Doctor attributes the Superman to Preventing Developmental Delays Development

Prone and Supine Exercises: Doctor attributes Superman to Preventing Developmental Delays

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Does playing Superman really improve school and behavioral performance? The answer is yes, kind of. Running around in a cape and pretending to have laser vision won’t necessarily start raking in the A’s, but a nifty little exercise nicknamed The Superman can make a world of difference. Most kids start out practicing this move without any help. It’s a natural result of tummy time as a baby. The Superman, also known as prone extension, requires the child to lie on their tummy and lift their arms and legs just a few inches off the ground with everything extended out so they look like Superman in flight. According to Dr. A Jean Ayers, PhD, “Prone (lying on the tummy) is the position in which normal infants develop many of the postural and motor responses that lead to standing, walking and other adult sensory-motor activities.” As we are all well aware, things don’t always develop the way they’re supposed to.

Doctor attributes developmental delays to lack of tummy time and activities using the prone and supine positions. The Superman is key to preventing developmental delays.

When things don’t develop properly in the neck muscles and vestibular, or balance system, the Superman exercise becomes a diagnostic tool. Kids who struggle in these two areas will be unable or unwilling to perform the Superman (they should be able to hold this position as long as most adults). If they can’t hold this position, you are likely to see developmental delays and issues with balance, sensory integration, behavioral inhibition, and coordination. These kids spend a lot of time fidgeting, struggle to sit through a teacher’s lecture, show signs of clumsiness, exhibit signs of a Sensory Process Disorder (SPD) and may fall behind in subjects such as reading and writing.

Prone and Supine Exercises: Doctor attributes Superman to Preventing Developmental Delays | ilslearningcorner.com

“In the process of motor development the infant [or child] can be observed to produce specific movements thousands of times. This practice (i.e., repetition) enhances communication between the sensory and motor systems of the body. The more often a motion is produced the easier it becomes to produce and eventually to incorporate with more complex patterns of movement.” (Sternat, 2005)

What To Do?

If the Superman pose is a challenge for your child, the next step is figuring out what to do about it. The obvious step is practice the Superman pose. This simple exercise gives the vestibular system a boost and strengthens weak neck muscles. But this exercise can be spiced up in a number of ways that improve efficacy and expand the systems you’re improving.

Scooter Boards

Scooter boards, like you see here, are definitely one of the favorites at our center. Adding motion to the Superman pose is a major boost to the vestibular system and it makes it more fun than simply lying on the floor. These wheeled boards are super versatile as well. I’ve seen everything from simple exercises pushing off the wall with a bungee cord to human bowling and life size games of Hungry Hungry Hippo. Dr. Ayers says the “sensory input [from riding the scooter boards] reduces hyperactivity, and also energizes the nervous system for more purposeful activity. After riding a scooter board, a child is often more calm and focused, and remains that way for some time.”

Swings

Prone and Supine Exercises: Doctor attributes Superman to Preventing Developmental Delays | ilslearningcorner.com

It’s not uncommon to find a kid running at a swing and taking off with their arms and tummies wrapped around the swing. Park swings don’t allow for the full extension needed for the Superman pose, but the movement is crucial to helping develop struggling vestibular systems. Full body swings like we use at our center cater to the need for full-body extension and provide a safe cocoon that many kids with SPD crave. If you don’t have access to an indoor swing, swings at the park can be just as useful. Take your child to the park and have them swing on their tummy and then switch to their back. Both are great for strengthening the muscles in the neck and shoulders.

Prone and Supine Exercises: Doctor attributes Superman to Preventing Developmental Delays | ilslearningcorner.com

Therapy Ball (using their tummy)

Kids can lie prone on therapy balls as well. Help your child lie their tummy on a larger ball, like you see here, and help them crawl forward so the ball eventually makes its way down to your child’s legs. They can then roll back to the tummy position. For more difficulty, when the ball reaches your child’s toes, have them put their knees to their chest and extend them straight again before rolling the ball back to their tummy.

