T Nation

Bodybuilders in Wheelchairs?

Hello all, i wanted to run by you a little question. First of all, let me explain the reason of it, which is most important.

I suffered a small accident, and lost my left leg below the knee and my right foot, just above the ankle, middle of the calf…I damaged my rotulas and kneecaps,patelars, so in short, I may walk and stand up for short time periods, with the aid of canes and my prosthetics, but I am bound to a wheelchair for life.

I have a good upper body, nothing impressive, just like sturdy, and all. I only feel good with exercises such as dips, chins, pulls, pushups (yes, I can do pushups, my prosthetics hold and it may hurt a little but nothing bad) and every bodyweight exercise, perhaps with some added weight on some.

I like to do them for 20 reps, or more like it, start on 20-rep sets and ending up in painfully slow and excrutiating 6-8 rep sets, basically stop doing it when I hit my first set of 6-8 reps.

My speed of movement, or tempo is simple: lift hard and fast, lower under control and tense, so i may take less than 1 second on the way down, and much less on the way up, no pauses, full ROM.

Now, for some odd reason, I hate going to the weight room, I feel awkward in it, people stare me down and if not, try to be too damn condescending at me.I just hate it, and even though i knoew they do it out of good intentions and solidarity, it just distracts me.

Now, does any of you guys out there have a program that consists of bodyweight exercises, something that needs 10 to 20 reps per set, not less than 8 at the lower end, and doesn’t require more than 1 full second on the way down?

First off, much respect.

If you want to continue to try a commercial gym, have you tried headphones? Just block everything out and focus solely on the lifting.

If that won’t work, bodywieght isn’t bad but adding weight will surely allow you to progress much faster. You could invest in some lifting equipment for your home if that is feasible.

Trust me. Nobody at the gym has anything but the utmost respect for you going there with your handicaps. The best thing you can do in this world is show those fat gym wannabes that excuses don’t cut it. Good lifting!

Thanks for the kind words, fellas, I appreciate them.

Now, the problem i face is a very simple one: I can’t lift slow, i love doing bodyweight exercises either with or without added weight and work the muscles in sets that can go from 20 reps to 10 reps (normally start at 20, maxing out on each set, but as my strength decreases, they become 10-rep sets, so i end the session when i hit my first 8-rep set)…and I can’t even count more than 1 full second on the eccentric, and that’s decreasing as well.

I know it takes me around 30-25 seconds to do a 20-rep set at the beginning of my workout, and I normally end up with my 8-rep set taking 10 seconds…

What does one do to get big when you can’t move slow? I got a recommendation from a rehab specialist that I should stick to a natural speed and range of force production, menaing to simply do as many reps as I can in the cadence in which I get the most out of each rep, no matter how many reps that is, and to go home when i can’t complete half the reps i did in my first set, doing one exercise per muscle group, working out the muscle groups targeted for no less than two times or no more three a week…

This sounds like a plan?

can you please explain why you are set on a routine that is oriented around sets of 20-ish reps that can be performed quickly?

there are many routines you can develop. all you need to do is focus on progression/performance improvements over time to make progress.

so, as time goes on, make sure you’re doing more reps/more weight over time. if you’re doing that, you’re always headed in the right direction.

i knew a wheelchair dude a few years back who benched over 300 pounds. it was very impressive considering he barely had legs… his legs were very small and uncerdeveloped, i’m not sure what happened to him. but benching over 300 pounds must’ve been like double body-weight-. not to mention he’s clearly unable to arch his back and stabilize his body by driving through his heels. it was badass.

did your rehab specialist explain WHY you must perform your sets in that matter?

what are your goals in the gym, anyways? i’m assuming you wanna get jacked up and strong. right?

A small accident eh? :-/

Don’t let yourself be driven out of a gym by a couple of staring morons.
If you’re moving around in a wheelchair, you’ll have plenty of those everywhere, so you might as well get used to it.

There’s a wheelchair bb’er in my gym sometimes. It takes some getting used to as he’s the only guy who can’t go sideways in a crowded room.
Besides, if you visit the same gym regularly you will be accepted very quickly.

Did they give up on you walking around? One leg below the knee, the other above the ankle, it just looks like there’s still some material there to work with.

Anyway, succes with your effort.

What is the problem with moving fast? Why do you think you need to move slowly?

[quote]hueyOT wrote:
did your rehab specialist explain WHY you must perform your sets in that matter?

what are your goals in the gym, anyways? i’m assuming you wanna get jacked up and strong. right?[/quote]

Well, yes, i want to get big, ripped and strong if that’s possible. I want to get big.

