Hey guys. Im not quite sure what to put here...so here goes nothing!
My name is Zach. Ive been working out faithfully for close to 2 years but only recently decided to become really serious about body building. It has been a struggle for me to get to this point in my training due to the fact that I am in a wheelchair.
Welcome! You're gonna shake us all up with new ideas and new ways of looking at things, I just know it. Navigating between closely packed weight machines and barbell racks in a wheelchair must be a creative workout in itself, for starters.
I have had to overcome and disprove to myself and others, many preconceived notions surrounding ideas that people in compromised physical situations such as my own are unable to, or shouldn't fully participate in such activities.
Wheelchair afficionados have the best lookin' arms in the business. Wheelchair racing has come a long way with high-tech racing chairs and such. I love watching guys who can raise up the front wheels and balance just on the back ones, even turning the chair around like that. Like Cirque de Soleil on wheels. Scares the living crap out of me but I love it.
Now that I have done so...figuring out a program that works for me is something Im still struggling with.
Nah, you're not struggling at all--you're learning. Nobody hits the weights an expert, right out of the box. Every bodybuilder's got a long story about where they came from and what they went through to get where they are now.
(On a side note, I believe I have done some damage to my left shoulder/bicep muscles. I have been unable to hit the weights for 2 days now...I have been experiencing pretty intense pains as well as heat and tingling sensations my arm. It goes without saying that since Im in a wheelchair, I am extremely dependant on my arms for pretty much everything so this has taken quite a toll on me. Does anyone have any suggestions for healing?)
Most of us have plenty of tales of learning experiences along the way involving repetitive injuries that it takes some of us years to learn how to avoid, despite our genius. If you only blast your shoulder once, you're Einstein. If you blast it two or more times, you're normal.
Robert's advice on seeking someone with a doctor badge is good advice. I can tell you that your symptoms don't fit simple DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), that wonderful ache you get a day or two after shredding. Right now, get an ice pack on the painful parts for twenty minute intervals and do as little with them as possible. If you go the drug route, Advil can be your best friend in an emergency. Since your main source of mobility is in peril, I'd call this an emergency, but you are in the driver's seat, you get to make the call. Meanwhile--and I know this sucks, big time--don't lift. At least not the throbbing parts. If they are strained or torn, working them will delay healing and might even cause them to heal improperly which will mess up your Amazing Guns Goal down the line. When you see a doc, ask him or her about getting a motorized chair for a short time to allow you to heal. Insurance should cover it, considering your situation.
I guess it would probably be a good idea too, for me to just clarify that I am not paralyzed, I have cerebral palsy, so I am able to do some lower body training..Im just having a rough time figuring out effective ways to do so as going for a run (along with many other basic exercises) obviously aren't realistic options...Suggestions anyone?
Can you maneuver yourself into lower body machines? If so, leg extensions, curls, and the seated abductor/adductor selections are awesome. You can also strap on weighted ankle cuffs and do extensions and ankle raises from your chair. There are padded cuffs that attach to the cables, too, but you'll have to work out the logistics of that one. You alone know how much you can balance and for how long. Pilates is another interesting idea, along with isometrics. I recommend surfing the web and finding wheelchair racing sites, they probably have a forum or articles on workouts and training schedules. Even if you don't race in the Olympics, you can still LOOK like you do!
One thing I do for abductor/adductors (inside and outside of thigh) is to lay down on a mat, balance a weight plate on top of the muscle, and lift my leg. I balance a 25# plate on the outside of my thigh and raise my leg for abductor; a 10# weight on the inside of my ankle for adductors. Start with no weights at all and work your way up to twenty reps with full weights. Nice burn. Another interesting one that few people do but more people should is the front of their calves. All you have to do is get in a seated position on a bench or in a chair, balance a bar across the tops of your feet, and lift your feet from the ankles, keeping your heels on the ground. You'll feel it. Gives you a nice, muscley bulge at the front of your shins to balance out your calves and it prevents shin splints beautifully. Work out your core to the hilt, too. Get your abs, obliques, upper and lower back absolutely rock hard. Your core is your iron hinge, your flexible stabilization in the seat, and it will save your ass, literally and figuratively, when you get into the bigger weights, if you decide to race, when you do more walking, if you take a tumble out of the chair, etc.
Meanwhile, consider that there is healing possible in every condition of the body. Most of the "miraculous" recoveries out there happened in spite of what physicians predicted, just do a little reading and you'll see. (I'm supposed to be dead now but I didn't listen.) You know more about you than any doc, you get to say what will happen and when. Just like working one arm positively affects the development of the other one, increasing the health of one system in the body sends a shockwave of relief to the rest of them. Stick to your guns (pun intended), surround yourself with people who think you are awesome, keep reading about possibilities, shred in the gym, and focus on the future. Laugh your ass off at least once a day. Have great sex. Eat delicious food. Stay tuned to this channel.
Zach kicks ass!