The top 3 difficulties faced in the gym by leg amputees are:
Glute activation and/or strengthening on the impaired side:
A series of good exercises to performance before doing gluts or any other leg exercises. Would be first either to use a lacrosse ball or foam roller to relieve any knots in the hip flexors. Furthermore, a pnf hip flexor stretch will aid to improve glute activation.
This is where we have to look at the impairments in their own right and in a little more detail.
Above and through the knee:
- working the impaired hamstring with an ankle weight (unilateral exercise)
- stiff leg deadlift
- dumbbell hamstring curls (clutching the dumbbell between the ankles might be a problem for some double below knee amputees)
- stiff leg or Romanian deadlift
- single leg deadlift (balance might be a problem with this exercise on the impaired leg(s)). However, start by placing a box in front of you; once you get the hang of balance try to reach the floor.
- Tips: some of you might also have tight quadriceps (the 4 muscles on the front of the thigh) and these will need loosening with stretches and/or foam roller.
Tight calves and/or shins:
Lastly, we come to the final difficulty in amputees having tight calves and shins. Again, as we discussed earlier with the hamstrings, we need to look at the problem according to the impairment.
Single above or below the knee: the calves are made up of two muscles, the soleus and the gastrocnemius, so require two different forms of a stretch. The shin can also be stretched at the same time. Other ways you can relieve tightness is by Trigger point or foam rolling calf muscles.
Double below the knee: trigger point massage and foam rolling would be more appropriate.
Video of some of the named exercises and stretch can be found here:
PS: If you have any questions do send them to me, I answer every one, Just ask. Furthermore, I have attached some useful links to purchase a foam roller and/or lacrosse ball that can be found on my resources page.
Furthermore, while working on the Gym resource with Limb Power; I thought of some additional exercises to those already mentioned above.
These include among others:
Box squats for double above knee, below the knee, single below knee and quad amputees.
Unilateral squats plus addition exercise of a leg lift on the impaired side (single above knee)
Bodyweight squats (arm amputees) more of a safety element in not using a bar
Deadlift (double above the knee, below-knee amputees)
Stiff leg deadlift (single above knee, below knee amputees)
Hamstring curls (all but with different variations; can be done with a dumbbell between the ankle for a single below the knee, with a swiss ball for single above the knee and double amputees)
Dumbbell single leg deadlift (arm amputees)
Glute activation: glute raises or abductor machine
These are just recommendations.
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