Upper Body Workout Designed for Wheelchair Rugby 7s

May 18, 2017

May 2017 see’s the return of the wheelchair rugby 7s Tri Nations held in Liverpool.

First off, wheelchair 7s is not like the wheelchair rugby witnessed during the Paralympic Games. This is a much more mirrored version to the running game, with adaptions only made to suit the use of a wheelchair.

Other than this the rules and general game play are of a very similar style, with lineouts, scrums and all the excitement of a 7’s tournament!

So with this exciting tournament fast approaching what will the players be doing to get that extra edge and take advantage of their opposition?

As you can well imagine the wheelchair version of the sport is all about that upper body power, strength, endurance and stamina.

We need power in the scrum (3 players from each team, in a single file line go head to head with the ball placed between the two front opposition chairs in order to contest possession), strength to drive through tackles, endurance to sustain that strength output throughout the game and stamina to last the full 80 minutes of fast paced, crashing action!

It’s fairly easy to adapt to working out in a chair and it can provide the upper body with an amazing workout catered to the very needs of wheelchair 7s.

Aim to develop the strength and power in the major muscle groups involved in the pushing action, including the deltoids, pectorals, trapezius and latissimus dorsi. Then train and build on the endurance of the assisting muscles like the biceps and triceps.

If disability allows, then creating a strong, resilient core will be key to gaining an edge in the head to head battle down the pitch in order to score that all important winning try!!

Even if you are not a wheelchair user feel free to try out the following upper body workout

Warm up

Hand cycle bike on a medium resistance to start for 3 minutes then turn up to high resistance for 3 minutes.

Follow this up by completing 20 reps of curl and press with a light pair of dumbbells to fully warm up the working muscles.

Main session

Start with the major muscle groups first so to not tire out the assisting biceps and triceps muscles.

Complete 5 sets of the following exercises with 8-12 reps in each set, ensuring you use the appropriate weight to fulfil the rep count:

  • Shoulder press
  • Lat pull down
  • Bench press
  • Rear row cable machine

Follow this up with a circuit of assisting muscle group exercises completing 3 sets of 12-15 reps for each exercise:

  • Dumbbell triceps extensions
  • Dumbbell Bicep curls
  • Dumbbell Front and lateral raises

Finish off by having a round on the rower by positioning the chair in a stable position to allow for the upper body movement and row for a set time or distance, maintaining a steady pace to work on your stamina and fitness levels.

The wheelchair game is just as exciting, fast paced and crushing as the running game, if you have never seen the sport before or fancy watching a game check out the video below! 


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