WheelWod Games is the functional fitness world championship for adaptive athletes. The Event starts with an online qualifier which saw over 700 participants this year, and concludes with an in-person competition with the best of the best being invited. 200 athletes across 12 adaptive divisions competed in Raleigh, North Carolina in the 3-day championship with 11 events.

What was pliability there to do?

Pliability was there as both a sponsor and official mobility support. We had a dedicated athlete warm-up/cooldown corner where athletes could use our mats and participate in guided or self-instructed routines. Pliability also led daily community mobilizations for athletes, volunteers, and spectators.

Why is mobility important for adaptive athletes?

Mobility is important for all athletes. When it comes to adaptive athletes specifically, by the nature of having a physical impairment compensation patterns occur in everyday movement. While these compensations can be very useful and allow the athlete to perform both activities of daily living and compete in sports, they are still outside the way the body was designed to move. This can create long-term dysfunction and increase the risk of injury. An injury to an adaptive athlete could potentially reduce their independence. By engaging in a regular mobility practice, the stress of compensation patterns can be reduced, and keep the athlete moving and competing.

What specifically do we see helps adaptive athletes the most when it comes to performance?

The two biggest things we see helping adaptive athletes with performance are recovery and mindset. Adaptive athletes already have above-average levels of stress on their bodies and then they push it when competing. Most of these athletes know and understand the value of having a recovery routine. This includes nutrition, mobility, bodywork, etc.

The other factor impacting performance is mindset. The majority of these competitors have had  traumatic events that made them adaptive athletes. Instead of sulking in the hand of cards they’ve been dealt, or being victimized by their injury, they have risen to a higher level. These athletes don’t allow themselves to be held back and exhibit a level of grit and determination that is enviable. Mindset is a skill and these athletes have honed it to take their performance to the next level.