In CrossFit, Medical/Injuries, Videos

November 23, 2011

Video Article

Dylan, a CrossFitter at CrossFit Flagstaff, has cerebral palsy, which makes the right side of his body weaker than his left. On the advice of his doctor, he began CrossFitting to help even out his strength.

Dylan shows the equipment he uses to compensate for his uneven grip strength. At first, Dylan says he used a kettlebell for deadlifting, but then he progressed to the barbell with the help of weightlifting straps. Then CrossFit Flagstaff co-owner Dr. Mike Ray gave Dylan his climbing hook, which allows him to move weight faster, transition between movements faster, and perform pull-ups and knees-to-elbows.

Dylan demonstrates the movements he’s able to perform using his specialized equipment.

“Been working out here for two years and, you know, it’s kind of just coming around, trying little things here and there. Who knows what I’ll think of in the future?” he says.

Dylan says he’s excited to use his new gear in an upcoming competition and the next Reebok CrossFit Games Open.

“At times it’s frustrating, but other times—I mean, I like it,” he says. “It’s definitely a big improvement from where I was.”

13min 42sec

Additional reading: Truly Special Populations by Josh MacDonald, published Aug. 15, 2010.

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19 Comments on “Overcoming Obstacles: Finding Innovative Ways to CrossFit”


Edwin Johnson wrote …

Wow, this totally inspires me. I'm honored to be considered a fellow crossfit athlete along with this guy. Some people who I am very close to have Cerebral Palsy, I know they would love to see this!


wrote …

My 4 year old son has Cerebral Palsy, he absolutely loves coming to watch me at crossfit. I am thrilled to see trainers adapting programs and equipment so that kids like him can grow up to be crossfitters too, it just goes to show how truly scaleable crossfit is, it really is a sport anyone can participate in!


wrote …

Much respect to you Dylan.. Never Stop.


wrote …

R E S P E C T....


wrote …

Dylan you are AWESOME dude! Way to adapt and overcome, respect man!


wrote …

Powerful testimony from a powerful athlete, thank you Dylan! Paul


wrote …

You're a legend mate! A true inspiration.


wrote …

Awesome...just Awesome! I love stories like this. It shows that the human spirit can take you anywhere you want to go!


wrote …

Where there is a will, there is a way...Dylan you got it keep it up, Crossfit rocks...enough said


wrote …

Once again, it demonstrates how the right attitude allows us to get the most out of a challenging situation. Dylan, you are a champion!


wrote …

Dylan, definitely an inspiring story! I found these straps and they might be worth checking out. Keep up the good work!


wrote …

You're an inspiration brother!


wrote …

Ed, you beat me to it. I was just going to suggest those weightlifting hooks. There was another story in the journal a while back, I think about an injured soldier, and he was using hooks like that.

Great work, Dylan!


wrote …


Great work, great story. You probably find it a little puzzling that so many viewers are inspired by what you are doing at the gym since for you, I imagine, you're just hitting the gym with some friends and lifting some heavy stuff.

That is what's inspiring to the rest of us.


wrote …

Thank you Dylan! I also have cerebral palsy and joined CF this past summer for the same reason. Since starting I have had many periods of discouragement, mainly being unsure of what my body is really capable of. Many times my limitations in flexibility and balance have kept me from doing the most simple movements. You have shown me that there is a possbility of progression and increased strength. Its very encouraging!


wrote …

Thank you Dylan, for sharing your story. I am inspired by your dedication and perseverance. Keep up the hard work!


wrote …

Thanks Dylan....fuel for the soul.


wrote …

If I don't see more of this athlete, I am going to be very disappointed.


Raven Patrick wrote …

Great job Dylan! Keep it up! I just started CrossFit here, and also have Cerbral Palsy. I have been running up until now, doing half-marathons and a marathon too. I wanted to add something to my training to help my run times. My weakness is on my left side, and effects mostly my hip, leg, and foot. I do have limitation with my left arm, but it's still doable. I am hoping that CrossFit helps me to also even out my left/right side strengths, and help me become a lot more flexible and faster out on the road.

Please keep us all updated on your progress! You're doing awesome!!

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