Dr. Ryan VanNieuwenhuyze

Dr. Ryan VanNieuwenhuyze

Owner and Physical Therapist

I grew up in Manchester, CT and have lived in CT my whole life. I attended Quinnipiac University for both my undergraduate and graduate school, where I attained my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. I have been a life-long athlete and lifter, and going through the injury and rehab process many times is what made me interested in becoming a physical therapist in the first place. However, during this time I saw firsthand that the type of care that lifters and athletes receive in most physical therapy clinics is subpar, with them being told to simply stop doing the activities they love to solve their injuries, or receiving rehab care that doesn’t fully prepare them to safely and effectively return to the heavy lifting, running, sports, and all of the other activities that they love. Due to this, I decided to open Barbell Physical Therapy and Performance, a facility in which lifters, athletes, and active individuals of all kinds can come to get the care and results they truly deserve.

I specialize in the rehab of barbell athletes (such as Crossfitters, powerlifters, and Olympic weightlifters), as well as runners and ACL rehab.

I really enjoy treating shoulder pain, as that is the original injury that made me interested in physical therapy. I had suffered a labral tear and rotator cuff tear, with many shoulder dislocations as a result, as a competitive high school wrestler. Because of this, I had to go through a labral and rotator cuff repair, and many months of physical therapy afterwards.

I’m tired of active people going to healthcare providers for help with an injury, and ultimately for help getting back to the activities they love doing, only to be told to stop doing those activities. I believe that people should have access to healthcare providers that will truly take their goals into account, and develop a plan for them to solve their pain WHILE continuing to do the activities they love.

My favorite thing about working here is the ability to work with a highly motivated group of people, and the ability to develop strong relationships with them due to the one-on-one nature of our clinic.

What is Dr. Ryan Watching, Reading, or Listening to?

  • Stronger By Science (Podcast)
  • Barbell Medicine (Podcast)
  • Weightlifting House (Podcast)

When not working, I enjoy training in Olympic weightlifting, doing outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, and white water rafting, and spending time with my wife, Danielle, and our dog, Gertie.

    Patient Testimonials

    After 5 years of generic PTs telling me to stop working out, doctors taking X-rays and telling me I have a 60 year old’s back and I shouldn’t workout heavy, I was discouraged. I couldn’t get consistent in the gym without having back pain for years after a deadlifting injury. Finally I found Ryan. He was exactly what I was looking for, a PT geared towards weight training, and showing me safer alternatives, stretches and mobility exercises to get me back to where I wanted to be. First visit he assessed my injury, then he gave me movements to work on at home. Been seeing him for 2+ months now and I’ve been strength training consistently since I was able. If you’re dealing with a lifting injury, or any injury Ryan’s the man you need to see! I can’t say enough good things about him except I’ll be seeing him throughout my whole life, (hopefully for nothing major). A master of his craft.

    Mike B

    I came to Barbell PT after first rib removal surgery to remedy TOS (thoracic outlet syndrome). I was having nerve pain in my hand, elbow, and fingers. After completing ‘routine’ PT I signed up to work with Ryan to feel confident to return to CrossFit and overhead lifting. I felt as though my ‘routine’ PT did not prepare me to go back to my sport of CrossFit. With Ryan, I worked on overhead strength and stability (overhead squats, snatch, handstand, hanging from the bar). After working with Ryan I am stronger, more confident and am able to participate in CrossFit. If I didn’t work with Ryan I wouldn’t be comfortable or confident to go back to CrossFit classes. If you are on the fence I say do it! Invest in yourself- you’re worth it!

    Elizabeth D

    I have been working with Ryan for about 2 months now, and I would never think from the past 10 years that I would ever make this much progress to getting my life back. Not only has my pain decreased, but my mobility is coming back, my strength, and my confidence not only as a lifter but as an individual is all improving all because of how in tune Ryan is with your specific injury, and your goals. If you follow your tailored program and put your part of the work in, the results that you can achieve with Ryan are the best you will find (and I’ve been to over 7 physical therapists both in private healthcare and in the VA). Do yourself a favor and work with Ryan. Plain and simple the best physical therapist I have ever worked with. 

    Mike K