» Stuart McGill, Spine Flexion, and Primitive Patterns

Published on 7/15/2014 by Gray Cook in FMS Pod Casts

Tags: Dysfunction Functional Movement Screen Mobility Stability Reflexive Stabilization agonist-antagonist_behavior

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Question: I have a herniated disc at L5-S1, so after reading McGill’s work, I have been avoiding spine flexion. If I failed the deep squat on the Functional Movement Screen, the exercise progression begins with a toe-touch progression, which is spine flexion and goes against everything McGill advocates. If I want to improve my deep squat, where should my starting point be to avoid spine flexion?


  • To fail a test on the FMS, you must have pain
  • Correcting the deep squat before a primitive pattern
  • Growth and development
  • Since disc pressure increases with flexion, until your disc is considered normal or stable or repaired, it is probably best not to go into flexion.
  • If your disc does not give you pain, there still may be a neurological deficit 
  • Herniated disc needs to be fixed
  • Natural or adequate spinal stability cannot happen without normal mobility
  • You cannot regain your pre-disc injury movement without flexing the spine.
  • If you cannot flex the spine, it is not safe to squat, deadlift, etc.
  • If you cannot move, break down the constituents of both mobility and stability that could limit you
  • Stability does not matter if you do not have adequate mobility for reflexive stabilization

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2/19/2017 4:32:24 PM