Invictus Adaptive Athlete Qualifies for Wodapalooza!
Written by Alec Zirkenbach
Austin Roth, a 28-year-old athlete with Cerebral Palsy qualified for the Wodapalooza Fitness Festival competition. Austin is one of only 15 adaptive athletes in the “Standing” division to qualify for the Miami-based competition out of more than 300 athletes attempting to earn entry from around the world!
First Invictus Adaptive Athlete
Austin is the first adaptive athlete to qualify and represent Invictus at a major competition. Invictus has sent many athletes to competitions in the gym’s 10+ year existence and is the only gym to be represented in the pinnacle functional fitness competition, The CrossFit Games, 10 years in a row, but Austin is the first adaptive athlete to represent Invictus!
Adaptive athletes are people with a permanent disability. For Austin, he will compete in the Standing Major Neuro division along with other athletes with a similar condition.
Austin has spastic quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy (CP) which affects his entire body. CP may affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. It is the most common motor disability. “Cerebral” means having to do with the brain and “palsy” means weakness or problems with using muscles. CP is caused by abnormal brain development or damage.
Austin says, “I had a traumatic birth and needed to be revived twice. I was really lucky to survive. The doctors told my parents that I would have some minor motor skill delays, but it wasn’t until high school when I found out that it was also considered Cerebral Palsy.”
Everyday Life & Training with Cerebral Palsy
For Austin, his CP affects daily life in that he says he’s “pretty clumsy, and I have a mild speech impediment, and my handwriting is pretty bad.” In the gym, Invictus trainers are always conscious of his grip strength – which fatigues quickly – for hanging gymnastics movements and for external loads, like barbells, as well as his balance during movements.
Austin, a lab scientist, has only been training at Invictus for a little over a year. He splits his training time between both Invictus gym locations and utilizes the group classes but also works in special sessions with Invictus’s Adaptive Training coach, Alec Zirkenbach.
Before training at Invictus, Austin thought he would not be able to do most of the movements in a CrossFit gym. He says, “I used to think that Olympic lifting would be dangerous for me, so it’s been fun to start adding some weight to those lifts!”
Becoming One of the Top Adaptive Athletes in CrossFit
Training has not only propelled Austin to one of the top 15 adaptive athletes in the world, but it has also given him new confidence and happiness. “I’m proud of the work I’ve done the last few years improving my life spiritually, emotionally, and physically and my efforts to live life more authentically. [Training] has helped with my confidence and my mental health.”
Wodapalooza (WZA) is one of the world’s premier functional fitness competitions and is unique in that it offers the largest adaptive athlete division with more than 60 athletes from 15+ different countries. In order to qualify for the February 2020 competition, Austin had to qualify through a test of five workouts which were completed at Invictus and videotaped for submission. At last year’s WZA competition, there were 1,590 athletes and 30,000+ spectators.
Join the rest of the Invictus community in celebrating Austin’s accomplishment and stay tuned for updates on his training and for reports from his experience on the competition stage!