By Todd M. Cambio | January 9, 2017
Wait! Don’t just skim down to see which exercise I’ve labeled as the best, get the whole story…
I’m often approached and asked to pin down a single exercise as the one that will help lose the most fat and tone the quickest. That’s not an easy question to answer.
You see, I’m very aware of the fact that though an exercise may be perfect for Cindy, it may not be the best choice for Bob—hence my hesitation to label any exercise as the universal best.
That being said, some exercises are definitely better than others. And, yes, there are even a few that I would call the best.
What makes an exercise the best?
When you decide which exercises to include in your routine, it is important to consider the type of movement involved. The simpler the movement, the fewer calories you’ll burn and the fewer muscles you will strengthen. On the other hand, the more complex the movement, the more calories you will burn and the more muscles you will strengthen.
To put it simply, exercises that use complex movements will deliver better results than exercises that use only simple movements. Complex movements recruit multiple muscles, some to stabilize and others to perform the movement. This process keeps your heart rate higher than a simple exercise would, giving you a more intense workout.
What is a complex movement?
A complex movement is a multi-joint movement that recruits large portions of the body to complete the exercise. Let’s compare a simple movement leg exercise with a complex movement leg exercise:
The leg extension machine uses a simple, isolated movement to work the quadriceps. You’re in a seated position moving only your knee joint. There isn’t much involvement, if any, from other muscles and it doesn’t burn very many calories.
Now let’s look at a free weight walking lunge. You start by standing with your feet together and a dumbbell in each hand at your sides (or a barbell across your shoulders, or a medicine ball held at your chest, or even with no weight at all). You take a large step forward and lower your back knee, keeping your front knee at a 90 degree angle. Now you push off your front foot and pull your back leg forward, repeating the movement.
How many muscles did you utilize while performing the lunge? Probably too many to count.
You certainly worked your quadriceps, gluteus, hamstrings, calves, abdominals, supporting muscles in your shoulders, arms and back—just to name a few. You also raised your heart rate and really kicked your metabolism into high gear. That’s what I call a great exercise.
Other ways to increase intensity
Using complex movements are just one of many ways to kick your workout intensity up a notch. Try incorporating a Super Set into your routine. To do so simply perform two or more exercises in a row and then take a short rest.
Or how about a Compound Set? Perform one exercise, rest, then perform an exercise with opposing body parts. To find exercises that compliment one another, choose ones that have similar but opposite motions such as a chest press and a row.
The key to finding the best exercise is to find the ones that bring your workout intensity to a whole new level.
I’d be shortchanging you if I named any exercise as the best. The fact of the matter is that it is a combination of changing your workouts up, using interval training, and even some good old cardio that will ultimately see you to your goal.
These methods will help you to burn more calories, increase your metabolic rate, and will stimulate the production of more fat burning and muscle toning hormones. Of course, there is more involved to achieving your fitness goals.
You need to incorporate fat burning into your routine.
You need to consistently challenge yourself during workouts.
You need to take control of your eating habits and to get your diet dialed in.
So with all that being said, here are a few of MY favorite BEST. EXERCISES. EVER.
- The Dead Lift – Builds a strength base like no other!
- The Kettlebell Swing – The athlete builder.
- Front Squat and Press – All in one compound super set.
- The Turkish Get Up – The Strongman’s yoga.
- The Burpee – Ultimate complex body weight movement.
Here is my Hells Bells Workout with all of these exercises:
Equipment needed: Double kettle bells (Ones you can squat and press for 10 reps), barbell and plates (your 5 RM) and an Animalistic Attitude!
After a 10 minute warm up of your choice:
- Dead Lift 5 x 5 (10-15 mins)
- AMRAP 20 Minutes:
- Double 24 kg swings x 10
- Double Front Squat and Press x 8
- TGU x 3/3
- Rest 5 mins
- 100 Burpees for time
So what’s the best exercise for you?
