Kettlebell Super Bowl Saturday Swing Clinic

By Todd M. Cambio | January 23, 2018

Come on down before the BIG game Saturday morning and dial in the Russian Hard Style Kettlebell Swing!

Coach Cambio Kettlebell Swing

Hard Style Kettlebell Training will teach you the precise ways in which kettlebells should be used for developing, maximizing, and maintaining strength!


When: Saturday, February 3rd, 2018
Where: Ironman Fitness, Exeter, NH
Cost: $20  NON-members or $10 Ironman Members
Time: 9 am – 11 am


You Will You Learn:

• ​Proper Set Up
• Tension skills for instant strength gains​
• State of the art breathing techniques for strength, endurance, back safety, and stress reduction​
• Why The KB Swing is the “ fat-burning athlete builder”
• How to build off the Dead Lift and own the Two-Handed Swing
• The Single Arm Swing – Offers more benefits due to its addition increased muscle demands
• Swing progressions: single arm swings, high pulls and more…

The Russian Hard Style Swing is also phenomenal for back health and injury prevention when done correctly.
So if you back ever hurts, or is sore from using kettlebells, form is off.
Great workshop for those athletes who that simply want to learn more techniques and gain more confidence with the Kettlebell!
Questions: Todd 860-287-3768
Instructor: StrongFirst Level II Todd M. Cambio, CSCS


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Deadlift 101 Workshop

By Todd M. Cambio | January 12, 2018

Want to finally master the deadlift and build ridiculous strength and back health?


Then come to this workshop Saturday January 20th!


The Deadlift works more muscles than any other exercise, including the squat.
The Dead Lift is the ultimate test of raw strength and one of the most powerful strength builders for the whole body.
According to exercise physiologist Kevin Farley, the deadlift engages all of the major muscle groups. If you need to do one exercise, this is the one to do. The Deadlift works your lower and upper body, including your back muscles.
For athletes, they are living in a quad dominant training world and overtime tend to develop huge imbalances between their anterior (front side of the body) and the posterior (backside of the body) chains.  This imbalance raises ones injury potential quite a bit.  So learning the deadlift helps reduce injury.
However, it is often butchered (form wise) and often gets a bad rap in the fitness world. SO this workshop will help you understand how to get the most out of this movement!
The two stances we will cover are the Sumo stance and Conventional stance.
You will learn:
Sign Up Here:

Depending on one’s leverage’s, you may be able to lift more in the Sumo stance compared to conventional.  That being said, you should learn both stances.

Narrow Sumo Stance at the StrongFirst Tactical Strength Challenge

Conventional stance is the athlete builder as well as one of the the most “real life” lifts we can do.

Why a great “REAL LIFE” Lift?


Register here:

My youth athletes learning to Deadlift:

We will take fix the classic “Bad Form” scenarios we see all the time, like the:

  • Hunch back (see picture below)
  • Squatty Deadlift
  • Bouncy Deadlift
  • Lean Back at the top finish
  • Hitting your knees on the way down (see squatty Deadlift)
  • Using running sneakers or gloves
  • Using a weight belt (YES, it is very bad until you master this move!)

When: January 20th

Time: 9 am – 11 am

Where: Ironman Fitness, 10 Continental Drive, Exeter, NH


Call Todd M. Cambio, BS, BA, CSCS at: 860-287-3768



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After School Strength and Conditioning For Athletes

By Todd M. Cambio | October 19, 2017

Cement a solid foundation of movement with Strength and Conditioning For Athletes – Starts in January 8th 2018!

My focus is teaching proper movement patterns for athletes and reduce the likelihood of injury.  Things like running mechanics, speed, agility, change of direction, footwork, general strength, cardiovascular endurance, and injury prevention.

Here are how I believe all athletes should train:


To sign up for this program go here:

Choose From The Following:

Where: 10 Continental Drive, Exeter, NH at Ironman Fitness

How Much:

$120 for 1 athlete

$150 for two siblings

$199 for a family plan (parents can go to any of our classes!)

