I volunteer with an organisation called AccesSports which takes activites that the most agile of athletes find challenging and brings these sports to children and adults with disabilities. The exhilaration inherent to each sport is just a part of the experience which fosters positive change in function and fitness as well as attitude and expectation for a life lived with a disability. Programs are designed to promote each person's highest physical and athletic potential while cultivating social and emotional well being. We seek to create a community where differences are diminished, blurred and often erased. Our programs are designed to build a community of relationships that last a lifetime. This video gives an overview of the some of the activities athletes participate in.
However, before the exciting sports activities can start, a stretch and fitness work-out happens first. We use games to engage our athletes - for example, heading soccer balls, doing oblique crunches or finishing song phrases before coming up from a squat. Then we work on aerobic conditioning using options like obstacle courses or other movement drills, often with soccer balls. The point is to safely elevate the heart rate of our athletes for a few minutes. Even if the athlete is in a power chair we might emphasize something like raising their leg or arm or rocking while moving in the chair. Next we teach a soccer skill - for example, trapping the ball, learning to pass with the inside of the foot or a move. This is the last half hour of class; the focus eventually is to use the skill in a game in the last 10-15 minutes. Again, the drills are fun and driven by team competition. The drills can be relay races, juggling contests or even soccer bowling (kicking balls off cones). The final game is small sided so everyone gets a chance for many touches of the ball. Each session ends with a cheer.
With the athlete on his/her back and feet straight up in the air. We do leg presses with a trainer leaning on 1 or 2 of the athletes feet. We prefer close chain exercises (i.e. squats) but often get better form with trainer's body weight. After a set we go right to either 1 or 2 legged bridges. We generally avoid reps here and hold for 20 seconds instead.
With athletes with high tone and extremely tight hamstrings, we do either lying abductor splits or standing weight shifts.
Lying abductors is where with the athlete on his/her back the trainer sits by the athlete's feet and put their hands under the feet to provide resistance or to be a gliding aid as the athlete tries to work on abduction. We make sure the feet stay on our hands on the ground so hip flexors cannot be a part of the exercise. The legs have to stay straight through as well.
The weight shift exercise is demonstrated in the following two videos
3 sets of leg presses and 3 of bridges or abduction.