Home » Local News » WNBA strength coach opens state-of-the-art facility in Denver

WNBA strength coach opens state-of-the-art facility in Denver

As a strength trainer, Lisa Ciaravella has worked with many well-known professional athletes, such as basketball great Sandy Brondello and National Football League standouts Randy Moss and Cris Carter.
For the seventh year in a row, Ciaravella is also the strength and conditioning coach for the two-time Women’s National Basketball Association’s Eastern Conference champions Connecticut Suns.
Now she’s also a business owner, recently opening Phoenix Physical Therapy and Sports Performance Center on N.C. 16 in Denver, across from Turbyfill True-Value Hardware.
The public will get to check out Ciaravella’s center 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.
“I thought there’s no reason that someone can’t provide the same services to the general public that are provided to professional athletes,” said Ciaravella.
When she wasn’t with the Suns, her off-season home was in Charlotte.
“I wanted someplace I could drive to,” said Ciaravella. “Through my market research, Denver was a growing area with nothing like Phoenix close by.”
Competition is no stranger to Ciaravella when it comes to her business or being a strength and conditioning coach for a highly successful WNBA team.
“My primary job is to make sure everyone on the team is healthy,” she said. “Healthy is not just feeling good, it’s feeling great.”
As with her clients at Phoenix, Ciaravella takes a proactive approach with injury.
“We’re one of the best teams in the WNBA,” she said. “We’re the team to beat.”
Ciaravella added that with the start of the seventh season, she is the longest-serving strength training coach in the WNBA with “a team that’s the most in-shape and competitive.”
Ciaravella said she knew what kind of competition she was up against when she opened her business about two weeks ago.
“They include area doctors through their medical offices,” she said. “It’s not about medicine, it’s about living better as well as teaching people about how their body works. It’s about preventing injury in the future and how to be better and stronger.”
Instead of being a medical-type practice, Ciaravella wants her clients to feel inspired.
“We’re using the same equipment that the professional athletes use,” said Ciaravella. “People are also using the trainer that these athletes use as well.”
Ciaravella added her goal is to get her clients to live on their own better.
“It’s an opportunity to give Denver something special,” said Ciaravella. “This is something that has been very elite in the past, but I’m trying to provide services for people who can really use them.”
Those services include physical therapy, massage and workout equipment.
One piece of equipment – a machine called MRM or Muscle Recovery Machine – gently osculates muscle tissue and helps to milk the muscles, getting toxins back into the blood flow and out of muscles according to Ciaravella.
“We’re the first facility in the nation to have an MRM,” said Ciaravella. “While this machine is widely used in Europe, it’s just now coming to the United States. It helps to relax the nervous system.”
Several items at Phoenix Physical Therapy and Sports Performance Center are donated by professional sports teams.
One is the two lateral 36-foot rock walls that cover an entire wall of the 3,050-square-foot facility.
“The wall is from the Phoenix Suns,” said Ciaravella. “Kids love it and it’s a great teaching technique for balance, which is the backbone of everything we do.”
The Miami Dolphins also gave Ciaravella an Olympic lifting platform as well.
While not available for the interview, business partner Amy Nelson is Phoenix’s golf specialist.
“She’s certified, along with about 50 other people nationwide that deals with golf injuries,” said Ciaravella, who added another reason for picking Denver was the proximity to 88 golf courses within a 30 mile radius.
Proximity to NASCAR teams is another reason Ciaravella chose Denver. She hopes to garner clients from that sport as well.
“We’re a perfect facility for NASCAR pit crew teams,” said Ciaravella. “We’re located a mile up the road from six teams.”
Along with Wilson, Mary Guinard serves as media relations manager for Phoenix and Tatum Robinson, who handles physical therapy.
“Response has been good so far,” said Robinson. “Everyone that’s come in has been impressed and excited. It’s something very different from what is around.”

The open house will be 5:30 – 8 p.m. Thursday and will feature an appearance by three-time Olympic medalist Sandy Brondello, as well as free chair massages, food and drink and live demonstrations. For more information call (704) 483-0777.

by Jon Mayhew

You must be logged in to post a comment Login