Now, the rehab specialist told me that the injuries sustained in my arms and torso were very small, but my exposition to the amterial which contacted my skin was due to have caused some sort of neural response, atb a biochemical level, which explains my force and speed, and the tnedency to move fast…

I don’t joke you, I couldn’t win a million dollrs if you told me to do a tai chi movement more thana couple times, i just can’t…it’s like ajunkie on the juice…

Now, he told me that more than the nerve damage, the fact was that I would get more functional hypertrophy and some added non-functional growth out of measuring my sets duration, rather than the number of reps or their eccentric and concentric duration.

He said that since the metabolical process of hypertrophy is based on stress acumulation and fatigue management, time was the main ingredient, as opposed to a heavy lifting routine which is more oriented to a neurally-induced growth as an adaptative response, which works for strength mostly and which is very hard to use for growth, for it doesn’t produce so much growth as fast as i want to.

I was reading an article mentioned to me by this member, Vandal Savage, about timed sets, by Christian Thibadeau, but he doesn’t mention it more than once or tice in a thread he had, like he forgot all about his own method.

This Vandal Savage guy says that by moving a little slower, like a 1-second down and 1-second up no-pauses cadence, you would get functional growth and also bulk, as opposed to gaining just the bare minimum, which is his take on functional hypertrophy vs bodybuilding hypertrophy, as long as you keep sets challenging enough without using too much load, so he says that anything between 10 and 20 reps shaould do, as long as I get my sets at 30 seconds or higher…

What should I do?

[quote]quadmaster_fly wrote:
hueyOT wrote:
did your rehab specialist explain WHY you must perform your sets in that matter?

what are your goals in the gym, anyways? i’m assuming you wanna get jacked up and strong. right?

Well, yes, i want to get big, ripped and strong if that’s possible. I want to get big.

Now, the rehab specialist told me that the injuries sustained in my arms and torso were very small, but my exposition to the amterial which contacted my skin was due to have caused some sort of neural response, atb a biochemical level, which explains my force and speed, and the tnedency to move fast…

I don’t joke you, I couldn’t win a million dollrs if you told me to do a tai chi movement more thana couple times, i just can’t…it’s like ajunkie on the juice…

Now, he told me that more than the nerve damage, the fact was that I would get more functional hypertrophy and some added non-functional growth out of measuring my sets duration, rather than the number of reps or their eccentric and concentric duration.

He said that since the metabolical process of hypertrophy is based on stress acumulation and fatigue management, time was the main ingredient, as opposed to a heavy lifting routine which is more oriented to a neurally-induced growth as an adaptative response, which works for strength mostly and which is very hard to use for growth, for it doesn’t produce so much growth as fast as i want to.

I was reading an article mentioned to me by this member, Vandal Savage, about timed sets, by Christian Thibadeau, but he doesn’t mention it more than once or tice in a thread he had, like he forgot all about his own method.

This Vandal Savage guy says that by moving a little slower, like a 1-second down and 1-second up no-pauses cadence, you would get functional growth and also bulk, as opposed to gaining just the bare minimum, which is his take on functional hypertrophy vs bodybuilding hypertrophy, as long as you keep sets challenging enough without using too much load, so he says that anything between 10 and 20 reps shaould do, as long as I get my sets at 30 seconds or higher…

What should I do?[/quote]

your rehab specialist makes some interesting points. of course fatigue is a stimulus for muscle growth. but so is mechanical load/muscular strain.

so, you can fatigue your muscles and disrupt ATP regeneration through the set-rep scheme you were talking about in your original post, where i think you said you wanted to perform several sets with higer repetitions with high speed. of course, if you monitor your reset times and perform enough sets with enough weight, you will reach cumulative fatigue over the course of your workout and stimulate hypertrophy.

i must say it’s very strange that you must perform your repetitions quickly, but hey, if that’s how it is that’s how it is. keep in mind though, when loads get heavier and you’re lifting poundages closer to your 1RM, the weigh isn’t going to move all that fast. also, don’t think i recommend slow lifting. i recommend controlled lifting, which might mean slowly as a newbie gets accustomed to certain movements/exercises/lifts, but over time he/she will learn coordindation for these lifts and be able to perform the lifts more quickly with the same control, which translates to increased poundages, which translates to more tension being created in the muscles, which translates into more strength and also some hypertrophy. i hope that last part makes sense.