$80 for One Day per Week Option

When: 2:45 – 3:45

GIRLS Mon & Weds

BOYS Tues & Thurs

Fridays will be bonus sessions for all when announced

January 8 – February 22nd (7 weeks)


This is where my background separates me from the rest of pack.  We will play games, have a ton of fun, and get our kids ready to kill the upcoming season!

Here is a general training approach I follow to build up my athletes:


I would be happy to give you any more information and discuss my training philosophies.  And I encourage you to pop in on a session to check us out in action.  But come prepared- these athletes in training are notorious for calling parents and coaches out to join them!

To sign up for this program go here:

Choose From The Following:

In case you are unfamiliar with my background, I am a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with years of coaching and athletic experience.  Before moving here to Exeter, I sold my very successful Sports Performance Training facility.  I don’t coach the kids in their specific sport (that is the role of their sport coaches), I focus on making them better athletes so they can excel in their sport.  I have coached athletes of all levels from a middle school girl’s basketball team, multiple high school teams, numerous college players, several professional athletes and even an Olympian.

Stay Strong,


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The Ultimate Obstacle Course Race Strength and Conditioning Program

By Todd M. Cambio | July 6, 2017

I wrote an article for StrongFirst called: “A StrongFirst Approach to Obstacle Course Racing” that has a sample one month training program included.  Here are the detailed instructions for this sample program with video links to most of it.

Give it a go.

Prepare your body to hit the course the right way and reduce your risk of injury!

Training Format:

  1. Warm up
  2. Dynamic Flexibility
  3. Training
  4. Static Stretch
  5. Re-Fuel

Warm Ups include:

Movement Prep:

 Dynamic Flexibility:

  1. Run Prep: (50’ distance)
    1. High Knee Hug (get up on toes) è
    2. High Knee Skip ç
    3. High Knee Run è
    4. Heel Up Walk ç
    5. Cross Over Toe Touch è
    6. Punter ç
    7. Straight-Leg Deadlift Walk è
    8. Backward Run ç
    9. Back Pedal è
    10. Forward Lunge ç
    11. Backward Lunge è
    12. Inchworm/Cobra ç
    13. Lateral Lunge è
    14. Grapvine ç
    15. Grapvine è
    16. Skipping clockwise windmills ç
    17. Skipping counter-clockwise windmills è
    18. Skipping Seal Jacks ç
    19. Skipping Touchdown è
    20. Sprint ç

2. Spartan A, B, C’s (50’ distance)

  1. Run – forward and backwards x 4
  2. Lateral shuffle – down & back
  3. Gorilla Charge – down & back
  4. Lateral Ape – down & back
  5. Bear Crawl – forward and backwards
  6. Crab Walk – forward and backwards
  7. Perfect Squat/Inch Worm/Push Up combo – down & back

Conditioning and Spartan Skills to Master:

  1. Burpee Test
  2. Crazy 8’s
  3. Spartan Sprint Ladder
  4. 300 Yard Shuttle
  5. Bucket or Sandbag Carries
  6. Wall Climbing
  7. Rope Climbing
  8. Monkey Bars
  9. Hill Repeats
  10. Stadium Stairs 

TESTS Phase 1:

Five Minute BURPEES – See how many Burpees you can do in 5 minutes.  Pick either a Spartan Burpee or a Speed Burpee.

Lets take a look at the steps of what I consider a Spartan Burpee.

Spartan Burpee = full push up.  Basically an explosive plyo push up as you get better at these.

Speed Burpee (Squat Thruster) = No Push up.  Simply do all the steps mentioned above with out doing the push up.  Crouch down, kick out to your push up position, then drive legs back into your crouched squat to explode up!

I will also make a note that if you can’t do the push up part, which is the main area of dispute for me, then I have one answer for you…GET STRONGRER!  Get your core stronger and get your upper body stronger.

I would much rather have you do what I consider a Speed Burpee, which simply means no push up, then do a shitty “worm” Burpee.  Do your level of push ups separate on an elevated surface until you are strong enough to do them on the ground for at least a set of 20.

So how “SpartanFIT” are you?  Do your 5 Minute Burpee Test and see where you compare.  This chart is based off of Spartan Burpees NOT Speed BurpeesGoal is to do Spartan Burpees.

