Exercise Instructions

Therex RehabTherex Fitness, and Specialized Programs

Encompass the 3 Scientific Pillars of Fitness:

1.  Strength

2.  Flexibility

3.  Cardiovascular


Use the 3 following Therex tools to assist you with your Therex PT Programs

1. Remember to keep track of your Current Exercises  "Click" on the white star on top of any strength, flexibility, or cardio exercise that you are doing or has been prescribed for you in the below injury diagnosis progressions. The star will turn yellow and a drop-down will read "added to current exercises". Refresh the page and those exercises will now appear under current exercises. If you want to remove an exercise from the current list just "click" on the yellow star above the exercise and a drop-down will read "removed from current exercises ". When you remove an exercise make sure to refresh the page to view your updated current exercises.

2. Audio instructions for all exercises are available by clicking on the microphone sign below the text instructions.

3. A Notes section is on each exercise page. This allows for you and your healthcare provider to add information you feel is important when documenting your workout. Color selection of text (blue or Gray) allows you to differentiate between client/patient or healthcare provider's text.




We recommend you do the same body part strength training no more than 3 days per week (nonconsecutive days): Mon, Wed, Fri or Tues, Thurs, Sat. 

For strengthening progressions, start with the first exercise of each progression and build up to 2 sets of 20 reps, 3 times per week. (nonconsecutive days). Start slowly and add repetitions as you feel you can tolerate. 

If you have built up in strength to 2 sets of 20 repetitions of an exercise, 2-3 pain-free times (nonconsecutive days), you can progress to the next more advanced exercise in the progression.

You could stay at an exercise for as long as you feel comfortable, but in order to get stronger you need to add more repetitions or move to the next exercise. Each time you progress by adding more resistance or a more difficult exercise you may not be able to complete 20 repetitions per set. You may only be able to do as little as 10 repetitions. That's OK. Build to 2 sets of 20 repetitions.

Once you progress onto the more difficult exercise you do not have to continue the preceding exercise unless you still like to do it as a warm-up. If you move up to the next exercise and you can't do at least 10 repetitions stay at the previous exercise and add more repetitions. Each exercise progression describes the next exercise as " a progression" which means it is more difficult. However, some exercises in the progression are described as " an alternative" which means it is at the same level of difficulty but is a choice you can make to vary your workout.

When you are at the most advanced exercise in each exercise progression that you can tolerate, build up to be equal strength side to side. Continue to do that exercise 2-3 days per week. You could continue to add repetitions greater than 20 or add more resistance in the form of weights or exercise bands. You could continue to do that exercise as part of your fitness program.

As you get stronger you may feel working out 3 days per week is too much and need an extra recovery day. At this point, you could reduce your workout days to 2 times per week/ body part. Because the stronger you get the more recovery time you need. This is not unusual. Listen to your body. Just because the clock says it's time to work out again doesn't always mean your body is ready. 

A 3-day workout could be M-W-F or T-Th-Sat.

A 2-day workout could be Monday and Thursday do upper body and core. Tuesday and Friday do lower body

Studies show that 2 sets of an exercise are just as good as 3 sets if you are exercising to fatigue, but some people like to do 3 sets. Feigenbaum, Pollock

If you are doing a one-sided exercise, you should strive to bring your weaker side equal to your stronger side. (for arms and legs). If you know one side is weaker, have that side go first then have the stronger side match the repetitions. As you keep adding repetitions or weight your weaker side will catch up with the stronger side.

If you are doing a core exercise, you should strive to continue to get stronger through the progression.

Perform all the exercises of the whole progression one after another, this is referred to as a circuit. Then repeat the exercises again one after another for the second set of the circuit. This gives your body time to recover in between sets.  Robinson, Willardson

Remember to document your sets, reps, and weights for each workout under each exercise video. 




Improving flexibility comes from stretching your muscles. Our jobs, hobbies, and sports tend to overdevelop certain muscle groups yet make some muscle groups more inflexible. Ironically, many sports enforce these same flexed-forward postures. Stretching on a regular basis can help to make sure that certain inflexibilities do not develop.

Studies show that doing your stretches after you have warmed up is optimal.

Studies show that stretching should be done 3-5x per week. Each stretch is held for 30 seconds 2x's. Davis DS1, Ashby PE, McCale KL, McQuain JA, Wine JM.


Cardiovascular Training


Cardiovascular training strengthens your heart and endurance muscles.

Studies show, optimally, cardio training is 5x per week for 30 minutes. However, initially doing something 3x's per week is a great place to start. Build to 5 days per week.CDC 

Start with a time that you can tolerate and build up to 30 minutes. You could progress up to 60 minutes for each cardio workout.

