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Upper Extremity Amputee Exercises

September 4, 2019 ,

Upper Extremity Amputation Exercises: A Helpful Guide for Active Amputees

One of the most effective ways to recover from an upper-extremity amputation is to find a challenging, yet realistic fitness routine to adhere to.

Jamie Vandersea, CPO

Here, you’ll find some of the most easy-to-follow exercises that upper-extremity amputees can try out from the comfort of their own homes, their local gyms, or virtually anywhere else they wish.

Just make sure you get approval from a certified professional before starting any new amputee fitness routine, and you should be good to go!

Upper Extremity Amputation Exercises

Just like any other type of amputee, those who have undergone an upper-extremity amputation have to keep their bodies strong as they continue their journey back to an active lifestyle. However, the workouts and training regimens available to them can vary quite drastically based on the exact type of amputation-in-question, but that shouldn’t deter you. There’s always something to choose from!

Bill is golfing with prosthetics

Regardless of whether you have a hand-, wrist-, elbow- amputation, or shoulder-related amputation, you’ll have no problem finding some realistic exercise options of varying intensities to choose from. With that said, here are some of the most popular, practical, and effective upper extremity amputee exercises for you to consider!

  • Resistance Training: When it comes to resistance training, one of the most common and easy-to-execute routines is the “tug of war” method, where an elastic band is tied to a strong and sturdy object and then pulled in all directions with the prosthetic arm. Try starting in a seated position, then kneeling, and eventually work your way up to standing.
  • Strengthening Shoulders: Another upper-arm strength-training exercise is the shoulder shrug, where the amputee strengthens his or her back muscles, in turn supporting residual function. Begin by placing your feet on the ground and sitting up strength, then bring your shoulders slowly to your ears before letting them drop down to a neutral position. Repeating this multiple times (as much as four sets of 15 repetitions) will assist you in relearning control of your arm.
  • Weight Training: With the appropriate sports prosthetic device, you’ll be able to engage in any number of weight-based strength-training exercises, even if you’re missing a hand! In fact, specially designed prosthetics, such as the Black Iron Trainer, Black Iron Master, and the Black Iron Lite have all been custom-tailored to fit the needs of different types of upper-extremity amputees, and each variation can provide a myriad of capabilities, ranging from lightweight fitness routines to aerobic machine exercises to competitive weightlifting.
  • Casual Exercises: In addition to the more specific (and often more intense) exercises listed above, upper extremity rehabilitation can also include more subtle practices, including things as simple as stretching your shoulder and elbow repeatedly to slowly strengthen your arm muscles. In fact, this simple, easy-to-do-from-anywhere routine has become a very common routine for recent amputees in the earliest stages of rebuilding their strength – and that’s because it works!

Want to #MoveForward with Our Amputee Fitness Experts?

By following any of the exercises or routines outlined above, you’re sure to get a good start on the road back to a proper amputee fitness routine. In addition, by consulting with a licensed and specifically trained physical therapist, personal trainer, or even your prosthetist, you can gain an even greater understanding of the many exercises, routines, and training regimens at the disposal of today’s active amputees.

BeBionic myoelectric hand with wedding ring

Finally, you can always contact the MCOP team directly if you’re ready to #MoveForward with a private consultation followed by a personalized workout plan at one of our state-of-the-art facilities around the country.

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