Strength Training for Endurance Athletes

Posted November 28, 2012 by FunctionSmart
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We all know that the only way to get better at swimming, cycling and running, is to swim, ride and run regularly.  So why isn’t that enough to improve performance?  Well it is.  The more you swim, bike and run, the faster you will be on race day.  So why bother with stuff like flexibility or strength training?

In a single word- durability!  A properly designed resistance training program forces the muscles you use to propel yourself forward to become stronger and more resistant to injury, and it forces the muscles you DON’T use to get stronger and provide better balance to the body as a whole.  An example of this is the use of the pulling movement pattern (think of swimming), that we do often in multi-sport, while we rarely us the pushing movement pattern during endurance training.  Performing exercises that use pushing patterns in your strength workouts helps to balance the shoulder musculature.

A strength training program should address the muscles and movement patterns used for locomotion, but also strengthen the muscles that stabilize and support the body when in locomotion.  In this way, your body can maintain proper alignment and mechanics throughout whatever endurance event you choose. 

For more information about strength training at FunctionSmart San Diego, check out our Strength For Endurance Athletes classes  or email Jason Image


End of Season Races

Posted August 28, 2012 by FunctionSmart
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As the triathlon season winds down in the fall, you can find a number of awesome local events to compete in. This coming weekend brings the San Diego Triathlon Classic produced by local cycling and multisport shop Moment Cycle Sport. The Tiki Swim closes out September on the 30th and is produced by veteran triathletes Brian Long and John Hill and has the best tiki inspired gear. How great to be able to complete an Ironman distance swim that you don’t need to follow with 112 miles on the bike and a marathon! October brings two favorites, the classic Mission Bay Triathlon produced by Koz Events. This race started in San Diego in 1974 and is still a “not to be missed” event for many local triathletes. October 21 brings the SheRox Triathlon – a women’s only event. This event was taken over by SheRox a couple of years ago and remains a wonderful, supportive race for all participants of any ability and even offers a “Super Sprint” distance. TCSD also continues it’s Youth Triathlon Series with an event at Newport Beach Sept. 9 and a kids only aquathlon Sept. 22. So whatever your pace you can finish the season strong in San Diego. If injuries are keeping you from getting to the starting line of your favorite race, make sure to contact TCSD Sponsor UCPT to schedule an appointment with one of our Sports Medicine Physical Therapists at 858-452-0282

Keep the Cookie Cutters in the Kitchen

Posted May 31, 2011 by FunctionSmart
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Last week Gino had the opportunity to help a friend who was having some problems with his back. Actually this happens often when you’re a Physical Therapist, but this situation was a little different. Our friend was already going to a physical therapy clinic and had been seen for about two months. He had seen some progress but really wanted to get back to working out and surfing and knew his back was nowhere near that point. When he and Gino spoke, Gino came to realize that he was being treated in a clinic that offered a protocol driven “cookie cutter” approach to rehab. He was given a variety of exercises and given supervision as he completed them and ended his session with some ice and e.stim. Nowhere in this approach was any hands on care or even an ongoing assessment of progress. That approach may work for many but it won’t work for everyone. Gino was able to work with him for about 20 minutes. The next time we saw him he was all smiles – he had already been back to the gym twice and had just surfed and his back felt better than it had in months. As therapists we know that everyone is different and that not all will fit the mold of the latest research study. The art of Physical Therapy is in applying the evidence and individualizing it to the person in front of us to ensure their recovery. At UCPT, we’ll leave the cookie cutters in the kitchen and use our hands on techniques to provide evidence based practice that works.

Pain Free Running Clinic

Posted February 4, 2011 by FunctionSmart
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Frustrated by nagging injuries that seen to pop up just as you start to ramp up your training and always appear to hold you back from reaching your next triathlon goal?

Have you given up on how to run faster without getting injured?

Confused by all the “information” out there on what is the “proper” way to run?

Then you’ll want to clear your calendar for Thursday, February 17th at 6:30 pm for…


This 90 minute clinic, with a series of lectures, drills and workouts will show you:

– How to avoid the three most common running injuries

– The three drills you’re not doing that you SHOULD be doing to improve your speed and running efficiency

– The 3 mistakes runners make when trying to change their running form

– Expose the 3 most common running workout myths that almost every triathlete has fallen for at one point (yep, even I did once)

And if that’s not enough, we’re also doing it as a fundraiser for the Tri Club’s charity – TCSD Cares

DATE: Thursday Feb 17th – starting at 6:30 PM

LOCATION: Function SMART – UCPT in Sorrento Valley

COST: $20 Donation to TCSD Cares – Checks only please


Gino Cinco – (aka “The Thumb”) Physical Therapist and Owner of University City Physical Therapy. Gino is also an Active Release Technique instructor and has been helping all levels of triathletes and runners recover from injuries and prevent new ones for over 20 years. He’s treated Olympic medalists and Ironman World Champions as well as the rest of us. He’s developed a unique sense and skill over the years of what fundamental running mechanics lead to further injuries.

