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Alt Movement - A functional training gym with a difference

Lucy Stickland
Lucy Stickland
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Group of athletes with disabilities

"Alt Movement” in Essex, is an gym for individuals with disabilities. It is an inclusive and welcoming space, where adaptive athletes can work out together, focusing on strength, conditioning and rehabilitation. The gym follows a CrossFit methodology: constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity. 

We met up with Craig Graham, the Head Coach and owner, who set up Alternative Movement (ALT Movement) having discovered the lack of inclusivity and knowledge around training with individuals with impairments. Craig is passionate about educating and inspiring those in the adaptive community to reach their full potential. See the video from ALT Movement at the end of the article. 

Who can attend Alt Movement? 

The gym works with local Special Educational Needs Schools, individuals with profound learning disabilities and physical impairments, ranging from those with cerebral palsy to spinal cord injury. There are group classes held throughout the week, including CrossFit and Olympic Lifting, as well as 1 to 1 sessions which are run by personal trainers who are specialists in adapting exercises to suit individual needs. Each workout is different, whilst following a linear progression every week. The gym has a “what can you do” attitude, rather than “what can’t you do”. As well as Specialist Personal Trainers, the gym also has an in house Occupational Therapist to aid individuals with their rehabilitation.  

What do the athletes enjoy about the training provided? 

Nat and Jay, Adaptive Athletes at Alt Movement enjoy the inclusive community at the gym, and the opportunity to work out with other athletes with disabilities. Nat has been attending the gym for a few years and as well as being an avid CrossFit goer, she is also a member of the England Pistol Academy and is training for 2028 Paralympics in Los Angeles! Nat has cerebral palsy and walks with crutches so her training involves adapting exercises to suit her abilities. Nat often found when growing up, there was limited possibilities for her to take part in exercise and sport. Since joining Alt Movement, she has discovered what she is capable of and it has been life changing.  

Jay is also an Adaptive Athlete and Coach at Alt Movement. As well as his huge passion for CrossFit, he loves training and helping others to feel accepted and welcome in sessions – which is what the Alt Movement ethos is all about.   

Progression and Competition 

Athletes can keep track of their progress using the “BoxMate” app, making workouts motivating and goal driven. Members also have the opportunity to take part in Adaptive CrossFit competitions, with the most recent being held at “Wodaptive” in St Albans. Wodaptive hosts a selection of adaptive functional fitness competitions for athletes of any calibre the chance to compete in a fair and inclusive competition.  

Why not get in touch and pay them a visit?! 

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Lucy Stickland
Lucy Stickland

Lucy Stickland previously worked as a physiotherapist for the NHS in London before joining the Made for Movement team. As Product Specialist, she feels passionate that everybody should have the opportunity to access movement and exercise, regardless of their functional ability. Lucy loves to see the joy and positive health benefits that physical activity brings to the individuals she meets in her role, and the significant impact it can have on their lives.

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