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Thread: Question about pushing myself in my chair...

  1. #11
    O, you need to get with some of the wheelers in your area. Perhaps a sports team or something like that. I'm sure they would check out your chair for efficiency and offer some really good advice.

    Don't force it, you don't want to rip the rotators and such. Like the above, take it easy and don't be too hard on yourself.

  2. #12
    My husband is in a sip n pff PC, so I have no advice Oli.
    But I wanted to tell you to give yourself credit for what you have done so far.
    It is great that so many here are able to give you hints and experience.
    Last edited by LindaT; 04-02-2011 at 03:42 PM.

  3. #13
    I've found that changing my COG made almost all the difference in my wheelie ability. Now I can pop them forward/backward, 360 and am training myself to pop while moving forward (starting with 1/2" board and moving up as I train more). I had my COG at 2.5 and thought that would do it- I now have it at 3.5 and it's perfect for me.

    I almost always go up hills/ramps backwards. It's SO much easier and you can really lean into the power phase of the stroke because I'm not worried about tipping over backwards. Worse that could happen would be I just started rolling down the incline-forwards. I can recover from that a lot easier.

    I've learned in the past week of wheeling outside, that 1st street sucks, 2nd is okay and 3rd is a dream. Also, the Kroger parking lot leans really bad to the left. Experience will prepare us and working out will strengthen us.

    Also- good gloves have helped me tremendously. Instead of heating up my hands on the rims- I just push my palm flat onto the rim and let friction do it's thing. I can steer while going downhill very fast by simply pushing my flat palm onto the rim because the gloves protect me. I would recommend a pair.

    Another thing I do for those slanted sidewalks of Pain Pain Pain- switch between going forward and backward every so often. Gives each arm a chance to rest. Also, letting hubbs give me a push every now and then makes him feel useful and gives my arms a chance to recover.

  4. #14
    Think of it this way... from the time you took your first steps as a baby until the first time your toddler self ran full speed down a hallway without falling probably took a year or so. You had to practice the motions, develop the strength, and eat a lot of falls along the way. We just don't remember it - we can only see it as we raise our kids.

    Wheeling is the same way, only complicated by lack of ability.

    Push technique is important. If you imagine the push rim as a clock, viewed from the side of your chair, you start 11 or 12 o'clock, than push 2 with your arms, 3 with your torso/head movement if you're in a hurry, then RELAX. As your body comes back up, your arms ride back up in a relax motion to the top of the wheels again. This will stop you from looking like an actor who plays a wheelie poorly or a basketball player, and save you a lot of energy. Save that push-pullback-push for sprinting.

    I had amazing balance, so I realize wheelies won't come as quickly to everyone as they did to me, but I think the most important thing is getting over your fear of falling backwards. I tossed myself backwards until I fell on my couch a few times, got a feel for it, but whatever works for you. COG, a good wheelchair, that stuff helps but I could sit and watch TV in one in my hospital wheelchair. Nicer chairs with better COG just made it less work. I practiced an hour a night for a few nights until I could hang onto it for 20 minutes straight, then move around. The first time I fell unexpectedly was after I learned to move backwards in a wheelie and was so thrilled with myself I stopped paying attention. What I learned was that concrete floors are hard, but there's not far to fall!

    When I wanted to learn curb hopping (going forward full speed, popping into a wheelie while riding forward up and over whatever obstacle you are hopping, leaning forward to pull the back of the chair over) I did it all on flat ground first. I set up somewhere with a strict demarcation line and just ran myself at it with the goal of riding a wheelie with my casters 5" or more off the ground before I hit it. I did that for a few days until I could hit it every time, THEN went out to try some real bumps and curbs with a friend.

    I'm progressive, so I had been crutching for years before all this - in a very real way, I had already been dragging my body weight around, I came with strong arms. Don't hurt yourself, build up at a speed you're comfortable with. Arms weren't meant to pretend to be legs, and nothing in most people's lives strengthened the right mucle groups for that stuff. Don't expect it to be instant, budget it all some time every couple days.

