The Total Gym GTS Helps Children with General Body Strengthening
Here at Cindy Miles and Associates, we are a private out-patient therapy practice specializing in pediatrics. We are dedicated to providing individual, high quality, hands on physical, occupational and speech therapy. One of our primary goals is to build on each individual’s strengths, allowing them to achieve their maximum potential.
No matter what their ability, age, or genetic make-up, individuals make important progress with the Total Gym and have fun doing it. Our primary focus is on the pediatric population, from birth through to young adult, including young athletes with sports injuries. We strive to build on strength to allow them to achieve their maximum ability and provide accessible equipment where individuals can work on their physical performance; including muscle strength, cardiovascular endurance, functional ability and mobility. This allows each individual to be the best they can be! For us and the children, Total Gym is a huge part of that process.
We upgraded to the Total Gym GTS about 8 years ago and we made sure to purchase the extra wide Squat Stand. The GTS is great for loading lower extremities to get the glutes to work. We even use the GTS for babies as young as 6 months old for strengthening as they love to jump. For the orthopedic kids that we treat with Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida and Autism we put anti-skid pieces across the glideboard so their feet don’t fall and that gives them a different sensory input.
We treat several different needs:
> Spina Bifida
> Children with autism who need deep pressure
> Young athletes with sports injuries
We can treat patients for a year or an ongoing basis, dependent on their type of disorder. For children with Cerebral Palsy we might see them one or two times per week or more. If they have had surgery they are going to visit more. We have individuals who are patients from birth through to their 30s – these cases keep making progress so we continue to see them especially in their formative years.
Here are some examples of exercises/activities we use on the Total Gym.
> Hands on “uprights” with squat stand removed with nose close to hands to complete push-ups moving into elbow extension.
> Prone to pull down on triangle bars into shoulder and elbow extension.
> Prone pull ups at horizontal bar with hands pronated or supinated.
> Level glideboard working on static sitting so clients can touch the floor.
> Pull across trunk, holding both triangle bars.
> Holding triangle bar pull down using shoulder adduction/abduction.
> Seated rowing, using triangle bars.
> Sitting with both legs over same edge and triangle handles held together, keeping elbows extended and rotating trunk and bringing hands together to one side to work on core activation.
> Pull down over head, holding triangle bars return.
> Total knee extensions, progress to jumps.
> Work on squat to stand with support.
> Post op – prop one leg while the unaffected leg works on strengthening.
> Introduce jumping to clients who lack the strength to tolerate full body weight jumping.
> Bilateral LE jumps, unilateral jumps, jumps while playing catch.
> Kneeling to perform bicep curls and seated rows.
> Tall kneel: and work on scapular retraction or shoulder extension while keeping abdominals contracted to maintain balance.
> Standing next to unit, with foot on platform and lunging forward to push glideboard up incline.
> Small toddlers use the glideboard to learn to walk up the incline.
The GTS is a great adjunct to any child’s program. I teach a two-day course around the country and I tell everybody that Total Gym is one of the most important pieces of equipment that you can buy because of its versatility.
Pediatric clients love Total Gym and Pediatric Physical & Occupational Therapists love the versatility for all ages and abilities use it in their daily treatments. Pediatric therapists can do what they do best: invent games, diversions and make therapy fun!
About the Author
Having served the pediatric population since 1977, Cindy Miles, PT, PhD. PCS, CNDT established her pediatric private practice in 1981. Dr. Miles is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, School of Health Related Professionals and East Stroudsburg University with a Master of Education in exercise physiology. She also holds a PhD in Pediatric Science from the Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. Her doctoral research was on potential risk factors related to the diagnosis of Torticollis. She is Board Certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties as a Pediatric Clinical Specialist, specializing in treating children from birth through to young adults. Dr. Miles held the title of SOP Treasurer and Treasurer Elect and is presently the Co-Chair and Meeting Planner for the Academy of Pediatrics Physical Therapy Annual Conference (APPTAC). She presents nationally on the pediatric private practice and reimbursement as well as nationally and internationally on Torticollis, Plagiocephaly, and Fitness for All Abilities. She has published in peer review journals and written books on topics related to pediatric physical therapy.