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By Todd M. Cambio | January 4, 2017
I bring to you the official BEER “Pee Chart”!!!!
I know this is a bit strange but I think this chart will get us talking about hydration which is great. You need to know how important hydration is on health and performance. Most don’t realize they are actually walking around dehydrated. This chart should help with that. I tend to think of it in terms of beer color! Simply match the color of your pee to the “Pee Chart” to see where you are! If you are lighter than light, you are definitely doing well.
Why water is so important:
- Oxygen delivery to cells
- Nutrient transport
- Breathing comfort (moistens air)
- Bone/joint cushioning
- Organ protection (from impact)
- Waste removal
- Tissue lubrication
- Circulation facilitation
How much of the body is made up of water:
- Blood is about 83% water
- Muscle is 75%
- Brain 75%
- Heart 75%
- Bones 22%
- Lungs 86 %
Your Instant Dehydration Decoder!
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By Todd M. Cambio | January 3, 2017
Winter session 2016 is finished! The kids tested out in the shuttle run (4 Quarters), broad jump, pro agility, bench press and mile run (girls only due to weather) this past week and did great!
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.
- Mile run (test of general aerobic capacity) – no significant change but this was not the focus this session.
Winter S & C Session II will begin THURSDAY January 5th and will run until THURSDAY February 23rd.
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.
Cost: $200 (8 weeks vs 4 weeks this time)
When: at 2:45 – 3:45 for 8 weeks
- Girls will go every Mon and Weds
- Boys Tues and Thur
I am working on getting the PayPal working again too. It will be on the website as well soon.
SIDE NOTE: I cannot prorate for missed sessions just way too many variables.
BUT if you need a reference, it is $20 a session if you do not sign up at the discounted rate. Siblings simply add $100 each.
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: http://www.toddcambio.com/1-problem-when-working-out/
What running sneakers do when training in them (Bottom) compared to solid training sneakers (top):
Happy New Year!
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By Todd M. Cambio | November 22, 2016
Middle schoolers are at the optimal time to learn strength and conditioning basics. These are the years to cement a solid foundation of movement.
My focus in this age group 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.
So impressed with my young ladies! They back squatted for the 1st time and killed it! We drilled air squats, goblet squats, double kettlebell front squats and barbell front squats before putting a barbell on their back. They also picked up suspension (ring) tucks and rows. The U13 workout this day: 1. Continuous warm up/Dynamic Flex 2. SAQ: Suicides x 5 3. Lift 4×8: – Back Squats – Ring Tucks – Push Ups – Ring Rows 4. Conditioning: shuttle runs #CoachCambio #strengthandconditioning #trainlikeagirl #StrongFirst #squat #spartanup #spartanstrong #SpartanSGX #spartanracetraining #ocrtraining #kettleball #kettlebells
Here are how I believe all athletes should train:
- They must go backwards and learn to decelerate as well as accelerate.
- They must learn to sink their hips properly.
- They must move laterally and learn to change direction in this plane of motion.
- They need to strengthen their legs to handle the extremely high forces during change of direction drills and when playing the game of choice.
- Must master basic things like balancing, lunges, squats, push ups, body rows, jumping, landing, and change of direction.
The 7th grade football boys showing huge gains in all major lifts. We tested dead lift, back squat, bench press and shoulder press. Started with a team based FMS, then a dynamic stretch then on to their test lifts. All PR’s. Great job lads! #coachcambio #strengthandconditioning #StrongFirst #deadlift #squat #benchpress #football
To sign up for this program go here:
Where: 2 Kingsway Ave, Exeter, NH at CrossFit Reclamation
How Much: $100 (Cash or check is fine too)
WAIVER MUST BE FILLED OUT. Please Print it and bring it before the 1st session:
When: 2:45 – 3:45
GIRLS Mon & Weds
BOYS Tues & Thurs
November 28th – December 22nd
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:
Where: 2 Kingsway Ave, Exeter, NH at CrossFit Reclamation
How Much: $100
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By Todd M. Cambio | September 21, 2016
I was going through some past writing material and found these questions I had answered on dynamic stretching and realized I had never done anything with them. The questions are geared towards athletes. However, if you are workout out, you are an athlete in my mind.
