Shaquem Griffin’s dad created an adaptive home gym at an early age

Getty Images

Former UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin put on a show at the Scouting Combine, turning in one of the best performances of any player in Indianapolis. Griffin ran the fastest 40-yard dash for a linebacker, but what drew the most attention was the way Griffin cranked out 20 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, despite only having one hand.

Griffin now uses a high-tech prosthetic that he can clamp to the bar when he’s lifting weights, but he started lifting weights with some low-tech adaptive equipment that his father put together in the Griffin family’s garage gym.

A video from 2012 shows the 16-year-old Griffin and his twin brother, Shaquill Griffin, lifting weights together. At the time, Shaquem would put a pad his dad fashioned where his left hand would be, between his left wrist and the bar. Shaquill would spot Shaquem to make sure the bar didn’t slip off the pad.

“This was the first thing my dad made for me when I first started benching. My brother holds it here so it won’t slide and keeps everything stable,” the 16-year-old Shaquem said. “My brother was already lifting weights but I wasn’t because none of this was made.”

Shaquem also showed off the strap that he put around his left forearm, which he connected to a chain around a dumbbell so he could do curls with his left arm. And he started with bodyweight exercises like pushups and dips, using another pad his father made to take pressure off his left forearm.

Although Shaquill started lifting weights first because Shaquem didn’t have the necessary adaptive equipment, Shaquem quickly caught up and became one of the strongest players on his high school team, amazing their coaches.

“A lot of coaches were surprised,” Shaquem said. “After they saw me working out they said no one could make excuses for not working out.”