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Trainers’ Achilles' Heels

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Here at Westchester Magazine, our knees feel like they’ve been whacked with a lead pipe some days, and we’ve been letting it stop us from working out for a long time. These five gym pros, though, cope with injuries and aches far worse—and most use their routine to get relief.

“I have issues with my shoulder because I broke my collarbone about three years ago playing football. I can’t really do heavy sets. I don’t jump from a light set to a heavy set. I build gradually; I add five pounds at a time. I also ice it.”
Louie Vitucci, Club Fit, Briarcliff Manor

“I got a knee injury playing basketball. I changed my routine to focus more on endurance-type activities versus resistance training. I also incorporated more flexibility training and foam rolling, which is a technique to release tension and extend movement in the connective tissue around muscles using a long cylinder that is hard. Eventually, though, being active caught up to me. Two surgeries later, the only thing I can do is physical therapy that focuses on pain management, getting full range of motion back, and some basic non-weight-bearing strengthening exercises for my quadriceps, hamstrings, and lower leg muscles. Later, I’ll be loading on weight as I can tolerate it.”
—Andrew Guida, The Saw Mill Club, Mount Kisco

“I had bad knees where I couldn’t walk up stairs a couple of years ago. A program called functional training has been my way of rehab. Functional training comprises many elements, one of the most important being functional stretching. The theory is, your stretching routine should look like your activity. So, for example, if you are a runner, and you are lying on the floor stretching, well that doesn’t look like running. I also do foam rolling on my back, gluteal muscles, thighs, and lower leg. I can now run, jump, play activities, or sports with ease.”
Kris Sullivan, Oasis Day Spa, Dobbs Ferry

“My Achilles’ heel is my lower back. Whenever it acts up, I focus on finding a way to decompress my spine. I do core exercises, such as the dead bug, where I lie on my back and reach for the ceiling with my arms, then pick my feet off the floor so that my hip, knees, and ankles are at 90 degrees. I then alternate my arm and leg, lowering two limbs to the ground while the other two limbs stay in place. If my back gets really bad, I see both my chiropractor and my acupuncturist.”
Vito Dimatteo, Will2Lose, Scarsdale

“I had a microdisectomy on my back a year ago, which is when the doctor decreases the size of a disk because it’s herniated. It had become injured from over-use and over-training. I was not engaging my core area enough or properly and using loads that were beyond what the stress of my body could take. I worked around it by not spinal loading. Now I’m doing more functional exercises, for instance step-ups, walking lunges, non-weight-bearing body squats, Pilates. I’m using a lot of single-legged movements, which are very important and which a lot of people don’t use. That was very key to recovery. Also, from increasing the strength and overall functionality in my core, I’ve alleviated to ninety-nine percent pain-free.”
Peter A. Rivera, Equinox, Mamaroneck

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