Tag: strength training

Gift of Injury

This book is about healing injury in the athletes back and then building resilience to compete once again. Anyone who trains will enhance their injury resilience and performance employing these principles proven over and over with athletes.

In the highly competitive world of strength athletics, a back injury is seen by many as the ultimate career-ender. In truth, if handled properly, it is far from a death sentence. Follow the journey of international powerlifting champion Brian Carroll, who can attest to this first hand. This remarkable athlete went from 1100 lb squats and 800 lb deadlifts to unending pain and disability after a massive spinal compression injury. After a fortuitous meeting with leading back expert Professor Stuart McGill, he reset his training and his life to fight his way back to the top of the winner’s podium.

Glean expertise from McGill and Carroll, both masters in their field, and learn how to orchestrate your own triumphant comeback. Whether you are a former champion yourself who has fallen on hard times, or someone starting a new foray into the world of strength training who wants to avoid injury and maximize training, the wisdom found within these pages is sure to take your resilience and lifts to the next level.

Over 200 full color, rich illustrations demonstrate technique.

HKD 640 + Handling 45 (Local HK Only!)

 magnus.performance@gmail.com  for Inquiries for shipping to other Asian Countries

Endorsements for Gift of Injury

Foreword by Bill Kazmaier, 3 time World’s Strongest Man:

“I implore any strength athlete, whether they are injured and at their wit’s end, or healthy and striving to achieve their best with longevity, to read this book. The wisdom in these pages has helped me and Brian Carroll, and it will help you.”

From Dr. Aaron Horschig, Author of Squat Bible and owner of SquatUniversity.com

“In a world that pushes pain medication and costly surgery to “fix” back pain, this is a breath of fresh air! Brian Carroll and Dr. Stuart McGill combine for one of the most valuable books ever written on how to correctly address this injury. The Gift of Injury is a brilliant must have book for every strength athlete, coach and medical practitioner.” 

From Blaine Sumner, “Champion of Champions” IPF world record holder and highest Wilks score in powerlifting history:

“Before understanding Dr. McGill’s work, I thought my back injury meant the end of my lifting career. Since absorbing all of his knowledge and applying the lessons in this book to my daily life, my career has been restored. I am stronger than ever – and taking my back health to new heights.”

From Pavel Tsatsouline, Chairman, StrongFirst, Inc.

Gift of Injury is an extraordinary book that proves the adage that safety is not the opposite of performance but a part of it. Packed with priceless cues, it is a must for every serious strength athlete and coach. “

From Ed Coan, Greatest Powerlifter of All-time

“Gift of Injury pulls no punches, sheds light on what injury does to your physical and mental health and explains how to beat injury/pain to be happy once again! Every strength athlete should read this book to pull maximum performance out of the body while building injury resilience.”

From Stan Efferding, Worlds Strongest IFBB Pro Bodybuilder

“Back Mechanic and Gift of Injury are as much about injury prevention and performance optimization as they are about rehabilitation. And they’re not just for athletes. The simple and effective methods provide immediate and permanent results for everyone experiencing pain. Dr. McGill and Brian Carroll are changing lives – mine included.” 

From Travis Mash, All-time World Record Holding Powerlifter, Author, Coach and owner of Mashelite.com

“Dr. McGill and Brian Carroll bring you a triumphant story, a coaching/cueing guide, and a blue-print full of principles with 100% unvarnished truth that we as athletes face: Injury happens. In fact, an athlete myself – the opening pages of Gift of Injury truly felt like I was reliving my mid-30’s – where I dealt with debilitating injury on my own, but, without the help of an encyclopedia like GOI. The algorithms in this book are sure to help navigate you toward immediate success not only in a clinical setting but the ever-so-important ‘ultimate performance’ end of the spectrum. I highly suggest this book to anyone who trains!”