    Next year you'll be scoffing at how impressive people find what you are doing to be. =)

  5. #15
    Senior Member fishin'guy's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    Seattle area Wash state
    Oh gawd, the memories... Rehab and popping a wheelie over the LINES in the cement... then the falls outta the chair while in public... But those days are over, sit and watch a quarter of football now, hang in there Oli you'll get it..I know all my kids and grandkids have got into the chair and tried it, wheelies all-around.

  6. #16
    Gosh you guys are so supportive. I have kind of been avoiding going out so I certainly haven't been getting enough practice.

    My mom has been visiting and I have really been hiding just how messed up I am from her. I don't want to use the chair in front of her. I have this weird thing where I need her to see me as perfect so I don't ever share any of my real life with her. Only what I think she should see.

    She is leaving Tuesday and I will start taking the chair out as much as I can and trying to get some real practice and better strength.

    I am finding it hard to know when to use the chair since I can walk short distances. I sometimes think that a walk into the pharmacy will be fine but after a stand in line I am dying in pain and wish I had the chair.

    My chair for me alleviates pain so just how much pain do I want to tolerate on a given outing? It is a question I haven't answered. Leg strength in increased by walking but pain is increased exponentially.

    Maybe I am just to chicken to use the chair and have all these excuses not to? I am just staying home, hiding from my mom and tolerating vast amounts of pain. Maybe once I get the hang of it better it will be easier to use and I will go out more and be in less pain and all will be well?

  7. #17
    I dunno O, If I could stand and walk short distances; I'd go for a electric scooter of some sort. There are so many different ones out there. Would save on oyur shoulders and would be much easier to haul around in many cases. Course, I do like pushing my manual but as time rolls on, lol, the shoulders go south due to overuse.

  8. #18
    Sidewalk cross slope sucks big time! But, just as everyone else is saying, with time it will get better.

    Consider some upper body strength training. Your triceps and delts could probably use some building up, and that will make wheeling in the real world much easier.

    Don't put yourself down. It will get better.

    Here are some wheelchair skills videos:

  9. #19

    I used to be in a similar situation to you, where I could walk short distances just fine, and even longer distances if the terrain was flat and level (read: indoor walks). If given the choice, I tended to err on the side of not using a chair. Mostly, when I did use it, it was because other people (notably my mother) insisted: I was always a slow walker, and sometimes they just didn't have the time or the patience to put up with that.

    My mother and I eventually settled on a compromise of sorts, in which I would always use the chair in situations that involved a substantial amount of walking in a public place, but never in any other situation. So for instance, I would use it for shopping in big places (the mall, going from one store to the next in the city, ...), for short trips (the zoo, a museum, an amusement park, ...) and often on family vacations (which usually involved a lot of walking too). But I never used it inside the house, in school, or when we were going to just one place (like the bakery or the pharmacy, the doctor's office or even the hospital).

    I'm trying to illustrate a point here: I think it's just about drawing a line in the sand somewhere, and then sticking to it. I drew that line at extended bouts of walking in public. Maybe your line should be 'anytime I get out of the house'. I don't know; that's a decision you need to make for yourself. But once you've drawn that line, deciding whether or not you're going to use the chair in any given situation should become surprisingly easy.
    Last edited by Saranoya; 04-03-2011 at 02:20 PM.

  10. #20
    They don't really "train" you how to push a chair. At least they didn't for me. Anyway time is definately the key word!!! As far as up hill inclines, yea they suck. If you are able to lean a little forward to give yourself a little more bang for your buck do that. If your balance isn't great then obviously don't do that . Downhill, I would drag my one hand on the rim to slow down the increase in speed and also to counteract the slope too

    But again, TIME, TIME, TIME and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. It won't get easier unless you get out and do it.

    Good luck!!

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