Competition Variations for Adaptive Athletes

I AM ADAPTIVE™ has been working hard on ways to help all Adaptive Event hosts welcome more Adaptive Athletes onto the competition floor in respect to Strongman Events, Lifting Events, Powerlifting Events, CrossFit Events & the like. This was created to help these sports become easier to host and grow within its means. We welcome everyone’s input and other ideas to help the competition floor grow.


What is an Adaptive Class? An Adaptive Class is when Athletes are classified as an Arm Amputee, Leg Amputee, Cerebral Palsy and so on.
An Adaptive Sub-Class is one step further. Some Sub-Classes for Arm Limb-Differences are as follows: Upper Arm Limb-Different, Lower Arm Limb-Different, Partial Arm Limb-Different Sub-Classes are a more defined portion of each class to closen the competitors in level of Adaptation.

If you have any more Classes or Sub-Classes that we have not mentioned, please email us at so that we may add it to this manifest.


Style #1 : Contender

“Contender Style” puts individuals in your Class & Sub-Class against one another for the truest competitions possible with current athletic involvement. As more athletes come into the competitive lifestyle then the community will have the ability to classify athletes to much more specific Sub-Classes.

Examples of this type of competition are as follows:

  • 1 Upper Arm Limb Difference Athlete against a 1 Upper Arm Limb Difference Athlete
  • 1 Lower Leg Limb Difference & 1 Hip Dis-articulation/Difference Athlete against another 1 Lower Leg Limb Difference & 1 Hip Dis-articulation/Difference Athlete
  • Wheelchair Athlete with a L3 Level Spinal Cord Injury against another Wheelchair Athlete with a L3 Level Spinal Cord Injury
  • Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis Level Athlete against another Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis Level Athlete

* ‘Difference’ can be either an amputated portion of the body or when someone has been born with a difference.

1. Arm Difference Athletes

  • 1 Arm Differences:
  • One Upper Arm Difference
  • One Lower Arm Difference
  • One Partial Hand Difference
  • 2 Arm Differences:
  • Both Upper Arm Difference
  • Both Lower Arm Difference
  • Both Hands Partial Difference
  • 2 Different Arm Differences:
  • One Upper Arm Difference & One Lower Arm Difference
  • One Upper Arm Difference & One Partial Hand
  • One Lower Arm Difference & One Partial Hand


2. Leg Difference Athletes

* ‘Difference’ can be either an amputated portion of the body or when someone has been born with a difference.

  • 1 Leg Differences:
  • One Below the Knee (BK) Leg Difference
  • One Above the Knee (AK) Leg Difference
  • One Hip Dis-articulation Difference
  • 2 Leg Differences:
  • Both Below the Knee (BK) Difference
  • Both Above the Knee (AK) Difference
  • Both Hips Dis-articulated
  • 2 Different Leg Differences:
  • One Below the Knee (BK) Difference & One Above the Knee (AK) Difference
  • One Below the Knee (BK) Difference & One Hip Dis-articulation
  • One Above the Knee (AK) Difference & One Hip Dis-articulation


3. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

  • Can not grade the level of injury as well as other Adaptations. Possibly as the community grows more diversity in competition may apply.
  • Until more TBI survivors come out of the woodwork, everyone is fair game.


4. Wheelchair Users with Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI)

    • Compete at your level of injury or level group:
  • Cervical (Quadriplegic) Level C1-C7
  • Thoracic (Paraplegic) Level T1-T12
  • Lumbar (Paraplegic) Level L1-L5
  • Sacrum (Coccyx)




5. Autism & Down Syndrome

  • By weight class
  • By gender


6. Cerebral Palsy

  • Based of the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS)
  • Level 1: Walk without balancing or walking issues
  • Level 2: Walk with some issues in balancing, walking long distances. Not able to run or jump as Level 1 can
  • Level 3: Walks with Adaptive equipment
  • Level 4: Uses powered mobility equipment for assistance; supported when seated
  • Level 5: Severe head and trunk control limitations, usually need someone to assist in everyday movements


