How to do the Hollow Position

By Todd M. Cambio | November 21, 2014

Learning the hollow postion


This is a great exercise to truely strengthen the abs and to teach the body total tension.  The benefits are numerous.  The most obvious one is that increased strength in the abs and core body muscles.  It is fansastic for improving your strict pull up as well as aiding in development towards basic gymnastics exercises such as handstand or support hold.

The number one thing to remember is keep the abs and butt tight at all times.

Here is the basic Position: Back is rounded, pelvis tucked under. The arms are extended next to the ears and the toes pointed slightly in front of the body. The lower back should be against the floor at all times.

Try these steps to master the hollow position:

  1. Lie down flat on your back and contract the abs, pulling the belly button towards the floor.  Squeeze your glutes hard like there is an acorn between your cheeks (crush the acorn!).
  2. The arms and legs should be held straight out from the body with hands and toes pointed.
  3. Slowly raise shoulders and legs from the ground. The arms and head should be raised along with the shoulders.
  4. The lower back must remain in contact with the floor.
  5. The goal is to find the lowest position that you can hold the arms and legs, without them touching the floor and without breaking lower back contact (the point at which the lower back begins to arch from the ground).
  6. I like to imagine I am about to get punched in the stomach…see me poking people in the gut to test for tension??
  7. Hold for sets of 30 seconds to start then work owards full minute sets!

Here I am using the same position at the top of a strict pull ups, the bottom position is literally a hang from the bar in hollow position!


Top of a pull up


Be Fit,


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Sports Nutrition Pro Shop is Online

By Todd M. Cambio | October 2, 2014

Finally I got the basic sports nutrition products I use and recommend available to buy anytime and anywhere!


I use Herbalife24 and a few other products. It is a comprehensive performance nutrition line empowering athletes 24-hours a day.

Herbalife24 has surpassed industry standards of pre-, during- and post-workout nutrition to help you train, recover and perform like never before with all the nutritional support you need as an athlete.

This product line is customizable so you can determine your day-to-day needs based on activity levels and training demands.

Order Online

HBL24 Chains

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BEST Ab Exercises

By Todd M. Cambio | September 16, 2014

Are you still doing dozens of crunches in the hopes of getting flat, washboard abs?

Traditional crunches are old news, so let’s take your ab routine to the next level with the following 5 Best Ab Exercises.

The most effective ab exercises strengthen your core as a whole –which helps prevent dreaded back pain, increases your agility and, of course, makes you look good.

In your new ab routine the focus is on quality over quantity. A few concentrated movements are always more effective than dozen and dozens of old fashion crunches.

1) Plank: When performed correctly, a simple plank is one of the most effective ways to tighten your entire core. Proper form is key. Keep your back flat and your belly button pulled in toward your spine.  You can start with a High Plank or go right to the Low Plank.  Squeeze those Glutes, quads and abs hard!

Lie face down on mat resting on your forearms.  Push off the floor, raising up onto your toes and resting on your elbows. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air or sagging in the middle.  Work towards a 60 second hold.


2) Mountain Climbers: This vigorous variation of a standard plank kicks the core tightening up a notch. Angling your knees toward the opposite shoulder is a wonderful way increase the intensity even more.

Place your hands wider than shoulder-width apart on the ground in a push-up position. Bring one knee to your chest and then back to the starting position, alternate each leg.  Learn them slowly then work on doing them quickly. DO NOT LET YOUR BUTT GO IN THE AIR!  Keep that plank position.  Try 15-20 per side.


3) Russian Twist: Nothing quite brings the burn like a properly done set of Russian Twists. By holding a medicine ball or dumbbell in your hands, the exercise becomes even more effective.

Sit on the floor with knees bent like in a “sit-up” position. The feet should be kept together and slightly off the floor. Keep your torso straight and your back off the ground at a 45 degree angle. Hold a medicine ball or dumbbell with both hands. Next, the arms should be swung from one side to another in a twisting motion, with each swing to a side counting as one repetition. Move slowly for a more challenging workout.  Try 15-20 per side.

4) Knee Tucks: All too often I see people neglect their lower abs in favor of quicker, easier exercises. The fact is that our lower abs typically need the most work, so give them the attention that they need with these Knee Tucks.

Start on your back, straighten your legs with knees touching. Prop yourself up on both elbows, palms facing down, and raise your legs off the ground about 6 inches. Inhale and bring your knees up towards your chest while exhaling.  Slowly extend your legs back to the start position.   Keep your abs hard the whole ime.  Do not allow your back to arch.  If you need to place your hands behand your tailbone, do so. Try 15-20 reps.

5) Side Bridges: In yet another variation of the fantastic plank, Side Bridges are much more challenging that they appear at first glance. While the focus is mainly on your waist, due to the stabilizing nature of this exercise, you’re also working your entire core as a whole.

