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What is Performance PT?

Jan 16, 2023

There are typically two main options a clinic owner can take when we started a clinic.  You can choose the traditional insurance based route, which is more of a one size fits all approach. Or you can work on the performance side helping clients to get back to being active and staying in the gym.


At a traditional clinic, patients are typically given lighter therabands, sometimes sitting on a swiss ball. They may be prescribed clamshells on a table with a light band. This is ok for some, but if the patient is an active individual who can pull a few hundred pounds off the ground, that can be a little insulting.

Next, you may warm up on a hand bike while waiting for your physical therapist or maybe a tech. Depending on the state, a high school student may be the one to lead you through some exercises already printed template (the same one everyone gets for their shoulder) before you walked in the door. You may end your visit with a hot pack or ice (depending on which station is available). This treatment is ok for some, but not what you need if you are trying to return to sport or higher intensity workouts in a gym. 


The heaviest weight I have seen in a traditional clinic is around 35ibs. If you an exercise enthusiast with a goal of getting back in the gym to pickup a barbell, 35ibs will not allow you to reach your goal since that weight is 10ibs less than an empty bar.

Working on the specific task you are trying to get back to is very important. This is called specificity. This means if the patient’s goal is to get back to performing a deadlift, they will have to practice something that looks like a deadlift. To practice the movement, similar gym equipment is needed for the best transfer of the rehab to exercise.  


Insurance-based clinics have a different goal. These companies only care if you are back to “prior level of function”. This means being able to put dishes away or put on a shirt.  If you have more active goals, you will need to seek out a performance PT.  Even other medical professionals tell their patients, “squatting is bad for your knees” or “lifting overhead is dangerous”.


It is easier to tell someone to stop what they are doing instead of learning how to coach them through the movement. As Las Vegas sports & athletic performance physical therapists, we want you to get back to your active goals and stay in the gym!  If stopping the activity you love is not an option feel free to reach out to us.

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