January 22, 2016 | 5:00 am | By Pants Up Easy
Just how strong are your arms? Unless you work in manual labor or are the world’s biggest Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson fan, you probably don’t ponder this often. But when you’re in a wheelchair, the strength of your arms becomes vitally important – especially without the use of your legs. If you’re paraplegic, your arms are now the most useful body parts you have. They will help you propel yourself in the chair, transfer to and from it, and lift virtually anything that you might need to lift. Therefore, it’s a good idea to try to make those arms a little stronger.
Interested in how to increase strength in a wheelchair? Here are three ways to kick it up:
Perform wheelchair dips
A “dip” is performed by holding up your body with just your arms (usually with the help of handrails), then lowering it slowly, followed by returning back up to starting position (you can see a visual explanation here). Well, why not do the same kind of exercise with your chair? Considering you’ll need to be prop yourself up in the chair when transferring, it can be helpful. Simply grab hold of each armrest of your wheelchair and try to raise your body using just your arms. Get yourself off the chair as much as possible, then lower yourself back down. Every time you perform this motion, consider it one rep.
Purchase some light dumbbells
Dumbbells are some of the most useful and versatile pieces of sports equipment on the market. You can perform many different strength training exercises with them, such as bicep curls or the incline dumbbell press. Regardless of how you choose to utilize these dumbbells, any regular lifting you do with them will help you build strength. If you’re looking for ideas, here’s a nice list of available exercises you can do in your wheelchair.
Utilize rubber bands for resistance training
We’re not talking about run-of-the-mill rubber bands you’d find at the grocery store. These are the type of rubber bands used for exercising, and they’re a great alternative to lifting weights. With the use of rubber bands you can undertake some resistance training, simply by stretching the rubber bands in creative ways. You can set them up for pull downs, arm extensions or shoulder rotations, and since rubber bands utilize your strength for resistance, you’ll never overexert yourself.