so, if you wanna perform high speed reptitions in the higher range with around 25-ish reps per set, that’s fine. you can stimulate hypertrophy this way by fatiguing the muscles cumulatively over the course of your workouts.

but keep in mind that if you are unwilling to perform lower repetition sets with heavier loads <higher percentage of your 1RM>, you’ll be missing out on another great tool for hypertrophy stimulation. heavy loads activate fibres that otherwise wouldn’t be activated with lighter loads. we’ve all got fibres that are reserved for near-maximum and maximum effort contractions. these fibres don’t get awakened from lighter loads, even when exhausting the muscle and reaching fatigue. and these fibres also have a big potential for growth.

the bottom line is i don’t think you should ell yourself short and throw away heavy lifting as a tool that you can use towards your goals. if you want to spend more time with lighter loads and higher reps, that’s your prerogative, and this method will help you approach your goals, but don’t completely throw away heavy lifting with lighter loads, as this is also an important tool in your toolbox for success.

lastly, with heavier loads, it’s not like you necessarily have to lifts these loads slowly. you should still be trying to quickly contract against the resistance. quick contractions <giving 100% effort even to a 70% load, for instance> creates a lot of tension in the muscle which leads to hypertrophy.

i forgot to address something your rehab specialist mentioned. you indiacted that your rehab specialist stated that time under tension is the most important factor when one’s goal is hypertrophy. i would respectfully disagree with this. remember, you can steal achive fatigue/exhaustion in the muscles with higher loads. you simply need to perform enough sets. however this can be particularly draining on the CNS. like you said, fatigue management is key.

bottom line, don’t sell yourself short by not using all the tools available to you to build muscle size: fatigue/exhaustion, varying tempos/speeds of repetitions <sometimes lift slow, other times lift fast>, heavier loads and lighter loads, etc…

hope that makes sense.

good luck.

is ‘quadmaster fly’ an intentionally ironic screen name due to your physical condition? 'cuz that’s funny shit.

Believe me bro., people are thinking of every excuse they’ve ever used to skip a workout and are looking at you with RESPECT. Since you didn’t mention benchpresses, why not specialize on that lift? My good friend Kim Brownfield contracted polio as a child and uses crutches to walk. This man has benchpressed 625 lbs. in the 220 class. I’ve personally witnessed him bench 405 for 17 reps and he still had some left in the tank.

If you want, PM me and I’ll try to get you in contact with him as I’m certain he can help you in this area. Also check out 4est on this website, who also uses a wheelchair. He has some pics in his profile which are very inspiring.

I searched long and hard for this pic. I think it says everything that needs to be said bro.

http://www.T-Nation.com/forum_images/.1127306909674.Colt2.jpg

By the way, that guys name is Colt Wynn. You should try and get in contact with him and see if he can help you out.

Here’s a few more photos…

http://www.paralinks.net/images/coltwynnbodybuilder.jpg
http://www.houseofpainironwear.com/images/makemefamous/wynn/colt-trophy250.jpg
http://www.craigproductions.com/archives/ECpics06/Other%20Images/94%20Colt%20Wynn/Colt%20Wynn_03.jpg
http://www.craigproductions.com/archives/ECpics06/Other%20Images/94%20Colt%20Wynn/Colt%20Wynn_12.jpg

Also there was a guy who guest posed at this years NABBA Irish champs along side Simon Robinson who lost both his legs and came up to the stage on crutches. He used to be an olympic level boxer. I’ll see if I can find some pics.

Call me crazy,but I like simple: why not just get a weight vest for the BW exercises?

Screw the people who stare.There is a guy in a wheelchair at my gym,I only stare because his torso is broad and defined…and lifting more then more me.

Just gives me more reasons to bust my ass.You have my respect sir.

[quote]Hanley wrote:
I searched long and hard for this pic. I think it says everything that needs to be said bro.

http://www.T-Nation.com/forum_images/.1127306909674.Colt2.jpg
[/quote]

i remember that picture when it was the ‘Powerful Image’. i saved it on my desktop, then. i thought of that image when i saw this thread, too!

To all of u who dont train legs read the fuckin thread again.U have no EXCUSE.This poor fella would love to train legs but he cant.
SO WHATS YOUR EXCUSE!

Much repect man.

Good luck for the future

King of kings

I have gotten an opinion from this Vandal Savage character.

