The recovery of motor functions after a spinal cord injury (SCI) can be assessed at the domain of body-functions and structures and activities. As there is no gold standard for quantifying motor functions, the recovery depends strongly on the assessment applied. After a motor complete SCI, the improvement in activities of daily life is larger as would be expected from the increase in muscle strength alone. After a motor incomplete SCI, the (prolonged) latency of the motor evoked potential remains stable, while considerable improvements in muscle strength, walking capacity and independence can be observed. Such functional recovery is based on compensational mechanisms and neuroplasticity.