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Physical Therapy Strength Training: Step by Step

Updated: 7 days ago

physical therapy strength training
Physical Therapy Strength Training

When we want to feel better physically, especially after an injury or if we have certain health problems, physical therapy strength training can be really helpful.

It's like a special way of exercising that experts use to help people who are hurt, want to get stronger, or have health issues. Think of it as a fitness plan made just for you.

In this blog, we'll look at this special kind of strength training step by step, making it easy to understand and discussing how it helps in different situations.

Let’s get started without further adieu.

Table Of Contents

What is Physical Therapy Strength Training?

What is Physical Therapy Strength Training?

First, we’ll know what strength training is. Strength training, which can also be called weight or resistance training, is a kind of exercise that's all about making your muscles stronger and improving your overall fitness.

You do this by working a certain muscle or group of muscles against something that pushes back.

This "pushing back" could be free weights, machines, or just using your own body weight, like in push-ups or squats.

This is what the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) claims. This kind of exercise is good for everyone, but it's especially helpful for folks getting better after an injury or surgery.

Physical therapy strength training is a special kind of strength training. It's made to help you get your strength, movement, and function back. A physical therapist might recommend it when you're healing from an injury or surgery or when you're managing a long-lasting health issue.


This type of strength training comes with lots of good things it can do for you, like:

  • Getting Stronger and Lasting Longer: You'll find that your muscles get stronger, and you can do more tasks without getting tired quickly. So, building muscle strength makes everyday tasks easier, especially as we get older and naturally lose muscle.

Based on the Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine, there are two types of resistance training:

1. Still Resistance: This is when you push against something that doesn't move, like the floor during a pushup.

2. Moving Resistance: Here, you use your muscles to push or lift something through a motion, like lifting weights.

  • Having Stronger Bones and Muscles: When we get older, usually around 30, it's common to lose about 3 to 5 percent of our muscle with each passing decade. This is just a natural part of getting older, as Harvard Health Publishing claims.

But there's some good news. A study in 2017 discovered that if you do intense resistance and impact training for only 30 minutes twice a week, it can make a big difference.

It not only helps you move better but also makes your bones denser, stronger, and in better shape. This is especially true for women who have gone through menopause and have low bone mass. The best part is that it doesn't have any bad effects.

  • Cardiovascular Health Benefits: Doing exercises that make your muscles stronger, in addition to aerobic exercise, is great for your blood pressure. It lowers the chance of getting high blood pressure and heart disease.

In a study from 2021 that looked at 38 different controlled trials, they found that when you mix resistance training with aerobic exercise, it's even better for people recovering from heart disease than just doing aerobic exercise on its own.

  • Moving Easier: These exercises help you stretch and bend without feeling stiff, which ultimately makes your everyday motions feel effortless.

  • Less Hurting and Swelling: If you're hurting or have body parts that are swollen, these exercises can help reduce the pain and puffiness, making you feel more comfortable.

  • Not Tripping or Falling: Stronger muscles give you better balance, so you're less likely to stumble and fall, which keeps you safe.

  • Staying Safe from Getting Hurt: When your muscles are stronger, your body can withstand injuries better. This helps reduce the chances of getting hurt.

  • Feeling Healthier and Happier: These exercises improve your well-being, which ultimately makes you healthier and in a better mood, leading to a happier daily life.

Plus, to improve your fitness and feel better, even if your joints are super flexible, try strength training for hypermobility. Read our blog to learn more about it.

How to Get Started with Physical Therapy Strength Training

How to Get Started with Physical Therapy Strength Training

If you want to begin this special form of strength training, follow these easy steps:

  • Talk to Your Doctor or Physical Therapist: Start by having a chat with your doctor or a physical therapist. They'll create a safe workout plan that suits your needs and goals.

  • Warm Up: Before you dive into your strength exercises, warm up your muscles. This helps avoid injuries. Walk or jog lightly for 5-10 minutes, and do some arm and leg stretches.

  • Choose Your Exercises: There are many exercises to pick from. Your physical therapist will help you choose the right ones for you, depending on what you need and what you want to achieve. For instance, you can choose Hypertrophy-Specific Training for optimizing muscle growth.

  • Begin Light: When you're just starting, use light weights. As you get stronger, you can increase the weight.

  • Do It Right: Pay attention to how you do the exercises. Doing them the right way makes your workout effective and lowers the risk of injuries. If you're unsure, ask your physical therapist for guidance.

  • Listen to Your Body: If you feel any pain, stop the exercise immediately. Don't push too hard, and be kind to yourself. It's about progress, not overdoing it.

Are you interested in learning about the benefits of Olympic Lifting Exercises? Check out our insightful blog to find out better.