300-Yard Shuttle Runs

Some other things to look for are making sure:

Under 1 minute! Top-level athlete!!

1:01 – 1:05 good

1:06 – 1:10 average athlete

1:11- 1:20 anaerobic endurance needs some work

1:21 and over – time to train not pretend anymore


DAY 1: 300 Warrior Workout 

With Great Form for Relative Time – Follow the order below and finish each exercise before moving on.  You decide how to break up your sets.  Ex: Dead Lift 5 sets x 10 reps, recover as needed. 

WU: Spartan ABC

JM: Shoulder Matrix x 2

  1. a) Inverted Body Rows x 50 reps
  2. b) Deadlift your body weight x 50 reps
  3. c) Superman Pushups x 50 reps
  4. d) 24” Box jumps x 50 reps
  5. e) Elbow to Knee x 50/side
  6. f) See Saw KB Press 20 kg KB men or 12 kg women x 50 reps

DAY 2: Spartan Running Base

WU: Dynamic

Day 3: Recovery and Rejuvenation

DAY 4: Increase Your Iron 5×5 – You can use a single bell or double bells depending on your ability level.

WU: Spartan ABC

JM: Hip/Glute Matrix

  1. KB Goblet Squat or front squat
  2. KB Single Leg RDL
  3. KB Shoulder Press
  4. Pull Ups

SWING FINISHER X 10 x 10 Swings EMOTM (try and up the weight each week)

Day 6: Run and or test day!

WU: Your choice

SL Cone Touch & Lateral Hops x 10/leg

Run/Test then go for an easy to moderate (no more than 5 miles) jog if you want.

Terms on the Calendar:

EMOTM  = Every Minute On The Minute

EOM = Every Other Minute

R & R = Recovery and Rejuvenation

JM = Joint Mobility

WU = Warm Up


Spartan Run Ladders and Crazy 8’s:

Use a 50 ‘ distance…down and back is 1 run or 100’.  You will get a lot of change of direction work in too.  These runs are great to do with a partner.

  1. The “Run Ladder” 1…10 (or 1…10, 10…1, etc.) is simply running your distance with equal break to the amount of time it took you to run. Go hard!  Legs should get very heavy!
    • Run fast (90% effort)
    • 100′ run x 1 (down to your cone and back = 1 run)
    • 100′ run x 2
    • 100’ Run x 3
    • All the way to 10 runs
    • Hence 1…10
  2. Crazy 8’s” is a Burpee/Run Combo.
    1. The fast explanation is we do 1 x 100′ run, then 1 Burpee.
    2. Then 2 x 100′ runs then 2 Burpees…all the way to 8 runs and 8 Burpees.
    3. Since it is “Crazy 8’s” we work our way back down from 8 runs and 8 Burpees …to 1 run/1 Burpee!  1…8, 8…1

Goal is to improve stamina and Burpee form each attempt at this workout.


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Summer Strength and Conditioning for Athletes 2017

By Todd M. Cambio | June 12, 2017

Summer Strength and Conditioning Program for Athletes!

Guaranteed to Improve Your Strength, Speed, Power and Endurance!

What Your Athlete Will Get:


GOAL: Injury proof our kids while at the same time having them come into their sport in the fall ready to go.  Focus will be on proper movement patterns, strength, speed and agility work.

This program easily allows me to program appropriately to accommodate the kids attending various sport camps or missed time due to vacations.



MiddleSchool Athletes: Tues and Thurs
High School Athletes: M, W, F
LIMITED SPACE!  1st Come 1st Served.
WHERE: 10 Continental Drive, Exeter at IRONMAN FITNESS
WHEN: 8-9 am

STARTS: Week of June 26th – week of Aug 7th (6 Weeks)

  1. $150 for High Schoolers 
  2. $120 Middle Schoolers
  3. Family Discount: $199 for 2 or more siblings and parents!  INCREDIBLE DEAL***.  Includes all of Ironman’s classes too.  Come check it out!

