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Rehab, prehab, mobility and strengthening exercises

It is important to know about rehabilitation, prevention, mobility and body strengthening exercises because they play a crucial role in maintaining our physical fitness and improving overall health and wellness. Exercising can help people prevent or recover from injury or surgery by reducing pain and inflammation, increasing flexibility and range of motion, and restoring strength and function to affected areas of the body.

By incorporating an exercise routine, individuals can not only recover from injuries and prevent future injuries, but also improve their overall physical health and fitness. In addition, physical activity can be tailored to individual needs and goals, making it a versatile tool for anyone looking to improve their physical health and fitness.

Benefits of exercise for our health

A list of the benefits of physiotherapy and exercises for our health:

  • Pain relief: Physiotherapy and exercises can help to alleviate pain in various parts of the body, including the back, neck, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles.
  • Improved flexibility and range of motion: Rehabilitation exercises can help to increase flexibility and range of motion in the joints, making it easier to perform everyday activities.
  • Better balance and coordination: Exercises can help improve balance and coordination, which can reduce the risk of falls and other injuries.
  • Enhanced strength and endurance: Physiotherapy and exercises can help to strengthen muscles and increase endurance, making it easier to perform physical activities and reducing the risk of injury.
  • Quicker recovery from injuries: Exercises can help to speed up the healing process after an injury, reducing the time it takes to return to normal activities.
  • Prevention of future injuries: Physiotherapy and exercises can help to prevent future injuries by strengthening muscles, improving balance, and increasing flexibility.
  • Improved posture: Poor posture can lead to a variety of health problems, including back and neck pain, headaches, and poor circulation. Physiotherapy can help to improve posture by strengthening the muscles that support the spine and by providing advice on ergonomics and body mechanics.
  • Reduced risk of falls: As we age, our balance and coordination can decline, increasing the risk of falls and resulting injuries. Physiotherapy can help to improve balance, coordination, and strength, reducing the risk of falls and improving overall mobility and confidence.
  • Enhanced sports performance: Athletes and active individuals can benefit from physiotherapy to improve their sports performance. Exercises can help to address imbalances and weaknesses, improve flexibility and range of motion, and prevent future injuries. Additionally, physiotherapists can provide advice on injury prevention and optimal training techniques.

Best rehab & recovery exercises

Benefits of physical therapy and exercises

Some of the most common exercises usually used by physical therapists for injury rehabilitation are the following:

  1. Bridge: Strengthens glutes and lower back, beneficial for lower back pain and hip injuries.
  2. Clamshell: Targets hip abductors, useful for knee and hip rehabilitation.
  3. Quadruped Arm/Leg Raise: Improves core stability and balance, helpful for lower back injuries.
  4. Hamstring Curl: Strengthens hamstrings, often used in knee injury rehab.
  5. Calf Raises: Strengthens calf muscles, beneficial for Achilles tendon injuries and ankle sprains.
  6. Isometric Thigh Contractions: Strengthens quadriceps, useful after knee surgery or injury.
  7. Wrist Flexion/Extension: For wrist and elbow rehab, strengthens forearm muscles.
  8. Shoulder Pendulum: Aids in restoring shoulder mobility post-injury or surgery.
  9. Scapular Retraction: Improves shoulder blade positioning and strength, beneficial for upper back and shoulder injuries.
  10. Ankle Alphabet: Promotes ankle mobility and strength, often used in ankle rehabilitation.

Best mobility & flexibility exercises

Best mobility exercises for rehab

There are many different mobility exercises that can be beneficial for rehab depending on the specific injury or condition. Here are some examples:

  1. Quadruped rockbacks: Begin on your hands and knees with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Slowly sit back onto your heels while reaching your arms forward, then return to the starting position.
  2. Glute bridges: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips off the ground while squeezing your glutes, then lower back down.
  3. Supine hamstring stretch: Lie on your back with one leg extended on the ground and the other leg lifted with your knee bent. Use a towel or band to gently pull the lifted leg towards your chest until you feel a stretch in the hamstring.
  4. Standing calf stretch: Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall at shoulder height. Place one foot behind the other, keeping both heels on the ground. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in the calf of the back leg.
  5. Quadruped hip circles: Begin on your hands and knees with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Move your hips in a circular motion, making small circles in each direction.
  6. Standing hip abduction: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hands on your hips. Lift one leg out to the side, keeping your foot flexed and your hips level. Lower back down and repeat on the other side.
  7. Lateral lunges: Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart and toes pointed forward. Shift your weight to one side and bend your knee, keeping the other leg straight. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
  8. Seated spinal twist: Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Bend one knee and cross it over the other leg, placing your foot on the ground outside the opposite knee. Twist your torso towards the bent knee and place your opposite hand on the ground behind you for support.
  9. Wall angels: Stand with your back against a wall and your arms at shoulder height. Slowly slide your arms up the wall as far as you can without lifting your shoulders, then lower back down.
  10. Shoulder circles: Stand with your arms at your sides and your feet hip-width apart. Slowly circle your shoulders forwards and backwards, making small circles in each direction.

