Upper Body Strength

Upper body strength in children refers to the development of the muscles in the scapulae and shoulders.  Upper body strength in children develops during crawling, and continues to evolve as children explore their surroundings.  Children who have decreased upper body strength may have difficulty with:

  • Using utensils for self feeding
  • Manipulating small objects
  • Ball skills
  • Grasp and prehensile patterns
  • Using two hands during play
  • Using adequate force during motor based activities
  • Handwriting

Delays with Upper Body Strength

Upper body strength is dependent upon core muscles.  These core muscles provide a stable base of support (postural control) for effective arm movement and control.  Upper body strength can be affected by low tone, excessive joint hypermobility, core weakness, and weakness in the scapulae and shoulders.


Core Exercises:
  • While lying on his/her back, have your child kick their legs up in the air
  • Wall kicks - have your child lie on their back with their head up against the wall, have them bring their legs up to the wall and touch it
  • Sit-ups with knees bent, have your child pull-to-sit
  • Planks
  • Push-ups - either on the knees or their toes
  • Sit on an unsupported surface without back support (bench, small ball, chair)
  • Play in tall kneel
  • Crawling - on all fours, reaching for objects, throwing objects
Shoulder strengthening and stability:
  • Planks
  • Push ups
  • Crawling
  • Working on a vertical surface
  • Leaning on elbows while lying on belly
185 S. Marley Rd. New Lenox, IL 60451