Dr. John Martinez – (aka “Dr John”) – Primary Care Sports Medicine Physician and part of the USA Triathlon National Team medical staff. When he’s not here is San Diego, Dr John is either traveling with the USA Triathlon National Team to places like Sydney, Australia or Budapest, Hungary or part of the medical tent staff at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Over the past 15 years, he’s treated a wide range of athletes and sports injuries and is convinced that triathletes are the most adept at causing the most interesting and unique injuries.

Acupuncture – help your healing

Posted January 21, 2011 by FunctionSmart
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FunctionSmart is pleased to announce another wellness provider at our Sorrento Valley office. Hadar Elbaz, LAc is bringing her healing touch to patients in our office on Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment. While studying nursing, Hadar was inspired to seek out a more holistic approach to healing. As a result, she completed her studies at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine to become a licensed acupuncturist. Hadar was drawn to Acupuncture in particular because of its holistic effect on the body. According to Hadar “Acupuncture is helpful for so many medical problems because it doesn’t just address the symptoms, it looks at all systems of the body to determine what is not functioning properly and how to help correct it. ” Athletes in particular can benefit from acupuncture to help them recover more quickly from injuries. Often athletes don’t recognize the amount of stress their training can put on the body’s systems. Acupuncture can help identify those areas needing treatment in addition to the more obvious painful muscles or joints. It has been practiced extensively for a variety of medical conditions and the treatment and prevention of diseases for the last 5000 years in China. It is safe and comfortable, even relaxing to be treated with acupuncture. We hope you will come in soon to experience the benefits and accelerate your healing. You can contact Hadar by email with any questions or give her a call at 858-232-1179.
Hadar Elbaz

USWTS – A Favorite Race

Posted October 26, 2010 by FunctionSmart
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I will admit that I have more than one favorite race – any triathlete will tell you that you need to have a favorite for all the distances and conditions that may exist. USWTS is my favorite local short course race for several reasons. The first and most important is the unique Family Division race option. This race is so beginner friendly that not only do they have a Super Sprint distance course, they let you start and finish the race with your family or friends no matter what the age difference. 2010 was my third year racing with my 11-year-old daughter. The first year she needed a lot of help and guidance on the swim – the open water can be scary for kids and adults. But with the family division I was right by her side, talking her through the whole swim. She racked her bike with the kickstand. Last year she swam a little more on her own and this year she really raced. She was so proud to cross the line first for the Family Division and 34 overall for the event. The support before and during the race from all of the female athletes is just one more reason to love this race. We met up with some Tri Club youth team friends as well as a great group from Huntington Beach. The girls were all singing and dancing to the Black Eyed Peas before our swim wave was led to the water. We cheered each other on during the bike course and again on the run where we joined up with some sprint racers completing their race. The adults had such positive comments for the girls racing and you could see their faces light up as they were cheered on. In another year or two, I’ll be chasing my daughter just to keep up but for now I’ll savor my favorite race with my little girl.

Back to School Backpack Tips

Posted September 15, 2010 by FunctionSmart
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It may seem like it’s still summer in San Diego but it’s that time of year again when students of all ages start hitting the books. Choosing and using a backpack safely is important to keep your student in the classroom and out of their Physical Therapist’s office. There are some important things to remember whether your student is 5 or 25. Proper fit and proper weight load in a student’s backpack will go a long way toward preventing back pain and injury. The first thing to remember is to avoid overload. The American Physical Therapy Association and the American Academy of Orthopedic surgeons agree; a loaded backpack should not weigh more than 15 percent of the student’s weight. That means a 70 pound child should only carry about 10 pounds. Even 10 pounds will feel very heavy if the backpack doesn’t fit or isn’t used properly. Remember the following: Use both straps – tighten them so the backpack sits against the body and doesn’t “sag”. The backpack should not hang more than 4 inches below the waistline – smaller students will need smaller size packs. Distribute the weight so that heavier items are on the bottom and flat items are upright against the back. Look for a lightweight pack with well padded straps and a padded back. A waist strap also distributes weight. Rolling backpacks are also a good choice. If your student needs to carry several items, consider packing a smaller separate pack to distribute the weight or have them carry a heavy book or binder outside of the backpack to help balance the load. If you need more information, email our Physical Therapy team at UCPT.