Prone and Supine Exercises: Doctor attributes Superman to Preventing Developmental Delays | ilslearningcorner.com

You can take it one step further and help them complete a task like solving a puzzle or playing a card game while they try to balance on the ball. The ball adds an extra challenge to the balancing system, and encouraging them to complete a task while they balance trains their brains to use that system while they’re focused on something else, which is our ultimate goal. These systems should function properly in the background so we hardly know it’s there.

Prone and Supine Exercises: Doctor attributes Superman to Preventing Developmental Delays | ilslearningcorner.com

VIDEO: See video above.

Therapy Ball (using their back)

Now that your child has used the therapy ball for the prone position, help them use the same therapy ball, as you see here, for the supine position (on their back). Your child or student can lay their back on the ball and roll backward and forward. Help them use their hands in case they roll back too far and touch the floor.

Prone and Supine Exercises: Doctor attributes Superman to Preventing Developmental Delays | ilslearningcorner.com

VIDEO: See video above.

Log Roll

Prone and Supine Exercises: Doctor attributes Superman to Preventing Developmental Delays | ilslearningcorner.com

The log roll is perfect for working the prone and supine at the same time. If you have a mat at home, like you see here, put it on your floor, or you can simply have your child roll on carpet. Clear plenty of space so they don’t run into any furniture. You will want your child or student to cross their arms in front of them and keep their legs straight. Then help them roll across the mat or floor, first forward and then backward. If they are struggling to keep their neck and head up, you may need to help them in the beginning, but eventually you will want them to do it on their own.

Prone and Supine Exercises: Doctor attributes Superman to Preventing Developmental Delays | ilslearningcorner.com

VIDEO: To view the video for this exercise, click here.

AirplaneProne and Supine Exercises: Doctor attributes Superman to Preventing Developmental Delays | ilslearningcorner.com

The airplane is very similar to the Superman pose. Help your child or student lie face down on the floor. Count to three and then have them bring both their legs and arms out in an airplane position and hold for 10 seconds. Their arms should be extended to the sides instead of in front of them and their legs should be parted (in a V shape) instead of straight as you see in the Superman.

Prone and Supine Exercises: Doctor attributes Superman to Preventing Developmental Delays | ilslearningcorner.com

VIDEO: To view the video for this exercise, click here.

Supine Flexion Exercise (on your back)

For this exercise, you will want to help your child lie on their back. Count to three and have them hold their head up, bring their legs to their chest, and have their hands touch their knees or wrap their arms around their knees. Your child can rock back and forth if they like. The main focus of this exercise is the neck and shoulders. Many children who struggle with this exercise cannot lift their head. You may have to help them in the beginning, but we want them to eventually hold their neck and head up on their own.

Prone and Supine Exercises: Doctor attributes Superman to Preventing Developmental Delays | ilslearningcorner.com

VIDEO: To view the video for this exercise, click here.

Noodles

Prone and Supine Exercises: Doctor attributes Superman to Preventing Developmental Delays | ilslearningcorner.com

The noodle exercise is by far one of the most fun activities for both the prone and supine position. If you have swimming noodles at your house you can use those, or you can find some here. Have your child first lay their tummy on the noodles. Then you will want to have them hold one end of a rope or jump rope and pull them toward you as they roll on the noodles. This helps with the prone position.

Prone and Supine Exercises: Doctor attributes Superman to Preventing Developmental Delays | ilslearningcorner.com

When they have tried the exercise on their tummy, help them turn over to their back and repeat the same exercise with the rope as they roll on their back while on top of the noodles. This is great for the supine position.

Prone and Supine Exercises: Doctor attributes Superman to Preventing Developmental Delays | ilslearningcorner.com


Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning disabilities achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs


Comments

  1. […] for improving prone and supine extensions in your child’s back and stomach. If you remember our Superman article, it talks about how important these exercises are for helping your child develop their vestibular […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge