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The Strenuous Life Podcast with Stephan Kesting

This is the Stephan Kesting's Grapplearts Radio Podcast where we discuss BJJ, Grappling, MMA, and all manner of martial arts training.

Stephan runs, where he has published many hundreds of martial arts videos, articles and tutorials.

His free guide to learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, A Roadmap for BJJ, has been downloaded more than 10,000 times and has become a foundational text for the art. Click here to download that book for free as well.

Stephan has a lengthy career in martial arts, spanning more than 3 decades.  He has dedicated many years to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and you can find his accessible and practical expertise on all BJJ matters at

A black belt in multiple martial art systems, he brings a range of approaches to self defense, and a critical eye for what works in the street.

Stephan has been featured in Black Belt Magazine, Ultimate Grappling, Tapout Magazine and Ultimate Athlete.

He is also a frequent guest on martial arts related podcasts, including The Fightworks Podcast, Atlantic MMA, Combatives Corner, The Warrior’s Den, The Spartan Underground and many more.

Nov 24, 2020

Back pain is incredibly common in sport, including all combative sports like jiu-jitsu, MMA, boxing and judo. That is why I was thrilled to talk to Dr Stuart McGill, one of the world's leading experts on back pain.

Dr McGill spent 30 years researching and teaching spinal mechanics at the University of Waterloo in Canada.  He has published more than 300 scientific papers, written 3 textbooks, and has worked to improve sports performance with countless athletes from almost every sport.  

His book, "Back Mechanic: The Step-by-Step McGill Method to Fix Back Pain" has become a classic manual for living a painfree life and "Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance" is a guide for many coaches to bring their athletes up to the next level of performance while avoiding a debilitating back injury.

Here is just a little of what we covered today...

00:42 - How to become a world class expert in spinal mechanics and back pain
08:16 - Studying spines in the lab and what that tells you about spines in athletes
14:08 - Disc herniations and back pain
19:42 - Dr McGill's work with Olympians and elite athletes
24:00 - The athleticism of MMA fighter George St. Pierre
29:55 - Principles for avoiding back pain injury
34:40 - The power of the neutral spine
45:24 - The advantages and dangers of developing power through spinal rotation
51:04 - How elite strikers hit so hard
54:28 - Posture and spinal position in jiu-jitsu
1:01:07 - Hip morphology and leg flexibility of great jiu-jitsu fighters
1:06:07 - Books and other resources by Dr McGill

Injury is the enemy, and avoiding injury is the key to a long and successful athletic career, so I hope you enjoy this episode!


Stephan Kesting

P.S. If you get the chance a rating or a review of this podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your audio would be HUGELY appreciated.