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Intensive Tools: Spider Cage

Updated: Apr 10

Spider Cage (Universal Exercise Unit/ UEU)


The Spider Cage is a system used in our Intensive Therapy sessions made up of bungees, pulleys and weights that allows for strength training in gravity eliminated positions as well as suspended/body weight supported positioning that allows a child to work on strengthening, balance and functional activities with added support. This system has been widely used to help kids with very limited strength, range of motion, or body control to accomplish activities doctors and other therapists never thought possible!


The universal exercise unit can be used in a variety of different ways, including:

Spider Cage Image
  • With a mat table in the middle where the child lies supine, prone, or side lying and uses specific pulley attachments for strengthening. This system can be utilized with kids with significantly decreased strength and due to the gravity eliminated positions and assist with the pulleys and suspension, kids can work on activating and isolating muscles to increase strength, range of motion, coordination, and function

  • Using overhead suspension so that the child is ‘flying’ in prone position to address: postural muscle strength, head control, body awareness, and sensory deficits

  • Using overhead and lateral suspension to allow a child to stand with body weight support while working toward functional tasks (pictured above)


Using the Spider Cage suspension and bungee system gives the therapist a way to provide treatments (that the child needs) that they would not be able to complete without this type of assistance (unless there were 3-4 additional people assisting). As kiddos gain control and confidence, the weights and pulleys can be adjusted so that they begin building strength and independence of movement to begin mastering functional skills.


Benefits

  • Promotes independence

  • Improves bone ossification

  • Improves balance, coordination, and stabilization

  • Prevents muscle atrophy

  • Improves muscle strength and endurance

  • Provides sensory integration/ proprioception and allows the body to feel where it is in space

  • Allows for muscle isolation and independent movement

  • Assists in developing appropriate motor planning skills

  • Increased range of motion for daily activities

  • Eliminates gravitational forces placing pressure on the body to reduce inhibited muscle reliance

  • Increases ability for a child to be in an upright position supported, yet using their own muscles as well (different than the passive standing in a stander)

  • Facilitates motor development and functional skills

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