Exercise equipment for paraplegics

Written by kirk maltbee
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Exercise equipment for paraplegics
Paraplegics have plenty of exercise options (wheelchair access sign image by Gina Smith from Fotolia.com)

Paraplegics are by no means incapable of getting quality workouts. While they have certain limitations in regard to mobility, both home and gym-based equipment exist to help wheelchair bound folks engage in regular cardiovascular and strength training exercise.


Also known as armogometric machines, these simple devices can be mounted on nearly any flat surface. Exercisers place their hands on the machine's pedals and use their arms in a bicycling motion to "pedal" against a variable resistance.

Superman Bike

Developed in conjunction with the late Christopher Reeve of Superman fame, the "Superman Bike" aids both paraplegic and quadriplegic patients. The exerciser has his limbs fastened into an exercise bike and electrodes are attached to main muscles groups. The electrical current stimulates muscle contractions.

Free Weights

Many paraplegics choose free weights for upper body workouts. Due to their accessibility, dumbbells, whether set weight or adjustable, can be used for many exercises without having to transfer to a piece of cable-loaded equipment.

Cable Loaded

Conversely, cable-loaded equipment available in most commercial gyms and health clubs help prevent accidents by setting the range of motion. Upper body machines like the chest and shoulder press and back rower can be used once the exerciser transfers himself from the chair to the machine.

Resistance Equipment

Similar to free weights, resistance-type equipment, such as strap-on wrist weights and flexible resistance bands can be used nearly anytime and anywhere. Exercisers can remain seated without having to transfer to a machine. Such equipment is inexpensive and requires little know-how to use it.

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