"Barbells are Physical Therapy"
Christopher Palladino is a Physical Therapist, Starting Strength Coach, and owner/operator of Stronger Physical Therapy, a garage based physical therapy and strength studio located in Bellmore, NY. Chris received his B.S. in Exercise Science from Hofstra University, M.S in Exercise Science from Adelphi University, and Doctorate in Physical Therapy from New York Institute of Technology. Chris has been working with a wide variety of clients in the fitness industry since 2007 as a personal trainer, manager, and sports performance coach. Currently, as a Starting Strength Coach and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Chris teaches the barbell method to groups and individuals of all ages and abilities and utilizes his physical therapy knowledge to safely work with clients who are recovering from orthopedic injuries. With two degrees in exercise science, and a passion for strength and conditioning, his mission as a physical therapist is to integrate his knowledge as a health care professional with his love for barbell training.
The Importance of Strength
Health & Quality of Life
The Value of Hardship
As an acute care bedside physical therapist working in a hospital, I’ve had numerous thoughts where I would put myself, a family member, or a friend in my patient’s place. Daily, I see everything from motorcycles accidents, spinal cord injuries, falls with fractured hips, level I and II traumas, COVID, respiratory failure and severe debilities. During my initial evaluation with a patient, I objectively measure one’s ability to get up out of bed, take their first steps after an accident or surgery, transfer to a chair, climb stairs safely with a goal of being able to return home or an appropriate rehab destination. What I observe, is that the capability of the patient at the initial evaluation is purely based on the pre-injury strength of the individual and the level of current debility. Their current physiological reserve can either dwindle or grow based on the nature of the injury. Time and time again I see so many individuals of all ages lacking the basic strength to enjoy the simple things in life and therefore, their quality of life is greatly affected. The way I see it, strength, of all the physical attributes, is the one that has the largest impact on quality of life.
In most athletic events, there are two components to a successful preparation required for “winning.” The first one is “training.” Training is the process of accumulating a specific physiological adaptation(s) necessary for improved performance in an athletic event. Within a training program, such as barbell training, each workout is valuable in that it provides the proper stress to the process of accumulating the physiological adaptation required for long term improved performance. The second component is “practice.” Practice is the repetitive execution of movements that depend on accuracy and precision under the conditions in which they will be displayed during the performance. Only with practice, repetition, and experience, will the athlete accumulate the effectiveness to improve his/her performance. So why is barbell training so important in improving athletic performance? Because barbell training, specifically the Starting Strength method is the most efficient way to increase an individual’s strength. Barbells can be trained progressively and linearly, and the strength that is gained overtime can be applied directly to the sport specific movement during practice.
It’s the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in NY in March 2020 and my wife, who is an outpatient pediatric nurse practitioner, gets notified that she has been deployed to work in a hospital at the bedside of COVID-19 positive patients. Terrified, scared, and hysterical to leave her then 6-month-old baby at home, my wife showed up. During such a terrifying time of unknown circumstances, strength is what kept her grounded. Strength is what kept her going.
Imagine this: you injure your shoulder taking groceries out of the car, so you decide to try physical therapy to ease the pain. You go to your orthopedist, he suggests an MRI, possible surgery, a steroid injection, and physical therapy. Of course, you select the most conservative approach first. So, you get to your local physical therapy office and wait close to a half hour to be seen by the physical therapist who only has the chance to see you for 10 minutes before running to the next patient scheduled. Now for the remainder of the session you are spending your time with the physical therapy aide. You are scheduled to go 2 more times that week and after 4 weeks of going through this grueling process, you feel little to no relief. Does this sound familiar? Don’t give up on physical therapy, there is a better way! Self-pay PT is a much more efficient, cost-effective, and successful way to treat your injuries. Bypassing insurance results in no deductible, no copay, and no arguments with your insurance carrier as to what is covered or not. There will also be more one-on-one time with your PT. This means a completely tailored and individualized treatment plan to correct your specific needs. Because insurance companies require that only one body part can be addressed at each visit, this means that you would need two separate evaluations and visits to address different parts of your body. I treat the body as a whole so it is important to address multiple issues at once, as your hip pain may be related to weakness in your core! The self-pay PT model enables you to get physical therapy done that is cost-effective, timesaving and individualized with your doctor. What price would you pay to improve your quality of life and to return to the things that you love to do?
Easy doesn’t work. It’s true when they say, “nothing in life comes easy.” From my own experiences I’ve come to realize this time and time again. I have also recognized that the most rewarding moments only come after hard work, struggle, patience, and persistence. It is during these times that you truly learn about yourself, your diligence, your courage, and your grit. Since starting barbell training on a regular basis, I have found that it makes other hard things in life easier. Barbell training, and especially the novice linear progression, both requires and linearly increases one’s courage, diligence, discipline, and patience. Each time you get under the bar with a weight never attempted before, you have an opportunity, a choice to do something hard. After all, you have had to face every hard increment of weight along the way. Increments which may have been doubted or failed, but eventually succeeded. Its that fear, those failures, those small hardships that give you the courage to get under the bar week after week and the confidence to face life with an “I can, and I will” attitude.