One-handed lifter adaptive fitness equipment recommendations

I started strength training at the start of the pandemic after years of letting misguided commitment run on my knees. I’ve long known the value of strength training with compound lifts (exercises that use multiple joints and muscle groups simultaneously, such as the bench press or the squat). But I didn’t realize what I could accomplish for myself until a virtual trainer introduced me to adaptive fitness, which uses adaptive equipment to prioritize the functional fitness needs of disabled and injured athletes. With this approach, I can finally exercise my remaining left arm, which ends just past my elbow, put on muscle mass and gain daily functional strength that I never thought possible before.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: I’m not inspired to work with just one hand. Most disabled athletes (myself included) simply do what we can to keep fit. However, we do have some unique challenges when it comes to exercise, and we sometimes use slightly different tools.

“Trainers don’t need to buy expensive equipment to be able to serve properly conditioned athletes,” said Alec Zirkenbach, executive director of the Academy of Adaptive Training, which educates personal trainers about adaptive fitness. The same applies to you. Here are some of my favorite pieces of adaptive exercise equipment.

Versatile strength training: resistance bands

Resistance bands are often recommended for people who are looking for a simple, graduated strength training regimen that can be used easily at home. the five pieces Bodylastics . Stackable Tube Resistance Bands Designation (Our choice for four yearsIncludes a wide range of resistance grades and positioning options to help turn your entryway into an exercise station. These straps (which combine for 96 pounds) come with two handles and a pair of padded ankle straps, which are adaptable: they can be attached to leftovers or hands that can’t hold onto standard handles; I did it with my left arm doing rows and flies.

To help with grip: Weight lifting hooks

Weightlifting hooks are a special item for experienced lifters but are also excellent assistive devices for athletes of all levels of experience and abilities. Designed to take the load off the hands and wrists, they allow you to exercise prior limiting factors such as grip strain or slippage. (I discovered them through a friend on Instagram, who wraps one hook around her remaining tip, and had to try them myself.) DMoose lifting hook Made with non-slip coated steel hooks and nylon velcro straps, which keep the weight fixed up front and distributed across your limbs. This reduces the tension required in the hand, wrist, forearm and elbow to hold the barbell. Given the length of my remaining tip, I actually found these hooks to be more useful for my right hand when I’m doing one-handed exercises like one-handed bell swings. For other grip-assisting tools, Emily Kramer Throckmorton, CEO of Kaizen Athletics, recommends gear from active hands.

For a comfortable, portable carry: medicine balls

You might be surprised to learn that those seriously looking medicine balls in the gym are actually excellent adaptive fitness tools. Depending on the athlete’s grip ability, dumbbells or kettlebells may be difficult to hold. But the medicine ball can be easily carried between the arms (for squats or overhead press) or legs (for basic exercises like leg raises or Russian twists). Despite being about the same size, Rogue medicine balls Ranging in weight from 4 to 30 pounds. Their flexible vinyl-coated shells can be safely squeezed and counted comfortably, unlike dumbbells or kettlebells. Medicine balls can also provide balance and support for athletes with variations in their limbs during exercises such as mountain climbers and push-ups, such as Paralympic swimmer Jessica Smith. Appears on Instagram. like medicine balls, sandbags It can provide resistance if you can’t control traditional dumbbells, Zirkenbach said. “It’s a great multi-tool, like a Swiss Army knife in the gym,” he added, noting that it can even be used to keep a wheelchair in place for seated athletes.

To Help Hand Lifts: Prepare Aldridge Arm Harness & Strap . Products

One-handed person lifts a bar with the help of a dridge arm in the gym.
I use the Equip Products Aldridge arm harness and belt to perform the dead iron lift. Photo: Brett Young

Processing products It stands out as one of the few manufacturers of truly adaptive fitness equipment, offering a range of items for the seated and visually impaired athletes (including those who focus on cardio, use one hand fitness ropes for seated athletes) and those with upper body disabilities. For strength training, people with injuries or disabilities in the upper body may find Processing of Eldridge products, belt and arm belt To change the rules of the game. The crossover nylon harness is two inches thick and lined with neoprene to distribute weight across the athlete’s torso, allowing him to perform balanced lifts, carry farms and other traditional two-handed lifts. (this video Shows this in action.) The belt’s D-ring (rated up to 10,000 lbs) is attached to a polyester webbing, which wraps around the weight to be lifted. I am able to perform balanced barbell lifts with just one hand thanks to the Aldridge lever. However, the belt can be uncomfortable for lifters who have breast implants, and I’m still trying to adjust the fit. In the meantime, I’ve joined a community of online lifters (Shout out to monstersAnd they endorsed the most important exercise rule: consistency.

This article has been edited by Ingrid Skjung and Tracy Fons.


1. Emily Kramer Throckmorton, CEO and Founder Kaizen AthleticsEmail Interview, 8 Jul 2022

2. Alec Zirkenbach, CEO of adaptive training academytelephone interview, 23 June 2022

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