Blind Crossfitter Stu Young: I Want To Do Weightlifting!

Stu Young wanted to try Crossfit, so he sent an email enquiry to Jamie Webb, the owner and head coach at CrossFit Exe, England. What Jamie didn't know was that Stu has been totally blind since birth.

Stu tried joining regular gyms before, but was often left out feeling de-motivated as the staff there seemed to be more concerned than welcoming.

“I just wanted to improve my overall fitness. So then I thought I would give Crossfit a go” says Stu.

Although the experience was new for both Jamie and Stu, they hit it off straight away: “He’s such a great character, a real go getter with a can do attitude. Willing to try anything I throw at him,” adds Jamie.

Stu Young: “I want to learn how to do weightlifting”

At the beginning Stu was physically out of shape, so Jamie focused on getting in the basic mobility, strength and primarily, conditioning: “The first few months were about trial and error, finding out what exercises worked and what didn’t, what Stu enjoyed and what he hated (so I could put more of that in!),” explains Jamie.

Slowly his movement improved and he was soon completing full press-ups, ring rows, box step-ups, kettlebell swings and a host of barbell exercises along with rowing, assault bike and weighted carries. He dropped some fat, moved much more freely and was a lot stronger.

Stu got into weightlifting after Jamie described him the Commonwealth Games experience, where he watched Malek Chamoun, blind Australian weightlifter competing. Of course Stu immediately declared: “I want to learn how to do weightlifting”.

Jamie: “Piece by piece we put the movements together”

“I think, in truth, he’d had enough of my rowing intervals! Since then we have been doing two, one-hour sessions per week on snatch and clean & jerk,” explains Jamie.

They started with basic positions: overhead and front squat, snatch and clean grip deadlift, press and push-press. Jamie described him the movements and the concepts behind and later manually took him through the lifts to make him feel what was required of his body to do. “Piece by piece we put the movements together, taking time to ensure that each was as correct as possible before moving on.”

Stu loves doing weightlifting: “I like progressing from each session to be able to lift more, setting new PRs and monitoring my strength improvements. I really like the learning process and getting better and better at Olympic lifts. It’s great I can take part in the sport just the same as everyone else. And one day I want to be able to compete at a weightlifting meet just as everybody else.

Stu recently pick up an award at his box CrossFit Exe for being the biggest inspiration to others at the gym. Everyone has made friends with him and his guide dog Archie.

Jamie adds: “The main thing is he loves lifting and his enthusiasm is infectious. I think he would train everyday if he could, but his wonderful wife Stef, and their daughter, Holly, won’t let him!”

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