Meet Yoloha Ambassador, Elliot Lance. Elliot is the head physical therapist and owner of Prime Performance Rehab in Charleston, SC. We sat down with Elliot and talked about how physical therapy can be used to help with fitness, health and recovery from injuries.
Most of us know the feeling of having an injury. The frustration when you can’t move in the ways that you used to. Maybe it’s an area of your body that always feels tight. Maybe your range of motion is limited. When our bodies don’t feel 100%, it is easy to want to give up and not move at all. It’s easy to feel defeated. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Working with a skilled Physical Therapist can empower you to get back to the movements you love. But it can also help you stay healthy and strong, even after your injury is healed. We enjoyed this conversation with Elliot and we think you will too. Check out what he has to say…
I am a former college baseball player and current CrossFit athlete. I think the best way to describe my treatment style is that of movement optimism. We aim to get our patients to OWN their health. We want physical therapy to be an active and engaging process where we teach you how to take ownership of your rehab so that you can take these principles with you for the rest of your life! We serve active adults in the Charleston area get out of pain and get back to doing the things they love to do! At Prime, we help empower our patients to break their cycle of pain and to develop strong, resilient bodies and mindsets.
What are the benefits of physical therapy for specialized recovery?
The benefits of physical therapy and physical activity are endless. As a PT, we are movement experts. We believe that the best way to stay out of pain is to develop a strong and resilient body that can handle anything that life throws at it. Movement and load (strength training) are the tools that have shown to have the most success when trying to protect against injury. There are a lot of gimmicks and passive modalities out there that claim to have the most impact when it comes to recovery.
At Prime, we focus on the evidence-based treatments that will get you out of pain and build you back to a point that is stronger than when you started with us. In terms of “specialized recovery”, we cater all treatments and interventions to each individual and their specific needs. Beyond that, movement is movement. If something hurts, it probably doesn’t need some “magic pill” or “special PT technique”… it probably just needs to get stronger! Sometimes it really is that simple and that is empowering!
Can we use physical therapy in a preventive way and for overall health?
Absolutely! I would say that most of our patients come to us for monthly “check-ups” after they have completed their physical therapy regimen. This allows us to focus on injury prevention and performance goals as opposed to just getting them out of pain. It is probably my favorite thing about what I do. Being able to help someone, who originally came to us in an 8/10 pain and could barely walk, reach goals that they have never met before is truly rewarding. And the one thing that we emphasize more than anything, is that it is all YOU. We give you the tools and education on how to move well and appropriately strength train. You put in the hard work. Together we can achieve some incredible things. Best part of the job, by far.
What is the difference between stretching and strengthening for healthy muscles & tissues, and when should we use them?
Great question. In order for us to suggest stretching as a treatment/intervention, two things need to be apparent in a particular individual:
1.) They need to have a limitation into a range of motion that they need access to. This can mean different things for different people. If you are gymnast or a yogi, you need more range of motion than your average athlete. It all depends on your goals.
2.) The limitation of your range of motion is due to a true muscle or capsular shortening. Not because it feels tight or feels good to stretch. We have a lot of HYPERmobile athletes that love to stretch because it feels good. It’s just not what their bodies need.
When we have an individual who meets both of these requirements, then stretching makes a lot of sense. However, you would be very surprised about how little that this is the case. Just because something “feels tight” does not mean that it needs to be stretched. Frequently, it is the opposite. It probably needs to be strengthened. Our brain does a great job at creating “tightness” in areas that it believes that need extra stability. We frequently strengthen into tightness and work to develop stronger, more resilient tissues and we see incredible results.
Why did you become a Physical Therapist?
I don’t have a crazy injury story or tear-jerking experience with a past physical therapist that drove me to become a PT. Physical therapists have a unique opportunity to be a healthcare provider, a doctor, that can spend 60-90 minutes of one-on-one time with a patient to help them work through almost anything. No other doctor has that privilege. When was the last time you got to spend 75 minutes with a doctor? Never. I became a PT because I fervently believe that there is so much good that can come from exercise and physical activity.
You hear about the opioid epidemic. You hear about our society becoming more passive and wanting things to be handed to us. You hear about people wanting to “be fixed” instead of “fixing it themselves”. You hear about anxiety and depression becoming more and more prevalent. As a physical therapist, I can have a direct impact on all of these issues. We can preach empowerment and strength, both mental and physical. Giving someone the tools to get in better shape, get out of chronic pain, and find a healthier mindset is one of the most rewarding things that I can do.
What is your biggest piece of advice you would give someone who wants to have a healthy and pain free body?
There is so much glitter and confusion around health and wellness nowadays. Instagram is covered in it. It is extremely hard to know what works and what doesn’t. One thing that I want to emphasize is that there is no such thing as a bad movement. There may be movements we aren’t ready for. But the movement itself is not “bad”. If you lift something off the ground with your back… you are not doing extra damage. You don’t need to “save the bullets in your knees” by limiting impact.
Injury happens when that particular tissue cannot handle the stress being placed on it at that given time. The best way to combat that? Make sure we are as strong and resilient as possible in all movements/postures/lifts. Working out and strength training, in its simplest form, is appropriately stressing a muscle/tissue so that it builds strength and improves its overall capacity. That is the advice I would give someone who wants to stay healthy. If you want to do something pain free, you need to build that particular muscle/movement’s capacity by appropriately strength training. Anything else is really just fluff.
Personally, what other types of physical exercise do you practice?
I am a big sports guy. I love baseball, soccer, and CrossFit. When people talk to me about CrossFit and why I do it, the first thing I tell them is that it is a sport. When you stop looking at CrossFit as a workout routine and start looking at it as a sport, it makes a lot more sense. Would I tell a non-trained individual to try a “butterfly pullup” or to do 30 Clean and Jerks as quickly as you can?? Absolutely not. I also wouldn’t tell them to try to throw 105 pitches off of a mound as hard as you can or try and play a full hockey match. It makes no sense. CrossFit doesn’t hurt people. It is a sport that demands strength and gymnastic movements. It just has a lower barrier to entry than some other sports which can lead to injury.
What was the question again? Oh yes, sorry. I love sports and strength training. But I pride myself in trying new things and being a well-rounded athlete. My first love was baseball though.
Have you ever used a Yoloha mat before? If so, what did you love about it?
I have and I love it. I’ve never been a big yoga mat guy in the past. However, the Yoloha mat is something different. It is more than just a yoga mat. It works for my strength training and CrossFit workouts too. I use if for burpees and handstand pushups and all of the things on the floor. I love the cork and its rugged texture. A normal yoga mat would not have survived. I put my Unity mat through just about everything and it looks just as good as it did the day I got it. Big fan.
To connect with Elliot, you can find more info here: