Armrests — Scope | Disability forum
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ScottBorno Member Posts: 7 Listener
One thing that I have found that is extremely beneficial in accomplishing tasks is (This is ONLY for those who are able to support their upper bodies, like safely sitting in a kitchen chair) drumroll please...

Remove the armrests on your wheelchair.  If yours are easily removable *AND* you don't need them to keep you from falling over the side, take them off.  The rests restrict the most efficient way to propel me.  

I'm gonna get a bit technical here for a second.  Sitting in your chair, view the inside of the right wheel, the side next to your leg - like the face of a clock.  Are you still tracking, lol?  

With the armrest on, you're probably putting you hand at 12 o'clock and pushing to 10.  And the armrest keeps your elbow elevated and away from the torso.  That's what makes it inefficient in two ways.  One, when starting your push (referred to as power stroke or "ps" from now on) at 12, half of the force you apply is directed straight to the floor when it could be applied as forward motion.  Two, your elbow is elevated and away the body, which is about the worst way there is to push something.  Think about that for a sec.  When you try to push anything, I mean anything - do you ever set yourself up that way?  Elevate your elbow and lift it away from your body and then try to push?  Of course not.  You lower you elbow and keep it close to your body, right?

So, if the armrest is out of the way - your elbow is in a natural position to push.  It also allows you to really use your bigger upper arm muscles more freely.   Try it, you'll notice it right away!  And second, you'll find yourself starting your ps with your hand at 11 and pushing to 9 o'clock.  No more wasting power by starting at 12.  I get the MOST power and speed using this method.  BTW, I can roll a mile in 11 min.

There is one drawback.  If you're wheels are dirty you'll get that stuff on your arms or long shirt sleeves.  I just wear a "work shirt" or jacket that I can take off when I get there, if it's a destination that requires more than "working casual" attire

I hope this helps somebody!  Peace to you and have a blessed day!

PS:  Learn how to turn yourself around in the least amount of space.  Push right wheel forward and pull left one back.  You can turn around with a single stroke of each hand, in less than a second - which is really handy when my fiancee decides she wants to turn around in an isle in any (every lol) store.



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