An upper body ergometer, commonly referred to as a UBE in physical therapy clinics, is a piece of exercise equipment which is like a bicycle that you pedal with your arms.
An ergometer is an exercise machine that can measure the work of human muscles. The UBE is an ergometer that can measure how much work your upper body muscles are doing. Settings can be adjusted on the UBE to control resistance to change the amount of work that your upper body muscles are doing. Typical UBE machines have an adjustable seat, and many allow you to also use the machine while standing.
If you have shoulder pain, shoulder surgery, or any other upper extremity problem that may affect the strength or endurance of your arms, your physical therapist may choose to have you use the UBE while in the physical therapy clinic. Also, if you have worn a sling while healing from injury, you may notice that the strength and endurance of your arms is impaired. The UBE can help you improve your strength and endurance to help improve the function in your arms.
If you have had a heart attack, cardiac problems, or pulmonary illness, your doctor may refer you to physical therapy for cardiac or pulmonary rehabilitation. The UBE may be used to help improve your cardiac endurance or pulmonary function so you can quickly get back to normal activities.
Sometimes, lower extremity injuries like fractures or sprains prevent you from using your legs normally. The UBE may be used as a cross training tool to maintain your fitness level while your lower extremity injury is healing.
If you are have an injury to your shoulder, elbow, or wrist and attend physical therapy, you may experience the UBE first hand. It can help you get your arms moving to quickly get you back to normal function.
After healing from my proximal humeral fracture, my shoulder was extremely weak. My physical therapist had me use the upper body ergometer to improve the strength and endurance of my arm.