Summer S & C 2017

WAIVER MUST BE FILLED OUT.  I will have them on location.   (trying to get a digital copy made ASAP)

There are no prorated discounts for family vacations or missed time.  If your athlete is in a sport specific camp and it is local, then athletes should be lifting accordingly to maintain their improvements. I will adjust their work load accordingly, just let me know.  
Ex: Twilight Football Camp.  Kids can lift in the am and go to football in the evening.  
If you feel this is not a fare deal, we can simply charge by the day which is $20 a session.
1st come 1st serve.  There is limited space!  
Be Fit,
Todd M. Cambio, BS, BA, CSCS
#Coach Cambio


***this is for the summer program only.  If you wish to continue on as an Ironman member, simply ask me about the process 🙂

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Crunches SUCK! Try These Instead

By Todd M. Cambio | June 5, 2017

Although the basic crunch is still popular, by now it’s pretty well known that this outdated exercise not the most effective way to flatten and strengthen your abs. It simply doesn’t activate your core muscles to the extent that other exercises do, it can hurt your back, and the small motion doesn’t do much by way of calorie burning.

So why are you still doing crunches?

What the basic ab crunch does have going for it is its no-equipment, on-the-go nature. You could plop down onto the ground in a park, a hotel room, at the beach or at the gym to crank out a round of crunches wherever you happen to be.

Not the most effective, but, until now, the most convenient.

It’s time to upgrade your default, basic crunch to a more modern, results-driven exercise. Below I have the most cutting edge no equipment ab exercise to get you one step closer to those washboard abs that you’ve been dreaming about.

Better Than Crunches #1: The Plank


To perform a plank, place your forearms on the ground with your elbows aligned below your shoulders, and your arms parallel to your body shoulder-width apart. Squeeze your core and pay attention to keeping your back flat. Focus on pulling your belly button in as you hold the position.

When performed correctly, a simple plank is one of the most effective ways to tighten your entire core. Proper form is key. You can start with a High Plank or go right to the Low Plank.  Squeeze those Glutes, quads and abs hard! Work towards a 60 second hold.

The plank is the gateway to mastering the push up and the Burpee.

Better Than Crunches #2: Scissor Kick


To perform a scissor kick, lie with your back into the floor and your arms extended to the sides with your palms facing down. With a slight bend in your knees, lift your legs so that your heels are 6 inches off the ground. Lift your left leg up to about a 45-degree angle while your right leg is still lowered until your heel is about 2-3 inches from the ground. Switch movements by raising your right leg while lowering your left leg. Squeeze your midsection and focus on your breathing as you perform 60-90 seconds of the exercise.

Better Than Crunches #3: Sprinters


To perform a sprinter, lie down on your back with arms straight by your sides. Your hands should lightly touch the floor while your opposite knee drives up. At the same time, raise your upper body off the floor​ and dorsi-flexing your toes toward your chin. Exhale and squeeze your abdominal muscles as you mimic this sprinting motion then lower yourself back down to the starting position. Stay linear, it is not a rotational ab move.  Repeat a series of 12-20 repetitions per side.

Better Than Crunches #4: Reverse Crunch



To perform a reverse crunch, lie on the floor with your feet flat on the floor and hands behind your tailbone.  Sit up slightly onto your elbows staying tall in this position.  Anchor your torso so it does not move. Pull in your belly button as you lift your feet off of the floor bringing your knees to a 90-degree angle and drive them into your chest so that your tailbone presses into the ground. Exhale as your drive the knees come to your chest. Inhale as you reset back to the start position keeping your feet just above the floor. Repeat the movement for 12-20 repetitions while squeezing your abs and focusing on your breathing.

Better Than Crunches #5: Russian Twist


To perform a Russian twist, lie on the floor with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle while raising your upper body off of the ground. Exhale while you twist your torso to the right side until your arms are parallel with the floor. Pull your belly button in and squeeze, then slowly move back to the starting position. Repeat on the left side and continue to repeat both sides for 60-90 seconds.



There you have it, 5 modern, results-driven abdominal exercises that you can perform anywhere! Aim to work your abs at least twice a week for the best results.

