Next Step Fitness – Los Angeles

NextStep is an internationally recognized non-profit organization that makes life-changing rehab accessible and affordable to those living with paralysis.


Nolan McDonnellAfter being discharged from the hospital, patients are often referred to outpatient rehab where further progress is made.  Therapists guide patients through a path of recovery until the intended goals are reached, the patient gets discharged, or insurance runs out.  Whatever the case may be, Next Step is the next step to recovery.




Next Step Fitness Center is a paralysis recovery center with seven locations throughout the United States and one site in New Zealand.  These specialized recovery centers cater to wide spectrum of injuries ranging from TBI, spinal cord injury, stroke, and many more ailments and injuries.  The objective of this recovery center is to develop functional strength that translates into increased mobility, independene, and quality of life.  Additionally, Next Step therapist target weak, or atrophied muscles to alleviate the patients dependence on medical equipment and other means of compensation as well.  Minimizing compensation and maximizing recovery is part of their core beliefs.  With that said, Next Step hosts state of he art gym equipment, personal trainers specialized in paralysis recovery, and the Lawndale location houses one of four Locomotor gait training systems in California.  Take a virtual tour in the video below.




Specialized Equipment

Nolan McDonnellLocomotor Training – Locomotor Training is one of the more recent rehabilitation strategies for those with a brain and spinal cord injury, as well as stroke and other neurological issues. Locomotor Training has shown help people with spinal cord injuries improve their walking ability, and while it still isn’t widely available across the United States, it is something to consider.

 Locomotor Training involves retraining the client to stand and walk again. The entire training is based on how the brain and spinal cord control stepping, in combination with how the nervous system learns a motor skill. The training has a systematic process with three primary components: Step, over-ground walking, and community ambulation training.

 These three components are carried out with various assistance tools. For example, step training will use bodyweight support on a treadmill, also known as BWST. Overground walking takes the client to an over-ground environment, and community ambulation will incorporate essential principles to help the client meet the end goal, such as safe and independent mobility.

Locomotor Summary:

  • More recent rehabilitation strategy
  • Comprises 3 components – step, over-ground walking, & community ambulation training
  • Systemic & standardizes training process



Alter G 

tbi treatmentNASA designed and with up to 80% body weight support, the AlterG Treadmill is another form of adaptive gym equipment that can help those with walking difficulties, as well as top athletes, to train with minimal stress/impact.  Similar to training in water, the Alter Gcan help you to walk or run with less strain on the body.  With that said, the AlterG Treadmill is renowned as one of the best tools for injury recovery, care, and prevention. Athletes have found it phenomenally successful in improving their speed and endurance, minus the pain and discomfort often associated with these tasks.

 TBI, stroke, and MS are a few of the many individuals who can benefit from the AlterG Treadmill.  If you are ever at Next Step Fitness in L.A. you might want to inquire about this piece of equipment as it was designed to help you significantly  in your journey to recovery.


Alter G Summary:

  • Adaptive treadmill design
  • Anti-gravity device designed by NASA
  • Trains the user with minimal stress/impact
  • Up to 80% body weight support




A FES Bikes-  (Functional Electronic Stimulation), or FES, is a type of adaptive gym equipment that can assist people with little to no voluntary leg movement. This equipment helps by encouraging the user to pedal a stationary leg-cycle known as an “ergometer.” Low-level electrical pulses are then transmitted to the leg muscles, causing coordinated contractions in addition to the desired pedaling motion. 

FES Bikes are an excellent way to help people struggling with voluntary leg movement by improving their muscle strength and mobility. Typically, each FES Bike is equipped with a program tailored specifically to the needs of the rider, such as resistance level and run times.  You will need a doctor’s prescription before you can start FES cycling for your recovery, and it’s recommended to search for a model of FES Bike that will be most beneficial for you.

  • Tailored to each individual’s needs
  • Helps the user improve their muscle strength/mobility
  • Requires a doctor’s prescription





Nolan McDonnell





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