Suspension exercise to rebalance your muscles


Gymnasts have been using suspension equipment (gym rings, high bar, etc.) for centuries. With training and practice, they learn how to move, balance and stabilize their own bodyweight into precise positions, like a plank, pike or dip. Each repetition builds muscle control from head to toe for an exceptionally strong and balanced body.

Suspension exercise isn't new to PT. In fact, the physical therapy profession was born from gymnastics in the early 1800s. Physiotherapists in Sweden were originally called "sjuk-gymnast" which means a person involved in gymnastics for those who are ill. The first physical therapist was Per Henrik Ling (the Father of Swedish Gymnastics) who founded the Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics in 1813 for rehabilitation and manipulation. [source: The Rise of Physical Therapy: A History in Footsteps]


At Activcore, we believe that everybody can benefit from suspension exercise, not just gymnasts. We use an apparatus from Norway that consists of ropes, slings and bungee cords. Similar to floating in a swimming pool, the Redcord suspension system creates a "zero-gravity" environment where people of all ages, all conditions, and all abilities can safely exercise with proper form and without interference of pain. It's sort of like how a mechanic lifts your car to balance the tires and alignment.

Bungee-assisted hip stabilization (side plank)

Redcord brings out your inner gymnast. By applying bungee assistance, we will teach you how to move, balance and stabilize your own bodyweight through specific joint motions, such as hip abduction (shown above) or neck extension (shown below). Each repetition builds joint stability across entire chains of muscles (the myofascial chains) so that your whole body will feel more stable and become less susceptible to injury.

Bungee-assisted neck stabilization


You are only as strong as your weakest link. As we take you through the exercises, we're teasing out any hidden weaknesses in the smaller muscles that stabilize your joints (e.g., deep hip rotators, pelvic floor, transverse abdominis, rotator cuff, etc.).

These joint stabilizers should always be ON through continuous muscle activation. But they can turn OFF due to trauma from a sports injury, pregnancy, surgery or illness. They can even shut down from a sedentary lifestyle. If deactivated for a long period of time, other larger muscles along the chain will naturally take over. It is this compensation that eventually leads to muscle imbalances and a vicious cycle of pain.

Bungee-assisted shoulder stabilization


We apply suspension exercises to gently wake up the dormant stabilizer muscles and reverse the pain cycle. Our approach is called NEURAC (NEURomuscular ACtivation). Essentially, by having you do repeated joint motions in a "zero-gravity" environment, NEURAC tells your brain that it is safe to turn the joint stabilizers back on. It's like turning up a light switch to muscles that went dim from chronic pain and trauma.

Bungee-assisted thoracic stabilization


Redcord gets faster results than conventional physical therapy and fitness training. The difference is felt at a neuromuscular level. When your mind and muscles are fully rebalanced, the effects are extraordinary. Most people experience instant relief of pain, freedom of joint motion, and a sense of being centered from head to toe.

Bungee-assisted quadruped stabilization


Developed by Norwegian physiotherapists in the 1990s, Redcord is now utilized by elite physical therapists around the world as the ultimate system for neuromuscular activation. Here in the United States, it is being implemented by professionals at the Olympic Training Centers, the U.S. Army, the Washington Capitals and Nationals sports teams, the University of Michigan, and Princeton University's athletics.

At Activcore we are proud to be the nation's leading provider of suspension based physical therapy. It makes us feel like we are getting back to the foundation of "Swedish medical gymnastics" that the profession was originally built on.

Bungee-assisted lateral spine stabilization


Redcord is a scientific breakthrough in physical therapy and sports performance. It has been extensively peer reviewed with 100+ research studies featured in industry approved publications, including the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, Journal of Human Kinetics, Journal of Biomechanics, and Journal of Dance Medicine & Science.

Scroll down to learn about the science behind Redcord...


How do muscles get imbalanced?


Many studies have shown that trauma (injury, concussion, pregnancy, surgery, etc.) creates physical imbalances throughout the body by altering our brain’s capacity to switch on the right muscles, at the right time, and with the right amount of strength.