It’s worth noting that while strengthening your abdominal muscles is a great way to tighten your waist, none of the amazing muscle tone will show if your body fat is above 20 percent. In order to shed the fat and get that amazing six-pack, join my fat burning fitness program designed to get you into the best shape of your life.

Call or email me now to get started on burning that fat and uncovering your most amazing abs ever!

Be Strong,



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Spartan SGX ObstacleFIT Workshop

By Todd M. Cambio | May 18, 2017


Are you wondering how to train to prepare for a Spartan Race, Tough Mudder or other OCR?

Spartan SGX ObstacleFIT will benefit both the fitness rookie and the seasoned veteran through our 1.5 hour instruction on dominating walls and other select obstacles and a body-weight based workout finishing up with a mock short track Obstacle race.

When: May 27th 

Where: Ironman Fitness, Exeter, NH

Time: 8-9:30 am

Cost: Asking for a $20 donation (Charity TBD)

This workshop is led by Coach Cambio who is a Master Instructor for Spartan Racing, a Spartan Obstacle Specialist and a Spartan Running Specialist.

We are asking for a $20 donation (Charity TBD). Children 13 and up are welcome to participate.

What do you get for the $20 workout fee?

A 1.5 hour obstacle coaching and bodyweight workout
– a sweaty good time
– obstacle dominating techniques
– Advice and racing tips from a Master Spartan Race Instructor
– 15% off Spartan Race discount code
– possibly other swag


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SPRING Strength and Conditioning

By Todd M. Cambio | March 9, 2017

SPRING Strength and Conditioning is here!  The kids tested out in the shuttle run (4 Quarters), broad jump, pro agility, bench press, dead lift and did great!

Youth Strength and Conditioning

Test results showed:

  • Shuttle Run (test of anaerobic endurance) – on average showed a 3-4 second improvemnet which is a huge difference from day 1.
  • Broad Jump (test of leg power) – 2-3 inches of improvement.
  • Pro Agility (test of lateral speed and agility) – recorded lots of low 4 second runs (4.06, 4.07 and even our first sub-four second run at 3.98) so a .45 +/- improvement which is great!
  • Bench press (general upper body strength test) a solid 10 lb improvement across the board.
  • Dead Lift (test of overall strength) – focus was on form and lifting their own body weight as a goal.

SPRING S & C Session II will begin Week of March 6th and will run through the week of April 16th.  Right up until this kids April vacation.  

This session will focus more on strength training, running mechanics and of course injury prevention.  Learning proper loaded lifts such as dead lifts, front squats, shoulder press, rows and bench press utilizing kettlebells and barbells.

Focus is on strength and explosive power to peak for spring sport season!

Cost: $120  (7 weeks – normally $200 )

**Because of all the snow days, I will reduce the price for the SPRING Program to make up for missed days.**

When: at 2:45 – 3:45 for 8 weeks

  • Girls will go every Mon and Weds
  • Boys Tues and Thur

WAIVER MUST BE FILLED OUT.  Please Print it and bring it before the 1st session:

WAIVER and CONTACT Information Form

I am working on getting the PayPal working again too.  I can simply send you an invoice if you want to pay by credit card.

SIDE NOTE: I cannot prorate for missed sessions just way too many variables and this is already a discounted price.

BUT if you need a reference, it is $20 a session if you do not sign up at the discounted rate.


I want to touch on the topic of footwear for S&C.  I am a very strong believer in having people wear hard soled minimum style sneakers. Examples include: indoor soccer shoes or Converse Chuck Taylors.

Quick explanation is that most people wear soft squishy running sneakers that do a ton of damage to your ankles, knees and hips when training like an athlete.

Detailed explanation here:

What running sneakers do when training in them (Bottom) compared to solid training sneakers (top): 

Proper footwear is essential to reduce injury and improve performance.

Proper footwear is essential to reduce injury and improve performance.


Coach Cambio


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Swings Are The Center Of The Kettlebell Universe

By Todd M. Cambio | February 18, 2017

The ONLY Piece Of Equipment You Absolutely Need!

Kettlebell Swings
There are so many pieces of “equipment” out there, but there is one piece of equipment that is underutilized and so misunderstood!

