How a Blind CrossFit Coach Works Out

Brandon Tucker is a CrossFit® athlete and coach who doesn’t let the fact that he’s blind get in the way of a good workout.

This footage was taken at July’s Summer Partner Throwdown in Denham Springs. This was a fitness competition designed for two person teams, which made for a great environment for Tucker to crush his workout.

He was born with Usher syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that leads to not only vision loss but also hearing loss — he has about 77 percent hearing loss in both ears. In an interview with he said,

I never really felt like it held me back (…) In a weird way, it actually made me more competitive.

My family has always been competitive so I knew I would have to be a little bit better on my game than others who could see. I saw it as more of an exciting challenge than something that would hold me back.

Despite his disability, he became a successful entrepreneur in Louisiana, and when he encountered the sport of CrossFit in his late 30s, he said he was “hooked,” finding that it fed his competitive nature.

Before starting his own gym, CrossFit Feliciana, he attended CrossFit Geaux in Baton Rouge. His coach described how he taught Tucker to perform kipping pull-ups:

“Whenever he was on the kipping pull-up, having him put one hand on my chest, one hand on my lower back, feeling everything stay tight, the forward and back motion, cueing the pulling motion, and then when it came to the hip extension I cued him to think as if he was jumping on a box, so his knees would come up, he would shoot his feet down, and finally he would feel the sensation as if he was performing the pull-up.”

This week, CrossFit Feliciana announced that Tucker will be participating in a medical trial that may restore his vision. (Because of this he’s been forbidden to work out for the next three months, so he’s getting in a lot of WODs this week.)

But taking part in the trial is pricy. The first treatment costs $19,600, and if it’s successful there will be many more treatments to follow, so he’s raising funds with a Go Fund Me campaign. Check it out if it’s something you’d be interested in supporting.

Featured image via Marshall Courtney on YouTube.

Nick English

Nick English

Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of things.

After Shanghai, he went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before finishing his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and heading to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like BarBend, Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.

No fan of writing in the third person, Nick’s passion for health stems from an interest in self improvement: How do we reach our potential?

Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.

At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.

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