When a patient gets referred by a medical professional to undergo physical therapy, one of the most common activities that might be part of his recovery plan are strengthening exercises. These exercises are used to condition a specific body part or for overall conditioning of the body. There are a variety of strengthening exercises that a physical therapist will recommend depending on the body part injured or needs treatment.
As a whole, strengthening exercises aims to increase muscular mass and strength. It can also be aimed to increase the metabolism of the body as well as to increase bone strength. When it comes to doing basic daily activities like walking, climbing stairs and running, a level of muscular strength is required. For patient who suffered injury or damage to their back, legs or knees, they need exercises to help them regain their independence and mobility.
Examples of strengthening exercises that targets the legs and back are lunges, plies, the bird dog and hip bridge exercise. These help the patient to attain better overall strength and balance for doing basic daily activities. Lunges can strengthen the leg muscles; plies are best in strengthening and toning the outer and inner thighs; the hip bridge exercise stabilizes the spine and the lower back as it stretches and strengthens muscles; and the bird dog improves overall coordination and muscle balance.
Knee problems are also common especially for athletes and for the older population. The knees are supported by the quadriceps and the hamstrings. Examples of knee strengthening exercises are knee dips, hops and wall sit. Knee dips can help in strengthening the quadriceps while wall sit works the quadriceps, hamstrings as well as the abdominals and gluteals.
Strengthening exercises are of three types and these are isometric, isotonic and isokinetic. Isometric exercises allow the muscles to contract and do not involve the affected joints. This technique is effective in developing the total strength of the target muscle or muscle group.
Isotonic strengthening exercises also lets the muscles contract but this time, it also encourages movement of the affected joint. An example is calisthenics, push-up, sit-up and chin-ups.
Isokinetic strengthening exercises uses machines to control the contraction speed in a range of motion. Special machines are required to perform these exercises.
Exercises should always be under the supervision of a qualified therapist. When looking for physical therapy in Delaware County, PA, one can always ask for a doctor’s referral or ask friends and families.