Table of Contents

How to read this book
Meet Stuart and Brian


Chapter 1: Breaking Point – the fork in the road

Chapter 2: The Early Years

  • The path
  • Mentorship – everyone needs a mentor
  • The path to powerlifting
  • Creating the monster
  • Tunnel vision
  • Early success

Chapter 3: Charting my spine’s demise

  • Encounters with back pain
  • My luck was starting to run out
  • Bad back to worse – broken back
  • Searching for relief

Chapter 4: Recovery – The athlete and the professor

Chapter 5: The injury explained

Chapter 6: The negotiation


Chapter 7: Commitment and resolve to get better

Chapter 8: A general approach to guide recovery

  • Stage 1: Getting rid of disabling pain
  • Stage 2: The general approach to determining the training program

Chapter 9: Assessment: Testing yourself – the key to designing your rehab-training program

  • Step 1: Assess demands
  • Step 2: Assess the athlete capabilities
  • Step 3: Design the program

Chapter 10: Programming – The foundation for pain-free and resilient training


Chapter 11: Re-inventing a strength athlete 2013-2015


Chapter 12: Re-Mastering the powerlifts for all

  • The 5 basic principles of strength training
  • Your Warm-up guide
  • Coaching the powerlifts
    • – The Squat
    • – The Bench Press
    • – The Deadlift
    • – Programming assistance work for the big lifts

Chapter 13: Training wisdom – lessons earned the hard way

  • Training mindset and approach – the mentality
  • Big weights require big mindset
  • Visualization
  • The night before
  • Game day
  • Final countdown

Chapter 14: Retirement – Knowing when to step away

Chapter 15: Conclusion

Why Kids should do strength training

Ah, yes, the follow up on why women should lift weights. Apparently there are plenty of myths about why children should not do strength training. Well, if you happen to have tiny offspring yourself or you are trying to convince mom and dad to let you hit the gym, then this article is for you:

1. It will not make kids short


If I have a dime for every time I heard a kid or his mom voice this concern, I would be a billionaire already. And the answer is a resounding NO, it will not stunt the kid’s growth. Let me explain:

During adolescent growth phase, it is the growth plates at the end of most bones that are the source of growth. These parts are the last to harden which makes it vulnerable to fractures, causing unequal or stunted growth. As long as your children  does strength training with proper supervision to ensure proper technique, with lots of warm ups, and away from failure, they will be OK. In fact the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children to be do strength training. And last but not least, check out Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson, Karl Malone, Michael Vick, and all the super heavy Olympic weightlifters as they all started lifting weights early and they are all taller than average.

2. My kids already does team sport ABC which is better

soccer kid

Yes, team sport are great way to teach kids how to work in a team they say. But please do tell me how it will improve the kid’s confidence if he/she is a natural introvert? What happens if the kid is not exactly the next Stephen Curry and always gets pick dead last? Please also tell me how team sports build discipline and honor on Kobe Bryant and a big chunk of NFL players?

Fact is, most of the school coaches only know about winning the tournament to keep their jobs and pad their resume. I used to train a kid that was selected to his fancy international school rugby and basketball team but has a knock knee syndrome even when he squats with an empty bar, let alone landing from a jump, its a known injury mechanism and the coach doesn’t care! But hey, don’t trust me, trust the US National Institute of Health that discourage early sports specialization in young athletes. In fact the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons state that 1/3 of growth plate fractures occurred during participation in competitive team sport and another 20% on recreational  sports. Yes ma’am, little Timmy’s stunted growth is due to his soccer participation, not from weight lifting which is relatively much safer.

3. It builds self worth in kids

Lets face it, when the kid is lifting weights, he only need to compare with who he was and how much has he progressed. Unlike in competitive team sports where the looser might get booed off court, the kid gets to growth at his own pace. Not to mention that as children goes through their adolescent phase, they often would have body image issue. And lets face it, 6 weeks of  strength training will not only help your kid improve his self worth, it will also help develop a life time healthy lifestyle habit compare to 6 weeks of counseling.

4. Improve posture

Lets face it, kids nowadays spent more of his time sitting playing console games or looking down thumbing at his smartphone. Which means that he probably has at least gluteal amnesia syndrome and shoulder impingement. And unless you fix it early, then the kid will be in for a world of ankle, knees and shoulder pain somewhere down the road. A good personal trainer would easily prescribe glute activation and upper back exercises ensuring little Timmy will be striding with strength and confidence in no time. So its not just about packing muscle.

