New gym combines alignment with physical training
Pete Egoscue’s pioneering therapy for body alignment is now in Park City.
A few specialists in the exercise-based posture treatment have opened a new gym combing the method with traditional personal training.
The result is the Velocity Fitness and Pain-Free Posture Studio, a new physical training gym at 875 Iron Horse Drive.
Kyra Ryan, one of owners, is certified in the method, but chose to open her own gym rather than participate in the Egoscue franchise. The chain of studios across the country offers a series of stretches and exercises that get the body into alignment to alleviate pain.
There’s no manipulating or adjusting as in physical therapy or chiropractics. If the hip is higher on one side, for example, it means the muscles are longer or shorter and exercises can bring those back into balance.
Therapists create a customized set of routines for each client’s body to improve its balance, Ryan said.
"It kind of like a really, really specific yoga just for you," she said. "It meets different goals that way."
After spending years as a physical therapist at Silver Mountain Sports Club, Ryan and three other trainers opened Velocity in May. They wanted to combine their skills as physical trainers with the Egoscue method.
"A lot of our clients realize they work-out better when in alignment and do both," she said.
Ryan said she believes Park City is the right place for this kind of studio since so many people live an active lifestyle, and there are so many athletes of sports requiring specialized ranges of motions.
Ryan herself was a professional snowboarder for several years. She got into Egoscue exercises to relieve her own back and joint pain.
Here in Park City, she’s worked with the U.S. men’s alpine ski team and other winter sport athletes with back compressions and other injuries.
"It makes sense in Park City to have the combination and do a broader range of treatment," she said. "Rather than just treating people who are hurting, we can help people with goals training for ski season or running a marathon."
Training in the Egoscue method allows therapists to be sensitive to permanent injuries, and better prevent injuries, because of the elevated understanding of the mechanics of the body, she said.
Right now the gym has four trainers and is run more like a beauty salon in that each trainer has their own set of clients. Sharing the gym, instead of being employees of it, allow the trainers to share their expertise with one another and conduct joint clinics to expand an exercise regimen, Ryan said.
Michael Conville, the other owner of the gym, specializes in functional fitness exercises to improve health and prevent injury for everyday activities.
Conville likes the freedom their gym offers to give clients a full range of exercises. Most membership gyms have a lot of machines, he explained, which offer strict ranges of motion and only work certain muscles. Conville believes in full-body strength.
"I like using different modalities. I change everything up using Pilates and yoga and weights," he said. "I look at the body as a unit. Egoscue has that same philosophy. I’m into doing dynamic exercises and multi-joint movements."
Like Ryan, Conville is coming to Velocity from Silver Mountain Sports Club and said he’s excited to be his own boss and service clients using his own philosophy.
Also like Ryan, Conville became a physical trainer after using exercise to overcome his own injuries.
"I was in a car wreck when age 19, I picked up on it and was into so much that people talked me into becoming a personal trainer," he said.
Samantha Zilvitis, another of the trainers, said she really enjoys working at Velocity because of its uniqueness.
"I haven’t found a place like it in Park City," she said. "Velocity manages as both a small and personal facility, yet it has every piece of equipment I need to give my client a challenging and thorough workout.
Zilvitis is also trained as a postural therapist and said Velocity is the only place in Park City that offers both exercise modes.
The fourth trainer, Wendy Dietz, said she loves having all the functional equipment to create workouts that are about integration and not isolation.
A lot of problems and injuries arise in fit people who don’t realize the importance of an integrated workout, she said.
"We make people really fit, not just beach-muscle fit," Ryan said.
And that’s what people in Park City are after so they can better ski, cycle and run, she added.
The equipment that provides the unique work-out at Velocity includes everything from a state-of-the-art, NASA-developed Power Plate, to timeless kettle balls.
The Power Plate is a vibrating machine that when you do simple exercises, like squats or push-ups, forces the muscles to work harder because they’re vibrating as they flex. It was developed to prevent atrophy in astronauts, Conville explained. It improves circulation, bone density and strength.
Kettle balls are odd weight so that as one moves them through space, they force several muscles to respond to maintain balance.
Both the Power Plate and kettle balls are popular among Hollywood celebrities to lose pregnancy weight or get in shape for an action role, he said.
Other less traditional exercises include a TRX suspension system, which looks like stirrups bolted to a wall. holding onto the stirrups, a wide range of motions are possible that can be performed at home.
Velocity also has large, specialized blocks and balance beams for creating an obstacle course which clients climb on, over and under creating a full-body work-out similar to what children experience on a jungle gym.
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