Foundational exercises on the floor, against gravity, etc. have their place & must be done. It’s part of motor learning, reprogramming, it starts HERE. So don’t skip this. BUT… we shouldn’t don’t stop here, either. If exercises aren’t progressed to a level that demands the same amount of effort that matches the patient’s goals or mechanism of injury — they’re about to need help in as little as… the next time they try that very activity. Most physical therapists I know are great about this. Nevertheless, sometimes I’ll get a patient who “finished” PT after i.e. a foot surgery and their last exercise was using a resistance band around their ankle…. and now (no surprise), “It hurts with walking.” This is even more important for athletes and sports. If an athlete is discharged from PT before sport-specific movements, a step has been missed. If the athlete isn’t sweating in physical therapy or lacks a plan with strength & conditioning that will handle it, they won’t be ready for game time.
Obviously there’s only so much time in a single visit, but we physical therapists have to make sure they’re ready to cut left & drive past another player with clean mechanics, after they’re tired and do it as efficiently as possibly. If you “finish rehab” and the hardest exercises were wall sits and 3 sets of 10 reps of air squats & no impact training, you’ve been prepared for a flight of stairs, not competition.
Patients, if you're unsure, ask your PT how their plan will help you reach your goals. If they can’t explain it to you, you’re allowed and entitled to finding a new PT.
Feel like you started physical therapy but aren’t sure if you met or are ready for your final goals? Let’s chat. Book a free consultation with me today!