So I've been paralyzed from a spinal cord injury almost 3 years now, and am just starting physical therapy school. My hands are too weak to grip weights, but I have gloves that can wrap my hands around bars/TRX/resistance bands, etc. Also, my lower back and abs are too paralyzed to give me much stabilization, so most of my workouts are done lying down or with 1 arm while bracing with my other arm.
I've been using resistance bands and 9lb beanbag ring-weights which I can wrap around my wrist, as well as a couple machines at the gym, but am struggling to find better high-resistance workouts so I can gain strength. I'm lean but want to be bulky. Any ideas? All help is appreciated.
Ummm.....you look like you should be GIVING workout advice instead of asking for it. You look pretty fucking ripped to me.
But at any rate, my best friend is now a para due to a car accident. It was a very rough adjustment at first but now it's almost as if that chair wasn't even a hindrance to her. She got hand controls on her car and is completely self sufficient now. But like you, she complained at first about not being able to workout the way she used to. The thing is, you can still do almost all the exercises you used to do (unless you have an injury you haven't mentioned.) But you might also try incorporating some other methods as well.
Thera-Bands are your friend! They're cheap as shit but very effective. In fact, go to any physical therapy office and you'll see boxes and boxes of these. I'm sure you've even used them already during your rehab process.
I would also recommend these. We use them daily in CrossFit. They're great for stretching as well as building muscle. Like the Thera-Bands, each color is a different resistance so you can use them much as you would weights.
I'm assuming you're already using traditional weights? Kettle bells and dumbbells are still great tools. You might find balance to be an issue at first because it takes a while to build those stabilizer muscles that keep you from falling over. Your legs used to keep you from falling over, but now you have to develop different sets of muscles to do that function. Many of these muscles are small and weak because they don't normally get that much use, but trust me, you can make them so strong nothing will be able to knock you over.
One more thing.....a pull-up bar. Preferably mounted low enough so you can reach it from your chair without assistance. If you're too weak to do any pull-ups on your own at first, this is where the second link I gave you comes into play. You throw one of the Power Bands over the bar and use it to assist you until you get strong enough to do them without it.