1) How does static stretching affect the body before and after a game or workout?
Static stretching is the classic holding of muscles in an extended range of motion (usually beyond the normal range of motion) with out moving for short periods of time. It is highly recommended to do static stretching after workouts, practices and games as soon as you can to reset muscle length, reduce inflammation and speed up recovery. Static stretching before games, practices and workouts is not advised unless the body’s core temperature has been elevated. Stretching cold muscles will actually increase the risks of getting a muscle injury. Research has also shown that static stretching can reduce an athlete’s power and explosiveness prior to games or workouts.
2) Do dynamic warm-ups mentally prepare the body?
A dynamic stretch routine definitely prepares the body from a neural standpoint. By bringing the body through movement patterns that represent athletic movement patterns similar to the sport or activity you are about to do, your body’s central nervous system will be fired up properly and ready to go. A structured, skill based warm-up can be used as a form of mental preparation that allows the athlete to visualize their success and focus on the game or training ahead.
3) What are the negatives to dynamic warm-ups?
I don’t know of any negatives if done properly.
4) How does dynamic warm-ups improve performance?
Athletes need to move in all planes of motion. They must move forward, backwards, laterally, and rotate. By including a warm up routine that is dynamic in nature, athletes can really fire up their central nervous system, increase their core temperature, get blood flow to working muscles, improve their flexibility and mobility, prevent tight muscles and improve balance. All these elements lead to a boost in performance.
5) Who should use the dynamic warm-ups?
Everyone should. My personal experience and research points to this as the best way to prep the body to do work and reduce injury.
6) If there were a few words you could say to people whom are still using static stretching, what would they be?
I would say it is still a very valuable method of injury prevention that SHOULD still be incorporated into your programs. It is best utilized at the end of a workout, practice or game as a method of a cool down. It still can be used prior to games and workouts if there is an acute muscle issue, such as an imbalance or if you are recovering from an injury.
7) Does dynamic warm-ups help you train as an athlete?
Absolutely. Again this method of warming up mimics movements that you will be doing in your chosen activity as well as working on your weaknesses and/or imbalances which you may or may not even know about.
8) How important is a proper pre-game warm-up?
A pre-game dynamic warm-up is a method used to prepare the body for exercise that actively engages muscles through a functional range of motion. Properly implemented, a dynamic warm-up will use continuous movement to transition from a resting heart rate and body temperature to a working heart rate, elevating an athlete’s core temperature causing them to break a sweat. The warm up should also progress from low to higher intensity. By developing flexibility and coordination, while serving as a means of injury prevention. The dynamic warm up will improve elasticity of muscles, tendons, ligaments and the range of motion around joints.
Check out this general athlete’s dynamic warm up routine we used at my facility:
- jumping jacks
- pogo jumps
- seal jacks
- sumo walk
- lateral lunges
- lunges with a twist
- skips (backwards too)
- toy soldier
- cross over toe touch
- spiderman (backwards too)
I would like to point out that I recommend you do some soft tissue work prior to doing your dynamic warm up. Mash, Smash and Move!
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By Todd M. Cambio | September 19, 2016
Can you relate to this scenario?
After putting it off for too long, you commit to “get fit”. You go to CrossFit, start training for to a Spartan Race, join a boot camp class, etc.—only to find yourself injured shortly down the road or even the minute you start working out.
I also see this scenario all the time with people using a sport (ex: basketball, LAX, soccer, running, etc.) of choice to get in shape vs getting in proper shape to play the game. Classic fail usually.
I also see the “reoccurring injured” person often. The person that workouts hard for (example) 3 months, then gets hurt. They take a month or two off and go right back to doing the exact same workouts they did before only to repeat this process over and over again.