He says that 25-25 reps per exercise holds in high-rep fast-speed exercises as long as you do enough exercises…

As an example, for the chest, that would be incline, decline and flat presses (or dips, pushups as supplemental or replacement exercises for the decline and flat angles) along with 3 isolation exercises (1 for the outer pecs, like flyes and 1 for inner like pec dec, along with pullovers for the ribcage and serratus), that’s 6 exercises total per session,for no less than twice a week…

However, he says that it is preferable to keep the sets not within a certain rep range, but within a timeframe…basically 25 to 35 seconds, and keep them at 4-6 sets per exercise. Now, he said to me “any lifter can follow this regardless of their tempo, a guy lifing between 6 and 8 reps at a 21X1 tempo is lifting between 25 and 35 seconds per set, a guy lifting 15-20 reps at 10X0 or 1010 tempo is doing the same (roughly) and a guy lifting on an X0X0 tempo for 20-30 reps does the same”…so I was wondring of folowing his advise.

He also prescribed to me a strange way to do sets:

“…Choose a Load you can lift 10 times as you usually like, fast up and somewhat controlled but not slow on the way down…now, try to lift it as fast as possible, pause quickly and squeeze at the top, and lower slow, opposing to it, not too much as to feel the joints too bad, but enough so the muscle feels a level of tension close to the lfiting phase…you may not get more than 3-5 reps before you want to move faster to ease the stressm so stop at that point, then drop the load by 20% and do more reps, and you’ll see that your eccentric speed won’t be as slow as the first 3-5 reps, but faster, and when you feel you wneed to speed up, drop some 20% off the laod again and complete as many reps as possible…3-4 ses of that on an exercise shall get you big, id you don’t do more than 2 compound lifts per bodypart, in different angles of motion, like vertical and horizontal, that is, like dips and bench presses, for example, and follow them with 1 isolation exercise in which you just aim for 2-3 sets of max reps with a light-moderate weight…”

Again he prescribed to do this as often as possible, no more than 3 and no less than 2 times pr week ona body part…now, my question is, is this a rational idea, something logic? I have done my best this week and I have seen that I lift fast and lower in about 2 seconds, perhaps a fraction above that…and feels good, so perhaps that’s a good way to grow, but I can’t keep in that zone for much, I eventually move faster after the first couple sets.

So far I have managed to lift 100 kilograms on the 25 kilograms barbell, for 7 times with a 1-second down and 1-second up tempo speed, at a bodyweight of 70 kilograms, and i know i can’t be more than 12% bodyfat. I don’t know if that’s good, but I sure feel proud of it, and thankful for your support, your comments…I am gonna look like Ronnie Coleman on a wheelchair (and white, though) and show everybody that T-Nation gives the ebst advise in lifting.

[quote]hueyOT wrote:
is ‘quadmaster fly’ an intentionally ironic screen name due to your physical condition? 'cuz that’s funny shit.[/quote]

LOL, yes, actually it’s funny, becuase you see, my quads look gigantic since I have not much of my calves, my only calf is dry as a bone, so thin you can put a bracelet just below my knee, but it’s cool…

The reason why I don’t use prosthetics is the burns, they would make me get blisters, i have tried, so the ones I use are very comfy but can’t wear them more than a half hour, maybe 10 minutes more at best, they start to itch, so I always have the stumps without socks or anythign and cover with a blanket…

I have planned on shaving my head to look like Professor X…LOL…hope to look bigger than Vin Diesel after I bulk, and get ripped, LOL

[quote]TornadoTommy wrote:
Believe me bro., people are thinking of every excuse they’ve ever used to skip a workout and are looking at you with RESPECT. Since you didn’t mention benchpresses, why not specialize on that lift? My good friend Kim Brownfield contracted polio as a child and uses crutches to walk. This man has benchpressed 625 lbs. in the 220 class. I’ve personally witnessed him bench 405 for 17 reps and he still had some left in the tank.

If you want, PM me and I’ll try to get you in contact with him as I’m certain he can help you in this area. Also check out 4est on this website, who also uses a wheelchair. He has some pics in his profile which are very inspiring. [/quote]

Oh well, truth is, I am seeing the pics shwon below in the thread and I want to look BIGGER than those guys, and way more RIPPED, so I am using every pic to inspire myself.

A good friend of mine did something cool yesterday, he pasted bodybuilder torsos on several pics of me, got them printed in a door-frame size, and put them in my building’s rooftop, where the bars are and the clotheslines and all, for me to watch as I do exercises, and got me one of those vests they use in the army and filled it with lead pellets that weight very ehavy, the vest loaded at its fullest weight likes 45 pounds, and it feels spread all around me, so instead of feeling like I have a cannonball on my belly, I feel the weight on my body, much natural and probably feel like I gained 50 pounds of fat…LOL