Wheelchairs can make daily movements far more challenging for some individuals, but that doesn’t mean that these athletes are not capable. Athletes in wheelchairs can improve their lower body strength and mobility by performing supine, tall-kneeling, and quadruped exercises on the ground. In addition, using equipment like bands can allow for a lot of new movements and abilities for athletes.

Squats are some of the most beloved exercises in the fitness world, but what if we made them more accessible to those who have a different range of motion? As coaches, we are able to strengthen this active range of motion in the hips and quadriceps using movements like hip thrusts and elongation of the legs with a resistance band. Elevated bear crawls in a swinging position can fire up the same

muscles that are used in a back squat. Squats are able to be achieved when the athlete holds onto a barbell or pole for support. If the athlete can report fatigue in the quadriceps during this movement, we know that the right muscles are being used for this squat exercise.

Allowing these activation exercises helps increase the range of motion for the athlete and allows them to train the correct muscle group, even in a wheelchair. Alterations for athletes who require a wheelchair are possible, including seated leg press and band-resisted exercises.

Programs like Adapt-X and Adapt-a-Bull strive to increase the accessibility and inclusivity in the fitness world and do so promoting new techniques like these. If you’d like to learn more about how our Adapt-X certified coaches can get you started with an in-person or virtual workout program, visit our Personal Training page.