6 Basic Abs Exercises for Wheelchair Users

Updated: Aug 26



Getting rid of excess fat from abs is a major challenge for wheelchair users. However, it is not that difficult once you master these 6 basic abs exercises for wheelchair users shown in the image. While the images are self-explanatory, follow the instructions below to ensure you do not miss the minor details of these exercises:

  1. Side Bend Stretch: Sit up tall with a straight spine and ground your hips to the wheelchair seat. Now, extend your right arms towards the ceiling and bend to the left so that your right arm touches your right ear. This will make a large ‘C’ shape with your spine. Repeat each step with your left arm so that your left arm hugs your left ear. Hold each position for 10 seconds and repeat each side 5 to 10 times.

  2. Chest Squeeze with Medicine Ball: Sit in an upright position while engaging your abdominal muscles to support the back muscles. You can now hold a rubber ball or medicine ball at the chest level. Squeeze the ball between your hands to contract chest muscles. Push the ball forward in slow motion until your elbows are straight. Now, gently pull the ball back to your chest and repeat. Hold each position for 5 to 10 seconds and repeat 5 to 10 times.

  3. Captain’s Chair: Sit up straight and grab the front edge of your seat with both hands. Slowly lift both of your feet off the floor, bending your knees towards your chest as you do, lifting as high as you comfortably can. Squeeze your abs at the top of the movement, and lower both feet back to the floor. Be careful to not raise your legs past a comfortable position. If you are only able to raise your feet a few inches off the floor to start, that is fine. Hold position for about 5 to 10 seconds and repeat 5 to 20 times.

  4. Abdominal Twist: You can start performing this exercise by sitting in an upright position with a straight spine. Extend your spine as you twist your upper body to the left. Hold the position then switch sides. Hold position for about 10 seconds and repeat each side 5 to 10 times.

  5. Stomach Pumps: Sit straight on your wheelchair. Pulse your abdominal muscles out and in as fast as you can for 30 seconds to 1-minute cycle. Pull your belly button towards the spine while you drawn the abdominal muscles. Avoid performing this exercise right after meal as this can make you feel nauseated. The best time to do this exercise is 2 hours after a meal. Perform each cycle for about 30 to 60 seconds and repeat 5 to 10 times.

  6. Seated Basic Crunch: Sit straight and cross your arms across the chest. Pull your belly button towards your spine to engage the core muscles. Press lower back against the back of the wheelchair as you curl your shoulders, chest and head towards your thighs. Straighten the spine and come back to the starting posture. Do multiple seated crunches in 1-minute cycle and repeat 3 to 5 cycles.

For a complete routine around these exercises and dietary recommendations for them to be highly effective, contact us.

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