Then what happens? All of the sudden your fitness goals go back on the shelf and you are left to deal with the pain. Whether your injury occurs right off the bat or after years of regular workouts the result is always the same. It is discouraging, painful and downright depressing.
And since studies suggest that up to 38% of all exercisers suffer from an injury each year and 80% of runners will get an injury, it is a subject worth exploring.
Let me point out, I am talking Non-Contact based injuries. I am talking about when you keep going through minor aches and pains until something snaps, pops or just hurts so much you have to stop working out.
Contact injuries are from blunt trauma! A person rolls into your knees and you tear your ACL. You get in a car accident and hurt your back. Things like that are contact injuries.
The old “Once I get going the pain goes away” scenario is you ignoring the body’s check engine light. Not a good habit to be in.
Top 3 Workout Injuries
The following three ailments occur commonly among active people. Let’s explore the cause of each and then detail your very own injury prevention plan—because let’s face it, you simply don’t have time to spend nursing and injury (and losing all that progress you had made).
1. Strain / Pulled Muscle: occurs when a tendon (connects muscle to bone) or muscle is stretched or torn. If you suffer from a strain you will feel pain and swelling in the muscle belly, or loss of function if the strain occurred in a tendon. Many strains occur as the result of an improper warm-up and insufficient stretching.
2. Sprain: occurs when a ligament (connects bone to bone) is stretched or torn. While this can happen to any ligament in your body, the most common placements of sprains are in the ankle, wrist and knee. Often this injury will happen suddenly as the ligament is stretched beyond its normal limit, usually during a fall or other acute trauma.
3. Low Back Pain: it is said that 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lives—and the list of causes is as diverse as the sufferers themselves. Here are the main reasons for workout related back pain:
- Improper form: Similar to bad posture, using improper form while performing weight bearing exercises will leave your back sore and aching. The good news is that once your form is corrected this pain should subside after a healing period.
- Weak muscles: If you have a desk job then chances are your deep back muscles are inactive and unconditioned. When you start an exercise program, but fail to properly strengthen these muscles, the result is often an aching back.
- Strained muscles: Not to pick on that desk job, but another result of sitting all day is tight back muscles. When these muscles are not properly warmed up and stretched before exercise begins, muscle strains occur.
Your 5-Step Injury Prevention Plan
Injuries don’t have to slow you from meeting your fitness goals. The following 5 steps will dramatically reduce your chance of injury and if you do find yourself injured, but have been following these 5 steps, your recovery will be quick and efficient.
Step 1: Mash, Smash and Move
Mash – Use any tool that hits the soft tissue areas of your body. Pay special attention to your areas of greatest need. I prefer a LAX ball, foam roller and evan a barbell to do this. Look for spots that hurt. Work the whole body of your muscles then work down to your biggest pain areas.
Smash – Move the tool (LAX Ball, Roller, Barbell, etc.) all around your muscles and fascia and find those spots that hurt. Spend time of them by smashing, then hold those spots for a minute and simply breath. If it hurts, you need it more.
Move – Move the muscles you just mashed and smashed either with simple extension flexion or simple exercises that are in your warm up. Form is obviously critical here. Proper form will also re-train your CNS (Cental Nervous System).
You can Mash, Smash and Move before and after exercising. You can make extended Mash, Smash and Moving sessions as an active recovery day too.
One of my favorite “Moves” ^^ after Mashing and Smashing is the Turkish Get Up. It really is loaded yoga. It has a hip extension, a rolling pattern, a couple hip hinges, a lunge pattern and is incredible for full body mobility, stability and (when load is added) strength.
You can also Stretch after you mash and smash. What is more boring than stretching? You want to exercise, not sit around touching your toes—right? Even though it isn’t exciting, stretching is the best way to increase muscle elasticity and durability. Tight muscles are big contributors to strains—remember? Take the time to stretch everyday before (dynamically) and after (static) your workout to stave off injury.
