Weightlifting with an Upper Limb Prosthesis

2 min read
Feb 15, 2022

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One of the inquiries we receive most when potential patients contact us is asking how they can start or resume weightlifting. We get it! A partial hand limb difference makes it difficult to properly lift even small hand weights or to grip a barbell or the handles of weight machines — a higher level limb difference can make it difficult for someone to know where to start. Balance is a big part of weightlifting and if you’re not balanced, you can quickly find yourself with some pretty serious asymmetry and overuse issues.

Many heavy-duty passive and body-powered partial hand prostheses can handle weightlifting without needing to make a lot of adjustments. Point Design digits and Naked Prosthetics both offer options that people can use during their weightlifting regimen. However, if your amputation level is such that an activity-specific device would be more helpful, that is an option as well. Custom-built device made of durable materials combined with a BOA system that makes it easy to dial in how tight or loose the socket feels.

There are many options for people who are looking for a weightlifting device including the JAWS, black iron trainer, TAD weightlifting device, and the Multi-D pivot, to name a few. Angel is a below elbow congenital amputee who uses a variety of terminal devices to support her varied workouts. Not only can she use her Shroom Tumbler for stretches and yoga, she also has a different terminal device that helps her with both weight machines and free weights. Watch her workout in the video below:

Wendi is a gym rat and posts her progress with her activity-specific prosthesis to her Instagram account, as you can see below:


Max Okun’s patient profile video is one of our most popular on YouTube. Max was working to become a personal trainer when he found that his limb difference was causing him painful overuse issues. Max’s first solution? Double down on the training. But he wound up overworking the shoulder on his affected side and had to stop working out entirely. We fit Max with a custom designed activity-specific device and he was back at the gym in no time. You can watch him workout below:

Our patient Claudia, pictured below, finds that lifting weights and getting to the gym are integral to her mental well-being. "Gettin' up in the morning and knowing I just can go into the gym and get my workout down — that's gonna change my outlook throughout the whole day."

Claudia working out with her hybrid activity-specific prosthesis

Weightlifting can be a hobby, part of your exercise routine, your stress reliever or your job. No matter what, if it’s important to you, it’s important to us. How can we help you lift weights? Please contact us and let us know what activity you would like to pursue. Are you a weightlifter with a limb difference? Please comment below to tell your peers what it’s like!

For more information, see related Arm Dynamics articles here:

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