The aim of this study was to determine the training effects of an upper body training program involving resistance exercise and high intensity arm cranking on peak handcycling performance, propulsion efficiency and biomechanical characteristics of wheelchair propulsion in able-bodied males. The training group (n = 10) received a 4-week upper body resistance training (RT), 70% of 1RM, 3 sets of 10 repetitions, 8 exercise stations, 2 times/week, combined with high-intensity interval training (HIIT) 2 times/week. HIIT consisted of arm crank exercise, 7 intervals of 2 minutes at 80-90% of HRpeak with 2-minute active rest at 50-60% of HRpeak. The control group (n =10) received no training. Both groups performed a pre- and post- incremental handcycling test until volitional exhaustion to evaluate fitness, and a 4-minute submaximal wheelchair propulsion test at comfortable speed (CS), 125% and 145% of CS, to evaluate gross efficiency (GE), fraction of effective force (FEF), percentage of peak oxygen consumption (%V̇O2peak) and propulsion characteristics. Repeated measures ANOVA was performed (p < 0.05). Training resulted in a 28.2% ± 16.5% increase in POpeak, 13.3% ± 7.5% increase in V̇O2peak, 5.6% ± 0.9% increase in HRpeak, and 3.8% ± 1.5% decrease in HRrest. No training effects on FEF, GE, %V̇O2peak and push characteristics were identified. In conclusion, the combined RT and arm cranking HIIT improved fitness. However, it appears that this training did not result in improvements in propulsion efficiency and push characteristics. Additional wheelchair skill training may be needed to fully benefit from this advantage in daily life propulsion.