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Logan Aldridge ’09 Inspires Adaptive Athletes
by David Klein | Back to Table of Contents
As a child, Logan Aldridge ’09 loved finding solutions to problems around the house and backyard shed. “I’m a tinkerer and an inventor at heart,” he said. “I realized there was so much stuff that I could do much better with one little device or tweak to a piece of equipment.”
That determination has helped make Aldridge, who lost most of his left arm in a wakeboarding accident when he was 13, a superstar in the field of adaptive athletics. Today, he is the co-owner of Raleigh-based Adaptive Training Academy, which conducts seminars to familiarize doctors, physical therapists and others with training methodology.
“Societally and culturally, if we have an impairment of some sort — whether it’s missing a limb, limb deformity, neurological — we’ve made assumptions that we’re just less capable,” he said of his own journey to overcome such thinking. “I know what a mind-set of ‘Woe is me, why did this happen to me?’ looks like. What I didn’t know, and what I was super-excited about, was the opportunity to take an unfortunate incident and potentially make it the best thing that ever happened to me.”
IMAGINING A SOLUTION
Following his accident, Aldridge charged back into athletics as soon as he was out of the hospital, participating in Ravenscroft’s summer football training while still wearing bandages. Determined to be in optimal physical shape, he researched fitness regimens and eventually decided on CrossFit, which draws upon multiple components and includes a nutrition protocol. But could CrossFit could be done by a person with one arm?
His doubts were confirmed at his first CrossFit workout. Unable to jump rope, he returned home feeling frustrated. But as he contemplated the mechanics involved with the workouts, he happened to notice a bundle of lacrosse shafts in his room — and inspiration hit.
“I thought, ‘If I can hold this bar right at my waistline, in the middle, with the jump rope attached to it, can I rotate it enough to articulate the jump rope in a similar circle around my body?’” he remembered. “I brought in a lacrosse shaft and taped it up, and gosh, I think I did about a hundred double-unders that first time.”
He’s since modified dozens of exercise devices, including developing a handle that enables a one-armed person to use an indoor rowing machine and partnering with a jump-rope manufacturer to make a strap that facilitates one-armed dead lifts while maintaining bodily symmetry.
“It’s changed people’s lives,” he says of his modifications. “These devices enable them to pursue their fullest potential.”
In this feature story from ABC 11 News, Aldridge explores his work in adaptive sports and what being named the fittest one-armed man on earth means to him.
Adapting CrossFit training goals to suit his needs recently earned Aldridge the title of Fittest One-Armed Man on Earth — he can, for example, deadlift 455 pounds and climb a rope with one hand — but he emphasized that his fitness journey initially made the greatest impact on simple daily movements.
“I could pick things up off the ground much easier,” he said. “I could [balance in a] squat better.” Wanting to share his successes with others, Aldridge found his way to the world of adaptive fitness.
“The word ‘adaptive’ was deliberately chosen as an alternative to terms such as ‘disabled,’ ‘wounded’ or ‘impaired,’” he said. “‘Adapt’ means ‘I will do the same thing you did, but differently.’”
Aldridge balances his considerable work in the adaptive training arena with his role as regional market manager at LifeAid Beverage Company, maker of FitAid, the official recovery drink of Spartan races. This summer, Adaptive Training Academy will host what Aldridge calls “the Super Bowl of adaptive fitness championships” in Chicago.
As for holding the title of Fittest One-Armed Man on Earth, Aldridge’s pride extends beyond what the achievement means to him personally.
“I’m absolutely an athlete and a competitor at heart, but it’s not about me winning,” he said. “It’s about the empowerment and education of others that can then enable them to pursue their fullest potential.”