Before he could wow NFL scouts, one-handed linebacker Shaquem Griffin needed makeshift equipment to lift weights. 

By Dan Gartland
March 07, 2018

Former UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin wowed scouts at the NFL combine, posting the fast 40-yard dash time by a linebacker in 15 years and putting up 20 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press. The bench number was tied for 11th among linebackers at this year’s combine, which might not sound impressive until you realize Griffin was doing it with one hand. 

Griffin’s left hand was amputated at age four, but his dad didn’t train him any different from his other brothers in their backyard football drills. Shaquem did face a disadvantage in the weight room, though. His twin brother Shaquill, now a cornerback with the Seahawks, was able to start lifting weights before Shaquem because the gym equipment wasn’t adapted for use with just one hand. 

That’s when his dad, Terry, fashioned some makeshift adaptive equipment to make it so Shaquem could lift weights with his brothers. Griffin demonstrates them all in this 2012 video from the Tampa Bay Times. (Thanks to Pro Football Talk for linking to this video.)

For more on Shaquem Griffin, watch Andy Staples’s SI TV feature on the inspirational UCF linebacker, available now on Amazon Channels.

There’s a block to help with dips, a chain to use for bicep curls and Terry’s first invention—“The Book,” used with an assist from Shaquill on the bench. 

Griffin now uses more specialized equipment, like the prosthesis he wore on his left arm during his combine bench press attempt. When he started training for the combine, he couldn’t do more than 11 reps of 225 on the bench and set a goal for him of six reps in Indianapolis. So much for that. What a long way he’s come. 

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