Watch the video or keeping reading below for a review of exercise prescription from a physiotherapy point of view.

Exercise prescription is important and knowing what exercises you need to focus on can be a challenge. You could end up spending your precious time on exercises that may not be quite right for you.


At your physio appointment, we take the whole picture into account. We have a look at you, lifestyle, where you’re at at the moment, what you’re doing at the moment, and importantly, where you would like to go and the goals that you would like to achieve.

Some questions you may be asking are:

  • How much load should there be?
  • What exercise do I need to be doing?
  • How many repetitions?
  • How many sets?
  • Is there any rest in between doing the exercises?

We’ll go through four different categories of exercises you can choose from.

Exercise Prescription Physiotherapy. 4 categories to choose from.

Determine Load

Determining the load or the weight to be used for each exercise is an important step. Depending on which of the four categories you do will depend on how much load or weight you will use. Ideally, you want to find your one-rep max or 1RM for short.

Exercise Prescription Physiotherapy. To help determine your load, you need to find your 1RM.

One-rep max is defined as the maximum weight you can possibly lift in one repetition.

In our physio practice, we deal with people who are in pain and not functioning as well as they can do, so we don’t really want to get them lifting the heaviest weight that they could possibly lift. There’s a calculation that we use to figure out the 1RM in a safe way, rather than giving you the heaviest weight to lift.

Work at a % of your maximum load

Once you know your 1RM, then you can calculate a percent of that and depending on the category will depend on the percent that you use.

We’ll go into each category in a little bit more detail over the next few weeks.

Exercise Prescription Physiotherapy. Category - Strength.


Strength is where you can push, pull, or carry heavier objects or items. Contrary to popular belief, it is not just for weight lifters. Strength is actually an important part for a whole variety of people, and it won’t bulk you up as much as you think.

Exercise Prescription Physiotherapy. Category - Endurance.

Endurance targets the smaller muscles, and these muscles are useful for people doing an activity that carries on for a long time. Obvious examples are:

  • 5-10km, half marathons, marathons
  • Team sports like soccer or rugby, basketball

However, if you’re sat down for the majority of the day at work, you still need your postural muscles. You need endurance for day-to-day activities: sitting, standing, moving around.

Exercise Prescription Physiotherapy. Category - Plyometrics.

Plyometrics is the third category. This is also known as jump training, so it involves any kind of jumping and hopping. This type of training relates well to those sports that involve a lot of jumping: high jump, long jump. It’s useful for those playing:

  • basketball
  • netball
  • soccer

However, plyometrics is really good at helping with coordination and agility, so we think it can apply to a whole range of people and not just those doing specific sports.Exercise Prescription Physiotherapy. Category - Power.

Power is the fourth category and is strength and speed combined. This is where you start to get a little bit more focused, and you want the exercise to be more activity-specific for the person.

Which One?

Depending on what you want to do and what you want to achieve one of the categories is probably going to be more of a priority than the others, but in an ideal world, you want to be doing a selection.

Please share this video if you know anyone that would benefit from understanding a bit more about exercise prescription. We’d love to hear from you, so please ask us if you’ve got any questions.

Exercise Prescription Physiotherapy. Remember to listen to your body.


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Remember – Listen to your Body!

Please remember to listen to your body. Get any aches and pains checked out sooner rather than later.

Contact us if you have any questions.


As with all information given for exercises and exercise programs, when using our exercise videos or information, please use your common sense and don’t do anything that will hurt you. By performing any fitness exercises, you are performing them at your own risk. PhysioFit Health will not be responsible or liable for any injury or harm you sustain as a result of information shared on our website or YouTube channel. This includes emails, videos and text. Thanks for your understanding.

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