Working Out as a Quadriplegic

As a quadriplegic, it can be troublesome and hard to work out, especially if you cannot afford the equipment, which is super expensive. Insurance sometimes doesn’t even cover those things. I have found ways to make it work, though. Quads can get a good work out even without machines.

Now that it’s getting warmer, I can go downstairs and work out using the pulley system cable machine. Due to my condition, I use adaptive equipment with this system. This workout cable system is found in most gyms and I am sure a lot of people use them at home too. The adaptive equipment I use with the pulley system include hooks that wrap around my wrist and hooks that go inside my hand, emulating the grip of the hand for you, since people like me can’t use their hands or fingers.

Once I have the handles of the weights placed in my hands, I wrap Ace bandages over my hands so everything stays in place. I can then pull the resistance cord up and down with my arms and get a good workout. This is what works for me, but everyone has a different situation when it comes to his or her mobility, so be sure to figure out what works best for you and be sure to talk to your doctor before you start.

Although you can do this kind of exercising in a regular chair, I use my power wheelchair with iLevel® all the time when I work out. The seat elevation allows me to adjust myself so I am most comfortable when I am exercising and not hurting myself and still enjoying the workout.

Another way I have learned to work out (especially while being in quarantine), is through resistance bands. I still use the same adaptive equipment that I use for the pulley system, by wrapping my hands with Ace bandages and then attaching them to the resistance band. A resistance band is good because it’s less severe in the way it affects your muscles. After trying it for some time now, I kind of like it better than going to the gym. I can exercise with resistance bands in the comfort of my home. Of course, some people prefer going to the gym. To each their own.

One final tip to all the people in power wheelchairs, especially those with iLevel and tilt configurations. Always adjust your iLevel elevation while you are in tilt. This allows you to see how far back you can comfortably reach without overextending yourself.

About Jesse Cuellar: Jesse is an artist and a brand ambassador for Quantum Rehab®. An accident left him paralyzed from the neck down, so he uses his mouth to paint and expresses himself through his art. Jesse lives in St. Louis, Missouri, and enjoys painting and hanging out with his friends. Click here to learn more about Jesse.