Recent studies have demonstrated that active gait training can recover voluntary locomotive ability of paralyzed rats. Rehabilitation devices used for studying spinal cord injury to date are usually fixed on a treadmill, but they have been used only slightly for active training. To process active rehabilitation, a wearable, lightweight device with adequate output is needed. Pouch motors, soft pneumatic actuators, are extremely light and have other benefits such as low cost, easy fabrication, and highly customizable design. They can be used to develop active gait rehabilitation devices. However, performance details of different motor designs have not been examined. As described herein, to build a wearable gait assistive device for rat study, we specifically examine how to design small pouch motors with a good contraction ratio and force output. Results show that pouch performance decreases dramatically with size, but better output is obtainable by separation into small 0.8 length-to-width ratio rooms. We used this knowledge to produce an assistive robot suit for gait rehabilitation and to test it with paralyzed rats. Results show that these small pouches can produce sufficient power to control hip joint movements during gait training. They can reveal the potential for new pouch motor applications for spinal cord injury studies.