Stuart M. McGill, C.M.

Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Stu McGill

Contact information




BPE (Toronto)

MSc (Ottawa)

PhD (Waterloo)

Stuart McGill - Bio

Stuart McGill is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus (Spine Biomechanics) at the University of Waterloo. As a professor for 30 years, he explored low back mechanics of both intact humans (both normal and injured people) and harvested tissues (where specific injuries are created and analysed). He has been the author of many scientific journal papers that address the issues of lumbar function, low back injury mechanisms, investigation of tissue loading during rehabilitation programs, the formulation of work-related injury avoidance strategies and high performance training. He mentored over 40 graduate students. This work has received several international awards including the “Volvo Bioengineering Award for Low Back Pain Research” in 1986 and, most recently, the Order of Canada. 

As a consultant, he has provided expertise on low back injury to various government agencies, many corporations and legal firms and professional/international athletes and teams world-wide. He is regularly referred special patient cases from the international medical community for opinion (Clinic now in Gravenhurst Ontario).

At the University of Waterloo he taught courses in occupational biomechanics (reducing the risk of occupationally related musculoskeletal disorders), general biomechanics, injury biomechanics, low back disorders, and graduate level courses in advanced biomechanics, and instrumentation and signal processing.

He was the President of the Canadian Society for Biomechanics for 1999-2000, was an elected member of the executive for the International Society for Biomechanics 1999-2001, and was Chair of the Department of Kinesiology 2003-2009. He sat on the editorial boards of the journals SPINE, Clinical Biomechanics, and Journal of Applied Biomechanics. He has authored four books: one for the lay public with back pain, Back Mechanic; and for clinical readers: “Low Back Disorders:  Evidence Based Prevention and Rehabilitation”, “Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance” and co-authored another for strength athletes recovering from back injury “Gift of Injury”.  

He is married, has two children, and lives in Gravenhurst, Ontario.

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Books: 4

Chapters in books: 32

Full refereed journal papers: 245+

Refereed conference papers: 140+

Keynote addresses: 70+

Other invited addresses: 400+

Self-initiated addresses: 150+


McGill, S.M., and Carroll, B., Gift of Injury, Backfitpro Inc, (, 2018.

McGill, S.M., (2015) Back Mechanic: The step-by-step McGill method to fix back pain. Backfitpro Inc, (  Now printed in German, Dutch, Czech, Spanish, Italian, Korean, Chinese, Slovenian, Serbian, Greek, French

McGill, S.M.  Ultimate back fitness and performance, Backfitpro Inc., Waterloo, Canada, 200 ISBN 0-9736018-0-4 (  Sixth edition 2017.

McGill, S.M.  Low back disorders: Evidence based prevention and rehabilitation, Human Kinetics Publishers, Champaign, IL, U.S.A., 2002. ISBN 0-7360-4241-5, Third Edition, 2016.  Now also printed in Japanese, 2003 and in Chinese, 2009.

Recent published papers (2015 to present)

Norman, R.W., McGill, S.M., Potvin, J,R., (2021) Dr. Richard C. Nelson: An Important Multigenerational Father of Biomechanics, J. Appl. Biomech., 37, 587-589.

Cannon, J., Cambridge, E.D.J., and McGill, S.M. (2021). Increased core stability is associated with reduced knee valgus during single-leg landing tasks: Investigating lumbar spine and hip joint rotational stiffness.  Journal of Biomechanics, 116, 110240. DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2021.110240

Brendan L. Pinto* and Stuart M. McGill¬ (2020) Voluntary muscle relaxation can improve counter-movement jump performance. J Strength Cond Res., 34(6):1525-1529.

Cannon, J., Cambridge, E.D.J., and McGill, S.M. (2019). Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury Mechanisms and the Kinetic Chain Linkage: The Effect of Proximal Joint Stiffness on Distal Knee Control during Bilateral Landings, Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, 49 (8), 601-610. DOI: 10.2519/jospt.2019.8248

Beach TAC, Frost DM, Zehr JD, Howarth SJ, McGill SM, Callaghan JP. (2019) Spine loading during laboratory-simulated fireground operations – Inter-individual variation and method of load quantification. Ergonomics, 2019, VOL. 62, NO. 11, 1426-1438.

Lysander Jim, and Stuart McGill (2018) Observations of thoracic neuromuscular oscillation subsequent to thoracic pathology, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 2(1):2.

