January 8, 2016 | 3:52 pm | By Pants Up Easy
It’s a brand new year, and you know what that means: the parking lot of every gym in America will be bursting at the seams around 6 p.m., at least until February rolls around. This is the time of year when everyone suddenly becomes concerned with their waistlines, especially after they probably just spent most of December eating gingerbread and pumpkin pie.
There’s nothing wrong with being healthy, and considering what a problem obesity is in this country, we could all probably use a little more cardio. But if you’re in a wheelchair, doing some exercises can have extra benefits. For instance, working out your arms a bit can make it easier for you to propel yourself in the wheelchair.
Curious to learn more? Here are three gym exercises you can do in a wheelchair:
When it comes to weight lifting, compound lifts (affecting multiple muscles) are considered the best bang for your buck. The incline dumbbell press is a great example of this, and it’s easy to do in a wheelchair. Simply put a cushion behind your lower back to help you lean back at a 45-degree angle, then raise and lower dumbbells straight above your head as if you were bench pressing with them. This will work your shoulders, chest and triceps.
We’re focusing on arm strength here, and since we’ve already worked out the triceps with the dumbbell press, now it’s time to train those biceps. No need to get complicated; you can opt for simple bicep curls. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palm up, and raise your arms so your elbows are at your side and your arms are straight out in front of you. And now, alternate curling each dumbbell up to your shoulder and back down.
Even though you may not be able to use your legs, that doesn’t mean you can’t do crunches. We’re not interested in a six-pack – crunches build your core strength, which is vital for balance and security in your wheelchair. Sit up tall with your arms crossed over your chest, and bend your upper torso forward, keeping your back straight as you do. Bend down as far as you can slowly, then slowly rise back up. That’s one rep. Do as many as you can until you’re fatigued, and then repeat for a couple of more sets.