At Home Upper Body Exercises for Quadriplegics

This article contains a video
a woman smiling
Curated by
Kristen Sachs
Content via Chris Colwell
Chris Colwell
Curated by
Kristen Sachs

Chris is a C5/C6 quadriplegic with limited upper body movement. To stretch and strengthen the muscles in his arms, he has developed an exercise he does in his home using a squishy ball, a desk, and the wall. Chris does this exercise in the morning to help with the stiff feelings in his arms. “lf I don’t use my arms too much, I actually get a lot of pain in my shoulders and in my neck,” he shares.

The ball Chris uses, often called a puffer ball, has small rubber “hairs” sticking out all over it making it easy for Chris to grip since he has no finger movement. “The little fine hairs stick to my skin,” he explains. “Whereas a soft or smooth ball would just slide out of my hands.”

Chris pulls his wheelchair up to his desk that rests against a wall. He throws the ball against the wall and catches it as it lands on the desk. With this exercise, Chris accomplishes three things:

“Get my heart rate up, get my arms exercised, and get my day started.”

Watch Chris demonstrate his technique in this video.

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