Michael Mills knew he’d found a new passion when he discovered adaptive CrossFit last summer. Mills, a T12-L1 para, has been all over the adaptive athletics scene since he was paralyzed in a 1999 accident. He holds, or has held numerous world records for adaptive athletes, and was actually trying to set a record in SUV pulling when he found himself immediately attracted to CrossFit’s blend of competition and fitness. “I got bored with racing and the everyday monotony,” he says. “It was just seeing the same thing every year. CrossFit seemed different.”
Yet as he got more into the scene he identified a problem. “I saw people doing CrossFit in adaptive basketball chairs and chairs made for other sports that just didn’t fit them or help them with CrossFit,” he says. “It hit me then that there is a need for a chair that is strictly made for CrossFit.”
Mills got in touch with Marty Frierson, the owner of Xcalibur Sports Chairs, a Georgia-based company that had built custom chairs for him before, and explained his vision for a custom CrossFit chair. “We went through movement by movement and figured out what would benefit an adaptive CrossFit athlete. With the wide array of events and actions in CrossFit, the chair needed to be versatile yet specialized. “It wasn’t that hard to figure out but it was time consuming,” adds Mills.
Less than five months after Mills had stared CrossFit, he debuted the first-ever custom built CrossFit chair at a competition in Virginia. The final product was 2.5 inches lower to the ground than his basketball chair, had “just enough” camber for stability and had other adaptations, like a hook on the bottom, that were suited for certain events (the hook is for the sled lift). “The chair is lighter, stiffer and stronger than any other, so it can take the beating of a WOD,” says Mills. The results were immediately obvious, especially when it came to lifting and pulling. “It’s like getting a 4-wheel-drive truck versus driving in your normal car,” he says.
Mills is excited about the possibilities for the new model of chair and hopes it will help more people discover adaptive CrossFit. “The CrossFit strength training has helped me so much,” he says. “My core is so much stronger.” He says lots of people have expressed interest in purchasing their own chairs. He is working with Frierson to learn all the movements involved in CrossFit and adapt the chair for different needs.
For more info, contact Xcalibur Sports Chairs at 678/500-9542 or on Facebook.