Training Lessons From One-Legged Squatter

Note by Mehdi: this article was written by Alan Low (54y, Australia) who posted pictures on the StrongLifts Fan page of himself doing Squats even though he only has one arm and one leg. This is his amazing story.


My name is Alan. I’m 54 years old. I’m from Serpentine in Western Australia. Worked for Telecom Australia 22 years. Was made redundant a few years after the accident. Now on a pension.

I did some lifting in high school for sport. After leaving school discovering motorbikes, beer, girls etc my body lost its lean muscular look for a pudgier less healthier look that I was becoming displeased with.

Then I had a motorcycle accident. My arm was amputated at the road side and the leg a week later in hospital. It was very badly mangled and developed an infection which was quickly killing me.

After the accident my sedentary lifestyle increased. I guess I did the depression bit early on but that gets you no where. We all have limitations whether they be physical or mental, it is up to us how we let them limit our lives. I refused to let the loss of a couple of limbs doom me to a fat weak existence. My father was my inspiration here, at 83 he renewed his gym membership for another year and was running rings around me in strength. He had been lifting for 30 years.

I have built up a home gym, making some of the gear myself including casting concrete blocks for weights. I also now have access to a small gym at my local Police & Community Youth Centre. I weight train 3-4 days a week and do cardio and ab work other days. I squat using a bar with a fixed pivot that stabilizes me as I move. I have very little feeling and movement in my right stump but I’m using a resistance band to work it as much as possible from different angles. The one armed bench press is the same pivoted bar with weight on one end.

Alan Low Benching and Doing Band Work
Alan Low Benching and Doing Band Work

To the guys who don’t Squat I say, “what are you in this for”? If you’re just playing around then you probably won’t be still training this time next year. If you’re serious then your needs to learn the lifts, simple as that. If your back hurts you’re doing something wrong and need to look at your form.

Alan Low Squatting and Deadlifting.
Alan Low Squatting and Deadlifting.

Two and a half years later I still get a twinge of excitement on training days so that keeps me motivated. I just enjoy it and the changes to my body so damn much. I guess none of us know how we’ll react in a given situation until faced with it. I just hope no one else has to see how well they would cope, it isn’t very pleasant but the human spirit is amazingly resilient. If I can inspire anyone else to better themselves I will be happy.

-Alan Low, 54y, Serpentine Australia.

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