By Coach Cassaundra
Have you heard the terms adaptive athlete or able-bodied athlete? CrossFit as an organization has made great strides in the last few years in making the sport of CrossFit a more inclusive space. An adaptive athlete is someone who has a permanent impairment that causes a limitation that affects work capacity. The term adaptive athlete encompasses a wide variety of people with permanent disabilities, including athletes in wheelchairs, athletes with intellectual disabilities, athletes with an upper extremity impairment, athletes with lower extremity impairments, and athletes with neurological impairments. An able-bodied athlete is an athlete that does not have a permanent impairment.
Our gym has partnered with the Down Syndrome Association for Families of Nebraska for over a year to provide a foundational class for athletes with Down Syndrome and other intellectual disabilities. The exciting news: we are expanding!
Starting in THIS MAY 2023, we are partnering with Bloc Life, a non-profit organization that supports athletes with disabilities to provide access to inclusive exercise programs. Through this partnership, we will provide a class three days per week for athletes with physical disabilities at our gym. Bloc Life will pay for an athlete’s membership at our gym for up to 90 days, and can help athletes pay part of their membership after the 90 day period.
Why do we adapt workouts?
Adapting is not the same thing as scaling. We scale workouts for able-bodied athletes that are not currently capable of completing the workout as prescribed, but the overall intention is that someday they will be able to complete those workouts because they will build strength and skill over time. Adaptive athletes may never be able to complete the same workout as an able-bodied athlete.
Adapting workouts always takes into consideration the permanent impairments of athletes with disabilities. For example, someone with a below the knee prosthetic limb has a permanent limitation due to the lack of ankle mobility on their prosthetic leg. This athlete will always struggle to get their hip crease below parallel, so squatting to a target is the best adaptation for them.
What is the purpose?
Everyone deserves to be able to move through their life with ease. In many cases, physical therapy or occupational therapy provides tools for people to be able to live their lives comfortably, but these therapies can be finite. What happens to people with disabilities once therapy ends? Functional fitness training like CrossFit offers a way to continually make progress towards building strength, increasing stamina, improving coordination and balance, and improving quality of life.
Do you know someone who has a permanent disability that would benefit from incorporating more fitness into their life? Talk to them about joining!
Our CrossFit for Adaptive Athletes class will run on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:30-11:30 am.
To get started athletes can head to the Bloc Life’s website and fill out an application. (click TO GET STARTED below!)
Athletes can also come and tour our gym and speak to a coach to learn more.
We hope to coach you soon!
Lead Coach – CrossFit Foundations for Adaptive Athletes