Wheelchair Exercising Book: Zero Assistance Resistance Training by Dan Highcock
Synopsis: Paralympian launches bespoke wheelchair-based workout book to help chair users become fitter, healthier stronger and more independent.(1)
Author: Dan Highcock(2) Contact: danhighcock.com
Published: 2016-10-03 Updated: 2020-09-23
My reason and inspiration for creating ZART was to allow any wheelchair user to complete full training sessions without the need for assistance.
This 12-week fitness program works the whole upper body and cardiovascular system using dumbbells, plates, adjustable cable racks and resistance bands - in a wheelchair.
There is an abundance of fitness books out there for the general public on how to get lean, muscular and fitter. Specialist publications, focussed on helping the wheelchair user achieve the same result lies somewhere in between scarce and non-existent!
Written by Dan Highcock, a pro and Paralympic Basketball player and online personal trainer, Zero Assistance Resistance Training (ZART) is the solution the absolute mind field that is health and fitness to the wheelchair user. Dan says,
"From my experience with previous wheelchair using clients, it's not always possible to complete their training plans if their training partner or personal trainer (PT) in the gym isn't available. Hiring a PT full time is a luxury that most people just cannot afford. My reason and inspiration for creating ZART was to allow any wheelchair user to complete full training sessions without the need for assistance. This 12-week fitness program works the whole upper body and cardiovascular system using dumbbells, plates, adjustable cable racks and resistance bands - in a wheelchair throughout, 100% independently - to increase strength, conditioning, independence and a better quality of life."
Paralympian Dan Highcock Playing Wheelchair Basketball
The ZART Program
- Boosts independence and fitness with 12 workout plans to keep things varied and interesting
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Increases hand speed (ideal for wheelchair sports)
- Boosts the body's ability to adapt and repair itself and avoid injury
- Offers nutrition and supplement advice to speed up results
- Has clear demos for each exercise with photos
Who is Dan Highcock?
At the age of 5, Dan had a motor bike accident, destroying his hip and pelvis, leaving him with a condition called avascular necrosis of the hip - a condition that worsens with age. Needing surgery last year to maintain his hip function, sooner or later, he will be confined to a wheelchair full time.
After the accident, doctors and surgeons alike told his mother that he would never walk again. I was in hospital for over 6 months. This was followed by several more months at home in a full-body plaster cast.
Once freed from the cast, when his mum went out of the room, he would try to stand up and take steps around his chair, holding onto the side. He could barely put one foot in front of the other. He says "If my mum caught me she would have gone crazy!" As far as everyone was concerned, he was never walking again - end of story.
He paid no attention to the advice. At 13, he secretly started using an exercise bike after school, unbeknown to his mum. Very quickly, his legs got stronger and started to develop and Dan began playing wheelchair basketball. Thanks to his determination, he has played professional wheelchair basketball all over Europe, winning cups and titles both in the domestic leagues and domestic European Cups in the UK, Spain, Italy and Germany.
He has represented Great Britain in 3 world championships, 3 European championships winning 2 silver medals and 1 gold. He took part in the London 2012 Paralympics finishing in 4th place.
Dan has thoroughly tested this workout is safe. It can be done independently - readers can trust it. He created it by;
- Using his experience of what works in my own training sessions
- Recalling how my clients liked to work
- Coming up with a draft routine
- Testing each exercise can be done safely alone
- Refining it
- Testing it as a program with real people
Work out safely! Getting injured isn't fun, slows you down and worst case, can cause long-term or permanent damage. It's important to read the instructions on how to perform a rep for each of the exercises safely.
Controlling Your Bands and Weights : Dumbbell and Plate Tips
- When picking up dumbbells always hold onto one side of your wheelchair or the rack for stability BEFORE lifting your chosen dumbbell off the rack
- Bend at waist while keeping your back straight as you pick up dumbbells with the palms of your hands facing each other
- Keep weight on lap if you can, if not, place on a bench next to you for easy access
- Put your chair's breaks on whilst performing the exercises
- Bands can be tied to your chair's frame or wheels, a nearby bench or anything else sturdy that you can attach it to in order to perform the exercises.
- Buy a range of different coloured bands (these are markers for how much resistance there is in each band) since you are going to get stronger whilst on ZART and will need to increase the resistance in the bands.
- Buy 2 of each band to save you the trouble of tying and untying every time you switch sides.
- You can wheel on top of the band instead of attaching it to something for some exercises (remember to apply brakes)
- You can use bands with or without handles.
- If your strength levels aren't so great right now, it may be a good idea to start off using Theraband® branded bands instead - there will be less resistance.
- Always have you brakes on
- Hold on to your frame with the opposite hand that you are performing the exercise with or hold onto a bench when it's in the incline position
Zero Assistance Resistance Training: 100% wheelchair-based workout program Paperback by Dan Highcock (Author).
"Well what can I say! It's so nice to have someone fighting in our corner guys. ZART and this guy are undoubtedly worth your time and investment. ZART is easy to follow. As a full-time wheelchair user and a qualified fitness instructor, I highly recommend buying this book. It will benefit your life beyond belief. The domino effect is real. Dan's book will leave you hoping for a sequel. It's so beneficial to anyone in a chair that has the need for more strength, mobility, fitness and independence." - Edward Joseph Molloy, full-time wheelchair user and a qualified fitness instructor.
"What Dan has put together in the following pages of this book is nothing short of fantastic - a compendium of training, nutrition and motivational tips and techniques designed but amazingly not limited to the wheelchair athlete. He truly is an awe-inspiring person." - Rich Sennewald B.Sc. (Hons).
The book is available from Amazon in print (A4 trim size) and Kindle format.
Publisher: Let's Tell Your Story Publishing.
Paperback: 158 pages
(2)Source/Reference: Dan Highcock. Disabled World makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith. Content may have been edited for style, clarity or length.
- 1: Free Accessibility Guide to UK National Parks : NRS Healthcare (2017/07/24)
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- 6: Arthritis, Veterans and the U.S. Military : National Arthritis Foundation (2016/06/05)
- 7: Life of Max Starkloff and the Fight for Disability Rights : Starkloff Disability Institute (2014/11/11)
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