Shrugged Collective

8 No-BS Reasons For Low Back Pain With Dr. Stefi Cohen — Barbell Shrugged #386

Stefi Cohen has an extensive list of achievements in the athletic field but she is also very well accomplished in the academic field. Not only is Stefi a multiple world record holding powerlifter, she is also an exercise physiologist and doctor of physical therapy.

In Olympic Weightlifting Stefi was the Florida senior state gold medalist (2015). Illinois senior state gold medalist and record holder (2015). In Powerlifting Stefi is the current all-time world record holder in squat, deadlift and total, she has 11 total all time world records so far in her career and is the #1 123lb Powerlifter in the world. Prior to strength sports Stefi was an accomplished NCAA (D1) Soccer Player for San Diego State 2009-10, she was also a member of the U17 Venezuelan National Soccer Team 2006-09.

In this episode of Barbell Shrugged we talk with Stefi about the biopsychosocial model, the old way of thinking of back pain isn’t working, shifting the narrative of mechanical causes of low back pain, why your spine is a resilient structure, the moral approach to physical therapy, why you don’t need to do more mobility, what Stefi is working on now, common myths of back pain, and much more.


– Anders and Doug

Episode Breakdown

0-10: We want YOU to come to Jamaica with us, how Stefi knew she’d break the world record, and why some women have the ability to lift closer to their maxes

11-20: Biopsychosocial model of pain, the old way of thinking of back pain isn’t working, shifting the narrative of mechanical causes of low back pain, and why your spine is a resilient structure

21-30: What “move” means in the world of rehab, and suggestions on how to structure workouts for people with back pain

31-40: Stefi’s approach to new information, the 4 hour low-back assessment, and pig spines

41-50: The moral approach to physical therapy, research on flexion moments, the most common way to injure a disc

51-60: What Stefi is working on now, leading leaders, and where Stefi’s training is now

61-70: Why (in most cases) it’s important to strength train pre and post surgery, research papers are your interpretation of the information, and why you need to take into account strength when looking at the body

71-80: Pain science, choosing not to believe that your body is fragile, the importance of well educated health practitioners, and the power of the mind

81-90: You don’t need to do more mobility, the importance of knowing your goals, why feeling tight is more about perception, and why you should look at your hip and shoulder mobility, not your back  

91-100: Why Stefi enjoys working on patients with low back pain, becoming a specialist, Stefi’s current training goals, and Stefi’s numbers and weight class

101-110: Common myths of back pain, the importance of making the most of your clients time, and why your time would be best spent teaching people how to properly hinge and brace

111-128: Being smart in your training, knowing how much stress your body can recover from, the shift in training as you age, and why more isn’t always better

Connect with Stefi Cohen

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Connect on social: Instagram, YouTube

Resources: Hybrid Performance Method



























Doug Larson Fitness

Doug’s new website is live! Check it out at DougLarsonFitness.com

The Bledsoe Show

The Bledsoe Show (Mike’s personal show) is back! Check out new episodes and the new website at TheBledsoeShow.com

Check out our FREE 50+ page OLYMPIC WEIGHTLIFTING GUIDE! Includes: The Basics, Sample Programming, Links to Technique Videos, and more!


Train smart,

Mike, Doug and Anders



Anders Varner

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