A hidden jewel in San Jose: Timpany Center ideal for Adaptive Fitness

NorCal SCI co-founder, Nick Struthers, recently visited The Timpany Center located adjacent to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose and was pleasantly surprised about the fitness facilities they have there.  The center has always been known for its indoor pool heated year-round to 92 degrees and indoor spa heated to 102 degrees, both with zero-foot entry ramps.

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"I'd arranged to meet Felipe, who regularly works out there, so that I could join him and his friends in their regular fitness session," writes Nick. "While I was waiting on Felipe to arrive, I spoke to the receptionist who informed me that the fitness membership was only $15 a month (YES, One Five) and the gym is open to the public every weekday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and all day until 8 p.m. Monday and Wednesday. The rest of the time, there are some individual classes running, so the schedule is a little patchy for public use."  There are different membership/use fees for the pool & spa.  You can read about their various packages HERE.

   Filberto warming up his rotator cuff

Filberto warming up his rotator cuff

When Felipe arrived, he took me on a tour of the accessible spacious dressing rooms where he had worked with the staff to get large benches installed allowing wheelchair users to transfer and change in a safe environment.

We then made our way to the spacious fitness gym.  Felipe again had been instrumental in organizing with Jennifer Schachner, the Center's Program and Operations Director, to have adaptive equipment set up there so that they could be accessed by wheelchair users. We were then joined by Filberto and before we started our workout, we all warmed up the often neglected rotator cuff muscles of our shoulders. The rotator cuff, which my physiotherapist informed me is made up of supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor muscles,  are a group of smaller muscles that are key in providing stability to the shoulder joint. Shoulder issues are common with wheelchair users due to the common nature of overuse and posture challenges. To understand more of the shoulder’s function and how to best protect it for individuals with SCI, I would recommend viewing this presentation by Dr. Tim Pence.  At the time the video was made, Dr. Pence was Doctor of Osteopathic at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

   Felipe using the chest press and tricep press

Felipe using the chest press and tricep press

After the warm ups, we then made use of the specialized adapted equipment which right now include a bench press, bicep curl and tricep press as well as an accessible pulley system which gives a complete upper body workout.

There are also numerous dumbells, ropes, resistance bands, medicine balls and pretty much everything needed for an adaptive body workout. There is even a wide low-level physical therapy table which is great for stretching.

   Left to right:  Filberto, Nick and Felipe after their workout

Left to right:  Filberto, Nick and Felipe after their workout

When we had finished, Felipe introduced me to Jennifer whom I arranged to meet later to find out more about the center's programs. In that meeting, we discussed the real opportunity to expand the facilities further to better serve individuals looking for an inclusive environment to work out.  I need to thank Felipe for his advocacy and resourcefulness in working with Jennifer to set up the fitness center.  Jennifer also needs to be recognized for her willingness to work with individuals such as Felipe to provide the necessary resources to them.

Watch this space for future developments.  In the meantime, we encourage those living in Santa Clara County to check the facilities out for themselves.  It is located at 730 Empey Way, San Jose and parking is easy as there are numerous accessible parking spots for exclusive use of the Timpany Center.  It can also be accessed via VTA bus system though check with VTA to ensure you take the best route to minimize your roll to the center.