what a frog does in a glass box. And in this case, we are placing a spider in a glass case to find out what a frog does in the wild. It makes no sense! – This is why I said that we’ve gotten good at hitting the bullseye of the wrong target!

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So, in short – it’s important that we do not confuse physiology with movement biomechanics. Animal spines are great for looking at general structure, some animals over others as explained in this scientific comparison. But, when it comes to human biomechanics – Well, thats a whole different animal – Pun intended!

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Coming Soon!

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Many folks were also upset about what Mark said in this post about the dangers of squatting. I have some thoughts in regards to that as well. I will talk about these thoughts in an upcoming post.

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Meanwhile, lets here your comments on today’s post!

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