Sports for wheelchair users: crossfit

There words and sentences, which stick in your mind and burn brightly in the memory days after you’ve heard them.  Once I heard that the greatest project you’ll ever work on is… you. It was a powerful reminder to live, to breathe, to enjoy the moment. Since movement has always been my favorite way to feel alive, I’ve got a natural liking for various types of sports. Extreme sports are my cup of tea and anything that gets my blood pumping fits my idea of happiness. Sweat and intensity don’t scare me away. Crossfit is all about movement and efficiency, hence, it caught my attention.  It’s one of the sports that wheelchair users all over the world seem to love. In all honesty, though, what is actually Crossfit? How can you practice it as a manual/ electric wheelchair user? Who is Diego Coelho? You can find the answers to all these questions below!


Crossfit for wheelchair users, sports for wheelchair users, electric wheelchair

What is CrossFit?

It is a fitness regime designed to improve your levels of fitness. Slow, relaxed exercises? Forget it! Crossfit focuses on functional movements performed at high intensity. The goal is simple: to maximize the effort, and minimize the time. How is it possible? Well, while many of gym activities focus only on one method of working out, CrossFit combines many different approaches to mastering your body. Weightlifting, gymnastics, running, and rowing are some of the sports disciplines, which inspired CrossFit. Consequently… it has the best of all worlds!

The program was developed by Greg Glassman and he perfected it for years. Policemen and military special operation units train CrossFit to enhance 10 of their physical skills: respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination, and accuracy. Probably the easiest way to sum it up would be “a time-efficient superhero training”.

Benefits of CrossFit

One of the obvious benefits of CrossFit includes the maximised efficiency of a workout. You don’t need to spend countless hours at the gym to get stronger and fitter. Since it’s meant to be efficient and short, your training can take under one hour. Another advantage of CrossFit practice is very useful for anybody, who wishes to stay active: it prepares your body for any sport. Different muscles in your body become stronger with each workout session and suddenly no sport is out of reach. Your stamina, strength, flexibility, speed, and balance reach another level and your inner Superman comes to life. Most of all, your health is likely to improve quickly and that’s priceless!

CrossFit workouts for wheelchair users

CrossFit workouts are becoming more and more popular among wheelchair users all over the world. No matter whether you use a manual or electric wheelchair, it’s never a bad idea to have a strong core, right? Well, that’s why adaptive CrossFit came to life. It’s accessible to everybody and anyone. Bench presses and exercises with a ball are examples of adaptive CrossFit, but you can do about anything. The video below illustrates all of the limitless possibilities waiting for us.

An Adaptive CrossFit Wheelchair

Since CrossFit is different to any other sport and combines best traits of several sports disciplines, we shouldn’t treat it the same way we treat most of the sports. Our equipment needs to be customised to support our fitness regime. Otherwise, we are held back by devices, which are suitable for everything but CrossFit.   A few years ago there were no adaptive Crossfit wheelchairs. Most athletes would use adaptive basketball chairs, which are not 100% fit for a CrossFit training. Michael Mills, a sportsman and CrossFit lover, was the one who brought adaptive CrossFit wheelchairs into life. Ever since he did, accessible and CrossFit became almost synonymous.

Diego Coelho – a great CrossFit inspiration

When I stumbled upon Diego’s Instagram posts, I was absolutely inspired by his amazing skills. He’s a CrossFit athlete, who has succeeded in numerous sports competitions. He’s also a wheelchair user. In his Instagram posts, he showcases his daily life, especially his training sessions. We can learn his tricks and new routines from short videos and dive deeper into the world of adaptive CrossFit. Both manual and electric wheelchair users will find something for themselves: Diego lives and breathes sports. If you are looking for some inspiration to fill your Instagram feed with, Diego Coelho is definitely a person to follow!

Crossfit tips to remember

  • Break up long sets into shorter ones to ensure effectiveness

Doing many exercises all at once may destroy your motivation, and wouldn’t you agree that quality beats quantity? Break up long sets into shorter sections if necessary and repeat your moves with precision.

  • Quality beats quantity

Good technique is everything and a sloppy exercising regime may sabotage your future results. Focus on the way you move and ignore the numbers. Numbers will come later.

  • Keep your breath under control

Focus on inhaling and keep your breathing under control. It should positively influence your body, as it will let you experience aerobic adaptations. Your stamina will thank you later! Also, if you’re in control of your breath you can easily handle stress and calm your body down if necessary.

All in all, CrossFit is an adaptive sports discipline for everybody and anyone. Whether you’re a manual or electric wheelchair user, you’re likely to appreciate the effectiveness of this fitness regime. Improved stamina, flexibility, strength, speed and agility are all beautiful consequences of regular Crossfit training sessions. Most of all, people like Diego Coelho inspire people to fight for their dreams and become the best versions of themselves. After all, CrossFit was born out of a need to become more.  Mastering your body and mind is a lifelong journey that we can start in a gym room. Defying the impossible could be the next task on our list, of course just next to a good CrossFit training! 


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