7 Best At Home Physical Therapy Exercises To Maximize Recovery

a woman therapist teaching a man the best at home physical therapy exerises

After suffering an injury or illness your PT may recommend at-home physical therapy exercises to help you recover faster. When done regularly and correctly, these exercises will help you regain strength, improve your condition, and improve overall health and wellness.

Here are some home physical therapy exercises to get you started!

What Is Physical Therapy and What Are Its Benefits?

Physical therapy is a non-invasive medical treatment that helps individuals develop, maintain, and restore maximum body movement and physical function. A physical therapy program can help a patient recover from an injury, relieve pain, or deal with a chronic condition. 

Through fitness and wellness-focused programs, physical therapy exercises can prevent the loss of mobility before it happens, leading to a healthier, more active lifestyle. Physical therapy is available in hospitals, private offices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports centers, workplaces, and nursing homes.

Some great benefits you’ll get from physical therapy include:

  • Preventing falls
  • Avoiding surgery
  • Enhanced balance
  • Better movement and mobility
  • Recovery from paralysis or a stroke
  • Restoration following harm or trauma
  • Addressing age-related medical issues
  • Pain relief and reduced need for opioids

How Can Physical Therapy Help You Recover from an Injury?

Whether you hurt yourself in a fall or while playing sports, injuries are an unfortunate part of life, and without a doubt, they make life difficult for a while. In the case of sports-related injuries, a sports rehab program can help athletes manage pain, rebuild their strength, and prevent permanent damage. 

Your physical therapists can tailor their interventions to your specific needs, focusing on areas of weakness to reduce stress and enhance your body’s capacity to function painlessly. But since different injuries necessitate varying rehabilitation strategies, you’ll be asked to return to the clinic once or more per week – something that can be stressful and time-consuming.

So, if you really dread this, you can still continue doing physical therapy without having to leave your home by performing home pt exercises. In the next section, you’ll learn how to perform some great physical therapy exercises at home.

The Top 7 Exercises for Recovering From An Injury

If you live in the Main Line Philadelphia area, you can simply book an appointment with our Ardmore physical therapy office to help you with physical therapy at home exercises. All you need is a conducive space for exercise, mats, bands, wobble boards, and other small exercise equipment. 

Speed up your recovery and get your life back tight with these top 7 home physical therapy exercises.

1. Resistance Band Squat Exercise


Source: Bodylastics

Resistance bands enable patients to increase the load on their muscles. Resistance band squatting works the glutes, quadriceps (front thighs), and hip adductor muscles. Secondary muscles targeted by this exercise include the back and core, which your body needs for balance and stability.

How To Do It Correctly


  1. Put your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and stand on the band.
  2. Bring the top of the band over each shoulder while holding a handle in each hand. Alternatively, cross your arms over your chest if the band is too lengthy to hold it in place.
  3. As you would while sitting in a chair, stoop. Keep your abs tight, feet flat, and chest up.
  4. Rise back up to the starting position.
  5. Repeat eight to twelve times.

2. Stability Ball Wall Squats


Source: Verv

The ball wall squat is an excellent exercise for strengthening the lower body. It targets your hamstrings and quadriceps and benefits your legs and back. Also, squats with a Swiss ball improve your balance, stability, and posture.

How To Do It Correctly


  1. Spread feet shoulder width apart and one to two feet in front of hips as you position the exercise ball against a wall at your back.
  2. Squat halfway while keeping your knees bent slightly and your hands on your hips, keeping your back straight but allowing the exercise ball to control the posture of your shoulders. The knees shouldn’t cross the toes.
  3. Get back to your feet.
  4. Holding the squat position for ten seconds will increase difficulty.

3. Balance Board Plank Exercise


Source: fitfarms

Balancing or wobble boards are pieces of equipment with a ball protruding from the base. Wobble boards improve overall balance and flexibility while increasing range of motion and strength.