Balkovec, C., Veldhuis, J., Baird, J., Brodland, W., McGill, S.M., (2018): Digital Tracking Algorithm Reveals the Influence of Structural Irregularities on Joint Movements in the Human Cervical Spine, Clinical Biomechanics 56:11-17.

Stuart McGill, and Brad Schoenfeld, (2017) Master Class- Choosing Exercises: An example with “the crunch”, NSCA Personal Trainer Quarterly.

Balkovec, C., Veldhuis, J., Baird, J., Brodland, W., McGill, S.M., (2017) A Videofluoroscopy-Based Tracking Algorithm for Quantifying the Time Course of Human Intervertebral Displacements. Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering. Mar 15:1-9. doi: 10.1080/10255842.2017.1302435.

Lee B and McGill SM.  (2016) The Effect of Core Training on Distal Limb Performance During Ballistic Maneuvers. J Sport Sci.,

Lee B and McGill SM.  (2016) The effect of short term isometric training on core/torso stiffness. J Sport Sci.

Balkovec, C., Vernengo, J., Stevenson, P., McGill, S.M., (2016) Evaluation of an injectable hydrogel and PMMA in restoring mechanics to compressively fractured spine motion segments, The Spine Journal. 16(11) 1404–1412.

 Balkovec, C., Vernengo, J., McGill, S.M., (2016) Disc height loss and restoration via injectable hydrogel influences adjacent segment mechanics in-vitro Clinical Biomechanics, 36:1-7.

A Bateman, C Balkovec, M Akens, A Chan, W Oakden, R Harrison, A Yee, S McGill, (2016) Closure of the annulus fibrosus using a novel suture application device – in vivo porcine and ex-vivo biomechanical evaluation, The SPINE Journal. 16:889-895.

Giangregorio LM, Ashe MC, Shipp K, Cheung AM, Heinonen A, Papaioannou A, McGill S, Laprade J, Jain R, Leller K, MacIntyre N, Wark J.  (2016) Intensity is a subjective construct", Osteoporosis International. Osteoporos. Int., 27:2391–2392.DOI 10.1007/s00198-016-3507-9

Frost DM, Beach TAC, Crosby I, McGill SM. (2016) The cost and distribution of firefighter injuries in a large Canadian fire department, WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation.55(3),497-504.

Cannon, J., Emond, D., McGill, S.M., (2016) Evidence on the ability of a pneumatic decompression belt to restore spinal height following an acute bout of exercise. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 39(4):304-310.

Santana, J.C., Brown, L., McGill, S.M., (2015) The Anterior and Posterior Serape: The rotational core. Strength and Conditioning Journal.37(5):8-13.

Frost DM, Beach TAC, Campbell TL, Callaghan JP, McGill SM.(2015) An appraisal of the Functional Movement Screen grading criteria – Is the composite score sensitive to risky movement behavior? Phys Ther Sport 2015 Nov 17;16(4):324-30. Epub 2015 Feb 17.

Frost DM, Beach TAC, Callaghan JP, McGill SM.  (2015) Exercise-based performance enhancement and injury prevention for firefighters: Contrasting the fitness- and movement-related adaptations to two training methodologies. J Strength Cond Res 2015 Sep;29(9):2441-59.

Frost DM, Beach TAC, McGill SM, Callaghan JP. (2015) A proposed method to detect kinematic differences between and within individuals. J. Emg. Kinesiol. Volume 25(3): 479–487.

Kushner A., M., Brent, J. L., Schoenfeld B., Hugentobler, J., Lloyd, R. S., Vermeil, A., Chu, D., Harbin, J., McGill, S. M., Myer, G. D., (2015) The Back Squat Part 2: Targeted Training Techniques to Correct Functional Deficits and Technical Factors that Limit Performance, J. Strength and Condit. Res. 37(2):13-60.

McGill SM, Frost DM, Finlay T, et al. (2015) Can fitness and movement quality prevent back injury in elite task force police officers? A 5 year longitudinal study,  Ergonomics 2015 Oct 8;58(10):1682-9. Epub 2015 May 8. Winner: Liberty Mutual award for top paper in 2015.

Balkovec C, Adams M, Dolan P, McGill SM. (2015) Annulus fibrosus can strip hyaline cartilage endplate from subchondral bone: a study of the intervertebral disc in tension. Global Spine J 2015 Oct 25;5(5):360-5. Epub 2015 Feb 25. Won the top paper of the year for 2015 in the Global Spine Journal.

Frost DM, Crosby I, McGill SM (2015).  Firefighter injuries are not just a fireground problem. WORK. 09/2015; DOI:10.3233/WOR-152111