Martin Tye is strong as hell, and he’s only getting stronger—despite only being able to walk a few yards.
Tye, who won the World’s Strongest Disabled Man competition in 2018, uses a wheelchair due to injuries he sustained in 2009 while serving in the UK’s Royal Logistic Corps. During a tour in Kabul, Afghanistan, a suicide bomber drove into Tye’s vehicle and detonated a 500-pound bomb.
Among his injuries were severe nerve damage, blast injuries to his lungs, bilateral knee injuries, shrapnel damage all over his body, partial deafness, burns on his body and face, and a mild traumatic brain injury. His clavicle was also shattered, and he sustained smaller muscle tears and ruptures from the blast. He was flown home on life support, and had to be revived en route after going into cardiac arrest.
Tye wasn’t paralyzed by the blast—he can still walk a few yards at a time—but he can’t feel his legs and suffers from serious pain and nerve damage that have left him wheelchair-bound. And his injuries were as taxing mentally as they were physically.
“The incident caused me to lose all confidence, shut myself away, and not interact with people,” Tye told us. “My military background, along with an amazing family network, has helped me to work through my mental challenges and face the world head on.”
Tye was medically discharged from the UK military in 2011, and it took some time for him to get back into training. His injuries presented serious obstacles, and he had to find ways around them.
“Training began in 2014, where it was slow progress to start. But once I got the feel of it again, I was soon back to training several hours each day,” Tye said. He credits the progress he made to Headley Court, a medical rehabilitation center for the British Armed Forces, which introduced him to athletics post-injury.
Once he got back in the gym, he didn’t slow down. Sports became a way for Tye to work through his demons, and he’s since competed at the Invictus Games, a multi-sport event created by Prince Harry, multiple times. In 2018, he won gold for indoor rowing and powerlifting. He also won the World’s Strongest Disabled Man competition in 2018.
He placed fourth at the 2019 WSDM competition, suffering a torn pec, but he set a huge milestone in the process: a new seated deadlift world record. He lifted 520kg (1,146 pounds) at the competition, breaking the 500-kg (1,102-pound) world record he set just a month earlier.
Here is my seated deadlift to take the win. Nice gentle 520kg, the biggest lift ever and smashing my previous world record. Was a a great evenings competition and looking forward to tomorrow events. #musclefooduk #disabledstrongman #invictus #strongman #strengthtraining #military #invictusgames #powerlifting #strengthtraining #benchpress #sbdapparel #bridgeroadbarbell #healthynfit #trainlikeahero #thinkdirtyeatclean #sponsorship #arnoldclassic #Rawpowerlifter #Motivation #gobigorgohome #cleaneating #wsm #camberleychiropractic #Writeyourown #teamprophecy @prophecyLtd @musclefoodUK @fuzion100uk @sbdapparel @nssm2019 @gym-professor @thegym @get_strongfit @strongmancorporation
A post shared by MartinTye #TEAMTYE ♿️ (@strongmantye) on Jun 7, 2019 at 8:50pm PDT
This is the outcome of pushing your body to the limit. This is two days after my monster 520kg seated deadlift. It looks like I’ve got a small tear in my peck now. Back to the drawing board, train harder and try and smash my record again. I have set my mind to hit 550kg, which I think will be achievable with the right training and conditioning. I know this is not going to come straight away, but if I put the work in it will pay off. Hopefully I will get to achieve this on a national platform #musclefooduk #disabledstrongman #invictus #strongman #strengthtraining #military #invictusgames #powerlifting #strengthtraining #benchpress #sbdapparel #bridgeroadbarbell #healthynfit #trainlikeahero #thinkdirtyeatclean #sponsorship #arnoldclassic #Rawpowerlifter #Motivation #gobigorgohome #cleaneating #wsm #camberleychiropractic #Writeyourown #teamprophecy @prophecyLtd @musclefoodUK @fuzion100uk @sbdapparel @nssm2019 @gym-professor @thegym @get-strongfit @wsdm @atxfitness
A post shared by MartinTye #TEAMTYE ♿️ (@strongmantye) on Jun 10, 2019 at 8:08am PDT
Tye’s long-term goal is to hit a 550-kg (1,212-pound) seated deadlift and break other strongman records, like the Atlas stone load. In the short-term, he just wants to train hard and stay injury-free. It goes without saying that he’s had to train like a beast to find success in the variety of sports he competes in.
“Throughout my professional sporting career, I have had to learn to deconflict my training schedule,” Tye explained. ”I would train for rowing five times a week in the morning and five times a week in the afternoon for strength training.” He would also be eating more than a typical endurance athlete, but had to take in enough calories to be the best he could in Strongman.
Tye doesn’t have a trainer, but he trains two to three hours a day, five days a week, breaking it down into individual muscle groups. He adapts each exercise around his disabilities. His favorite moves are the bench press and dumbbell bench press.
“Sport has had a positive impact on my life since injury,” Tye said. “Before sport, I would only focus on my weaknesses. However, the Invictus Games and Disabled Strongman have taught me to focus on my strengths and push myself.”
With feats like a 520-kg deadlift already in the rearview, it’ll be exciting to see what else he can pull off. His success is a testament to the power of a positive outlook, and he’s living proof that those with disabilities are no less strong.
“We might be disabled, but we are just as strong,” Tye said. “Disability has no limit and you can push yourself as hard as your body allows.”
Follow Tye on Instagram at @martintye, and keep an eye out for more records from the UK Strongman.