Put your feet and legs together as you lie on your right side. Place your right arm under your body and lift your upper body so that your right elbow is directly under your shoulder. Your left hand should be resting on your left hip. From this position, slowly raise your hips from the ground until a straight line is formed from your ankles to your shoulders. Hold the position for a moment, slowly return to the starting position, and repeat.  Work towards a 60 second hold. 

Even the best exercise routine in the world is fruitless if you throw away your results with sloppy eating. Remember to keep your meals lean by avoiding processed carbs, packaged foods or fried items. Fill up on lean proteins and fresh vegetables and reward yourself with organic, seasonal fruit. That, my friend, is lean living!  It’s 80% Nutrition and 20% the right Exercise routine!

Be Fit,


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Tactical Strength Workshop

By Todd M. Cambio | September 2, 2014

With so many questions being asked about the Tactical Strength Challenge, I decided to do a workshop to clearify all the questions I have received.

Specifically technique and programming.

The Tactical Strength Challenge tests the three primary types of strength:

  1. Absolute strength using the deadlift
  2. Bodyweight-relative strength with pullups
  3. Cardiovascular endurance through kettlebell snatches.

The three events test a unique trade-off between these abilities. While larger participants may have an advantage in the deadlift, lighter participants have an advantage in pullups, and the kettlebell snatch tests all participants equally.

Goal of this Workshop : Get Stronger!

Nobody ever said they were too strong…simply working to get stronger will have a profound effect on getting you more athletic.

“Sparta, Rome, the knights of Europe, the samurai… worshipped strength… Because it is strength that makes all other values possible.” (Enter the Dragon)

We will work to learn and improve (test numbers):

While also fine tuning:

In order to judge progress at an end point we must know where we are starting.  Here is your starting point.  The TSC will be your end point.

When: September 6th

Time: 9:30-11:30

Where: XTREME Fitness, 7 Scott Road, Hampton, NH

Cost: $20

Contact: Coach Todd Cambio at 860-287-3768 or to reserve your spot.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Todd Cambio, CSCS

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Swim For Improved Heart Health

By Todd M. Cambio | August 26, 2014

Swimming has been known as a great way to exercise for many years. The benefits include physical fitness and excellent cardio conditioning. But swimming also provides an excellent way to improve heart health, allowing a person to have a strenuous workout without stressing their heart. How does that work?

Lowered heart rate in the water. Heart rates in the water stay around 13% lower than on land – about 17 beats per minute lower. There are a number of theories about why this occurs, including the lessened impact of gravity, and the cool temperature of the water. The net effect for the swimmer is that they can exert the same effort as on land, but the heart has to work less. Over time, going for a swim will keep a person healthy, while helping their heart stay in better shape. Here are some more resources with additional information:

The heart works better. Any muscle you work out will get stronger, and that includes the heart. Swimming provides an aerobic workout, which makes the heart pump more efficiently, leading to improved blood flow to the rest of the body. That benefit affects the rest of the body, because the better blood flow means improved circulation, better breathing and lower blood pressure.

Lowered risk of heart disease. It’s a stark reality that heart disease is the number one killer in America. Many of the problems related to heart disease are caused when plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries. This narrows the arteries and restricts blood flow, and if a large blood clot gets stuck, it can cause a heart attack. If the blood flow gets completely cut off, the part of the heart which is blocked begins to die. Swimming is easy on the cardiovascular system, which lowers the risk of heart disease problems. People who are undergoing rehabilitation for heart problems will likely have a faster recovery time.

A recommended starting workout. For people new to workouts, a typical recommendation is 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 days a week. Swimming will be taxing for someone new to it, so a good target is 12 to 20 minutes of light lap swimming to begin. Get the workout going successfully, and let endurance build later. Start with a crawl stroke, and don’t overdo at the beginning. The goal is to build and support the heart, not to overwork it at the beginning of a new routine.

Check with the doctor. If you’re new to swimming, check with the doctor to make sure you’re cleared for an exercise routine.

Ramp up the exercise. For someone who has been exercising for a while, swimming can take them as far as they want to go in building their fitness. Remember seeing Michael Phelps in the Olympics? Yes, his level of condition is out of the range of most people, but it’s sure a goal to reach for. Just like with running or gym workouts, a swimmer can set personal goals and work from that point to improve their fitness.

Stress reducing. Swimming can lower stress, which will add to the benefit of lowered blood pressure, and give a person an overall sense of calm. The lightness of the water, combined with the almost meditative process of a swim stroke, will allow a swimmer to walk away from the pool feeling more relaxed and less worried about whatever was bothering them.

Swimming is a great way to work out that will also be beneficial for the heart. Just give it a try, and see how you like it.