Step 2: Warm Up – Dynamic
Preparing for your workout should not begin and end with putting on your gym clothes. Your muscles need to be coaxed into motion by way of a 10-15 minute warm up in order to prepare them for injury-free use. Cold muscles are less elastic and are therefore more prone to tears. Talking dynamic movements here not static stretching.
Sample warm up:
Step 3: Proper Gear
For most fitness enthusiasts proper gear has everything to do with their shoes. Don’t be fooled—not just any shoe will do. Find shoes that offer support and traction for your exercise of choice, and make sure that they aren’t too tight or too loose. If you are prone to ankle injuries then try a pair of high-tops for extra support until you fix the stability problem.
Stay away from squishy running sneakers to train in! They actually contribute to the above mentioned injuries.
Step 4: Lifestyle
Stop for a moment and think about your car—if you don’t maintain it with regular tune ups, oil changes and quality fuel then you can’t expect it to perform well on the road. The same applies to your body. Getting healthy amounts of sleep, eating well balanced meals and staying hydrated will all contribute to your performance during exercise. The healthier your lifestyle is the less likely you are to suffer an injury.
Step 5: Condition
This may seem like the most obvious step to injury prevention, but unfortunately it is the most overlooked. People who keep their bodies in top condition by exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are the least likely to injure themselves. When exercise programs are started and stopped sporadically your muscles are most likely to become injured.
Of course being conditioned also has another great benefit that everyone enjoys – you get to look and feel great! And who doesn’t what that, right?
BIG Take Home Points
I now want you to think of the Mashing, Smashing and Moving like brushing and flossing your teeth. If you do not do it daily, you will get a cavity!
You cannot eat and drink and expect great teeth and gum health without brushing and flossing right????
Don’t play to get in shape, get in shape to play!
Well, you can’t expect healthy muscles and joints without proper maintenance either. Mash, Smash and Move for full body health and injury prevention!
Stay Strong My Friends!
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By Todd M. Cambio | June 23, 2016
The summer is here and it is that time to start prepping for fall sports. The best athletes train like athletes. They do strength training, speed, agility, change of direction drills and more. The best athletes do not show up to fall sports out of shape. This program will be fun and challenging all at the same time.
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. It will be up the their individual sport coaches to add their appropriate sport skills. This program easily allows me to program appropriately to accommodate the kids attending various sport camps or missed time due to taking a vacation.
June 26th – Sunday – FREE Workout for all ages and families! (learn our warm up and basic body weight movements) My Spartan Revolution Workout. PARENTS THIS IS FOR YOU TOO.
- Strength training at 1 Kingsway Ave, Exeter, at CrossFit Reclamation.
- Conditioning in August is at Linden Street Field.
- 8:30 am – 9:30 am
- $150 Strength Training and Extra August Conditioning. Full 6 weeks.
- $120 Just Strength Training (full 6 weeks M, W, F only)
- $60 Conditioning Only August*
- Family Discount: $200 for 2 or more siblings. Includes Strength Training and extra August Conditioning.
Comments: 1 Comment »
By Todd M. Cambio | April 11, 2016
Get Your Raw Unedited Version Now!
Let’s be honest here, it feels pretty badass to flip a tire (especially a big one) and swing a sledgehammer.
Flipping Monsta Tires builds ridiculous raw strength and power when done correctly. According to Stewart McGill, the world’s leading expert on back mechanics, the tire flip elicited the highest muscle activation levels through electromyogram recordings in the lower body, core and upper back musculature when compared to seven different strongman events.
Who wouldn’t want those kind of results right? I like to think of the tire flip as the power cleans of the strongman world. There is an explosive triple extension, a catch in the knee strike phase and a powerful push to finish the flip. Plus, Monsta Tires are a great change of pace from the standard training modalities.
These battle-tested training protocols will work wonders for your overall fitness levels once you start using them!
