Top Three Exercise Equipment for Special Needs
As personal trainers for special needs children, our clients ask us a lot of questions. One of the most common questions they ask us on a regular basis is “what types of in-home exercises can my son or daughter do?” Inasmuch as we specialize in physical fitness training for special needs kids, this is not an easy question to answer. This is because the type of in-home exercises they can do is highly dependent upon their particular special needs and what level of fitness they are at. It may also depend on which item of exercise equipment for special needs they will be able to work with.
The good news is that you and your special needs child can start at any point in a physical fitness program. With a little time, knowledge, and patience are several ways to modify every exercise. You can alter them to be easier for your child or harder as their level of fitness improves. To help with this, we have selected our top three types of exercise equipment for special needs children. Each of them is designed to allow your child to perform a variety of different movements. Worth noting is that each of the three pieces of equipment will work great for individuals with autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and more.
1.) The SandBell
The Sandbell is our first choice for our top three pieces of exercise equipment for special needs, Your child can use this piece of equipment in the gym with their personal trainer or at home while you assist and encourage them. The SandBell is an incredibly simple, safe, and cost-effective piece of equipment.
If you have never heard of the SandBell, here is how Hyperwear, the manufacturer, describes it:
“SandBell sand-filled neoprene disk free weights from Hyperwear are designed to deliver more effective lift, lunge, toss, squat and slam functional exercises. Moving sand gets your body working in ways that dumbbells, medicine balls, and kettlebells cannot. Made from soft but durable neoprene, Hyperwear SandBells are also safer for you and your floors.”
According to Hyperwear, their SandBell is one of the most effective and versatile free weights available today. Your child can use it to improve their core strength, build lean muscle, improve their agility, and the strength of their grip, and more. This makes it an excellent piece of exercise equipment for special needs.
One of the biggest reasons we like the SandBell so much is because it provides a fully functional type of exercise. What this means is that movements with the SandBell ranging from picking it up to lifting with it, the exercises represent movements your child does daily.
Sandbell Home Workout
Here is an excellent home exercise your child can do at home:
A: 10-Sandbell Slams
* Start with the sandbell overhead. With the knees bent, slam the ball into the ground as hard as possible. Repeat 10 times.
B: 10-Sandbell Squats
* Start with feet shoulder-width apart and the sandbell laying on your upper chest or across your arms folded. Slowly, bend the knees and stick the hips back like you are sitting in a chair. Stand back up and repeat ten times.
C: 30-60 seconds -Sandbell Overhead Carry
* Start with holding the sandbell above the head. While walking, keep the arms straight and the elbows locked. Repeat this for 30-60 seconds.
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2.) 6” Hurdles
These hurdles are our second choice of the top three pieces of exercise equipment for special needs. You probably think of speed and agility hurdles as something you did for track and field back in your high school days. Or perhaps in terms of the Olympics. But why we like them is that can really help the special needs population.
Not only this, but these short hurdles are easy to use, budget-friendly, and are easy to find somewhere to store them. As part of your child’s daily workout, they can combine going across the hurdles carrying a SandBell.
Here’s a good sample workout you can try at home:
*Using five 6″-inch hurdles, create a straight-line course with them spread approximately 6 to 12 inches apart. Then have your child walk over each hurdle without stepping on or touching them. Once they are ready to progress, have them hold a SandBell above their heads as they repeat the same activity. This is a good way to build strength, coordination, and balance.
3.) 12-Rung Speed Agility Ladder
The speed/agility ladder comes in as our choice for third place in our search for the best pieces of exercise equipment for special needs. Before you get too excited, a speed/agility ladder isn’t something your child has to climb. If you have ever watched football training drills, you’ve probably seen one of these ladders. They resemble a rope ladder but laying on the ground rather than requiring a place to hang them.
With a little bit of research, you will find there are hundreds of different exercises you can try with your family member who is on the autism spectrum, has Down’s syndrome or cerebral palsy. If you want a few tips and exercises to get started with, go to YouTube and type speed ladder drills into the search bar. There are plenty of videos filled with great exercises and tips for you and your child to use.
The best exercises are the ones that your son or daughter is going to enjoy and do consistently. The ones we have selected above work for most of our clients in our private training and local group classes. If you want more information on our services or different types of exercise equipment for special needs, please contact us here.
Special Strong provides fitness and nutrition for special needs children, adolescents, and adults with autism and other disabilities. Through our online training platform, we also provide special needs fitness certification courses for personal trainers and service providers who want to work with autism and other disabilities.