Adaptive Athletes at Lincoln Nutrition and Fitness

by Coach Cassaundra 

In 2021, the CrossFit Open added a new division: Adaptive Athletes. What’s so different about this division and these athletes? The Adaptive division is specifically designed for athletes that have one or more disabilities that would automatically put them at a disadvantage in the traditional Open categories. This change represents a powerful step in making CrossFit more inclusive to all people. 

Eight categories were added with specific criteria that athletes must meet before they compete, including impairments like upper extremity, lower extremity, neuromuscular, vision, short stature, seated athletes with hip function, seated athletes without hip function, and intellectual. Individual categories allow athletes to use assistive equipment to allow them to complete movements. 

What do adaptive athletes have to do with Lincoln Nutrition and Fitness: Home of CrossFit Lincoln? We have partnered with the Downs Syndrome Association for Families (DSAF) of Nebraska to bring athletes with Downs Syndrome into our community and give them an opportunity for fitness. The class started as a group training session that ran for 12 weeks led by Coach Mark, and it was so successful that in June CrossFit Lincoln began offering the class continuously! We meet every Saturday to give these athletes a foundation for CrossFit that will allow them to incorporate fitness into their routines and have a little fun while getting a little sweaty.

Ultimately, the goal of CrossFit Foundations for Adaptive Athletes is to give the athletes that attend a set of functional fitness skills that will eventually allow them to join group classes and participate more fully in our community. The premise of CrossFit as an infinitely scalable set of activities makes it even more empowering for people that have traditionally been excluded from the fitness community based on their disabilities. 

Community is the reason I keep coming back to Lincoln Nutrition and Fitness: Home of CrossFit Lincoln, and sharing this community with our adaptive athletes is a way that I can give back not only to our gym, but to the greater Lincoln community. If you want to participate as a volunteer or know someone with Downs Syndrome that you think would enjoy our class, please reach out to me at [email protected].

We are also hosting an in house CrossFit competition with an adaptive division August 27th 2022 to raise money for our CrossFit Foundations for Adaptive Athlete class. If you are interested in donating please contact our General Manager, Emily, [email protected].

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