In this unique sports hall in France, children with disabilities push their

David Guedin has been a physiotherapist for 24 years. In 2018, he produced a dissertation aiming to demonstrate the benefits of high-intensity bodybuilding in young people with motor disabilities. “My work was awarded the first prize of the Order of Physiotherapists in the seniors category”says the 47-year-old proudly.

The professional then followed various courses to become a CrossFit coach, this discipline that mainly combines gymnastics, endurance and cardio. In September 2021, he opened the first French CrossFit space for children with motor disabilities. Called “CrossFit Metamorphosis” it is located in Dijon (Côte-d’Or), within the Sensory and Motor Device (DSM) of the PEP CBFC association (Pupille d’Enseignement Public Center Bourgogne-Franche-Comté).

Varied and adapted exercises

Every Monday, David Guedin accompanies fifteen young people from 7 to 20 years old. “They are usually divided into groups of five depending on their age”, he explains. Supported by two students, the coach first presents the session of the day and then starts a playful warm-up of five to ten minutes. “Then we go through the exercises, the intensity increases and the children start to sweat a lot. † A CrossFit session lasts one hour.

Rower, rope climbing, burpees, obstacle passage, push-ups… The exercises offered are varied and especially adapted to the different types of motor disabilities present: amputations, hemiplegia, diplegia, quadriplegia or even neuromuscular disorders. “I am very careful to change the program often so that the young people do not feel tired. This allows them to continue to stimulate their muscles and avoid a routine”assures the physiotherapist.

They improve their cardio and mobility

According to David Guedin, the practice of CrossFit is an effective solution to improve the quality of life of children with disabilities. “In December 2021, the Haute Autorité de Santé recognized that muscle building should be a priority for these young people. Thanks to the adaptive sessions, they work on their mobility and improve their cardio, their flexibility…”

Children also gain functional independence. “Sports activity improves their walking distanceexplains the professional. The improvement of their physical capacity also makes it possible to relieve certain activities of daily life, such as going to the toilet for example. † David Guedin also wants to push children out of their comfort zone. “It is very important because they gain confidence and are proud of themselves after completing the exercises. †

“Young people are always at the bottom”

Almost a year after the opening of “CrossFit Metamorphosis” the results are positive. “The youngsters are always full, always motivated. A mother told me that every Monday her son was very happy to go to school because he knew that he would play sports afterwards., the coach applauds. Young people appreciate being in a group and not having to do their rehabilitation alone. Parents also notice an evolution in their children. “They are becoming more independent and have even better school results. Sport makes the lives of families and carers easier. †

Ultimately, David Guedin would like these kids to push the door of a classic CrossFit space, indicates France 3 Burgundy-Franche-Comté who attended one of his sessions. He also wants all French rehabilitation centers to offer sessions adapted to young people with disabilities. “It would be less boring for the professional as well as for the child. †he tells us. From September 2022, the physio will offer adaptive sessions on Mondays and Wednesdays.