ABC’s of OT: my favorite interventions for UPPER BODY STRENGTHENING

1. Typical Weight-Training Routine:

Grab a Wate Bar or some Theraband and get those arms moving! Make sure you’re working on all muscle groups by moving each joint in all planes. Check out my Stories on Instagram for a quick video tutorial.

2. Take and {Arm} Bike Ride:

The UBE (upper body ergometer) is a great way to maximize upper body strength while addressing overall endurance. Don’t forget that this can be completed in sitting or standing!

3. Reach, Reach, Reach:

Hang some laundry. Use the over-the door pulley system. Practice retrieving items off of high shelves. Get those arms moving in functional ways. Weighted wrist cuffs can always be added to upgrade!

4. Resistive Beach Ball Volley:

This is one of my absolute favorite exercises. Instruct the patient to hold a Wate Bar horizontally at roughly chest-height. Then gently toss a beach ball, instructing the patient to bounce the beach ball off the center of the Wate Bar. Upgrade by performing while seated upright without the spine supported or while standing. This activity is really fun and usually more engaging that the basic exercise routine.


The OT Toolkit by Cheryl A. Hall has some awesome handouts to maximize upper body strength.

What are your favorite ways to address upper body strengthening?

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