Best prehab and strengthening exercises

Best strengthening exercises for rehab

Some of the best strengthening exercises that can be used for rehabilitation:

  1. Bodyweight squats: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides. Bend your knees and lower your hips towards the ground, then stand back up.
  2. Lunges: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and step forward with one foot, bending both knees to create a lunge position. Push through your front foot to stand back up, then repeat on the other side.
  3. Push-ups: Begin in a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart. Lower your chest towards the ground, then push back up.
  4. Dumbbell rows: Hold a dumbbell in one hand and hinge forward at the hips, keeping your back flat. Pull the weight towards your ribs, then lower back down.
  5. Deadlifts: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and a barbell or dumbbells in front of you. Hinge forward at the hips and grab the weight, then stand back up, squeezing your glutes at the top.
  6. Shoulder presses: Hold dumbbells at shoulder height with your palms facing forward. Press the weights overhead, then lower back down.
  7. Bicep curls: Hold dumbbells at your sides with your palms facing forward. Curl the weights towards your shoulders, then lower back down.
  8. Tricep extensions: Hold a dumbbell with both hands and lift it overhead. Bend your elbows to lower the weight behind your head, then extend your arms to lift the weight back up.
  9. Wall sits: Stand with your back against a wall and your feet hip-width apart. Slide down the wall until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, then hold for a set amount of time.
  10. Plank variations: Begin in a plank position with your forearms on the ground and your body in a straight line. Hold for a set amount of time, then try variations like side planks or plank jacks.

F.A.Q: Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between rehabilitation (rehab) and prehabilitation (prehab)?

Rehabilitation (rehab) and prehabilitation (prehab) are both crucial aspects of physical therapy, but they differ in their timing and goals:

  1. Rehabilitation (Rehab):
    • Timing: Rehab takes place after an injury, surgery, or the onset of a medical condition. It's the process of restoring function and reducing symptoms once a problem already exists.
    • Goal: The primary goal of rehabilitation is to help patients recover from an injury or medical condition. This includes reducing pain, improving mobility, regaining strength, and returning to their previous level of function.
  2. Prehabilitation (Prehab):
    • Timing: Prehab occurs before an anticipated surgery, sports event, or any situation where the risk of injury is high. It aims to prepare the body for the upcoming stress and minimize the chances of injury.
    • Goal: The main objective of prehab is to optimize physical function and reduce the risk of injury. It involves exercises, mobility work, and strength training to enhance an individual's baseline fitness and resilience.

When should you start doing physical activity?

The timing of when to start exercises will depend on the specific injury or condition being treated and the recommendations of your healthcare provider.

In some cases, such as after surgery or an acute injury, rehabilitation exercises may begin immediately or shortly after the injury or procedure to help prevent further complications and promote healing.

In other cases, such as with a chronic condition or overuse injury, it may be necessary to wait until inflammation and pain have subsided before beginning exercises.

Your healthcare provider or physical therapist will assess your condition and determine the appropriate timing for starting exercises. They may also provide guidance on the type, frequency, and intensity of exercises that are most appropriate for your condition.

What are the key principles of strength training for injury prevention?

Here are the core principles:

  1. Progressive Overload: Gradually increase the resistance or intensity of your exercises over time. This challenges your muscles and helps them grow stronger. However, it's important to progress slowly to avoid overuse injuries.
  2. Proper Form and Technique: Maintain correct form and technique throughout your exercises. Poor form can lead to injuries. Consider working with a qualified fitness professional or physical therapist to ensure you're using proper form.
  3. Balanced Training: Include exercises that target all major muscle groups in your body. This helps prevent muscle imbalances, which can lead to injuries. Pay attention to both agonist and antagonist muscles for balanced strength.
  4. Rest and Recovery: Allow adequate time for your muscles to recover between workouts. Overtraining can increase the risk of injuries. Incorporate rest days into your training program.
  5. Warm-Up and Cool Down: Always warm up before starting strength training. A warm-up increases blood flow to muscles and prepares them for exercise, reducing the risk of strains. Cool down with stretching to maintain flexibility.
  6. Core Strength: A strong core stabilizes your spine and can help prevent lower back injuries. Include core-specific exercises like planks and bridges in your routine.
  7. Individualization: Tailor your strength training program to your individual needs, goals, and abilities. What works for one person may not be suitable for another.
  8. Appropriate Loads: Use appropriate resistance loads that match your current strength level and goals. Avoid using weights that are too heavy, which can lead to poor form and injuries.
  9. Periodization: Periodize your training by cycling through phases of different intensity and volume. This helps prevent overuse injuries and promotes long-term progress.
  10. Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to pain, discomfort, or signs of overtraining. If you experience persistent pain, seek professional guidance to address any underlying issues.
  11. Cross-Training: Incorporate a variety of exercises and activities into your routine. This reduces the risk of overuse injuries by giving specific muscle groups time to recover.
  12. Nutrition and Hydration: Proper nutrition and hydration support muscle recovery and overall health. Ensure you're fueling your body adequately for your training demands.
  13. Proper Footwear and Equipment: Use appropriate footwear and equipment that fits well and supports your activities. Ill-fitting shoes or equipment can contribute to injuries.
  14. Rehabilitation and Prehabilitation: If you have a history of injuries or weaknesses, consider prehabilitation exercises to prevent future issues. Rehabilitation exercises can help recover from previous injuries and prevent re-injury.
  15. Seek Professional Guidance: If you're new to strength training or have specific concerns, consult with a certified strength and conditioning specialist or physical therapist for personalized guidance and assessment.

