How to Train Clients with a Disability

How to Train Clients with a Disability

Despite what many people think, exercise for individuals with disability or special needs isn’t out of the question. However, it is sometimes a precarious process. It should only be done with oversight from a trained professional and after a discussion with a specialist.

Individuals with any type of injury or disability may think that it’s harder for them to work out than others. But sometimes it’s not the result of a true absence of physical capacity. Sometimes individuals with disabilities lack the motivation they need to get started. That’s where a good personal trainer comes in.

If you previously thought that personal trainers rarely work with special needs or disabled clients, or if you’re curious about how to become certified to help them achieve their fitness goals, these practical tips will get you started.


Here’s how to train clients with a disability:


Chest Workout for Special Needs People

These exercises for special needs clients are centered around practicing the chest area and should be possible for anyone who doesn’t have any chest-area wounds. These should be possible effectively while sitting on a seat, wheelchair, or bed.


Exercise with a Resistance Band

There are a few activities that you can do while sitting on a seat or wheelchair. All you need is a good resistance band. Here are a few examples:


Chest Press

To do a chest press, simply circle the band around the rear of your seat and place the handles at chest level. Stretch the band with two hands till your hands are straight in the front. Return to the initial position and repeat.


Turn Around Flys

Hold the band with two hands straight out in front of you. Stretch the band in an outward and in a reverse movement like feathered creatures stretch their wings. Repeat as many times as you can comfortably.


Biceps Curl

Wrap the band under your seat’s armrest or wheelchair wheels. Hold one end of the band in each hand. Keep one hand on your lap and stretch the band upwards utilizing the other arm. Elbows will be twisted downward and arm movement ought to be upward.


There are numerous different activities you can do utilizing a resistance band. You can also continue increasing the resistance level as you improve and build muscle.


Weight Training

You can also do lots of different weight training practices for building core muscles in a seated position. It’s actually pretty similar to exercises that able-bodied clients might do at the gym, just seated rather than standing or lying on a bench. For these activities, decide the number of reps in a set and the amount of weight your client can handle based on their level of strength and activity.


Here are a few activities to kick you off: 


Shoulder Presses

The shoulder press is an upper body strength exercise performed using weights. Begin by holding weights in both hands. To begin with, position the arms such that the weights align with your shoulders and ensure your palms are facing forward. Once you have done that, initiate the exercise by pushing your arms up and down in a controlled repetition sequence. Moreover, continue with this movement to complete a set. This exercise targets the shoulder muscles effectively, contributing to enhanced upper body strength.


Tricep Extensions

Tricep extensions are another potent upper body workout that specifically targets the triceps muscles. Begin by firmly holding a weight with both hands positioned over your head. From this position, lower your arms towards your back, directing the weight behind your head. Stretch your arms as far back as you can comfortably manage and then return to the original position. This exercise is instrumental in enhancing your tricep muscle strength.


Bicep Curls

Bicep curls are possible to perform using weights. Start by holding a weight in each hand with your arms extended in front of you and palms facing upward. Initiate the exercise by raising the weights upward without elevating your elbows. Ensure that the movement is centered around your arms and involves elbow flexion. Bicep curls target the bicep muscles, contributing to improved arm strength and definition.


Lower-Body Workout for People with Disabilities

The determination of a lower-body exercise for special needs individuals relies principally upon the type and level of disability.

Individuals with serious disabilities and no versatility are not prescribed to do any leg workouts. However, individuals who are mobile enough to walk can still take strolls since that isn’t too strenuous.

Here are a few leg exercises for individuals who have some versatility.


Seated Leg Extension

This is an isometric exercise that centers around building muscle pressure without over extending the muscle.

Sit in an upstanding position, hold your armrest, and gradually lift one foot upward. Stretch your leg with your foot flexed towards the shin to create muscle tension. Gradually bring back the foot to rest and continue repeating. Next, repeat the process for the other foot.


Sit to Stand

If you have some mobility and can stand, you can safely attempt this activity. It is very straightforward as you should simply stand up and plunk down and continue rehashing it. This activity improves lower body strength and is useful for individuals with restricted mobility.


Pedal Exerciser

This is a special type of equipment that allows cycling like leg practice while sitting in a seat. This is useful for exercising your legs without applying too much weight and straining them.

Advantages of Being Physically Fit Despite Having Disability

Engaging in regular physical activity can lead to better cardiovascular health, increased muscle strength, enhanced flexibility, and improved respiratory function. Physically fit individuals can experience better overall health and a reduced risk of developing various chronic conditions, regardless of disability.

Physical fitness can significantly improve an individual’s quality of life, regardless of their disability. Regular exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood enhancers. This leads to an increase in happiness, a reduction in stress, and an improvement in mental well-being.

Moreover, being physically fit can foster independence and the ability to perform daily activities without relying heavily on others or assistive devices. Additionally, improved physical strength, endurance, and flexibility enable individuals with disabilities to carry out their daily tasks more efficiently, promoting a sense of self-sufficiency.

Special Needs Personal Training Certification: Become a Special Needs Fitness Trainer

The activities referenced above are only a a small sample of the numerous ways clients with disabilities can work out. You can also do activities like these at home or at the gym. But first: You’ll need to get certified to work with special needs clients in a fitness setting. We can help with that!

The Special Needs Fitness Instructor Certification equips you to train individuals with both physical and cognitive disabilities, enabling you to help them achieve their fitness goals upon completion of the course. When you get certified through Special Education, you’re also joining a community of fitness professionals who share in your passion. So, on the off chance that you have any subsequent inquiries with your clients, or need additional help, remember we’re only a call or email away!

Strong Education teaches personal trainers and service providers on how to adapt fitness and nutrition for children, adolescents, and adults with autism, Down Syndrome, and other disabilities through our online adaptive special needs certification course.


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Thank you for your interest in Special Strong

One of our local special strong trainers will reach out to you shortly.

In your area we provide virtual in home training. Please take a look at this video to know more about what to expect in a training class. Also join our Facebook and Instagram community where we highlight stories of our clients overcoming challenges to live an abundant life. We hope to highlight your story soon.

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