How To Do It Correctly


  1. Put your hands on the balance board in a push-up position, a little wider than shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Make sure your body is straight and contracts your core muscles.
  3. Keep your arms in front of you with a slight bend in the elbows to prevent locking them out.
  4. Hold this position for as long as you can, up to thirty seconds.

4. Foam Roller Exercises

Athletes often use a foam roller to release muscle knots or trigger points. Rolling out knots can be pretty uncomfortable, but overcoming the discomfort will increase your range of motion and shorten your recovery time.

How To Do It Correctly


You can use your foam roller by following these steps:

  1. Identify the part of your muscle that is tight or sore.
  2. Maintain body control as you gradually lower the targeted area until it is positioned directly above the roller.
  3. Hold your position on the foam roller, arching your lower back until you experience discomfort (but no pain).
  4. Maintain for 20–30 seconds.
  5. Although the pressure stimulates the area, you can also roll slowly back and forth to increase the effects.
  6. Roll the roller carefully along the muscle, pausing and holding where extra attention is required.

5. Plyometrics


Source: Pexels

Plyometrics is a type of exercise that builds muscle power by doing different movements quickly and with a lot of force. It can include exercises like push-ups, throwing, running, jumping, and kicking.

How To Do It Correctly


  1. Exercises that involve hopping come in a variety of forms. On the spot, begin with a modest hop and progressively increase the height hopped.
  2. Try hopping forward, sideways, and backward.
  3. Try landing on the other leg after jumping off one.
  4. To add more difficulties, you can use equipment like hoops, agility ladders, and small hurdles.

6. Biofeedback


Source: incontinence

In a physical therapy context, biofeedback is a technique you can use to learn to control your heart rate and other bodily functions. This feedback enables you to make subtle adjustments to your body, such as relaxing specific muscles, to achieve desired results, such as pain reduction.

How To Do It Correctly


In biofeedback therapy, a variety of relaxation techniques are employed, including:

  1. Deep inhalation
  2. Progressive muscle relaxation involves gradually loosening up various muscle units after alternatively stiffening them.
  3. Through guided imagery, you can calm your mind and increase your sense of relaxation by focusing on a particular image (such as the hue and texture of an orange).
  4. Focusing on your thoughts and letting go of unfavorable feelings are two aspects of mindfulness meditation.

7. Pilates Criss Cross Bicycle Exercise


Source: Get Healthyu

A pilates workout uses isolated muscle movements to enhance strength, manage core muscles, improve spinal mobility, and increase postural strength. The criss-cross bicycle exercise uses mat exercise that targets the abdominals, with a focus on the obliques.

How To Do It Correctly


  1. Make sure your legs are bent as you lay on your back with your hands behind your head. 
  2. Straighten your right leg forward and hold it a few inches above the floor while you raise your right elbow until it touches your left knee.
  3. Slowly switch sides (right knee to left elbow now).
  4. Repeat ten times on each knee.

Final Thoughts

Home exercises are designed to be practical, accessible, and feasible so that patients can maximize their efforts without instruction. These exercises allow them to keep working on their recovery even when not in the physical therapy office. Throughout treatment, these exercises are checked frequently by the therapist for proper form and progression.

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Dr. JJ Thomas, DPT, MPT, CMTPT

JJ Thomas is the owner and founder of Primal Physical Therapy, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. She is an instructor for Evidence in Motion, and lectures and speaks nationally on the topics of Dry Needling, Functional Movement Analysis, and Functional Anatomy. She has been published in IJSPT for her contribution to a commentary on dry needling and consults as a content expert for organizations such as the APTA and FSBPT. In this role, she played a large part in the addition of a CPT code for dry needling through the AMA and was on the task force that helped identify competency standards for dry needling education nationally. JJ works with US Field Hockey teams, and individuals from US Lacrosse, US Polo, USA Track and Field, NFL, NBA, PLL, MLB, and more.
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