7. Blind

  • By weight class
  • By gender
  • By age
  • Realistically open variables


8. Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

  •  By category of Adaptation
  1. Benign MS – mild, infrequent sensory exacerbation’s with full recoveries
  2. Relapsing Remitting MS – episodes of exacerbation’s and remissions where not all symptoms resolve; may be left more profoundly adaptive; relapses are more severe
  3. Secondary Chronic Progressive – patient has Stage 2 with an accumulation of neurological signs and symptoms, relapse becomes more severe while remissions are less complete, shorter or non-existent
  4. Primary Progressive – there is no history of relapse, MS begins with a slow progression of neurological effects; gradually gets worse


9. Short In Stature

  • Disproportionate Dwarfism (DSS)
  • Proportionate Short Dwarfism (PSS)
  • May use gender or weight variables if the number of athletes greater


10. Brachial Plexus Injuries (BPI)

  • Epidemiology of Supraclavicular Injuries
  • Complete involvement of all roots, this is most common; 75-80% of BPI’s
  • C5 & C6 Upper Trunk, Erbs Palsy; 20-25% of BPI’s
  • C8, T1 or lower, Klumpke Palsy; 0.6-3% of BPI’s
Style #2: Exhibition

1. Athletes are at RANDOM without Qualifiers

  • Any number or set number of athletes can participate from any certain Adaptive Class and Sub-Class.
  • There is no TRUE winner. Competitions based usually of ‘Best Effort’, ‘Most Heart’ or the like.
  • Everyone goes off desired weight ranges for abilities and uses their own variations/modifiers.


2. Athletes are at RANDOM with Qualifiers

  • Any number of athletes can participate and be from any certain Adaptive Class and/or Sub-Class after qualifying for that event based on its standards of competition
  • Usually based on a Women’s and Men’s Divisions
  • All Athletes are aware that there will be only 1 Female & 1 Male winner based on standard judging (based on having men & women participate in the event)
  • Athletes that sign up KNOW that this is for the purpose of showing others that we can all participate in a competitive event and your show our abilities to others

3. Athletes are in the SAME Adaptive Class using the ‘Point System’

  • Athletes are scored by the ‘Point System’. This is based on the Reps multiplied by Weight (R x W) model to come up with a winner for each category/class
  • The winner has the highest points
  • It is only a true competition if in the same Sub-Class within your Class
Style #3: Anybody-Anytime

*These can be chosen to be a part of the Exhibition Style or for Educational purposes as well

  • Adaptive Athletes call someone out to compete at their own risk. All Athletes with all abilities and adaptations (includes ‘able-bodied’ athletes as well)
  • Athlete may ask the other/or may not ask the other to modify; many Below the Knee (BK) amputees will not need any modifiers
  • Here are some examples of what you may expect:
  1. Wheelchair users may ask you to sit in a chair (if available), sit on the ground or sit on a box prior during the competition.
  2. Brachial Plexus Injuries & Arm Amputees may use wraps, bands or chains to compete with someone with 2 complete working arms, and you may need to tie an arm down to keep you from activating it when competing with this kind of athlete depending on the move.
  3. Above the Knee Amputee (AK) & Hip Disarticulation Amputees may have you hop on one leg, use a box for squats and so on.
  4. Cerebral Palsy (CP) or Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Athletes may ask you to get on your knees or sit for much of the competition.
  5. Blind Athletes may blindfold you.

This competition is more for education, bragging rights or the creation of your own standards.

Style #4: The Group Competition

Athlete groups of 2 or more

TYPE 1: Groups use strengths of one another to perform previously known or unknown workouts. There must be another team to compete against. Athletes can be from ANY Adaptation Class & Sub-Class. This style is purely at your own DISCRETION and understanding that others may have an advantage over you and visa versa. Winners chosen by the given workout standards chosen by the event itself. Teams should choose wisely so they can work off one anothers strengths.


TYPE 2: Athlete groups MUST MATCH competing group with matching Class participants.

Example: each team has: 1 Leg Limb-Different Athlete, 1 Wheelchair User, 1 CP, 1 Blind, 1 Arm Limb-Different Athlete, 1 wild card or whatever combo you choose. Winning Team is based also on DISCRETION and standards of that particular event where workouts previously known or unknown.


TYPE 3: Athlete groups must match competing Class & Sub-Class. This is the truest competition style possibly for groups/teams to have a winner with little room for individuals to say something is ‘unfair’.

Example: each team has: 1Llower Leg Limb-Different Athlete, one Wheelchair user with a lumbar injury(may use specific vertebrae injury as well to be most specific) , 1 Blind, 1Upper Arm Limb-Different Athlete.

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