VIDEO: Limbless CrossFitter has no limits

PHOTOGRAPHS BY Scott Berrington / Barcroft Images
PHOTOGRAPHS BY Scott Berrington / Barcroft Images

LINDSAY Hilton is a badass CrossFit extraordinaire and a full contact rugby player - she also happens to have been born without limbs.

The 31-year-old from Halifax, Nova Scotia has never let a lack of arms and legs hold her back from achieving her sporting dreams. As a child she learnt to ski, swim and play rugby, which she continues to play to this day. 

But a few years ago Lindsay started training at her local gym, discovered CrossFit and set her heart on a new sport to test her limits with. 

Lindsay said: “I can’t wallow in the fact that I don’t have arms and legs because there’s nothing that I can ever do to change the outcome. 

“I like to have a challenge and to be able to overcome that challenge. It’s not weird that I go to the gym, anybody can work out if they want to. If you just try something new you never know what could happen.

“I can remember being a young kid and you get stares or a lot of questions. I’m sure it maybe looked unique to people but for me it was normal and it was the way I always did things.”

Hilton now competes in adaptive and non-adaptive divisions of CrossFit and took part in Miami’s Wodapalooza, which sees athletes from around the world attend the four day event to showcase their unstoppable fitness.  

Growing up in Nova Scotia, Linday never thought of herself as different and, after their initial surprise, her parents made sure to challenge her every step of the way.

She said: “My parents found out that I was going to be missing all of my limbs once I was born. So they didn’t really have any opportunity to prepare other than kind of react. 

“During my mom’s pregnancy she had the normal ultrasounds but they didn’t detect anything different or suspicious or out of the ordinary. So, it was just kind of once I was born then it was, ‘Oh well, we have a situation and how are we going to react to it?’

“When I was really young I wore prosthetic arms and prosthetic legs. I no longer wear prosthetic arms or legs for every day use, because I started doing stuff without them and I realised that I could do a lot of things faster or easier, so I just got used to it.”

The fitness fanatic still wears prosthetics occasionally, mostly when she’s driving, but she has adapted existing gym equipment to help her tackle CrossFit circuits she once thought were impossible. 

Using chains, straps and hooks Lindsay can now do pull ups, skip, dead lifts and clean lifts. Her maximum dead lift tops out at 170lbs, her squat is at 155lbs and her clean lift is 100lbs - which almost matches her body weight. 

She said: “If I had been scared or thought it’s not for me there’s no way I could do this, my life would be so different. I think it’s just about taking it one day at a time and being proficient in as many movements as I can and then do competitions as I want to. As long as I’m still having fun competing I’m going to continue to compete.



“I do post videos of me doing things because I think: ‘I’m gonna try this and maybe it will motivate someone in a similar situation to try something new.’

“I guess my main message I’m trying to share with people is just try. You shouldn’t let the fear of the unknown hold you back. I always say: ‘Just try. Just try!’.”

Lindsay met her partner Matt Melanson four years ago and, as well as training with her and acting as her coach at Wodapalooza, he has become her biggest cheerleader. 

He said: “It seems like now I know not to think that she’s not going to be able to do something. She always thought skipping was something she wouldn’t be able to do, and now she can skip! She’s gonna find a way to do whatever she wants to do.”

Another one of Lindsay’s fiercest supporters is her trainer Jenny Jeffrey, who kicks her butt up to five times a week at her local gym. 

Jenny said: “Lindsay is great and really easy to work with as she just shows up with some chains or some straps and says: Llet’s try this.’ Lindsay’s achievements have been really really great so far. 

“Over the last year, she’s gone from not even having a way to do pull ups to busting out pull ups one after the other, handstands, cleans and olympic weightlifting!

“I think it’s really easy once you get to know Lindsay to forget there’s any adaptations at all, because she goes after it like anyone else. She is an athlete and she pushes it and she works hard every time and we’re all super proud of her here.”