‘For everyone and anyone’.
This is the tradition and motto of Crossfit, a strength and conditioning fitness programme founded in 2000 by Greg Glassman, a coach and his wife, Lauren Jenai in the US.
Theresa Goh, 29, was attending a fair promoting para-sports when she noticed a booth by Innervate Crossfit. The local Crossfit gym has designed an Adaptive Athletes Programme for people with disabilities (PWDs). Guiding a team of people with a range of disabilities, a coach blends together different workouts for them. “There’s some amputees, some people on wheelchairs, some visually-impaired,” she says.
Having competitively trained in only swimming for the past 17 years, Theresa enjoys working in a team and being able to see everybody.
“I like that the workouts are short and intense. It’s not like in swimming, when you can’t hear or see anything else.”
The adaptive Crossfit programme incorporates daily movements – like transferring in and out from wheelchairs – into the 15-minute workouts. One exercise involves transferring from the ground to a stack of weights, and finally to a wheelchair. The stack of weights serves as a pit stop since going directly from the ground to the wheelchair “can be quite taxing”. Then, there are variations on these movements.
Doing a ‘deadlift’, or a back extension, has been especially useful for improving her daily movements. “You don’t consciously think about it during the workout, but I notice now that when I pick up stuff from the ground it’s easier for me to get straight back up.”
Since swimming is her main sport and the backbone of her career, Theresa does admit that fear is one of the mental challenges she faces while doing adaptive Crossfit. “I guess there’s still a little bit of fear that I’ll get injured. But so far so good – mostly I get injured during swimming.”
However, the perks of doing Crossfit keep her coming back to the gym. Doing different exercises functions as a complement and distraction from competitive swimming. She also simply finds it refreshing to try new things as part of the programme. “I want to do more handstand push ups – it’s quite fun,” she says.
While adaptive Crossfit complements her swimming “in some ways”, Theresa finds that building the muscles that she uses every day “complements my daily life.”
“Being able to do things you’ve never done before and then doing them better and better. That’s really nice.”
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