Universal Exercise Unit
What is the Universal Exercise Unit (UEU)?
The UEU is a metal structure that includes a system of pulleys, weights, and bungee cord attachments for strengthening and stretching muscles as well as performing functional activities/positions.
How does the Pulley and Suspension System work?
If: the weakened muscle is unable to contract against gravitational forces,
Then: by fully suspending the limb (arm or leg) and eliminating it's weight, the individual is able to initiate movement. Low-grade resistance and assistance to complete full range of motion allows the muscle group to improve strength and function. Not only is the UEU the most effective device for improving muscle strength, but it also allows for isolation of the desired muscle group.
What does this mean? When an individual with a neurological disorder is asked to perform a certain movement, they may perform the movement with both
extremities simultaneously. This occurs secondary to their muscle tone as well as lack of motor control, coordination, strength and balance.
The UEU, along with the specific exercises, allows an individual to re-educate the nervous system, while isolating one extremity from the other to move
independently. Strengthening correct muscles in the UEU coupled with functional task training, makes activities, such as walking, a reality.
The system of exercises performed in the UEU also results in gains of active and passive range of motion, improved muscle flexibility and tone. This is why we promote it for the cerebral palsy population as well as other neurological conditions resulting in developmental delays.
What is the Suspension System aka Spider?
This is referred to as the "Spider," because when an individual is suspended by many bungee cords, they mimic the look of a spider. The UEU provides dynamic vertical or horizontal suspension through the system of 2-8 elastic bands and a wide belt worn around the waist.
The goals of the exercises performed in the "Spider" are to improve balance, coordination, sensory-motor integration as well as functional skills such as:
- Gait Training
The biggest goal is promoting independent movement. The individual has a greater sense of independence as they are suspended by the bungees. Assistance by the bungee cords can be decreased as the individual become stronger. This influences carry over of these functional positions and activities into daily lives.