Friday, December 19, 2008

Working Out in a Wheelchair

This is the time of year we all start to think about our shape- whether it's getting in shape, staying in shape, feeling healthier, or working off those holiday eating frenzies, it's on everyone's mind. And although this topic is good any time of year, it's proven that workout regimes that begin before the holidays are more successful in the long run. Whether you're getting in shape for another sport or just doing it to feel good, hitting the gym is a great thing to do if you're in a wheelchair.

So today I followed Craig around the gym to get some tips for our valued readers on working out. Craig's been hitting the gym hard even on the days he skis to get ready for the 1st annual Legends of the Deep Powder Invitational we're hosting here in January, but he's seeing the results on the slopes already. Keeping a regular work-out schedule builds endurance and energy in addition to muscle, and it improves your overall attitude as well. Top it off with a soak or a steam and your muscles will thank you!

Always start your workout with a good stretch warm up. Loosen up those muscles you're about to use for their own safety. It's a little harder in a wheelchair, there aren't many cardio machines out there for wheelers, but you may want to put a request into your gym to buy one. Remind them that even able bodies can use them while rehabilitating after surgery. But windmills, stretches, and anything that loosens up your arms is a great start. Don't forget to stretch or soak at the end of your workout as well to let your body adjust to new muscle mass.

Craig's Typical Workout
Craig starts his workout with situps on this crunch machine. He rotates this part into his workout twice, as with anyone, a strong core is a strong body. But also, without his leg muscles, Craig's abs are his largest muscle group and make up the bulk of his strength for skiing. In addition to the crunch machine he adds an oblique twist because these side ab muscles are just as important as the front ones.

Next he moves on to the freeweights. Doing the shoulder press, bicept curls, and tricept lifts, Craig makes sure to hit every arm muscle group several times from different angles. Doing this builds the most strength and muscle diversity possible. Also make sure to do longer sets (12-15 reps) to build leaner, flexible muslces, and add weight when you feel ready.

1 comment:

sports wheelchairs said...

My exercise regiment is similar:)