Sample Exercises

Sample Exercises

Here are some simple and effective exercises for you:


These make your leg muscles stronger. Stand with your feet apart and lower your body like you're sitting in a chair. Keep your back straight and your belly muscles tight.


Another good leg exercise. Step forward and bend both knees like you're doing a big step. Keep your back straight and your belly muscles tight.


These are for your chest and arm muscles. Start on your hands and toes, lower your body, then push back up.


To strengthen your back, you can use a dumbbell or stretchy band. Bend your knees a bit, lean forward, and pull the weight or band towards your chest.


These help your tummy muscles. Start on your forearms and toes, and hold that position as long as you can. It's like a strong plank of wood.

Is it true that people who engage in powerlifting tend to gain weight easily? Find out the answer in our blog.

Using This Form of Strength Training for Specific Conditions

Using This Form of Strength Training for Specific Conditions

Here are examples of how this kind of strength training can help with certain health issues:

  • Knee Injury: If your knee is hurt, a physical therapist may suggest exercises to make your leg muscles, like quads, hamstrings, and glutes, stronger. Physical therapy strength training for knees can make your knee more stable and reduce pain.

  • Back Pain: When you have back pain, a physical therapist for strength training might recommend exercises to strengthen your core muscles. This can support your spine better and ease back pain.

  • Stroke: If someone has had a stroke, a physical therapist can use strength training exercises to help them regain strength and use their affected side again.

If you're getting over an injury or surgery or managing a long-lasting health problem, it's a good idea to check with your doctor or physical therapist to see if physical therapy strength training is right for you.

Besides, are you in search of the best dietician service in Boston? Back Bay Fit is here for you.

A Month-long Physical Therapy Strength Exercise Program

A Month-long Physical Therapy Strength Exercise Program

In one month, you can build and keep your muscles strong with a plan like this:

Week 1: Start Slowly

  • Session 1: First, you'll meet with your therapist, and they'll learn about your goals and health history.

  • Sessions 2-5: You'll start with easy exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups, and planks. This helps the therapist see where you're starting and teaches you the right way to do them.

  • Sessions 6-7: You'll begin using light weights or bands for upper body exercises.

  • Session 8: You'll check your progress and plan the next weeks.

Week 2-3: Get Stronger

  • Sessions 9-14: Now, you'll do harder exercises and make them more challenging. This helps with balance, stability, and your core.

  • Sessions 15-18: You'll use machines that control the resistance for your exercises.

  • Session 19: This is a checkup to see how you're doing and make any needed changes.

Week 4: Get Even Stronger

  • Sessions 20-25: Focus on the muscles and moves that match your goals. Lift heavier weights and do more repetitions.

  • Sessions 26-28: Try different movements, like swings or medicine ball exercises.

  • Session 29: Review your month's progress and set new long-term goals.

  • Session 30: You'll do a final check to see how far you've come and get tips for keeping up your strength, either on your own or with your therapist's help.

Remember, this is just a basic plan. Your program should be made to fit your needs and goals, and always listen to your therapist for safe and effective training. Plus, take suggestions from an experienced dietician who can help you choose the proper nutritious foods.

If you're in Boston, MA, and need help with strength training, consider Back Bay Fit's Personal Training Program. We have expert trainers and coaches who personalize your training to make you healthier and perform better.

We offer a free consultation to find the right trainer for you, taking into account your needs, goals, and any limitations.

At Back Bay Fit, we believe everyone should do strength training to get stronger, and we use various methods to help you reach your fitness goals, whether at the gym or in your everyday life.

Wrapping Up

To sum it up, Physical Therapy Strength Training is like a guided trip to a healthier, stronger you. It's your own special plan made to help you get better after injuries, become stronger, and feel great.

When you team up with professionals and stick to the plan they make for you, you can reach your fitness goals while staying safe and healthy.

Just remember, this type of training is a great way to improve your health and keep it that way for a long time.


What is Down Syndrome Physical Therapy Strength Training?

It's a special plan that uses exercises to make the muscles stronger and help people with Down syndrome move better.

What medical conditions can benefit from Physical Therapy Weight Training?

According to physical therapists, Weight training in physical therapy can help people with problems like achy joints, sore lower backs, or recovering after surgery.

Who can benefit from Physical Therapy Strength and Conditioning?

Strength and conditioning can work for athletes, people getting better from injuries, and those who want to get fitter and stronger.

What is the Difference Between Physical Therapy vs. Strength Training?

Physical therapy helps with injuries and pain and makes your body work better, while strength training is mostly about making your muscles stronger and getting fitter.

Why are physical therapy’s grip strength exercises important?

Having a strong grip is really important for everyday things like holding spoons, opening jars, and staying steady. It's also super useful for sports and workouts.

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