This is one of the BEST books of the year.
I got an advance copy of Neuro-Mass a few weeks back.
When I got Neuro-Mass, I was not expecting much. But as I opened it up and flipped through it, I could see it was different.
It was full of pictures and exercise ideas.
Then I began to read it and Jon highlighted a number of unique concepts in a very simplistic way.
If you are looking for some exercise ideas or a simple system to help you increase your strength, I would recommend Neuro-Mass.
After reading Jon Bruney’s book, I contacted him to see if he had a few minutes to chat with EFI, and he did. Here you go.
Enjoy the information-packed interview plus the great stories from Jon!
It is a great interview.
~ Rick Kaselj
Building Spectacular Strength with Jon Bruney – Part 1
Hey this is Rick Kaselj from ExercisesForInjuries.com. I got another interview for you and I am really excited. I got an interview with Jon Bruney and we are going to talk about Neuro-Mass and a little bit about the unique training that Jon does and how that unique training can help you when it comes to recovery from your workouts, but then also when it comes to gaining performance and strength goals.
So Jon I will get you to introduce yourself and then we will get into the interview.
Jon Bruney: Well Rick, it is great to be with you guys today and with your listeners and followers. My name is Jon Bruney and my background is I am a performing strong man. I am an author, a pastor, a motivational speaker, coach, and trainer. I kind of have done it all. I am excited because we’ve got this brand new product that I believe is going to change the lives of people and that is the Neuro-Mass.
Rick Kaselj: Awesome! I got Neuro-Mass right here and it is a really good book. It is excellent. Now we will go through a couple of things that really stood out when I went through the book, the questions that I had, and the questions that the answers I think will help our readers, viewers, and listeners.
One big thing that you end up using is the kettlebell. Maybe you can explain why you like it as a training tool for what you do and maybe talk about what are your favorite kettlebell exercises.
Jon Bruney: Well, of course I love the kettlebell because it is unique. It has a different center of gravity that kind of goes all over the place. I put a quote in the book from Mike Mentzer that says, “Anything that can make your workout harder is a good place to start.”
And what is great is that the kettlebell works your body harder but it does it in a safe way. It does in a way that only benefits you as far as it is a great time saver. It works all the stabilizer muscles. It can do things for you that a normal barbell or dumbbell cannot. That is why I choose to use a lot of kettlebell exercises especially when we are talking cleans. It is a lot easier to teach people a kettlebell clean than to do a barbell clean.
But with the kettle bell, my favorite exercise always starts out with any kind of pressing or squatting. My ultimate favorite is the double kettlebell clean and press because it works so many muscles that is my favorite grind. From the time when you have to get into the clean position, you have to absorb the impact and then you have to teach the body to tighten up so you can press it arm over your head. And when you have that offset center of gravity, you are working all kinds of muscles. You can feel that from your ears all the way down to your toes, I love it.
If we are to move to the more dynamic exercises, I really love the walking kettlebell swing. I have seen it take care of peoples back injuries making them stronger in their back. It has given them more endurance and it kind of makes the body smarter because you have to do two things at once, you are swinging a kettlebell while walking. So those are kind of the top of my list but there are tons of exercises in the book.
Rick Kaselj: Yeah! And one of my beefs is, and probably when I was going through my training and learning and certification when it came to fitness and personal training, there is this big discouragement or like alarm bell would sound when you do anything overhead, any kind of pressing or pushing overhead.
Now I believe that we need to do some of it and we may not do 100% of our workout all pressing overhead work but kind of like what are your thoughts when it comes to pressing overhead and how it is important in strength gains and also like in people’s lives.
Jon Bruney: Well I think it is obviously important to do some kind of overhead pressing because in real life let’s take sports aside, let’s take any kind of the athletic activity aside, you reach your hand up to grab things constantly. You have to reach into a cover or reach up for a book. Whatever it may be you are going to find stuff like this all the time where you have to do that. I think it is important to train those muscles in real life.
Now what I love about doing the overhead pressing is that it also strengthens that shoulder. By using a kettlebell, it puts and locks your shoulder into a safe place so that when you are going it is actually pulling the arm back and I find it is a very safe way to press for people.
A lot of people that would struggle with the sheering force of the heavy dumbbell press, and I have done those many times and still continue to do them, find that a kettlebell press is much more comfortable. It places them into this really easy strength groove for their shoulder making it very safe but also effective. I think it is a big shoulder builder and it is just the excellent all round exercise.
Rick Kaselj: I agree. And looking at the book there is one thing you are blowing up those old school water bottles or hot water bottles. I mean it is so hard to find those things anymore. Now everything is electric blankets or heat blankets.