I have never seen a teenager able to do proper front squat that has a bad posture.

5. Bring the sexes together

Lets face it, in most of the time when a child is participating in team sports, the girls are always separated from the boys. Heck in most high school and university football and basketball teams, the women are simply reduced to eye candy cheerleader or the women’s team are relegated to some forgotten corner of the basement. And what kind of value does this instill to your child that would one day compete on equal grounds with the opposite sex on the employment world? How about mutual respect in marriage?

Although boys tend to be stronger than girls on the upper body pound per pound, girls tend to mature faster, i.e. at certain age, some girls could be stronger than boys. In fact, for the lower body, there is no noticeable strength difference between boys and girls.

By having them train together at an early stage, you will be teaching the children about the importance of mutual respect among the sexes.

6. Instill the value of discipline

Lets face it, you know somebody back in the day that was simply gifted at soccer or basketball. And no matter how much you trained more than him, no matter how lazy he is, he was just good at that sport. The world is not fair.

But even the kid with the best genes still need to train regularly in order to develop his strength gains. And the least talented kid can still pack on 10 pounds of muscle with good training, healthy diet, and adequate rest. And this is the value you will want to instill to your children as they grow up.

Why Chicks Should Hit The Weight Room

Recently I had yet another talk with my sister regarding women doing weight training. And its amazing how even in this modern age and feminism, some women are still afraid of getting some iron diet because of misconceptions and old fairy tales. So I hope this article will help convince women to hit the barbell and for the men to cite and better persuade their gf/wife to join them at the gym.

1. You get to eat and not get fat

blueberry cheesecake

A long standing joke is that what women really want is not a dashing rich and adventurous gentleman to be completely devoted to her. What women really wants is to eat and not get fat. And its common sense that in order to loose weight, then you need to spend more energy than what you consume right? Well, what happens if I told you that long term calorie restriction leads to lower metabolism. I.e. you need to continuously reduce what you eat in order to continue loosing weight. Keep in mind that 65 – 75% of calories you spend is while you are resting. Heck research on mice even indicates that if you go on a diet for a while and then you stop, you could even get more fat with the SAME diet as before. So diet alone will not help. Meanwhile, strength training allows you to jack up your metabolism long AFTER you finish your exercise. Basically you can loose weight while keeping the same diet! Mind you all this has been proven by Oxford researchers.

2. No, women will not get ripped just from weight training alone

female bodybuilder

A common misconception is that women that lift weights will get bulky and muscular. Except that Males testosterone blood level is 7 – 8 times greater than females and that the average male produces on average 20 times more testosterone than females. Yes, male body naturally produces and absorbs testosterone at several multiple greater than female. So in order for women to get jacked as big as the image above, they need to use more steroid than men. So no need to worry about looking like a female Arnold ladies. In fact, although this below chick squats more than I do pound for pound, her legs still looks normal.


Her name is Zoe Smith by the way, she competes in 49 kg weightlifting class and she squats 160 kg, more than 3x her own body weight.

3. Helps you adjust your body contour

fitness butt

And butts that squats are always hotter than butt that belong to full time desk jockeys. OK, hiking, skiing and tennis also gives great butts, so please don’t get jealous honey. I for one like legs that have some musculature on it, not just skin and bones.

4. Build stronger bones


Tired of listening to your mom or grandma complained about her osteophorisis? Well, tell them to hit the gym as research has shown how weight training increases bone density even in post menopausal women. Plus the men in the family would definitely appreciate the natural butt lifts their women are getting.

5. They also build stronger joints


Your grandma also complained about her knees? Well, as they say, use it or loose it. Research also shown how weight training helps improve joint health even on people with osteoporosis. Of course the key being doing full range motion, proper movement pattern, and not too much repetitive loading. So I do not recommend de-conditioned people regardless of their age to jump into a crossfit or bodypump class.

So there you have it ladies, happy lifting. And if your man is afraid that you would snatch more weight than he does, then maybe its time for you to get an upgrade and get a better man!