Known as neuromuscular deactivation, this process begins by shutting down the body's inner core stabilizers. These are the smaller muscles located near the joints. Their primary role is to stabilize our pelvis, spine and joints to allow for upright posture and functional mobility. Some examples of joint stabilizers include the:

When pain is present, the connection between our brain and these joint stabilizers can get disrupted. Subsequently the joints become unstable and susceptible to injury. To make up for this loss of joint stability, our brain will naturally compensate by sending more signals to the larger muscles which are closer to the surface of the body. These are the outer muscles that make us look good in the mirror. Some examples include the lats, pecs, biceps, triceps, quads and hams. They are commonly known as "prime movers" since their primary role is to move the body. They are supposed to turn on to perform a specific task (walk, run, squat, push, pull, etc.) and then turn off, relax and recover. However, due to the underlying muscle deactivation, the prime movers must stay on to also do the constant work of the dormant joint stabilizers.

Simply put, our outer muscles are now doing two jobs: moving and stabilizing. But they are not built to stay on constantly like the inner muscles. So it's only a matter of time for them to tighten up like a knot. A classic example of this is tight hamstrings (outer muscles) compensating for a weak core (inner muscles). It is the body's innate way to protect the spine by stiffening up muscles further down the myofascial chain.

Therefore, your hamstrings could be tight due to joint instability (loss of muscle control) at the spine. If not properly addressed, this muscle imbalance will set in motion a cycle of pain that can lead to more serious injuries, like a torn hamstring.

Image copyright Activcore

As the cycle goes around, pain will start to interfere with everyday life. Usually this is the moment when most people seek out help from a physical therapist, chiropractor or physician. However, if your practitioner does not know how to find and fix these underlying muscle imbalances as the root cause of the pain, you might only get relief temporarily. The symptoms could return and spread out to other areas over time.

Muscle deactivation impairs how you stabilize joint motions. It makes your body more susceptible to injuries. It can even disrupt how you regulate normal bodily processes, such as urinating (i.e., pelvic floor dysfunction), digesting food and breathing.


Sports and repetitive use
Broken bone
Injury and pain
Surgery and medication
Sedentary lifestyle
Poor posture
Poor posture
Pregnancy and postpartum
Pregnancy and childbirth

How do we rebalance the muscles?


Simply stretching, massaging and strengthening the painful spot won't fix it. You have to find the underlying source of the problem which is often far away from the pain. For example, shoulder pain typically stems from deactivated muscles around the pelvis, hips, spine and rib cage. That's why we always treat the whole kinetic chain, regardless of where you have pain.

We apply suspension exercises to gently wake up the dormant stabilizer muscles and reverse the pain cycle. Our approach is called NEURAC (NEURomuscular ACtivation). Essentially, by having you do repeated joint motions in a "zero-gravity" environment, NEURAC tells your brain that it is safe to turn the joint stabilizers back on. It's like turning up a light switch to muscles that went dim from chronic pain and trauma.

Bungee-assisted single leg bridge

The Redcord suspension system gives your body the support it needs to engage the right muscles, at the right time, and with the right amount of strength. By offloading your outer muscles with bungee assistance, we can recruit your inner core muscles.

We can also adjust how much neuromuscular stimulation to apply. Shaking the ropes stimulates the nerves. Gently vibrating the ropes calms the nerves. Finding a perfect balance of control versus instability is essential for best results. You should feel your muscles working (re-activating) but without any pain or global compensation.

Bungee-assisted pelvic floor stabilization

Redcord is an ideal tool for delivering neuromuscular activation. While it's common to feel immediate changes with just a few exercises, it's important to understand that retraining muscles into a proper neuromuscular pattern takes repetition. After all, we are quite literally remapping connections between the brain and the joint stabilizers.

Every exercise prescribed should be tailored to your specific needs. The practitioner may also use the Redcord suspension system to assist with the application of manual therapy techniques including joint mobilizations, stretching and myofascial release.

Assisted scapular mobilizations

Assisted thoracic stretching

Redcord helps people to a life in motion. Just like gymnastics, it naturally balances your muscles from head to toe for optimal movement health and performance.

Click here to learn even more about Redcord.

"The staff at Activcore have a deep understanding of neuromuscular activation. This is a fancy way of saying that when you are injured there are deep muscles that shut down as a protective mechanism. Over time this causes other muscles to compensate, leading to further pain and potential problems. Redcord helps get to the root of the problem and allows the healing process to begin. Having experienced it first hand, I believe this form of PT is revolutionizing the industry."

—‍ customer review