EA 06: The Everyday Athlete & Lower Back Pain – Why No Two Spines Are The Same

Today, I am talking to Joel Proskewitz the Founder of PerformanceRx in London. Joel is a fantastic coach who has been in the business for about 24 years. He has been hiding in the background slowly building his reputation. This is the first podcast he has ever done, but I doubt it will be his last.

Joel has been a trainer and strength coach for the last 24 years. He was one of the strength and conditioning coaches for the South African Olympic Heavyweight Rowing Team who happened to take the Bronze medal in Athens in 2004. He has also been a strength coach for the South African National Karate Team. He works directly with Professor Stuart McGill as part of his teaching team as well as taking care of all of his UK back pain referrals. He is the owner of PerformanceRx Personal Training & Injury Rehabilitation. He is super knowledgeable, and it was great having him on the podcast.

Today’s topics include:

  • Joel’s training background and how he moved to London and eventually started his gym PerformanceRx
  • PerformanceRx is a fully integrated facility to help with performance to rehabilitation. There are also doctors that can run tests in a one stop shop.
  • A little background about Joel’s clients and his staff’s training techniques.
  • FMS (Functional Movement Systems) is what they use to assess strength and movement of their clients
  • Joel’s specialty is working with problems and injuries of the lower back.
  • The main goal is long-term health and quality of movement.
  • How principles of biomechanics can allow long-term health to be extracted from the programs taught at PerformanceRx.
  • Understanding the difference between moving your spine and moving your hips.
  • People struggle with hip disassociation because no one has broken it down and explained it to them.
  • How Joel got started teaching Professor McGill’s work.
  • How the assessment process for back pain is a very intricate and precise process.
  • No two spines are the same. Treat every person completely different and unique.
  • How Joel tells his trainers to let the clients speak because what they say will shed a lot of light on what is going on with their bodies and fitness level.
  • Every session is an assessment. Clients are all treated like athletes.
  • The importance of sleep hygiene like having a cool dark room and good conditions for sleep.
  • How people need Vitamin D. This and sleep will allow athletes to be in a better state.
  • A DNA test and blood work can help a client understand the best way of eating for their genetics.
  • Martial artists should be cautious about how heavy they lift in the gym.

Action Step or Takeaway

  • Tailor your strength and conditioning for the sport you are training for.

Links and resources:


“There is so much research from Stuart McGill that he keeps coming up with outstanding new information.” Joel Proskewitz

“I take my work very seriously because I work with people with massive pain and spine injuries.” Joel Proskewitz

“There is a very intricate assessment process for helping people alleviate back pain.” Joel Proskewitz

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