Therapeutic Exercises For Progressive Muscular Dystrophy

Active exercises

Resistance exercises by pushing a stationary object are useful for strength and mobility. In cases of muscular dystrophy, the really vulnerable muscle groups are controlling the hip, knees, shoulders and torso. The exercises in this article are targeting those groups of muscles. You don’t need to do all the exercises at once as they can be too difficult for some. The main goal of the exercises is the overall health of the patient, and it’s best if the load is maximized.

  1. Start by sitting on a hard edge of a chair by holding the edge. Raise the knees while straightening the joints as if kicking. It’s important to straighten the legs and knees as much as possible. To make it more complicated, keep the foot in position for 10 seconds. Repeat the exercise 20 times with 30 seconds rest between each. You can then master the exercise and eventually add small bags of sand as a stronger resistance on the legs. They can be between 0.3 and 2 kg.
  1. Lay on the side (you can put a hard cushion under the back). Lift your leg up and slightly backwards. Repeat it 10 times. If you want to turn things up a notch, keep the leg raised for 5 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
  1. Start out-prone. a) straighten the knee by alternating lifting feet. Repeat 10 times per leg. b) alternate lifting arms behind the back and repeat 10 times per arm.
  1. Lay on the back. Press the chin on the chest and try to sit down without using hands which should be crossed on the chest. Repeat the exercise 5 times. As this is a difficult exercise you can modify it by: a) an instructor can support your arms and legs without lifting you; b) the exercise can be started in the current position – reclining and pushing a cushion under the shoulders and head.
  1. Sit on the floor on a firm surface. Try to lift your hips from the floor with straightened arms, with the object under the them. Repeat 3-5 times.

This exercises are contributing to passive stretching in the lower extremities. But different motor actions (getting up from a bed, a chair) occur as a friendly inclusion in the work of muscle contraction simultaneously. These movements include torque, torsional movement, so they should be included in therapeutic exercises.


The exercises for the upper limbs can be carried out with just enough resistance so the patient can complete the motor act.

  1. Start by lying on the back. Raise your legs to the opposite shoulder – exhale, lower the leg down and away. The instructor can manage the resistance. Repeat 8-10 times per leg.
  1. Start in the same position. The instructor leads the patients arm to the opposite ear with gentle resistance. Repeat 8-10 times per arm.

This set of exercises should be performed daily for 5-10 minutes. The patient should not get tired and it’s important to balance the exercises between a mild and strong resistance. Conducting the classes in the form of games can achieve mutual understanding and cooperation.