This Champion Bodybuilder Can Do a Backflip in His Wheelchair
Roughly one in five of us live with some form of what’s usually called ‘a disability’. But difference is not weakness – in fitness, work or life. MH spoke to five men about how the things that once held them back have ultimately unleashed their potential.
‘I’m a bodybuilder. Yes, you heard that right. You’re probably thinking of guys who look like the former governor of California and whose arms are so big they can’t scratch their backs – not a man whose legs don’t work. But for the past three years, my goal has been not only to get jacked and put on a show for the audience, but to make people rethink what a strong body looks like.
I was born with a form of cerebral palsy and have used a wheelchair for essentially my whole life. Some people with a physical disability may steer away from activities that are just that – physical. I steer into them. But more than overcoming obstacles, I want to be in the spotlight, competing and enjoying the moment.
In June 2022, I entered a bodybuilding competition, the IFBB Professional League Toronto Pro SuperShow. I like to select poses that show I’m big and I’m not here to mess around. I try to hold myself in positions for two seconds or more to demonstrate strength and stamina. I did some of the standard upper-body poses, but then I shared my own moves – the ones I came up with.
I did a backflip in my wheelchair. Then I did a handstand and held it with the chair upside down, too, still attached. At the end of my routine, I balanced on the chair’s foot bar and pulled off both wheels to finish out my poses. The audience loved it. Standing ovation!
In the bodybuilding community, I’m the only one doing crazy stunts. I taught myself them because I thought they would be cool. I hope kids with disabilities see me and that it inspires them to try things they want to do. It’s worth the training and hard work. We are in control of how we live our lives. We set our own limits. We can challenge them. If something looks fun, why not try it?’ — As told to Alex Gardner
A version of this article appeared in the November 2022 issue of Men's Health.
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