So let’s get started…
Buy my product 🙂
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By Todd M. Cambio | March 25, 2016
Here is my Throw Back Thursday (TBT) to 2009! This was from my Rhode Island Monthly Magazine photo shoot. They made me flip that tire for about an hour up and down the hill outside my facility. I think they thought it was light and no big deal. Glad they picked one of my lighter ones (350 lb.)!
Since today is the last day to grab my MONSTA Tire Training book at a discount, I figured I’d put this TBT up. 🙂
But seriously, flipping Monsta Tires builds ridiculous raw strength and power when done correctly. This book shows you how to do this correctly plus gives you numerous exercises using tires and a sledgehammer.
Check it out: https://gumroad.com/l/monstatiretraining
I am releasing “Monsta Tire Training” to you FIRST as a PDF through Gumroad before it goes to the editor for final proofing!
This is the raw un-edited version. You may find some spelling and grammatical errors…sorry…like I said, this is the raw un-edited version!
WHY would I do this?
Because you are my loyal friends, family and fans. I do this stuff for you! AND because I want your pictures, videos and feedback before it goes to print.
I would love to feature you and your feedback and picture(s) in the final version…so definitely send that to me.
Plus, by ordering through me, I will be sending you follow up videos and bonus material you just wont get buying Monsta Tire Training somewhere else!
Other questions I received:
Where will MONSTA Tire Training be sold?
– On amazon, Barnes and Nobles and Gumroad.
When will the print version be available?
– I am shooting for May. A couple weeks for the edited ebook version on Amazon.
So Really, what is the advantage to ordering early?
– This is a great question. By ordering it early, or even later on through me at the regular price of $27, you will get a ton of extra bonus material. Things like a video of the full warm up, a video of technique flaws and how to fix them as well as bonus sledgehammer material. Eventually, you will get the edited ebook as well as the hard copy for the price of shipping only, so seriously, why wait?
Will I autograph a copy of my book?
– Heck yeah!
Stay strong my Friends,
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By Todd M. Cambio | February 6, 2016
The bucket carry tends to be the obstacle that fries people’s back, grip and legs the most.
The simple solution is to get stronger. I am NOT talking about high volume work like CrossFit WODs or boot camp circuits or MetCons. I am talking about building real raw strength. You also have to get your core stabilizers working so that a 60 to 100 pound bucket carry becomes light to you. Lifting heavy things does that for you. It will take time to build raw strength, so be patient.
Here are my Top 6 Bucket Carry Exercises with goal weight to work towards:
- Dead Lift – Men lift twice their body weight and women lift 1.5 times their body weight
- Heavy hard style kettlebell swings – Men do two handed swings with at least a 40 kg (88 lb.) and women with at least a 24 kg (53 lb.). Work up to 15 minute swing ladders.
- Front Squat – Squat your body weight
- Turkish Get Ups – Be able to complete at least one get up with each side of the body. Men 32 kg (70.4 lb.) women 16 kg (35 lb.)
- Push a Sled – Push at least 2.5 times your body weight for men and twice your body weight for women a total of 100 feet
- Carry heavy things up hills or ski slopes. Be creative too…logs, rocks, kettlebells, loaded backpacks, etc. Sport Specific – Fill a 5 gallon bucket with cement and carry it for 10 minutes once you build strength!
Here are my steps to holding the bucket during a race:
- Dig your bucket into the middle of the rock pile.
- Use two hands and pull a mound of rocks into the bucket to fill it quickly.
- Pick the bucket up high on your chest.
- If your arms are long enough, clasp your hands together around the bucket and bear hug it to save your forearms. I generally have one hand hooked on the bottom too.
- If arms are not long enough, try and get them both out in front of the bucket as if you were swing a kettlebell so you can still pull the bucket tight to your chest.
- Stay tall. Almost puff your chest out and march along.
- Break as needed so you do not drop the bucket…it sucks to have to pick up all the spilled rocks.
When you are done with the bucket carry, you will feel ridiculously light on your feet! Aroo!
– Todd M. Cambio, CSCS, SFG II, SGX II
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