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Combining physical therapy, sports performance: Montclair-based Parabolic using integrated model to grow enterprise

By , - Last modified: November 28, 2017 at 3:09 PM
Inside Parabolic Performance and Rehabilitation in Montclair.
Inside Parabolic Performance and Rehabilitation in Montclair. - ()

Glen Ridge resident Ali Hilberth was seeing a chiropractor for her back, neck and joint pain, looking for a long term solution to address her ongoing health issues. She decided to try nearby Parabolic Performance and Rehabilitation in Montclair.

After becoming a client, Hilberth realized Parabolic’s therapeutic approach not only helped with her pain issues, but also made her more fit.

“Within a couple of months, my physical therapy program was working really well and began evolving into a fitness program. I’m feeling stronger than I did when I was younger,” she said.

What makes Parabolic’s business model unique is its ability to work with clients for physical therapy or sports performance. 

Hilberth’s teenage daughter, Cora, also became a Parabolic client. Cora wanted to improve her performance in youth sports.

“The biggest thing is that the performance coaches really connect with the kids and encourage them to develop themselves to be the best they can be,” said Ali. “It really builds their confidence in themselves, and that’s so important in their adolescent years.”

Not only can Parabolic’s clients see the company for PT or sports performance separately, the company is able to integrate both aspects.

“It’s our secret sauce,” said Steven A. Frohlich, CEO of Parabolic. “Our physical therapists and performance coaches constantly collaborate and challenge each other to be better every day. Our performance training services include one-to-one training with an emphasis on optimizing movement. To that end, a golfer and a runner have different needs in terms of the types of motion their bodies use. Our trainers customize the training with the end goal in mind.”

This key feature has created deep admiration among Parabolic’s client base, spanning from elite professional athletes to the layperson.

Parabolic opened its first physical therapy facility in Montclair in 2009. It has since expanded to four centers throughout New Jersey, as well as developed a business partnership with a major healthcare network in the Midwest. In addition to Montclair, Parabolic has opened facilities in Little Falls (at Montclair State University), Hackensack (at Ice House), and its newest location in Manalapan at Sportika. The latter is a 4,000 square-foot space inside the 170,000 square-foot Sportika facility, which hosts various sporting events and programs. This type of partnership is one of Parabolic’s core business model elements. 

“Our strategy is to locate our facilities within large sports destinations, because it gives us the greatest opportunity to serve the most people,” said Frohlich. “Manalapan’s Sportika facility has a large athletic population, making this a great fit.

“We’re constantly evaluating opportunities. Determining potential short and long-term business opportunities and partnerships is a part of my job I love.”

One of Parabolic’s most prominent programs is its NFL Draft Preparation program, which helps college football players chase a lifelong dream of playing in the NFL. This is an intense eight-week program preparing players for the NFL Scouting Combine, or their individual collegiate pro day. Both are showcase opportunities for college football players to demonstrate their physical and mental prowess to NFL coaches, scouts and managers. Now in its fourth year, the program has worked with NFL players, such as Trevor Siemian, Tyrell Williams, Will Tye, and Michael Burton. Also, NFL alumni serve as positional coaches during the program, and these include Brian Leonard, Kevin Malast, Mark Herzlich, Devon Kennard, Gary Nova and Bennett Jackson.

Parabolic applies the same passion to professional competitive athletes, non-competitive athletes and anyone who commits to train with them.

“Although we train high-level athletes, it doesn’t preclude anyone from joining our programs. We train youths to seniors,” stated Frohlich. “Whether ones fitness goal is picking up a bag of groceries without pain, making a high school or collegiate team, being a professional athlete, or just being in better shape and preventing injuries, our mission is to help people achieve their peak performance level.”

In terms of physical therapy, Parabolic offers two major therapeutic techniques: the Active Release and the Graston. The Active Release Technique is a soft tissue/movement-based system in which clinicians evaluate texture, tightness, and movement of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Abnormal tissues are treated by combining precisely directed tension with various specific movements geared toward the structure in question. The Graston Technique is similar in nature where the clinician utilizes specific instruments to identify and treat specific areas limiting function due to scar tissue and muscular adhesion.

“Our treatment methodology focuses on a movement based approach to healing. Often times we find that underlying movement deficiencies lead to compensation and ultimate overuse injuries,” explained Dr. Matthew Cifelli, COO of Parabolic. “Everything begins with an initial movement assessment to gain a sense of their movement literacy and identify key areas of improvement to achieve specific goals. The information gathered throughout the assessment is then compiled with the client’s training history and injury history. A customized program is then created addressing key areas of movement.”

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