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PT: Physical Therapist or Personal Trainer?

Updated: Apr 10, 2023



It is easy to get confused about what a physical therapist is or does and how they can help you. Often times, we are compared to personal trainers and people don’t understand the difference to know which is best for them. There are several differences that are important to realize and I’m going to share them with you here.


Doctor of Physical Therapy, Movement Specialist


The biggest difference between a physical therapist and a personal trainer is that physical therapists are doctors in their field, they go through graduate schooling to obtain a Doctorate in Physical Therapy and are considered specialists of all things movement. It is our job to watch you move and figure out what is wrong or limiting your potential. Personal trainers have a certificate that they obtain through testing online. They serve a great purpose in the world including getting and keeping people moving, achieve weight loss goals, and gain strength.


Physical therapists are known for working with individuals who are experiencing pain, underwent a surgery, or suffered an injury. And it’s also true, we help people that aren’t hurting and want to increase their strength, endurance, throwing velocity, vertical jump, and range of motion/flexibility. We use the skills that we have learned to determine any deficits that may be keeping you from performing at your best and highest level.


Addressing your weaknesses to enhance your potential and prevent injury


With a full body assessment performed by a physical therapist, you will know where you are strong, where you are weak, where flexibility is an issue, and where you are tight/stiff. All of these things play an integral part in how we move and perform. If you work with the PT on the deficits that they find you will surely see progression in your performance with your training and sport.


Your participation in practicing the skills and exercises provided to you by the physical therapist is an integral part in seeing gains! Practice is how our brain forms patterns, or maps, and therefore, in order to change a pattern or movement you must do it over and over and over again! If you either don’t complete the exercises consistently or you don’t perform the movements with correct technique, you will find it hard to see progress. Make sure you are ready for the commitment when beginning to work with a physical therapist and if you’re ready, you will certainly see the gains you were looking for and meet your goals to play at a higher level.


One-on-one alongside your team/coach


When we work together on your performance it will be one-on-one with me. Of course we can work together at your house, but the coolest part is that we can work together anywhere (as long as the place will let me) and that means we can be right there with your team and coach as they practice. It is the best way to incorporate the new movements and techniques as you learn them and keep your coach up to date on your progress or things to be looking out for as you practice.


The other amazing option is to do team training, getting the entire team together with your coaches to train you all at the same time and get everyone performing at higher levels. When the entire team has goals, it shows up in the win column and THIS is what we love to see! Most of the time these training sessions are made a part of practice either before or after the skills portion of practice making it easy to get in.


During these training sessions, whether it be individual or team, the physical therapist is able to not only enhance your mobility and strength, but also provide cueing to avoid postures that could cause injury or pain so that you can keep playing for years to come. As you can see, working with a physical therapist has many benefits and is well worth the investment and commitment.


If you or your team would like to receive training to make gains in strength, power, endurance, vertical, velocity and so much more, make the first step and schedule a call with the physical therapist by clicking here.

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