Cerebral Palsy Hasn't Stopped Former Paralympic Rower Joe Bird Building Strength for Life

·2-min read

Joe Bird, a former Paralympic rower, may have been born with Cerebral Palsy, but that hasn't stopped him from building a covered physique.

On a mission to educate others about his Cerebral Palsy and to prove that, when living with a disability, anything is possible, Bird shared his go-to workout with Men's Health UK as part of our ongoing How I Build My Body series. "I have Cerebral Palsy, but I don't let that hold me back," he says. "[My workout] is a bit of pushing, a bit of pulling and I'll go and get a sweat on."

First up: press-up variations to hit the chest and triceps. Here, Bird switches between wide-grip, close-grip and diamond-grip press-ups to isolate his triceps before hitting the pull-up bar. "Go explosive on the way up, nice and controlled, and really feel that squeeze [at the top]," explains Bird before moving to the bench press.

"The bench press is a staple part of my workout and one of my favourites," says Bird ahead of cranking out his reps, making sure to focus on time-under-tension during the compound exercise. "In my opinion, it should be a big part of people's workouts." A word of advice: during the bench press, pull the bar to your chest by flexing your upper-back muscles. This will raise your chest higher and limits your range of motion, instead of letting the bar bounce off your chest. Then, push yourself away from the bar, driving your upper back into the bench.

Next, Bird moves onto accessory work. He stars with seated bicep curls, working with one-and-a-half reps during the set. It's a smart way to add more resistance to a simple move, with partial reps helping to maintain tension throughout an exercise.

To finish, Bird wraps his session with a sled push. "I'll really push myself to push this forward," he says before hitting a 20m sled track. "A few rounds of this, and you'll be absolutely done." Who are we to disagree?

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