Born without arms and legs, Lindsay Hilton has been active in sports throughout her life. She took up soccer, field hockey, and rugby during her academic life, and now, at 30 years old, she has added another physical activity to her list: CrossFit, also known as jump training.
CrossFit is a combination of several physical exercises like gymnastics and weight-lighting. She took up CrossFit last September by chance. She participated in a burpee challenge to win a free membership to a local gym, and emerged victorious with 34 burpees achieved in a minute.
Since then, she has embraced the sport. CrossFit has a community of adaptive athletes whom Lindsey studied from. Her other method of learning to tackle challenges she initially faces is simply by trying.
“Basically, everything I have accomplished with CrossFit has been trial and error. I may not be able to do every movement, but my attitude is I’ll just figure out a way to make it all work."
Trial and error has helped her to approach exercises that pose difficulties for her body type, such as pull-ups and power cleans. She uses tools like Velcro wrist wraps that have hooks attached to chains, to adapt her training method. “Every workout at CrossFit is scalable and adaptable,” she says. At the end of the day, Lindsey still works the same muscles in a different fashion.
CrossFit headquarters posted a video of Lindsey’s workout on Facebook which went viral, and the typical reaction she received commended her as an inspiration, the kind of compliments that “reduce her physical feats to motivational moments for the able-bodied.”
Lindsey does not see herself as an inspiration, but an example. The example to support and encourage future adaptive athletes to see the possibilities they can achieve in adaptive and inclusive sports like CrossFit. “Adaptive athletes – especially young ones – need people who say, ‘Let’s figure it out!’ versus ‘No, it’s too scary,’” and the former motivator is who Lindsey sets out to be.
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