Training Benefits Men with Spinal Cord Injuries

Although the benefits of weight training are well documented, there is not much information on the benefits of strength training for people with spinal cord injuries (SCI). A recent study found that men who have SCI received physical, psychological and social benefits from resistance training.

The study, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning (14(4)), involved four men with cervical spinal cord injuries. It found that weight training offered physical benefits of increased muscular strength and endurance, psychological benefits of enhanced self-concept, enhanced self-esteem and strengthened self-efficacy, and social benefits derived from working out in a social environment. Such benefits help those with SCIs with activities of daily living (ADL), such as navigating a curb or getting into a car, and with the emotional effects of having a disability.

Study authors emphasize the importance of exercises that help with ADL. They say, “professionals should work with lifters to identify important ADL, and then select exercise to mimic those activities.” For example, include dumbbell shoulder presses for placing heavy objects in high places, and dips for people who want to improve their ability to transfer.