Physical therapy exercises

Rehab exercises are helpful for fitness and wellness.

The physical therapy exercises below are designed to take the stress off of overworked muscles and joints by strengthening muscles that tend to be weak and stiff. Exercises like these can make everyday activities such as reaching overhead, working at your desk, squatting, or climbing stairs feel much easier. Use these routines to build the fundamental strength in problem areas before you start a more aggressive exercise program.

Note: if you have an injury or medical condition, please see your doctor or health care provider and follow their instructions.

Exercise routines

Knee exercises                                                                          Isometric and range of motion exercises that can help if you have difficulty squatting, climbing stairs, or balancing on 1 foot. Practice this routine 1-2 times per day to rebuild the base strength in your knee.

Shoulder exercises
Isometric, active and resistance band exercises to help rebuild the basic strength in your shoulder. Practice these exercises 1-2 times per day for best results.

Rotator cuff exercises
6 moves, plus a warm up, to help improve your strength for lifting, overhead movements and throwing. Graduate to this routine from the shoulder exercises above.

Shoulder stretching exercises 
8 stretches for your shoulders, neck and arms. This routine works well paired with the above shoulder routines as it will improve flexibility in the area. Convenient routine can be done at your desk.

Back stretching exercises                                                          Relieve muscular tension and restore balance between the spine and hip muscles. As you improve your flexibility in key muscle groups, such as the hamstrings and abdominals, you will reduce the strain on your spine. This effective routine includes 7 illustrated stretches.

Balance exercises                                                                                   6 exercise, illustrated routine designed specifically to improve your balance for walking. Exercises strengthen hip, knee and ankle muscles. Tips for progression included.

Keys to best results

Isolate specific muscle groups with good exercise technique.

Maintain good body alignment and work through the full range of motion as illustrated so you can isolate the specific muscle groups you need to strengthen. Because these exercises are more focused, you’ll feel muscular fatigue in specific areas. You will not get a sense of general fatigue as you do with a fitness routine.

Practice consistently and gradually progress your routine.

Practice the physical therapy exercises daily (or as instructed in the article) and the routine will get easier. Follow the instructions on the page to increase reps or progress to the more challenging exercise. When you can complete the full routine fairly easily, “graduate” yourself to the next level.

Stay physically active.

For best results from these exercise programs, continue to be as active as possible to maintain your strength in the rest of your body. For example, if you have a stiff, weak shoulder, that doesn’t keep you from going for a hike or a brisk walk! And core strengthening can be very helpful for people with knee problems.

A word of caution.

Although these physical therapy exercises are helpful, they are not a substitute for proper medical care. Please see your health care provider before starting any exercise program, particularly if you have an injury or medical condition.

Related articles

Lower back exercise 
Strengthen, stretch and relieve stiffness with illustrated exercises. Our exercises and workout routines help prevent future back problems and can also relieve a stiff and sore lower back. 

Correct Posture                                                                                Find out whether you have good standing posture, and then correct it! Stretch out the muscles that affect your posture the most. Understand and master the safest core exercise methods with my first e-book!

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Correct Posture                                            Learn how to take better care of your back.

Progressive Core Strengthening                       Train your muscles safely.  Develop your strength continuously.  

Knee exercises 
Isometric, range of motion, and strengthening exercises.

Shoulder exercises
Isometric and resistance band exercises.

Rotator cuff exercises
Improve your strength for lifting and overhead movements.

Shoulder stretching exercises 
Convenient upper body routine relieves muscular tension.