You guessed it! The kettlebell.

Obviously I love my kettlebells. I really do feel the bell is most people’s missing piece of equipment. The movements you do with kettlebells are full body and engage pretty much all your muscles. The exercises are based off of movement and how to enhance movement so you can gain more mobility, improve your stability and increase your strength. The kettlebell can also be utilized as an incredible corrective exercise tool.

The kettlebell is a very adaptable piece of equipment. You do not need a lot of room to get in a full body workout. You can take it outside, you can use it at home or you can use it at your gym. Heck, you can even travel with your bell! You do not need that many sizes of kettlebells either. You can program your kettlebell workout for strength, hypertrophy, MetCon or cardio.

However, when I talk kettlebells with people, the majority of things I hear are astonishing. Things like:

  1. Kettlebells will hurt my back
  2. Kettlebells are just like dumbbells
  3. Kettlebells are not heavy enough to get me strong
  4. Kettlebells cant be used for cardio
  5. AND my favorite, “I already know how to use them”

Absolutely, the 1st 4 above mentioned items are FALSE!

95% of the time #5 is FALSE! – follow up article on this coming next!  Until then, let’s address #1-4.

Here is why kettlebells are great for back health:

·A hard style kettlebell instructor (such as myself) will teach you how to use the kettlebell to strengthen your glutes. By strengthening your glutes you will protect your back. According to Vladimir Janda MD, people with low back pain have “gluteal amnesia.” By learning some of the basics of how to dead lift, how to squat and how to do a hard style swing; you will wake your glutes up and actually improve your back health.

·Kettlebell training will stretch your hip flexors. Research, like Janda’s, has shown a correlation between tight hip flexors and weak glutes.

·The abdominal bracing techniques and mobility drills used in my kettlebell course is second to none for spinal stability that again is going to protect your spine from injury.

Kettlebells are NOT like dumbbells. They are not shaped the same, they are not weighted the same so therefore they should not be used the same way.

·Kettlebells keep the weight on the outside of the wrist so the weight distribution is much different than that of a dumbbell (a Db’s weight is evenly distributed). Therefore, you really do not want to allow the weight of the bell to externally rotate your shoulders. If you lift kettlebells like dumbbells, you are opening up your shoulders for injury.

·Kettlebells should be lifted with straight neutral wrists and a firm grip to keep tension through out body improving strength and movement patterns. This method also improves joint stability.

This is how I celebrate St Patty's Day!! 44 kg (97 lb.) press x 2! Beast (48 kg) is next! SGF Level 2 six weeks away!! Spartan CT ten weeks away! #precisionfitness #strongfirst #SFG #spartanrace #spartangroupx #spartancoaches #spartantraining #goals

Notice the neutral wrist on this 44 kg (97 lb) press

Kettlebells are not heavy enough??? 

· All I will say is kettlebells go up to 203 lb. that I know of…now hold two of these heavy bells…that is a lot of weight my friends.

· Here is what I consider the average size bell you should be able to do the following movements comfortably with. 24 kg (53 lb) for men and16 kg (35 lb) for women:

o Kettlebell 1-handed swing

o Snatch

o Goblet squat

o Front Squat

o Get Up

o Clean

o Press

o Thruster

o Kettlebell 2-handed swing for a set of 10 – 1/2 your body weight for men and 1/3 your body weight for women.

Kettlebells are incredible for cardio!

As it turns out, the kettlebell must have been way ahead of their time.

· New groundbreaking research sponsored by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) demonstrates that kettlebell training significantly boosts aerobic capacity, while also improving core strength and dynamic balance.

· Dr. John Porcari, head of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Department of Exercise and Sport Science Department saw a 13.8 percent increase in aerobic capacity.

· In all, compared to the control group, those subjects who completed the kettlebell training showed significant improvements in VO2max, leg press, grip strength, dynamic balance and core strength.

