There is a ton of info on the internet regarding training. At this point there is too much info as every personal trainer in the world rushes to publish a paid service or ebook before spending enough time actually in a gym experimenting to know what works and what doesn't. This problem is increased 10 fold for wheelchair lifters as a lot of the information itself is garbage, plus the program rarely fits appropriately for a wheelchair lifter.
Random Exercise Selection
Often times when looking through other programs I see a hodge podge of exercise selection. It often looks to be more of a trainers favorites than an attempt for each exercise to build upon the previous. This can be a further pain for wheelchair lifters to follow if the program has you changing the load on every exercise. I have explained numerous times that this is a waste of our time.
It is also useful for us wheelers to leverage a single piece of equipment for multiple exercises. Bench for Chest, Tri. Squat rack for Bench, Tris, Pullups, etc. Yes, we technically would be hogging one piece for a long time, 20 minutes or so, but this makes for a very efficient use of our time. Plus it can minimize the amount of time we have to clean up someone else's leftover mess on equipment.
If you are using a public gym, you must have a plan of attack when you go in. Try to fit in two or more exercises where applicable. This can turn a 60+ minute workout into a 45 minute workout quite easily. Template online programs pay no mind to any strategy, nor much thought to be honest...
Another real problem I see in online programs is an insane devotion to a single bodypart in one workout. Any program that has you hitting triceps with a Close Grip bench, then skull crushers, then cable pressdowns, then overhead extensions, then dips, then .... STOP!!! Each bodypart does need variety, but not in a single workout. You really do not need more than 2 movements for a specific bodypart in any given workout. And if one of those movements is a compound movement (bench press, military press, pull ups), than you really only need that one exercise for that workout.
Aim for 5-6 sets for a bodypart per workout. Much above that converts to wasted effort. Make those 5-6 exercises really count, then move on. The exception is if you are in a volume modality with German Volume training in a 10 set per exercise manner. But again, the max on a bodypart would be 10 sets. This would still pale in comparison to some of the 25+ sets for Biceps I have seen online.
25+ sets for a single bodypart is plain dumb, wasteful and meant for people who pump in steroids through an IV.
Lack of Suggested Alternatives for Wheelers
This is one of the biggest problems wheelchair lifters face if they try to follow a poorly constructed online program. There are some specific exercises that can be very difficult for us to do, such as a bent over row, yet there are alternatives. These online programs are often too rigid and do not offer up suggested alternatives. While a bent over barbell row may not work for me, a lying down one arm dumbell row works great! I have to adjust, no problem. But when people first start out they may not be aware of the alternatives, become frustrated, and give up.
This is why I created this site, to help guide folks trying to train from the chair. If you have any questions hit me up and check out my Beginner Wheelchair Fitness ebook!