SARATOGA SPRINGS — Dr. Bryan Briddell of Wilton, 62, has formally re-launched his athletic training and personal fitness business with a new facility at 30 Gick Road in Saratoga Springs.
“I’m excited to be re-launching Saratoga Peak Performance: The Training Center of Excellence,” said Briddell. “We feature a variety of group classes integrating the best principles of functional strength, athletic movement and mobility with the sole purpose of helping people improve their ability to move better, become stronger, and achieve more flexibility while enjoying a physically-active lifestyle.”
Originally, Saratoga Peak Performance operated out of a former urgent care facility in Malta, the Orthopedic Associates of Saratoga, but when they merged with Albany Medical Physicians Group, they became Ortho North and closed down the training facility. Briddell purchased the equipment from the practice and continued to train numerous clients in their homes or at the Saratoga YMCA.
Briddell is widely regarded as one of the top sports conditioning experts and certified personal trainers in the Capital District. He has helped people ages 7 to 75, delivering sports-specific, athletic-enhancement, and injury-reduction programs for athletes of all skill levels, in addition to helping adult personal training clients reach their individual fitness goals.
Cheryl Feder, 50, of Malta has been training at Saratoga Peak Performance for about ten years, specifically with Briddell for just under four years. She ran the Boston Marathon this week for the first time.
“It was a tremendous experience. We had beautiful weather,” she said. “It was my first Boston, but my third marathon. I train with Bryan because he is so knowledgeable. While we work on strength and power, we stay very lean, so there’s no extra muscle weight that you’re carrying around. Bryan knows how to do that. I love his new facility, but truthfully, I’ll go wherever Bryan is.”
Briddell, who holds a Ph.D. in the Department of Movement Science from Florida State University, has presented numerous athletic enhancement seminars and workshops around the region to youth, high school, college and adult sports groups. He is a certified SPARQ/Nike sports conditioning specialist in upstate New York and he also has earned certifications with the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), International Youth Conditioning Association (IYCA) and USA Weightlifting (USAW/Olympic Lifting).
“I was an aspiring triathlete at 50 and wanted to be stronger,” said Christine McKnight, 67, of Wilton. “He took me seriously, even though I was an older athlete and a woman. He has a vast array of knowledge and experience, and he is an important part of the reason for whatever success I’ve had.
McKnight has been training with Briddell for 17 years and completed over 100 triathlons during that time. She is a two-time Ironman finisher (Lake Placid 2012 at almost 65 years old and Hawaii 2013 at 66); a top 10 Age Group finisher, USAT National Age Group Championships in 2012, 2011, and 2010; and a qualifier for the 2013 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Mont Tremblant, Quebec.
In addition to his training expertise, Briddell has served as an assistant professor and men’s tennis coach at Skidmore College from 1986-1994. His Skidmore program qualified individuals for five consecutive NCAA Division III Championships and produced three All-Americans. While at Skidmore, Briddell also taught the New York State High School Coaches Certification Course and developed the Skidmore College “Sports Performance Strength and Conditioning Training Program.”
Briddell left academics in order to pursue a passion for helping people that he developed as a coach, and in order to stay in Saratoga Springs and begin a family. “Saratoga is one of the most unique small cities in America,” he said, “and has a vibrant, health-conscience community.”
“The new facility is amazing, much bigger and spacious,” said Pam Worth, owner of Spoken Boutique and longtime Briddell client. “Bryan is dynamic and knowledgeable. The group I train with are women in their 40’s to 60’s with a variety of issues with ankles, backs, menopause and the like. We’re all committed to being healthy, and he modifies workouts for each person so we can reach our goals safely.”
Nearly 70 percent of Briddell’s work is adult group fitness, focusing on losing weight, addressing a pre-existing injury, or working toward a goal such as running a 5k. The rest is athletic training for students with individualized instruction in small group settings. His business model is a training studio rather than a health club, with month-to-month clients and no membership contracts.
“It just makes more sense,” said Briddell. “Some go to Florida for the winter, and just this week I lost several student athletes to baseball season. Why make them pay for the months they can’t be here? Besides, those slots get filled by athletes whose seasons are now over or who have time to fit in some strength training.”
Briddell’s typical day runs from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., but he foresees a future when his hours will become more dedicated to directing than training. “I’ve been identifying young, talented trainers and have brought four on board with me,” he said. “You get to a point where you are working for the business instead of on the business, and with the right trainers to carry on the work skillfully; I can devote some time to something like reaching out to the State Education Department with a few ideas I have to reduce student athlete injury, for example. I don’t have time for anything like that just yet.”
Briddell noted that middle and high school athletes are becoming more prone to injuries, such as knee or scapula, because they are starting high-level competitive sports at a younger age and with much more travel, often participating in more than one sport.
“At that age, their strength level often doesn’t match their skill level,” said Briddell. “They are focusing on increasing their skill as a means of increasing competitive edge, so I work with the kids to help build muscle, which will not only increase performance, but also help reduce risk of injury.”
Briddell said he was careful to choose a quality turf and equipment to help meet his goal of providing a safe, effective training ground for athletes of all ages. “I maintain a close relationship with physical therapists and sports injury medical professionals, as well,” said Briddell.
He also noted that children from three to 11 are a formative age group, and his work with them is more about coordination, balance, and movement-based exercise. “We don’t play outside like we used to,” said Briddell. “Informal physical play is a thing of the past. I like to recommend gymnastics, dance, and martial arts to this age group as a way of building body awareness and agility.” Briddell said that the earlier children improve agility, the better their peripheral vision as the age, which can be the difference between kicking a soccer ball precisely to a teammate or not.
Briddell holds a minor in sports psychology, and is not interested in focusing solely on star athletes. His training program builds confidence and self-esteem. He maintains a Wall of Fame in his facility, filled with images of current and former clients. “I have a pro hockey player up here right next to kids who just want to make the team. I tell my clients that all they need is a good action picture, and I’ll put them on the wall.” Briddell also works with students who have learning disabilities.
Briddell’s new facility features:
- 2,100 square-feet, including 18-feet ceilings
- Wide variety of Group Classes including, Functional Strength Training, Interval Training and Basic Conditioning
- Sport-specific and Athletic Enhancement classes for elementary, middle, high school and college athletes
- Running-specific and Triathlon-specific training groups
- Post Physical Therapy programs
- Rogue Fitness Infinity Rig suitable for Group Training
- Two VertiMax Jump Trainers – considered to be the top devices for developing better vertical jump and first-step explosiveness
- Cormax Ballistic Equipment – One of the best tools for safely teaching Olympic lifts; excellent for developing explosive athletic powe
- High-quality Arena Turf – Only upstate training center featuring this special turf allowing teaching/training of multi-directional movements