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Upper Perk Athletes Getting Hooked on CrossFit Training
Written by Bradley Schlegel Staff Reporter
2016-06-29

Michelle Pedrick, right, a coach and co-owner of  Bux-Mont CrossFit, a Red Hill gym leads a 6-9 age group class in a CrossFit workout program designed for youth. 

        Kristen Funk watched her 15-year old son transform his health and fitness for the better while working out with the Upper Perkiomen football team at Bux-Mont CrossFit, a Red Hill gym. If the training could work for him, Funk wondered, why wouldn't the Upper Perkiomen cheerleading team, which recently captured a national championship, benefit, as well?

        In its second session with the business, located at 80 Gravel Pike, the cheerleaders are building muscle and shattering individual fitness expectations, according to Funk, the team's head coach.  "It's great for their self-esteem and body image," she said. "Girls need to learn that being strong is a good thing."

        The team members have become more unified in their misery, according to Michelle Pedrick, a coach and co-owner of the gym.

        "Every single girl is pretty much completely exhausted at the end of every session," said Pedrick a former nationally-ranked gymnast. "But they eventually stand up feeling that much stronger - able to do more."

        According to Funk, the workouts are intense.

        "I watched 90-pound girls run a 100-yard dash carrying medicine balls," she said.  "It is an incredible supplemental program for any sports team."

        Over the summer, Upper Perkiomen's football, cheerleading and girls field hockey teams have utilized the program, which builds core strength and conditioning to improve performance, fitness and endurance sports potential through functional fitness, according to Pedrick, who owns the business with her husband Josh and Karen Barnes, its founder.

        The business offers classes for children and adults in athletic conditioning, kettle bell and cross fit training.

        According to Michelle Pedrick, the school's softball team, as well as Upper Perkiomen's high school and middle school baseball teams, also completed six-week cross fit sessions during the recently concluded school year.

        She said the program utilizes barbells, dumb bells, kettle bells and varying body weight movements, including pullups, pushups and box jumps, to build up core strength and improve overall fitness.

        "It's a really fun way to get in shape," she said. "Participants see improvements, and they don't want to stop."

        According to Josh Pedrick, the program utilizes a wide variety of exercises to maintain the attention of their students, especially the younger ones, while pushing them beyond their comfort zones.

        Members of the Upper Perkiomen football team, who have completed three six-week sessions at the gym since the end of last season, recently embarked on a truncated fourth session in preparation for summer practice, which begins in mid-August.

        For some of the players, the increase in strength and fitness over the last six months has been significant, according to Josh Pedrick. He said the CrossFit experience should make the Indians more cohesive on the field.

        "I'm not sure how their work will translate into wins and losses," said Josh Pedrick, who played baseball at East Stroudsburg University. "But they will play better."

        According to head coach Tom Hontz, Upper Perkiomen's football team enrolled in the program to keep up with its opponents. Hontz said a conversation with George Banas, the head coach of the Quakertown's team, helped convince him to have his players participate.

        "Quakertown has been doing this for a couple years, and they kicked our butts," Hontz said. "I was hoping this would help improve our endurance and athleticism."

        According to Hontz, the Indians wanted to expand beyond their traditional weight lifting program to a full-body workout. He said the players requested two additional sessions.

        "They love it," Hontz said. "To me, these workouts are similar to how we used to practice in the wrestling room."

        Through his participation, Collin Funk learned proper eating habits, developed an appreciation for being in shape and improved his confidence, according to Kristen Funk.

        "It was the best thing he could have done," she said. "He doesn't want to stop."

        While the cheerleaders complete their second session at the gym, Kristen Funk has pulled back the team's practices to once a week until official practice begins in August.

        "Sometimes the girls can get complacent, and they know what to do to get me to back off," she said. "But what they are doing with these workouts is a real great thing to see as a coach. And, I was looking for something to take them to the next level."


 

 

 

 

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