Adaptive Fitness Equipment for Rehabilitation & Everyday Workouts

arm-pedal-exerciserAbout 10 percent of the world’s population, or 650 million people, live with a disability. Despite living with a disability, people still get out and work out or enjoy fitness activities. Disabled people might also practice fitness during rehab perhaps after an accident. Many people often ask what the best exercise equipment is for a disabled person, whether for rehab or simply to continue working out.

There a many adaptive fitness options for people with disabilities. Everyone’s needs and goals are different, but there are some disabled fitness equipment options that can not only help with rehab, but also everyday work out routines. Here are some of the best:

Arm Cycle

There are a variety of arm cycles to choose from (sometimes also referred to as arm bikes). Some include seats, while others do not. Some are standing machines or are table top machines (for those who might use a wheelchair). Sometimes, arm cycles double as cycles for your feet, allowing you to place table top machines on the ground for leg exercises. It’s a great cardio tool for warming up, but also great for building muscle. The best time to use one is right before an extensive workout, for about 5-10 minutes to warm up.

Inside Trainer has a great list of different arm bikes, and how you can use them.

Gripping Gloves

Gripping gloves are great for those who use wheelchairs and partake in active sports. Gripping gloves can enhance play during wheelchair sports like wheelchair basketball or tennis. They’re also great for exercise machines or weight training when you might be trying to lift or pull.

Medicine Ball

A medicine ball, with or without handles is a great rehab tool but also one that is great for common exercise routines. Gripping gloves will also come in handy for a medicine ball. They can be used to work out a variety of areas: core, balance, and coordination. A medicine ball is also great because it can be used while sitting or standing.

Cuff Weights

If a medicine ball is not your thing, you can try cuff weights. These are also a great adapative fitness option. You simply strap these around your wrist and can use them with everyday activities, pushing a wheelchair, or simply to workout. The difference between these and a medicine ball is that you can adjust the weight you are strapping to your wrists.

Some great cuff weights can be found at Perform Better.


A rehab therapist might suggest patients to be use a Theraband. These can also be helpful for home exercise routines. They come in a variety of lengths and resistence levels (define by each color). If you’re just starting out or have never used any type of resistence exercise method in the past, it’s best to start at the easiest level and work your way up to higher resistences.

For a variety of other adaptive fitness equipment supplies, Disabled Sports USA has a pretty extensive list of disabled fitness equipment.

About the Author: Nick is a guest contributor from Global Lift Corp., providing ADA compliant pool lifts and spa lifts. You can visit their website for more information.

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