By Ron Berry, P.T., Director of Rehab Services

With the Winter Olympics in full swing so many of us will be tuning in to the Short Track Speed Skating Events to catch some of the excitement of the racing, the tactics, and the intense bursts of energy the racers put out. Those athletes are amazing and powerful, and most of them are in their 20’s.  But, there are also masters racers who have competitions around the country. One of those athletes is Peter Smokler, 68, who is rehabilitating a partial knee replacement utilizing the Phase IV periodization program.

As a youth he was an ice hockey player and always loved skating. After losing touch with being on the ice for a few decades and working hard as a cameraman and doing a variety of physical things, he wanted to get skates back on and use something he loved doing as a youth to help him get his middle aged body back to being fit. He thought the pounding of hockey would be too much on him so he gravitated to speed skating. He found groups in Southern California to skate with, at the Toyota Center in El Segundo, and with the Santa Clarita Skating Club. The more traditional long track speed skating is apparently harder to get into in Southern California because of a shortage of large frozen lakes, and large track skating rinks. So, short track speed skating with the sharp turns and more demands to be quick and powerful was where Peter found himself. He participated in several competitions and developed quite a passion for the sport.

Unfortunately, with all the adventures he had in his life and a predisposition for osteoarthritis he ended up having a partial knee replacement. This sounds pretty life changing, but in this day and age is fairly smooth to recover from. He rehabilitated at Forster Physical Therapy in Santa Monica following a conservative path of developing maximal range of motion, good contractability of all his critical muscles aimed for full body structural stability, what we refer to as Base 1 in our Periodization Structural Integrity program.  He then moved from the arena of rehabilitation into sports performance enhancement. He was shown, by Rachel Suson, D.P.T., a comprehensive program to do at his gym that included strength challenges to critical areas of his body in a comprehensive manner, what we refer to as Base 2.

He has recently returned to the ice and is refining his technique with strength and stability beyond what he had before his knee replacement. Next up is to go to the next cycle of the Periodization Structural Integrity Program. It will be more specific to Skating and be aimed at improving his ability to create greater forces with his skating, a Strength Building phase. Actually, next up is to root on the athletes as they compete in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

If you have any questions about PHASE IV’s Periodization Structural Integrity Program or rehabilitation from injury or surgery, please contact us at (310) 582-8212 or

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