Session Ratings Guide

Easy, Just Right, Hard, Painful, understanding session ratings

Ryan S. (Health Coach) avatar
Written by Ryan S. (Health Coach)
Updated over a week ago

Are you wondering if you are ratings your sessions correctly? Here is a guide to assist you.


Some of the easiest exercises SimpleTherapy suggests are also the most important! They allow you to maintain a high degree of muscle and joint health. Without establishing this foundation, sustainable improvement is far more challenging. While you should see a decrease in frequency of ‘easy’ exercises, these should not be abandoned completely. Occasional completion of these exercises will allow you to continue to build on the progress you have made.

  • Some of the easiest exercises are the most important!

  • Many easy exercises allow you to maintain and improve a high degree of muscle and joint health.

  • Establishing a foundation is essential for sustainable improvement.

  • Even the easiest exercises should never be fully abandoned.

  • Occasional repetitions of the easy exercises help to prevent regression.

Just Right

This movement felt great for you. It wasn’t too easy or too hard. Maybe you could feel the stretch and move through a full range of motion like the person in the video. Maybe the exercise felt like it was targeting all the right muscles and did not cause you any pain or discomfort. You like it and want to see more of it. Use this rating until it becomes too easy and then rate it as such. This will help your program progress faster.


Difficult exercise can be uncomfortable, but often helps with progression. Challenging yourself to push beyond your comfort zone can not only help physically but mentally. You should never push to a point of extreme pain but occasional mild to moderate discomfort is very normal. While not every exercise should be uncomfortable or painful, including some more challenging exercises is an essential part of any well-rounded plan of care!

  • Difficult exercise can be uncomfortable, but often helps with progression.

  • Challenging yourself can help both physically and mentally.

  • Mild to moderate discomfort is normal.

  • Not every exercise should be difficult but pushing yourself is progress.


A ‘painful’ exercise can be measured as one that causes severe discomfort or makes your pain worse-off compared to before you performed it. Painful exercise typically signals that your body is simply not ready to meet the physical demands of that movement. Unless a specific diagnosis prevents you from completing that exercise, a painful exercise is one that should be revisited later. After completing sessions at a more consistent and frequent rate, it is common for the body to make physical adaptations that would make a previously ‘painful’ exercise far more doable. A painful exercise may be included in a session again down the road as you progress. You can use this as an indicator of true progress!

  • Don’t push yourself too far! Retry this exercise later.

  • Elevated pain that lasts greater than 30 minutes after a particular exercise is a reason to mark something too painful (keep this is mind for the future as your progress through your program and exercises are repeated).

  • As for referred or radiating pain, if you place a dollar bill with the president’s face on the location of pain, anyway you rotate the dollar bill in clockwise motion is an acceptable location for a symptom while performing an exercise. If larger than that surface area, consider that a ‘painful’ exercise.

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