An ergometer is an exercise machine that tests the exertion exhibited by certain muscles or that keeps track of how much of a particular exercise has been done. It can also refer to certain exercise machines that allow someone to perform cardio exercises using the arms and legs while remaining in a stationary position.
Benefits of Using Ergometers
The benefits of using ergometers are the same as with using any other cardio workout equipment. The heart, lungs, bones and muscles all benefit from the use of ergometers. Stress release, weight loss, toning leg and arm muscles are a few examples of what an ergometer can do for you. Ergometers have been become popular in physical therapy for people who have physical disabilities like individuals that are confined to a wheelchair or those who are not physically capable of performing more conventional workouts.
Different Types of Ergometers
There are different types of ergometer machines, some of which only work out the arms, others that work out the legs, and some that do both at the same time.
Upper Extremity Ergometer
If you’ve ever seen a physical therapist for an upper extremity injury such as, rotator cuff surgery or shoulder bursitis, proximal humerus fracture, radial head or elbow fracture, Colles or Smiths fracture, tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow, clavicle fracture, shoulder dislocation or labrum tear, chances are your physical therapist had you use an upper extremity ergometer to measure how much work your upper body muscles are doing. This is done by grasping the the handles and turning them in a circular motion. People that can also benefit from the upper extremity ergometer are individuals that can’t use their legs and still want to get a cardiovascular workout. Upper extremity machines have different settings to increase or decrease resistance. They also have an adjustable seat, and many allow you to use the machine while standing up. Examples of these are the SciFit Pro1000, SciFit Pro1 and Technogym Excite UBE.
Lower Extremity Ergometer
A lower extremity ergometer is pretty much the opposite of a upper extremity ergometer. A lower extremity ergometer focuses on the lower body muscles like the gluteus maximus and the hamstrings through the use of pedaling while increasing or decreasing resistance. Physical therapists usually have their patients exercise on a lower extremity ergometer if they have sustained a lower body injury. Lower extremity ergometer helps patients regain range of motion and strength in their lower body. People that have lost the use of their arms can also benefit from the lower extremity ergometer to get a cardiovascular workout. Lower extremity ergometers usually have handle bars for the user to hold on to while using the machine.
Dual Extremity Ergometer
Dual extremity ergometers work the upper and lower body through resistance by using your legs and arms in the same way the upper extremity and lower extremity ergometers are used. People that have trouble standing can benefit from this machine since it is a total body workout that can be done while being seated.
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