The Mayhem Adaptive Program

Mayhem Adaptive Program
Michael Mills of the Mayhem Adaptive Program

Michael Mills met a young 13-year-old in early 2019 who was recently paralyzed. That meeting would give birth to the Mayhem Adaptive Program.

He reached out to Froning about coordinating a “Train with Rich” weekend with the 13 year old. “I have been friends with Rich Froning and the Mayhem crew for a few years now and being around them, they all saw how beneficial Adaptive CrossFit has been,” said Mills who leads the Mayhem Adaptive Program. “She and her father were already avid CrossFitters and I thought what better way to get her back into it was to bring her to CrossFit Mayhem. After Rich saw how much it was doing for her and how others have benefited from Adaptive CrossFit, he came up with the idea of having an online program for adaptive athletes. He offered me the position to modify the already popular Mayhem Athlete program to be the Mayhem Adaptive Program.”

Thus, the Mayhem Adaptive Program was born. Below, Mills shares about the program’s ins and outs:

Box Pro: Describe the adaptive program.

Michael Mills: The Mayhem Adaptive Program follows alongside of the Mayhem Athlete Program. We take what Rich Froning programs for the abled bodied athletes and adapt it for athletes with disabilities.

The Mayhem Adaptive program has the same volume as the Mayhem Athlete program, and it also offers a “One a Day” program if you are fairly new into CrossFit. It is not as much volume. The workouts are exactly what Rich and the Mayhem Freedom team does on a daily basis, but just adapted for us.

BP: What have you learned in terms of running the program? What makes it successful?

MM: I have learned that the body is capable of much more than expected. I have also learned more about complimenting movements, especially as an adaptive seated athlete because we use our upper body so much. The standing adaptive athletes such as single arm or single leg amputees are able to do much of the same workouts as an abled bodied athlete but just a little different in the weight used. I think what makes it so successful is who is creating the programs. You have to have someone that knows what they are doing, and with experience, you learn what works and what doesn’t.

BP: What’s been your biggest challenge in running this program?

MM: I think the biggest program so far has been just getting it out there. The Mayhem Adaptive Program is still fairly new and is just barely five months old. People still don’t know about the program but we are working on that.  

BP: If other Affiliates would want to bring an adaptive program into their gym, what advice would you give?

MM: I would say go in with an open heart. Be willing to listen to the individual and what the needs are. Some people go in just wanting to better themselves just like anyone else. Others want to be competitive again. Adaptive does not mean disabled either.  It is just a different way of scaling.  I would include the individuals in a normal class schedule. I would not set them aside. We all want to belong. There is nothing better than getting in some fitness with a room full of people that just want to be better.

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at