Fat-burning workouts for wheelchair users

Rolling Inspiration
By Rolling Inspiration
5 Min Read

Tiffiny Carlson shares some ideas for fat-burning workouts adapted for people with spinal cord injuries. This article was first published by Spinalcord.com on January 10.

Almost everybody seems to be interested in losing weight these days. For a wheelchair user, losing weight is especially hard. Many of the workouts we see on a daily basis, whether they’re online or at your local fitness club, simply aren’t accessible. If you don’t live near an adapted gym, your options as a wheelchair user are likely limited.

Because of this, we decided to put together a list of three easy fat-burning wheelchair workouts you can do with the least amount of equipment required. While virtually any person with a spinal cord injury (SCI) could lose weight on a wheelchair treadmill, most of us can’t afford one.

This is why social media is so important. Wheelchair users from around the globe are sharing their fat-burning wheelchair exercise tips, and we’ve compiled three we think you will love.

Adapted CrossFit

CrossFit is one of the biggest workouts to hit the scene in the last couple of decades. While the Crossfit company was founded in 2000 (and its founder was teaching its practices prior to that), it has exploded in the last 10 years, with more than 13 000 CrossFit gyms in more than 120 countries worldwide.

This style of workout uses a variety of equipment, including dumbbells, pull-up bars, kettlebells, medicine balls, resistance bands and rowing machines – all equipment that wheelchair-users can use!

What makes CrossFit different is that the discipline easily allows someone to create individual complete daily workouts, which they can use to compete against others (another popular aspect of the sport). Many wheelchair users love the competition side, especially if they’ve been bored with other adaptive sports. 

One of the easiest (and cheapest) CrossFit exercises is using a weighted ball, which you throw up into the air with your back against the wall. You then challenge yourself to do as many repetitions as you can in a certain amount of time.

You can get great cardio from nearly any kind of CrossFit exercise, which we all know burns those kilojoules and fat. Simply search “wheelchair CrossFit” on YouTube for hundreds of workout videos.

Wheelchair HIIT workouts

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts are a seriously effective way to get cardio from a wheelchair. The concept behind a HIIT workout is that you do “very-high intensity bursts of cardio exercise followed by equal or longer periods of rest”. Sounds intense, but it works.

Most HIIT workouts last under 30 minutes, which is especially nice if you are new to fitness. There are several HIIT workouts for wheelchair users, but one of our favourites is the 20-minute fat-burn HIIT workout for wheelchair users from Ben Clark – a quadriplegic and workout fanatic from the UK.

Clark has a video channel called Adapt to Perform. In this workout video he shares a series of five HIIT workouts that you do in four intervals. It gets your heart rate up quickly and this will help you burn fat. If you do this exercise three to four times a week, you’ll absolutely lose weight. Hand weights are recommended but not necessary.

View his workout by clicking here.

Wheelchair boxing (“boxercise”)

One of the classic forms of cardio is boxing, and this sport/workout can be adapted to a wheelchair user’s needs rather easily. Boxing, by its very nature, is an upper-body-intensive exercise. This is why you will find many wheelchair boxing videos online as a form of wheelchair aerobics.

Boxing also elevates your heart rate exceedingly well, which is especially good for cardiovascular health. You don’t need boxing gloves, a boxing bag or even a trainer to get in a good boxing workout. All you need is to punch the air, also known as “air boxing”, and you can have the same results (even though it might not be as fun).

Wheelchair boxing is very popular all over the world. Watch this wheelchair boxing workout, as demonstrated by a trainer and client, by clicking here.

This article has been republished with permission from Vincent Dolan, director of operations at Swope, Rodante law firm in the US, owners of the Spinalcord.com website. To view the original article click here.

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