This paper presents an adaptive backstepping motion control of a sitting- type lower limb rehabilitation robot (LLRR). The kinematics and dynamics of the proposed robot is discussed and its motion control design in the taskspace based on an adaptive backstepping control strategy is derived herein. The closed-loop system stability of the proposed motion control scheme is demonstrated by the Lyapunov’s direct method. Further performance analysis of the proposed system along with the proposed motion control design is demonstrated using computer based numerical simulations. For numerical simulations and to validate the effectiveness of the motion control strategy and the proposed lower limb rehabilitation robot design, the clinically obtained test gait data is used for the desired motion trajectory. © 2019, Springer Nature Switzerland AG.