Guest Blogger Kaitlin Gardner.  Kaitlin started to further her passion for a family friendly, green living lifestyle. She is married to her college sweetheart and lives in Pennsylvania. She and her husband enjoy going for long hikes, to get out and enjoy nature. She is working on her first book about ways to live an eco-friendly, healthy, natural life.

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Spartan SGX Mohegan Sun Sleds

By Todd M. Cambio | August 23, 2014

Here we are at week 5 and I decided to shake things up a bit and bring the sleds out!  Sleds are such a graeat tool to really work on overall strength and muscular endurance.  You can push sleds, pull sleds, hook up TRX’s and do rows and chest press as well as many other things!

Our workout today focused in on leg drive! Keeping the sled moving.  If you have never pushed a sled on grass, in our case wet soggy grass, what a difference. You hardly need any weight at all, very tough to push, so we used my kids and sandbags as weight!

My kids had a blast getting pulled and pushed!  :)

WEEK 5’s workout was 5 reps x 5 sets in “I GO U GO” format:

  1. Warm Up: laps and dynamic flexibility
  2. SLed Pulls with TRX rows mixed in
  3. Partner Hamstrings
  4. Sled Pushes
  5. Sandbag Farmer’s Carry
  6. Ropes: Jumping Jacks x 20:20 x 5
  7. Stretch & Refuel

I also hadn’t written a post in a few weeks so I decided to post this recap of the last couple weeks…

WEEK 4 – Spartan SGX Relay Races

WEEK 3 – Spartan SGX Socks (Crazy 8’s) – This week was all about the socks and making the capes fly:

Nutrition Tip: Have a Cheat Meal!  Why not, you deserve it!

Until next week, our last week, Spartan Up!


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Tactical Strength Challenge

By Todd M. Cambio | August 11, 2014

WHO is in???  I will be competing again October 4, 2014…will you?  What are you training for?

Sign up today at

The Tactical Strength Challenge (TSC) is a strength competition consisting of three events:

The Tactical Strength Challenge tests the three primary types of strength; absolute strength using the deadlift, bodyweight-relative strength with pullups, and cardiovascular endurance through kettlebell snatches. The three events test a unique trade-off between these abilities. While larger participants may have an advantage in the deadlift, lighter participants have an advantage in pullups, and the kettlebell snatch tests all participants equally.

The rules are simple, the training is hard, but the opportunity to say you faced the Tactical Strength Challenge and survived makes it all worthwhile.

Looking to improve on last years numbers!  Open Division.  455 DL, 7 Pull Ups and 120 Snatches.


There are six classes of competition:

Men’s Open Division/Men’s Masters Division
A max deadlift, bodyweight pullups, and snatches with a 24kg kettlebell.

Men’s Elite Division
A max deadlift, pullups with 10kg of added weight (22 lbs), and snatches with a 32kg kettlebell.

Men’s Novice Division
A max deadlift, bodyweight pullups, and snatches with a 20kg kettlebell.

Women’s Open Division
A max deadlift, bodyweight pullups, and snatches with a 16kg kettlebell.

Women’s Elite Division
A max deadlift, pullups with 5kg of added weight (11 lbs), and snatches with a 20kg kettlebell.

Women’s Novice Division
A max deadlift, flexed arm hang, and snatches with a 12kg kettlebell.

The TSC must be held and completed in a single day. Masters competitors will be over 50, not the more common over 40. Masters lifters should lift in the same flights as other competitors. The weights used for pullups and snatches vary by competition class as described below.

The events are performed in the following order: deadlift, pullups, snatches. Each competitor must be given at least 15 minutes of rest between events but 30-60 minutes is recommended.

Any competitor that places in the top 3 in the Novice division is no longer eligible to compete in the Novice division, and must register in the Open or Elite class.


Deadlift The competitor who successfully lifts the most weight wins.

Pull-ups The competitor who does the most repetitions wins.

Snatches The competitor who successfully performs the most repetitions wins.

Scoring is based on participation. 1 point for 1st place and 2 for 2nd and so on. In the event of a tie, the pull-up goes to the heaviest person and the deadlift will go to the lightest. A tie in the snatch test will stand.


Deadlift A standard Olympic bar and plates. A competitor may use his or her own weightlifting or powerlifting belts for the deadlift event.

Pull-ups A pullup bar tall enough so that all competitors can use it without bending their legs and sturdy enough to handle heavier competitors and additional weight of kettlebells.

Snatches A 12kg, 16kg, 24kg, or 32kg kettlebell and a timer or stopwatch. A weight belt with an attached chain is used for weighted pullups in the Men’s Elite Division.

Lifters may not use gloves, knees wraps, supportive clothing, or any other lifting aids

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Spartan SGX Mohegan Sun Sandbags

By Todd M. Cambio | August 3, 2014

Week 2 of our summer Spartan Group X (SGX) program was a tough one!

