Kellie San Souci

Trying to lift and work out just like everyone else...

My name is Kellie San Souci and I was born with one hand due to an amniotic band while I was in utero.

Before I started elementary school, I did go to a school with other children so I could learn skills like being able to tie my own shoes rather than having to use velcro.

Over the years I did have various body powered prosthesis as an assist for the missing hand, but it wasn't until I was in my late 40's that I started actively becoming interested in fitness, working out, and lifting. I don't know why it took so long for that to be the tipping point for me, but it did. I also have a myoelectric prosthesis for work so I can type, but this type of prosthesis isn't helpful for working out.

In January 2018, I joined the gym I belong to and got myself a personal trainer. My trainer, Lydia, was very enthused about helping me to develop further techniques to be able to lift with both arms. She is very active on Instagram and made great use of the tags as well as Youtube. She discovered this man, Warren Moore, and saw that he used straps as an assist. She then found the man who had made them and contacted him. Mogens Eggemann was very helpful for us to determine who lengths we would need. I have a small and medium length.

When I started working with her, I only went for the two days we had together at the gym. As my outlook on fitness changed, I found myself working out on my own. Most weeks, I have one recovery day and even if I don't go to the gym, I do find myself doing something active like running.

Sometimes the straps do pinch and using dumbbells is a little awkward. So back to IG and Youtube we went. That's when Lydia sugested that I looked at what other hand handed atheletes who lift and even mountain climb. I followed some of these athletes like @Merrbertt, @WillLiftForFood, and @MoInMountains.

"If you had told me two years ago that by having these adaptive tools, I would be able to be achieving results in both arms equally, I would have laughed in your face."

I also then started asking some of these athletes if they would[n't] mind sharing the tools that they used with me so I could achieve different ways of lifting. Every one of these athletes is very supportive and a great resource. Merrbertt uses Harbinger Lifting Hooks. These hooks are more comfortable for when I do Romanian deadlifts, Trap bar deadlifts, and even Sumo Squat deadlifts.

If you had told me two years ago that by having these adaptive tools, I would be able to be achieving results in both arms equally, I would have laughed in your face. Now that I have been working out with Lydia and using the correct tools, I do realize this was the result I had been looking for all along.

As we encounter new challenges in the gym and how I lift, we keep looking for new ways to adapt.

You can find Kellie on Instagram at @ladycat1170.


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