5 Rehabilitation Exercise Equipment Must-Haves

exercise equipment


There’s a lot to consider for physical therapists planning to start a new practice or set up a new clinic. Not only will you be striving to offer the best patient care, but you’ll also have all the concerns of establishing and growing a business. There’s financing, budgeting, hiring, choosing the right location, marketing, finding clients — it’s like a full-time job on top of your full-time job. And on top of all that, you’ll need to supply your new office with the right rehabilitation exercise equipment so that you can focus on your core mission.

APTA Private Practice Section offers this checklist of items you might want to consider purchasing for your new workspace. It’s a comprehensive list covering everything from coffee makers to skeletons and anatomical posters. They also suggest four steps for selecting affordable, appropriate rehabilitation exercise equipment:

  1. First, create two lists. The first should contain the diagnoses, joint problems, and patient populations you expect to treat in your practice. The second list should be of the most important equipment and clinical furniture for treating the categories in your first list.
  2. On a scale of 1 to 5, rate the overall importance of the items in your second list.
  3. On a scale of 1 to 5, rate the versatility of the items in your second list.
  4. Work within your budget to select the items that are versatile enough to cover your essential needs and as many of your secondary and tertiary needs as possible.


Must-Have Rehabilitation Exercise Equipment

If you’ve run through the advice above and created your lists, you’ll know that “must-have” items can vary quite a bit depending on the focus of your practice. But the following five options are popular and important enough that they’ve more than likely made the cut:

1. Resistance Tubing — Free weights are great, but resistance tubing and bands are about as versatile as it gets when it comes to strength training equipment. Keeping a variety of resistance levels on hand is essential to letting your patients target the right muscle groups and rebuild strength in all the right places. They’re also extremely portable and easy on the budget. And when paired with an exercise rail system they’re even easier to use for efficient patient training.

2. Exercise Balls — Call it whatever you want (Swiss ball, physioball, balance ball, etc.), exercise balls are great additions to any clinic. They are multi-functional devices for both stretching and exercising. Since they’re so adaptable and inexpensive, patients can easily learn exercises in the clinic that they can then repeat on their own exercise balls at home.



3. Stationary Bicycle — While more expensive than many other pieces of equipment, a stationary exercise bike is a great low-impact fitness tool that can help with flexibility, cardiovascular health, and pain symptoms. With stationary exercise bikes, many patients are able to continue exercising as they heal from injuries that otherwise limit their mobility.

4. Treadmill — This is a great piece of equipment for cardiovascular work, but physical therapists also find it useful in helping to understand a patient’s range of motion, gait, and posture.

5. Pulley Devices — Where would we be without range of motion? A simple, tried and true shoulder pulley can be invaluable for patients recovering from frozen shoulder, rotator cuff surgery, mastectomy, and stroke. Pair it with an exercise rail system to make it even easier to use.


These are just a few pieces of rehabilitation exercise equipment that you might find essential in your new physical therapy practice, although we know there’s much more — from treatment tables to body composition analyzers to goniometers. And don’t forget that coffee maker!