A specialist strength and conditioning centre in Watford will be backing a man with Cerebral Palsy this weekend in the UK’s first disabled strongman competition.

Paul Joseph, owner of The Centre for Functional Performance based in Sandown Road, has been intensely training Conrad Tokarczyk who has the condition for the British Disabled Strongman competition which he’ll be taking part in this Saturday.

The gym offers training to a variety of people, both able-bodied and disabled clients, and specialises in the power sports - strongman, powerlifting and Olympic lifting.

For Mr Joseph, a strongman competitor himself, Mr Tokarczyk, who lives in Ruislip, is the first person with cerebral palsy he has had to coach.

He said: "It’s a whole different ball game because they have balance issues and the neurological side of things is quite pronounced with the lack of movement in some joints.

"It’s a challenge but interesting. He’s strong enough and he’s going to do well this year."

The competition is being held at the Northwood Athletics Stadium in Stoke on Trent and this will be Mr Tokarczyk’s second strongman competition.

He said: "I’m quite new to strong man. My first competition was in Iceland in June and I thoroughly enjoyed that.

"I’d always trained in a gym, and done body building, but wanted to try something different like lifting logs and atlas stones.

"I did a search on the internet as I needed somewhere to train and found Paul’s centre.

"I’ve been training with him since June."

Mr Tokarczyk’s main decision to train at the centre was Mr Joseph’s extra qualifications in sports management and sports therapy.

Mr Tokarczyk said: "With Cerebral Palsy you have to manage your condition, so with Paul’s qualifications it means I can do my strength work not necessarily at the detriment of my condition.

"Doctors historically tell a lot of people with CP and disabilities that lifting heavy weights isn’t good and I grew up with that mentality.

"But what I’ve found is I’ve actually done it and there have been a lot of additional benefits which goes against what I was told.

"People need to experience it and reap the benefits."

The competition involves the same categories as a usual strongman competition but they are simplified - a hand over hand truck pull, a log lift, a Hercules hold, a crucifix hold, circus dumb bell and atlas stones.

Both Mr Tokarczyk and Mr Joseph are keen to promote the strongman sport to people with disabilities.

Mr Tokarcyzk said: "We want more disabled people to get involved in sports so we can start classifying it. At the moment there’s not enough people involved to have an amputee category and a Cerebral Palsy category.

"One of the things I like about this sport is you do get stronger and when you improve its obvious to see.

"One thing I do really like about the sport is the sense of comradery.

"In a lot of sports the disabilities and able-bodied side of things are kept very separate, but in this sport they both very much support each other."

Mr Joseph added: "There’s ten people competing - three with Cerebral Palsy. I’d like him to be up in the top five."