Exercise Videos

Below I’ve listed my top ten exercises for disabled people. I’ve tried to make suggestions as to which disabilities they may be suitable for, however, as disabilities come in all different shapes and sizes, and no two sets of symptoms are the same, it’s more a case of trying them all out to see which ones work for you.

Select the exercises from the below list which suit you and try to perform them regularly in 3 sets of 10 repetitions. For those of you who are unfamiliar with those terms, it means repeating a movement 10 times without rest (10 repetitions), then resting for 30 seconds to 1 minute before repeating a further 10 times (the 2nd set). Rest again before repeating for a 3rd time. In most cases, try to leave 48 hours between workouts in order to fully rest your muscles and joints. Stressed tissues take time to recover!

In terms of intensity, you should always be trying to better your last performance. That means that if you can complete 3 sets of 10 on a given weight, either try to move up to the next weight, or if you don’t have access to heavier weights/resistances, try to increase the number of repetitions or number of sets. Always be improving! It’s the only way to get fitter. Bear in mind that increasing repetitions will improve your endurance and increasing weight will improve your strength. Work out which one you’d like to focus on and act accordingly.

  1. Sit to stand

My favourite exercise! A really good exercise if you have a weakened lower body and need to increase lower body strength and stability.

Modifications: If you need assistance, place your hands on your knees to help with the push or if your legs are very week, you can use a support bar attached to the wall if you have one. Pull yourself up out of your wheelchair whilst attempting to put as much force through the legs as possible.

Suitable for: Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinsons, Obesity, Mild Cerebral palsy, fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, peripheral Neuropathy, Stroke, Partial Lower Body Paralysis, Motor Neuron Disorders and other conditions where some control over the lower body is present.

  1. Seated Tricep Dips

A good exercise to strengthen the triceps, chest and front of the shoulders. Strengthening those parts of the body improves the ability to transfer from wheelchair to other seats or bed.

Modifications: If you don’t quite have the arm strength you can use your legs to assist you slightly (assuming you have some strength in the legs).

Suitable for: Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinsons, Obesity, Mild Cerebral palsy, fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, peripheral Neuropathy, Stroke, Partial Lower Body Paralysis, Motor Neuron Disorders and other conditions where good strength of the upper body is present.

  1. Seated Knee Raises

A great way to strengthen the hip flexors enabling better access into cars, seat transference and locomotion (a fancy word for walking).

Modifications: If you struggle to get the foot off the floor completely you can use your calf muscle to flex your ankle, assisting with the movement. Be careful not to let the calf do all of the work though.

Suitable for: Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinsons, Obesity, Mild Cerebral palsy, fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, peripheral Neuropathy, Stroke, Partial Lower Body Paralysis, Motor Neuron Disorders and other conditions where some control over the lower body is present.

  1. Sit & Walk

For those who need to practice walking. The benefits are two fold. The sit to stand strengthens the legs and the short walk serves to improve …wait for it…walking! Can be done with assistance/crutches/a partner until gradual improvements are made at which point the assistance can be reduced stage by stage.

Modifications: Depending on your ability you can use the various forms of assistance mentioned above and vary the distance between the chairs accordingly.

Suitable for: Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinsons, Obesity, Mild Cerebral palsy, fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, peripheral Neuropathy, Stroke, Partial Lower Body Paralysis, Motor Neuron Disorders and other conditions where some control over the lower body is present.

  1. Reverse Crunches

For when you want to strengthen your abdominal muscles but you aren’t strong enough to do a normal crunch or a sit up.

Modifications: Use your hands to grip your knees or thighs to help guide you slowly.

Suitable for: Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinsons, Obesity, Mild Cerebral palsy, fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, peripheral Neuropathy, Stroke, Partial Lower Body Paralysis, Motor Neuron Disorders and other conditions where some control over abdominal muscles is present.

  1. Dorsal Raises/Seated back extensions

Because abdominal exercises need to be balanced out with an exercise to work the lower back muscles.

Modifications: If you struggle to bring yourself back up to an upright position you can assist by using your hands to press on your thighs.

Suitable for: Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinsons, Obesity, Mild Cerebral palsy, fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, peripheral Neuropathy, Stroke, Partial Lower Body Paralysis and Motor Neuron Disorders.

  1. Seated Reverse Flys

Strengthening your upper back muscles to help maintain good posture and assist with pulling actions.

Modifications: By varying the amount of weight you can increase or decrease the difficulty of the exercise. You can also use a resistance band and perform the exercise upright if you have no dumbbells.

Suitable for: Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinsons, Obesity, Mild Cerebral palsy, fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, peripheral Neuropathy, Stroke, Partial Lower Body Paralysis, Motor Neuron Disorders and other conditions where grip strength and some control over the upper body is present.

  1. Seated Shoulder Press

Increasing shoulder strength to help you in situations where you need to lift things above your head.

Modification: Try a lighter resistance if the exercise is too difficult. Alternatively, if using a resistance band, you can sit on the band with the ends in your hand and perform the movement as above.

Suitable for: Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinsons, Obesity, Mild Cerebral palsy, fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, peripheral Neuropathy, Stroke, Partial Lower Body Paralysis, Motor Neuron Disorders and other conditions where some grip strength and control over the upper body is present.

  1. Resistance Band Leg Press

An easy way to start strengthening the thigh muscles and the glutes (butt muscles), especially if the “sit to stand” is beyond your capabilities.

Modifications: Vary the length of your grip to alter the difficulty. You can also try this exercise in a lying position if you are not comfortable in a seated position.

Suitable for: Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinsons, Obesity, Mild Cerebral palsy, fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, peripheral Neuropathy, Stroke, Partial Lower Body Paralysis, Motor Neuron Disorders and other conditions where some control over the lower body is present.

  1. Kneel to Stand

Strengthening the lower body and assisting with balance, stability and mobility.

Modifications: If you struggle with balance you can use one arm to support yourself on a table, door handle or wall.

Suitable for: Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinsons, Obesity, Mild Cerebral palsy, fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, peripheral Neuropathy, Stroke, Motor Neuron Disorders and other conditions where good control over the lower body is present.

For a cardiovascular workout you can try a circuit by performing the above exercises in sequence with little or no rest between sets. One set of each exercise before moving onto the next and once you’ve completed them all, you can break for a couple of minutes before repeating the circuit a few more times.