· And the most impressive research in my opinion shows that in a kettlebell snatch workout, subjects “were burning 20.2 calories per minute, which is off the charts. That is equivalent to running a 6-mile pace.” (Porcari & Schnettler, 2010)

To see what I mean, check out my 5 min Kb Snatch video from the Tactical Strength Challenge 2014:

This is just the tip of the iceberg on using kettlebells. I teach hard style kettlebells, which I think, is the best overall system because it can be applied to so many other disciplines. Hard Style Kettlebell Training will teach you the precise ways in which kettlebells should be used for developing, maximizing, and maintaining strength!

I would love to see you at one of my kettlebell courses and be able to not just tell you, but show you how much kettlebells can improve your overall fitness level!  If interested, sign up for my next course. You wont regret it!  

March 11th – Exeter, NH

Sign Up HERE: 

This course is for anyone looking to improve his or her skills as a kettlebell instructor, avid kettlebell student or a beginner.

Be Strong,



PS – For those looking for more advanced Single Arm Kettlebell skills, I am hosting a 3-hour workshop in Mystic CT March 3rd.

CLICK HERE to register

More info HERE



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Kettlebell Misconceptions Revealed

By Todd M. Cambio | February 12, 2017

Like many things in life, there are great ways to do things and not so great ways. Kettlebells fall into this category. Here are three common misconceptions I deal with regularly.

#1 misconception: “Kettlebells are bad for my back.”

Absolutely NOT True! Bad form and poor instruction is bad for your back. Kettlebells taught correctly are good for your back. Here is why:

#2 Misconception: “My trainer knows kettlebells”

Not to pick on anybody, but unless you have been to a one day course or a 3-day certification, and “practiced” kettlebells for at least 6 months (after attending a SFG Course or Certification) to hone in your form, you or your trainer do not know kettlebells. Personal trainers do not know kettlebells. CrossFit does not know kettlebells.

Correct form absolutely essential. Glute-contracting, hip-snapping, heel-driving, ab-flexing, high-intensity hardstyle swing form. That will bring you right back to 15-20 minutes workouts that are more effective than an hour of other forms of exercise.

I liken “trying to learn kettlebells on your own” to a kid trying to cut their own hair…it usually doesn’t go well!

#3 Misconception: “I can learn them myself.”

If you are reading a book, watching YouTube or DVD’s on kettlebells, stop now and sign up for a StrongFirst Course or Certification.

Why? You need to know why you are doing certain exercises. Know the purpose. Get deeper into the “how and why” than just trying to mimic what you see on a video or in a book. Have someone actually watch your form and offer hand-ons solutions.

Here is a sample concept we go over:

“Linkage”. The Turkish Get Up is one kettlebell exercise that demonstrates this concept.

The Get Up improves one’s strength in many events by teaching the important skill of “linkage,” while eliminating strength “leakage.” Linkage is when total tension is reached with out letting any tension “Leak” out of your system. If there is leakage, the movement gets sloppy and opens the door for injuries.

What Gray Cook, physical therapist to Navy SEALs and NFL teams, has to say about this one kettlebell movement:

“The Turkish Get-Up is the perfect example of training primitive movement patterns—from rolling over, to kneeling, to standing and reaching. If I were limited to choosing only one exercise to do, it’d be the Turkish Get-Up.”

I would add that these other benefits simply come along for the ride: hip hinging, lunging, glute activation, core recruitment, shoulder health, mobility, stability and more.

“Not a single sport develops our muscular strength and bodies as well as kettlebell athletics,” reported Russian magazine Hercules in 1913.

According to Mark Reifkind, Master SFG, “Most clients’ goals are very simple: weight loss and increases in muscle tone and strength and to NOT get hurt. Nothing provides this more easily, more safely, and more quickly than kettlebell swing training done correctly. From the weakest beginner to the most advanced strength athlete the kettlebell swing, when programmed and trained correctly is perhaps the best tool for almost any job. And if you’re going to do only one exercise, make it a swing.”

Kettlebell swings, Turkish get ups, goblet squats, single leg dead lifts, military press, cleans and snatches are all some of the main exercises that when done correctly are some of the best exercises you can do. Invest in a StrongFirst Course  or a Certification and you will gain skills that last a lifetime and transfer to other modes of exercise.


Todd Cambio


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