Strengthening exercises in Physiotherapy



At Xavier, our paediatric Physiotherapists work closely with your child and you, their parent or caregiver, to create individualised programs. We support your child to help them to fulfil their potential, to meet their needs and to help them kick some goals!

One of the ways that our Physiotherapy team might work with your child to achieve this is through strengthening exercises, which are used as a way to support children who experience muscle weakness and low tone.

More on muscle weakness

Children with complex and multiple physical disabilities may experience muscle weakness that affects globally or specific muscle groups. This can be limiting as it is difficult for the child to effectively engage these muscles and perform tasks in a smooth, timely manner.

What are strengthening exercises?

Strengthening exercises are activities designed to increase muscle strength and are targeted to specific muscles in the body. The most common form of strengthening exercise is resistance training which uses opposing forces to increase the workload that muscles need to overcome to move a part of the body. The principle is the same as adults lifting heavy weights in the gym. For children with disability we find low impact strength training exercises that work for them. For example, we might use water as the resistance during a hydrotherapy session or we might use therabands in games.

Who can benefit from strength training?

Anyone can benefit from strength training because it helps to make our bodies stronger! For children with disability they might have varying conditions and diagnoses such as:

  • Developmental delay
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Respiratory conditions including Cystic Fibrosis
  • Gait problems
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Low tone
  • Hereditary neuropathies

How can strength training help?

There are so many benefits to strength training and our Physios love celebrating the wins (big and small) with our kids and their families. Some of the positive outcomes of strength training (in additional to increased strength) include:

  • Better posture
  • Increased independence
  • Increased stamina
  • Better gait
  • Reduced falls
  • Increased ability to participate
  • Increased quality of life
  • More opportunities for fun and play!

Further information

Get further information on Xavier Physiotherapy and how we’re supporting children and young people to increase their independence, to participate and have fun!