I grew up on military installations in the U.S. and Europe. My step father was a Staff sergeant in the Army. So, it wasn’t uncommon for me to see soldiers being put through the rigors of boot camp. I would often see large groups of soldiers being led on a run through the base. You could hear them all yelling in cadence as their drill sergeant shouted instructions. I would see them climbing walls and running through obstacle courses. You could see drill sergeants punishing their soldiers by making them assume the “front leading rest position” for long periods of time. This is the same position we call a plank. So for the most part I saw a lot of push ups, sit ups, chin ups and a whole lot of running. This more or less made up for the bulk of the Army’s conditioning. It wasn’t until I came across my coach, Frank Cucci, that I was first introduced to the 8-count bodybuilder exercise.
I had been training in traditional martial arts, TKD and Hapkido, since I was 8 years old. In 1994, through a series of events I was forced to reevaluate the effectiveness of these arts. Through research, I came across former Seal Team 6 Member, Frank Cucci. Being an army brat, I had heard of Seal Team 6 and their legend. I was immediately drawn to Frank. Not only was he a Navy Seal, he also developed the hand-tohand combat course for the Seals. Needless to say, I was sold. I was first introduced to the arts of Muay Thai, BJJ and Kali. I was in awe of this man. He would often make references to the techniques he was teaching and real life combat applications that he used first hand.
While training at Frank’s gym in Virginia Beach, his coach, Master Chai Sirisute, invited me to a week long, invitation-only, Thai boxing camp in Oregon. I had heard of this camp and you had to be invited my Master Chai himself to attend. We trained three times a day in Oregon. Our final session ended with Coach Frank Cucci putting us through some military style boot camp drills. It always ended with an intense session of 8-Count Bodybuilders. This exercise has stuck with me throughout my whole martial arts career. It is a staple at my gym, SoCal MMA & Fitness in Los Angeles.
It’s an excellent full body exercise. When Frank would make us do them, he would make us count out each of the eight movements, making sure that we were all in sync. If one of us was out of sync, we would have to start over. They are an excellent exercise to do in a class setting.
How to do the 8-Count Bodybuilder Exercise
To perform an 8-Count Bodybuilder, first start in the standing position. Count 1: Lower your body to rock bottom squat, placing both hands on the floor. Count 2: Kick your legs backwards into the plank position. Counts 3/4: Perform a push up. Counts 5/6: Open and close your legs. Count 7: Bring both knees back up to the rock bottom squat position. Count 8: Stand up. Try implementing the 8-Count Bodybuilder into your training. It’s a great way to end a training session!
This article was featured in the June/July 2011 Issue of the My Mad Methods Magazine. "Exercise How to: 8-Count Bodybuilders" was written by Joey Alvarado. Learn more about the My Mad Methods Magazine by Clicking Here
Joey Alvarado is the owner and head trainer of Socal MMA Fitness based in East Los Angeles, California. Joey Alvarado is a former professional MMA fighter and competitive grappler, and the developer of Combat Kettlebell Systems, a unique blend of Jiu Jitsu bodyweight exercises and newly developed kettlebell exercises. Find out more at www.CombatKettlebellSystems.com.
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