Abstract Abdominal binding has been shown to improve resting cardiorespiratory function in individuals with cervical SCI, but it is not yet clear whether this approach improves the exercise response. Objectives To determine the effects of abdominal binding on parameters relating to wheelchair sports performance in highly-trained athletes with cervical SCI. Design Repeated-measures field-based study. Methods Ten Paralympic wheelchair rugby players with motor-complete SCI (C5–C7) completed a series of exercise tests in two conditions (bound and unbound). The following parameters were assessed: agility and acceleration/deceleration performance; cardiorespiratory function and gross efficiency during submaximal wheelchair propulsion; anaerobic performance and propulsion kinematics during a 30s Wingate test; repeated sprint performance during a 10×20m test; and aerobic performance during a repeated 4min push test. Results Compared to unbound, 6 of 17 field-based performance measures changed significantly with binding. Time to complete the acceleration/deceleration test decreased (p=0.005), whereas distances covered during the repeated 4min push test increased (p<0.043). Binding elicited significant reductions in minute ventilation during submaximal wheelchair propulsion (p=0.040) as well as blood lactate accumulation and limb discomfort during the second set of the repeated 4min push test (p=0.012 and 0.022). There were no statistically significant effects of binding on any other variable. Conclusions Abdominal binding improves some important measures of field-based performance in highly-trained athletes with cervical SCI. The changes may be attributable, at least in part, to improvements in trunk stability, ventilatory efficiency and/or haemodynamics.