posted on January 2, 2019
This week, we interviewed Mike Allen, a physical therapist that has helped several UF members and has been the main source of my success in rehabbing a recent back injury.
Mike was recommended to me by a friend, Nate, who has also had tons of success using Mike’s knowledge to rehab tweaks that have come up over the years. I am usually rather skeptical of physical therapists because of their (typical) lack of knowledge in competitive lifting. But Nate reassured me that Mike has many years of experience working with barbell movements (which you can read about below) that give him a huge advantage in helping athletes of all kinds.
Mike has helped me tremendously with my back and is currently helping with some elbow issues I’ve had for a long time. He does a great job at listening to what you have to say about your injury while analyzing the movements that cause pain in the first place. This helps Mike give his patients the right amount of corrective exercises to help them start feeling better and lifting sooner.
Mike will be at Union Fitness on Monday, January 7th from 5-8 pm to do free 30 minute injury screens. Please sign-up in advance at the front desk!
Tell us a little about yourself!
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Physiology and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy having graduated from the Slippery Rock University School of Physical Therapy in 2006. I’ve spent countless hours of post-graduate work improving all facets of my practice as a physical therapist, and as a strength and conditioning coach.
My journey into Physical Therapy started as a youth and high school athlete, having experienced PT first hand on numerous occasions through various sports related injuries. I’ve always had an interest in science, and thought that physical therapy would be the perfect field for me to combine my interest in science and my love of sports and strength and conditioning.
My hobbies outside of work are strength training, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and visiting the great selection of restaurants and craft breweries our city has to offer.
My background in sports include varsity basketball and baseball in high school, and was a member of the powerlifting team at Slippery Rock University. I’ve competed both raw and in single ply gear, however prefer raw lifting vs geared. I also competed in the Mr. SRU bodybuilding show in 2002, in my one and only venture into bodybuilding. Most recently I’ve developed a passion for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, having started training in 2010.
What do you find that is unique about your approach to treating people?
My approach to treating patients is very eclectic. I utilize parts of many different systems of evaluation and treatment, that help me achieve the best results. Every patient is unique in and of themselves, and require a different approach to treatment. I like to keep a full tool box of manual therapy tricks and exercises to prescribe that help patients to move and feel better. I do incorporate a lot of strength training and strength training principles into my prescriptive exercise programs, as I believe that a foundation of strength and the development of the movement patterns associated with strength training translate extremely well to everyday life.
What are the most common mistakes you see in warm-ups?
There are several common mistakes I see in warm-ups. One is too much or too aggressive of foam rolling and other soft tissue work. There’s a common misunderstanding on how soft tissue treatment works (we can do a blog post on this) and that causes people to over do it. It absolutely has its place and can help to improve movement quality before training, but people often spend way too much time and apply way too much pressure. Some light rolling for a minute or two and move on. Another common one I see is too much emphasis on static stretching and not enough on developing proper movement patterns. Developing movement patterns specific to the exercises you are about to perform is much more important than spending too much time stretching isolated muscle. No need to spend 30 minutes warming-up. Address some soft tissue tightness with a foam roller or other device briefly, get into some movement patterns specific to the demands of your training, and get to training!
What do you believe should be in every strength and conditioning program?
Aside from fundamental basic movement patterns, every strength training program should incorporate unilateral (one side) and multi-planar (moving through various planes of motion) exercises. Often times people having underlying strength or mobility deficits, and unilateral training can both hep to identify these, as well as correct them with the proper exercise. Bilateral exercises like squats and deadlifts should be the foundation of your programs, but because they are bilateral exercises, often times strength or mobility deficits on one side of the body are compensated for and go unnoticed. This can lead to underperformance and/or injury. I also believe that multi-planar exercises should be incorporated. In both sports and in daily life we don’t function in one plane of motion, we move in multiple planes. So why not combine those planes in our training, and teach our bodies to be strong and move efficiently through all of the planes of motion.
Where can people find you and what does your facility provide?
I can be found at Precision Physical Therapy and Performance located at 4706 William Flynn Hwy, Allison Park, PA 15101. We can also be found at www.precisionptandperformance.com, and on both Facebook and Instagram. We offer:
-Transitional Wellness Program – A program that transitions patients to a strength and conditioning program that is designed by me
-Sports Performance – Strength and Conditioning for Youth, High School, and College athletes
-Arm Care for baseball players
I have enjoyed working with many of the members of Union Fitness, and look forward to working with many more of you. Please like us on Facebook and Instagram, and watch for informational videos we post to help you all move and feel better.