Are there specific exercises to help alleviate common sports-related injuries?

Here are some general guidelines and exercises for common sports-related injuries:

Ankle Sprains:

  • Exercise: Balance and proprioception training, including single-leg balance exercises and agility drills.
  • Preventive Measures: Wearing supportive footwear, taping, or bracing when necessary, and proper warm-up routines.

Knee Injuries (ACL, MCL, Meniscus):

  • Exercise: Strengthening exercises for quadriceps, hamstrings, and hip muscles. Examples include squats, lunges, leg presses, and clamshells.
  • Preventive Measures: Using proper landing and cutting techniques, maintaining flexibility, and avoiding sudden changes in direction.

Shoulder Injuries (Rotator Cuff Tears, Dislocations):

  • Exercise: Rotator cuff strengthening exercises with resistance bands or dumbbells, scapular stability exercises, and shoulder mobility exercises.
  • Preventive Measures: Proper technique in overhead movements, gradual progression of loads, and avoiding excessive overhead activities.

Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis) and Golfer's Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis):

  • Exercise: Eccentric wrist extension exercises for tennis elbow and eccentric wrist flexion exercises for golfer's elbow.
  • Preventive Measures: Using proper gripping techniques and equipment, forearm and wrist flexibility exercises, and strengthening forearm muscles.

Shin Splints:

  • Exercise: Strengthening exercises for calf muscles, such as calf raises and toe raises.
  • Preventive Measures: Proper footwear, gradual increases in training intensity, and avoiding hard or uneven surfaces.

Hamstring Strains:

  • Exercise: Eccentric hamstring strengthening exercises, dynamic stretching, and regular flexibility exercises.
  • Preventive Measures: Proper warm-up, avoiding overstretching, and progressive strength training.

Groin Strains:

  • Exercise: Adductor strengthening exercises, including side-lying leg lifts and resisted hip adduction exercises.
  • Preventive Measures: Proper groin and hip flexibility, dynamic warm-up routines, and avoidance of sudden directional changes.

Lower Back Pain:

  • Exercise: Core-strengthening exercises, including planks, bridges, and bird-dogs.
  • Preventive Measures: Maintaining good posture, regular core strengthening, and proper lifting techniques.


  • Preventive Measures: Using protective headgear when appropriate, proper tackling techniques in contact sports, and following return-to-play protocols after a concussion.

How can I safely incorporate resistance bands into my prehab routine?

Here's a safe and systematic approach to using resistance bands for prehabilitation:

  • Choose the Right Resistance Band: Start with a set of resistance bands that offer different levels of resistance (e.g., light, medium, heavy). Different colors often correspond to different resistance levels. For prehab exercises, it's generally best to begin with lighter resistance bands and progress to heavier ones as your strength improves.
  • Warm-Up: Always start with a thorough warm-up to prepare your muscles and joints for exercise. Include dynamic stretching and mobility exercises to increase blood flow and flexibility.
  • Focus on Form: Proper form is crucial when using resistance bands. Ensure that you maintain good posture and alignment throughout each exercise. Pay attention to your breathing, and exhale during the exertion phase of the movement.
  • Start with Basic Exercises: If you're new to resistance bands, begin with basic exercises that target major muscle groups.
  • Progress Gradually: As you become more comfortable with the exercises and build strength, you can progress to more challenging variations or use bands with higher resistance levels. Gradual progression is key to avoid overexertion and minimize the risk of injury.
  • Balance Your Routine: Ensure that your prehab routine covers all major muscle groups and includes exercises that address joint stability and mobility. Don't neglect opposing muscle groups (e.g., biceps and triceps, quadriceps and hamstrings).
  • Consult a Professional: If you have specific joint issues or injuries, consider consulting a physical therapist or certified trainer who can tailor your prehab exercises to your needs. They can provide guidance on exercise selection and proper technique.
  • Monitor Your Body: Listen to your body. If you experience pain, discomfort, or unusual sensations during an exercise, stop immediately and reassess your form. It's normal to feel some muscle fatigue, but sharp pain or joint discomfort should not be ignored.
  • Recovery and Stretching: After your prehab routine, cool down with static stretches to maintain or improve flexibility. Adequate rest and recovery are essential, so allow your muscles to recover between sessions.
  • Consistency Is Key: Consistent prehab exercises can help prevent injuries over time. Incorporate them into your regular fitness routine.


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