Lower body strength and power generation are critical factors in the ability of your geriatric physical therapy clients to maintain their safety and independence at home. Adequate leg strength ensures the capacity to perform transfers independently, climb stairs, or hustle to get out of the way of a moving vehicle when necessary. However, you can’t simply pass off many of the routine rehab exercises you give your younger clients. The effects of impaired balance, osteoarthritis, and often multiple medical issues prevent the safe performance of certain exercises for the senior population. To ensure compliance with the exercises that you prescribe, as well as to guarantee the desired outcome, it’s critical that you adjust the movements to accommodate for your elderly clients’ needs and abilities. A full depth squat is an fantastic closed chain movement for leg strength, but it would be disastrous for someone with balance impairments or advanced degenerative joint disease of the knee.
In the following video, I demonstrate four leg strengthening movements that are contained with the exercise prescription library. One limitation of any physical therapy exercise software program is that one can never capture every and all variations of a specific movement. Thus, you’ll see that with the chair squat, partial depth lunge, step-up, and stiff-leg deadlift, I’ve offered “hacks”, i.e. suggested modifications, in the video to make them slightly better adapted to your senior clients.