Jon Bruney: Yes, absolutely.
Rick Kaselj: You are blowing one of them up and it is probably because that is what you had and I had those when I was growing up and I was looking for one of those hot water bottles things and I couldn’t find one. But you are blowing one of them up. One of the concepts that you focused in on is this power breathing.
May be you can talk about what power breathing is? And how it can help when it relates to your strength and power?
Jon Bruney: Absolutely! This is one of the most important concepts that people need to get in life in general. The way we breathe can help the body adapt to different situations whether it is athleticism, whether it is getting geared up or calming down.
Power breathing is the exact technique I used to blow up hot water bottles and if you can find them (they are really hard to find), I never recommend that anybody does it because it is highly dangerous. I have had some doctors watch me do this in shows before and they’ve said that if the air comes back into your lungs, it just takes one slip and it will kill you.
But the extreme pressure it takes to blow up that hot water bottle is what power breathing is all about. You are inhaling and you are expanding the abdomen and it makes a big difference.
Most people are naturally chest breathers. We are not born that way but over time because of posture and all kinds of different environmental factors people turn into chest breathers. In the book I show a simple test that they can do to show whether you are breathing from the abdomen or not. And then what happens once you have inhaled and expanded the abdomen, what you want to do is pressurize the body. And one of the ways you can do that is by simply putting the tongue against the teeth and making a hissing sound. When you make that hissing sound, if you are trying it at home you can feel all the body tensed up tightly and it prepares it for action.
The best way I can illustrate it is this. We all have to drive and gotten a flat tire one time or more in our lives. It is the same thing with power breathing. Picture this flat tire or picture this half full tire even, how far down the road can you get just on a partial breath?
Now take down the same tire and you fill it to the proper air pressure and all of a sudden you are rolling all along. It is the same way with strength. If you use the proper pressure you are going to be stronger and be able to get farther in your workouts. When you are only half full or what I call half pressurized, you are creating weaknesses and leakages and strength leakages all over the body.
Rick Kaselj: Okay. Cool and interesting. Another thing that you cover in the book is the isometrics, how important isometrics are and the isometric strength training. I know that is something that I really focus in on when it comes to injury recovery and pain but I haven’t really heard anyone talk about it when it relates to improving strength.
Maybe you can talk about what is an isometric exercise? And how it can help someone incorporating isometric exercises when it comes to improving their strength?
Jon Bruney: Absolutely! The easiest way I can explain isometrics and I don’t remember who said the quote, it’s not my quote. It says, “What is the heaviest weight you can lift? The one that you can’t” and that is what isometrics is all about — It is placing full body pressure against an immovable force.
A good example of that would be getting up, going up to a wall and trying to knock a brick wall down, and you are not able to but you are keeping building up that force and pushing and pushing and pushing as though you would. That is what an isometric contraction is all about.
What I find with isometric contraction is that they work the muscle to such a degree and they build up nervous strength as well as muscle strength and it is a very safe way to move heavy weight poundage.
In other words, you are moving something that can’t be moved but to your body it’s having the same effect as lifting something extremely heavy. So you are preparing for those bigger gains in your strength and what a lot of people like about it is an isometric if done correctly will take your strength levels through the roof.
If you are having a plateau area, let’s say you are stuck at a certain weight and you want to get higher, you push through and through with the isometrics. I have done that with bending many times, bending steels. I tried to bend something that I can’t at first and then I go to something that is a little bit easier and all of a sudden you can crank it down and bend it.
Rick Kaselj: Awesome!
Please explain it to me a little bit more what is nervous strength? You mentioned it when it comes to isometric strength this ‘nervous strength.’
Jon Bruney: Absolutely! Your nervous system really is, and a lot of people have talked about this in the past and this is one of the things that the book tries to emphasize, the nervous system is really the governor in your body.
When I was younger, and actually not younger I still do it, we loved to go Go Karting and those go karts have a governor on the engine so you just don’t go crazy and crash through walls or get into accidents. The nervous system in the same way is a governor of your body, of the strength level that you are allowed to have, and the development that you are allowed to have.
One of the things that Neuro-Mass does is it builds not only strength as far as the muscle just the pure group strength it also builds tendons as well as nervous strength. Your nervous system gets smarter. That is the best way I can explain it by going through the 3 different distinct types of exercise especially isometrics. Your nervous system actually gets smarter and kind of releases the governing force on your body to help you make greater gains.
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That is the end of part 1, I will be back with part 2, tomorrow.
Rick Kaselj, M.S