While if is generally agreed that motor activity promotes motor, cognitive, and social development, the specific benefits in people with severe or profound intellectual disabilities (S-PID) are as yet unknown. The aim of this study was to systematically review the evidence related to motor interventions designed to improve motor, cognitive, and/or social outcomes in people with S-PID. A systematic review of empirical studies published between 1982 and 2012 was conducted using four databases (MEDLINE, PsycINFO, ERIC, and CINAHL). Data were extracted regarding the aim of the study, study design, sample characteristics, theoretical framework, intervention, the measurement tools utilized, and outcomes. Of 295 articles reviewed, 46 met our inclusion criteria and covered 45 different studies. Forty articles used single-subject designs and five used a group design. The majority of the articles focused on behavioural techniques with (n = 21) or without (n = 15) assistive technology. Theoretical frameworks were explicitly reported in nine (20%) of the 45 articles. Thirty-eight articles reported improvement in basic motor skills and eight articles reported improvement in recreational or more specialist motor skills. None of the articles reported negative effects due to motor interventions. Further research is required to determine which motor interventions are the most effective in improving motor outcomes and/or cognitive and social outcomes, and on the longer term effects of these interventions in people with S-PID. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.