Working out as an amputee is very important. Our bodies are not all there, and so what we do have needs to be strong. If you were to pass me on the street I don’t think my appearance would scream gym rat. I don’t work out to be big, I work out to be better! Here is a post about my amputee workout!
*I am a below-the knee amputee, so these may need to be modified for upper limb amputees.
I know the gym can be an intimidating atmosphere, but honestly, most people are just there taking selfies (note selfie below 😛 ). If you’re not ready to face others, or you just prefer an at home workout I’ve separated gym and at home activities! Please add your own in the comments 🙂
Amputees who have lost a limb due to a congenital issue (something they’re born with) often have comorbidities (basically other issues tag along). I was born with Club Foot, and a common comorbidity with that is heart issues. I work out to keep what I do have healthy. Not to mention it gives you a mood boost and boosts your immunity. It also helps with circulation which is something that many amputees struggle with.
- Jumping Jacks (high impact, but doesn’t seem to irritate my knee)
- cycling (stationary or go get some fresh air)
- Elliptical (wayyy lower impact than the treadmill, but still running!)
When I was little I would oftentimes go without my leg while I was at home & crawl around. Because of my childhood years I have great arms. I don’t however, crawl around anymore so in order to keep those arms I do the following workouts.
All of these can be done at home!
- Bicep Curl (kettle bell)
- Concentration curls (dumbells)
- cross body hammer curl (dumbells)
Core is key for amputees. The human body is supposed to be symmetric. Take away one of your limbs and you lose that symmetry. With that you lose balance. I am missing my lower right leg, and I am probably the least graceful person I know. Because of that, I work on my core.
- Bicycle Kicks
- Wall sits
- Hanging Leg raise (core & hip flexors)
I have one good leg that needs to be in good health because I overuse it! Since you are going to be overcompensating due to the loss of a limb you need to make sure you take care of your last leg. I do not run on the treadmill because for me high impact workouts are painful and more damaging. I also do not do lunges because I just fall over, and can’t keep good form. When I do squats I put the bench behind me as a guide. Once my butt touches it I come back up, and if my leg feels too weak, I have a landing pad. Do what you’re comfortable with, and keep good form!
- Calf Raises (emphasis on calves)
- Hip Thrusts (emphasis on glutes – add a barbell if you’re feeling strong)
- Squats (emphasis on quads)
- Romanian deadlift (RDL) (emphasis on hamstrings)
- Horizontal seated leg press (emphasis on quads)
The gym can be boring at times so outside of the gym I often hit the trails or compete in paratriathlons!
Read about “Hiking as an Amputee“
Read about “Paratriathlon“
Share your favorite workouts below!