It is suggested to use a directional preference model when doing your cardio workouts This means spending more aerobic time in positions that are opposite of what you normally do during your day.

Example: Sitting, flexed-forward people should do upright activities (walk, run, elliptical or swim), and standing, overly arched lower back people should do more flexed activities (row or bike). 

Last, Cross-training means doing a multitude of different aerobic events. This way you raise your heart rate, but your muscles, posture, and mind engage in different activities. A typical cross-training schedule could be Monday- Bike Tuesday- Swim Wednesday- Run Thursday off, then repeat.


Overlapping days

Once you build up to 5 days of cardio, 3-5 days of stretching, and 2-3 days of lifting your workouts may overlap on the same day. That's OK. 


Lift or Cardio 1st?


Studies show doing aerobic exercise first helps you to warm up your tendons and joints. This makes your strength and flexibility exercises, afterward, feel more comfortable.Hanrahan

However, studies also show doing your strengthening exercises first helps you deplete all your carbohydrates so when you do your aerobic exercise at the end of your workout you burn more fat. US Military


Therex PT, Therex Fitness, and Specialized programs utilize the physiological principles of: 


1. PRE-progressive resistance exercise - The most widely accepted way to gain muscle mass and become stronger is to stress your body (workout). We call it " Do more than the time before." If you add more stress to each workout in the form of weights, reps, or a more advanced exercise you will grow the muscle that is being exercised and become stronger. Figueiredo


2. Exercise progressions - Once weight or reps is maximized on an exercise progressing to a more stressful exercise will stimulate growth. Progressing from single-joint movements to multi-joint exercises will allow for a return to sports-specific patterns sooner. Gustafson/ d'Hemecourt


3. High rep training - Performing high repetition sets stimulates growth hormone and tendon joint healing. Studies also show that utilizing higher reps (15-20) is best for improving circulation at tendon attachments but can strengthen the overall muscles just as well as low reps. Grimsby  We recommend you achieve reps of at least 15, but could progress as high as 20 before moving on to a more difficult exercise. Periodization of repetitions - Changing rep schemes throughout the year can help to stimulate growth but allow for tendon/joint recovery during the high rep cycles. Delorme, Koevets, Grimsby

Note: Therex PT, Therex Fitness, and Specialization Programs are only instructed in the high repetition phase. If you are to progress to a year-long periodization schedule look to your health care provider or trainer for more advice.


4. Circuit training- Studies show that doing your workout in a circuit (meaning running through one set of each exercise and then repeating again) gives your muscle's creatine phosphate stores more time to recover. Imbo Circuit Training ensures having more stored energy for strength on your second or third sets. Waiting 3-5 minutes between sets of the same exercise is optimal for recovery.  Robinson, Willardson

A circuit workout example is: On upper body day if you are doing chest and back exercises. Do a set of mid-back rows, a set of chest bench, a set of abdominals, do a set of low back, take 1 minute rest, repeat 2-3 sets. Pick another back, chest, ab, and low back exercise and do 2 circuits.


5. Recording of workouts - The only way to do more the next workout is to record what you did the workout before. Few people document their workouts to know what to progress to for the next workout.  Once you sign up for a program on Therex PT, Therex Fitness, or Specialized Programs you can keep track of each strength exercise, flexibility stretch, and cardio workout using the workout logs under each exercise.


6. Directional Preference with Cardio Training and Lumbar /Hip Strength Progression 

Cardio Training It is suggested to use a directional preference model with cardio workouts. This means spending more aerobic time in positions that are opposite to what you normally do. McKenzie, Donnelson

Example: In sitting, flexed-forward occupations, people may find more benefits doing upright activities (walking, running, elliptical, or swimming), while standing, upright occupations, people may find more benefits doing sitting activities (row or bike).

Cardio Example

Someone who has a sitting job, and plays catcher in a softball league may not want to choose biking for their aerobic workout, because they are always flexed over. Walking or elliptical may be better choices for aerobic activity because they are more upright.


Lumbar / Hip Rationale

 You will notice all lumbar exercises are put into three categories. Neutral, Flexion, or Extension. This describes an exercise direction that may give low back relief to patients/clients. Directional preference is a medical evaluative tool that can be used by licensed medical professionals based on the patient's/client's history and clinical evaluation. Mckenzie/Donnelson

A neutral bias exercise usually won't elicit lower back pain when performed because the lower back is held in a neutral position.

A flexion bias exercise usually gives low back relief in flexion (bending forward).

An extension bias exercise usually gives low back relief in extension (bending back).


How was this program developed?

Therex PT Programs are medically and scientifically based. These programs were formulated and developed by physical therapists, physicians, certified athletic trainers, and certified strength and conditioning coaches with extensive fitness experience. They are based on evidence-based medicine.