On Monday Coach Pinto put everyone through another variation of his Hurricane training! Hurricane Pinto II: 30:30 x 4 per exercise

On Thursday Coach Cambio put everyone through a MetCon Circuit!  The goal was to work hard on the movements that will prep us for an Obstacle Course or Mud Race. We started off with a 5 minute run to get the blood flowing then we went into:

  1. Animal based Warm Up: Spartan A, B, C’s (Ape, Bear Crawl and Crab Walk) plus other dynamic flexibility movements
  2. MetCon Circuit: ARAP in 30 minutes

I also wanted to incorporate a new toy: the Ultimate Sandbag!

Like any new thing, there is a learning curve.  Those sandbags are tough so we will work on perfectiong that form!  Great job for your 1st time guys!  Here is a little technique help to look at until we give it a try again!

Our Nutritional Task of the Week is to add some FRESH FRUIT to your Plain Yogurt.

Think of fresh fruit (organic, in-season is best) as nature’s vitamins!

They are loaded with vitamins and minerals that will help your recover quickly from exercise by bringing down inflammation, re-hydrating you and supplying you with much needed electrolytes!  Yogurt is a great place to add your freash fruit because it is loaded with bone build calcium and muscle building protein!

Check out more stuff by Todd at:

Spartan Up,


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Spartan SGX Mohegan Sun Round Two

By Todd M. Cambio | July 31, 2014

After a great first time around at Mohegan Sun, Mike and I have been asked back for a summer Spartan Group X (SGX) training program!

So welcome new comers and welcome back our returning Spartans!

Since we had so many returning Spartans, we were able to jump into it a little faster.

Day 1 – Hurricane Pinto! 30 seconds work : 30 seconds recovery per station

Day 2 – 5 minue Burpee Test and Spartan Body Weight Test

  1. After a few laps around the field we went into a full dyamic flexibility routine
  2. Spartan Burpee Test!
    1. Max number of Burpees in 5 minutes
  3. Spartan Body Weight Test – 1 min work : 1 min rest each – go for your max number of reps with great form!
    1. Prisoner Squats
    2. Push Ups
    3. Equalizer Body Rows
    4. Jump Lunges
    5. Flutter Kicks
  4. Full Body Stretch

Nutrition Tip of the week: Eat some Chia Seeds

Add it to your shakes or your yogurt or to your salad!

Known as “Mayan Mega Fuel”, chia seeds are one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence. A three tablespoon serving has more than twice the iron as a cup of spinach, as much potassium as a banana, twice the fiber of a cup of oatmeal, and the antioxidants of a serving of blueberries

Keeping balanced levels of blood sugar is important for both health and energy. Blood sugar may spike after meals, especially if you eat high-starchy foods or sweets. This can lead to ‘slumps’ in your day where you feel tired and out of energy. By balancing your blood sugar, you not only lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, but you also ensure steady, constant energy throughout your day.

How does the Chia Seed help with this? Both the gelling action of the seed, and it’s unique combination of soluble and insoluble fiber combine to slow down your body’s conversion of starches into sugars. If you eat chia with a meal, it will help you turn your food into constant, steady energy rather than a series of ups and downs that wear you out.

 All Nutrition info on this post was shared via Spartan Food of the Day.

Spartan Up!


“Sweat Happens When Muscles Cry!”

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How to Squat

By Todd M. Cambio | July 2, 2014

Here are some tips for the beginning position of a back squat:

Squat Technique:

• Spread the floor apart with your feet. This will activate the hamstrings and gluteals requiring the production of torque.

• Squeeze the bar. Squeezing the bar helps to recruit the upper body into the lift. Having a strong upper back and activated triceps supports the weight and helps protect the spine. Squeezing the bar allows for more muscle activation.

• Sit back and down. Begin the squat by lowering the body as if sitting down on a chair or a bench.

• Sitting at least parallel is a recommended goal.

• Keep a neutral spinal alignment. Neutral spinal alignment is the natural alignment of the spine from the coccyx to the base of the skull. A common mistake is the tendency to not maintain a “flat back.”

Spinal flexion can be a sign of loading too much weight or because a weak core prevents spinal stabilization. A flat or slightly arched lower back can help produce more power than if the spine is overly flexed.

Also, looking forward instead of up with the head will help neutralize the cervical spine.

• Push the hips through. When at the bottom of the squat, standing up properly is the next objective. This means they move the hips back to front instead of up and down. The gluteals must fire and allow the hips to “pop” up and forward. Trying to push the hips underneath the bar is the goal.

• Push through the heels.

• Hips and shoulders rise at the same time.

A great variation to the back squat id the front squat.

Hope that helps,


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