Teamwork key to CrossFit in Connellsville |

Teamwork key to CrossFit in Connellsville


As soon as you enter the Snap Fitness Center in Connellsville, you sense there is something special going on. The normal gym noises, treadmills thumping, ellipticals whirring, and weights clanging, are trumped by the noises of teamwork in the CrossFit Room. Jackie Rodgers of Greensburg is the CrossFit trainer at the Connellsville Snap Fitness Gym.

“The owner of the gyms here and in Mt. Pleasant asked me to take the CrossFit position because of my lifetime of athletic competition,” Rodgers said. “I participated in track all through high school specializing in the pole vault and earned a scholarship to Kent State University. That led me to a stint as a professional touring pole vaulter based at the University of Nebraska.”

She described how the competition format led her to more and more types of sports: “I guess I am an eclectic athlete, especially after my stint on the U.S. Bobsled Team from 2007-2010.”

Rodgers is well prepared to instruct and coach the CrossFit Team in Connellsville.

“We emphasize several core themes here: Smile, stay positive and keep moving; know what you can do; strength; mobility; stamina; and agility,” she said. “Partner workouts are essential to success here.”

Shawn Nicholson of Connellsville has been working out at Snap since it opened nearly two years ago.

“I’m totally in with this CrossFit program. I wanted some more cardio work and this certainly provides all I want. The teamwork factor is my favorite. Most people work out alone with earbuds in listening to music and missing out on the team concept.”

Nicholson played golf in high school and he loves the physicality of CrossFit.

“I feel part of a family team here. Everyone helps everyone else reach goals and beyond. I have gone from 150 pounds in high school to a fit 190 now.”

He is preparing for an upcoming team competition that pits a number of CrossFit teams against one another.

Maryellen and Mike Pallow of Connellsville are a married couple who have found that working out together brought them to the CrossFit program.

“Mike works for PennDOT and I for the United Mine Workers, so both of us are free in the evening, making CrossFit ideal for us,” Maryellen Pallow said. “I think it is great we have all age groups working out here. Shawn is in his 20s; we have people in their 30s and 40s as well as a few teenagers. There is something in CrossFit is for everyone.”

She has found it intriguing that before this program she had trouble moving cases of bottled water around in her office, but now weighty objects are almost no problem at all. Mike Pallow has always worked out, but he feels the foundation of CrossFit pushes everyone on to new challenges and goal achievement.

Rodgers continued her description of CrossFit: “This is an everyday program. We have 28 participants with probably 20 on a dedicated regular schedule of five nights per week. The others are hamstrung by work shifts and travel schedules.”

Those who do dedicate to the program find something different in the workout on each meeting.

“I use Sundays to plan my lessons or WODs, workout of the day, through Wednesday then develop new and muscle shocking routines for the rest of the week,” Rodgers said. “Some weight lifters lose a little definition as they try to maintain flexibility. I suggest to them that they still do some basic weight training between classes here.”

The class goes through some gut wrenching exercises as a group. They team up on the many pull-up bars around the fitness room.

“There are four types of pull-ups tested in our competitions,” Rodgers said. “Kipping where the person swings on the bar creating momentum for the pull. There is a butterfly version and the strict straight arm pull-up. Really accomplished athletes do a muscle-up style where he or she pulls up into a handstand doing several dips before lowering and repeating.”

Camille Hunter, 13, of Scottdale feels at home among the older athletes.

“I’m quite thin and want to do better at my school sports so I thought CrossFit might be my answer. These people accepted me with no problem. I fit in well here and have made some progress.”

CrossFit began in 2000 near Seattle as both a way to work out and as a competitive basis; it has spread to 10,000 gyms around the world, including CrossFit 724, 114 Equity Drive, Hempfield; Crossfit Utown, 542 Morgantown St., Uniontown, and Crossfit Laurel Highlands, 2578 Kingview Road, Scottdale.

John Tremba is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.