Building Spectacular Strength with Jon Bruney

Building Spectacular Strength with Jon Bruney

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.Building Spectacular Strength

If you are looking for some exercise ideas or a simple system to help you increase your strength, I would recommend Neuro-Mass. It was full of pictures and exercise ideas. Then I began to read it, and Jon highlighted some unique concepts in a very simplistic way.

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

Hey, this is Rick Kaselj from I got another interview for you, and I am 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 and your listeners and followers today. My name is Jon Bruney, and my background is I am a performing strong man. I am an author, a pastor, a motivational speaker, a coach, and a trainer. I am excited because we’ve got this brand new product that I believe will change people’s lives, and that is the Neuro-Mass. A has done it all.

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 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 your favorite kettlebell exercises.

Jon Bruney: Well, I love the kettlebell because it is unique. It has a different center of gravity that goes all over the place. I put a quote from Mike Mentzer’s book 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 safely. It does in a way that benefits you as long as it is a great time saver. This 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 clean. It is a lot easier to teach people a kettlebell clean than to do a barbell clean.

But with the kettlebell, my favorite exercise always starts with any pressing or squatting. My ultimate favorite is the double kettlebell clean and press because it works so many muscles that are my favorite grind from 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 its arm over your head. And when you have that offset center of gravity, you work all kinds of muscles. You can feel that from your ears to your toes; I love it.

If we are to move to more dynamic exercises, I love the walking kettlebell swing. I have seen it take care of people’s back injuries, making them stronger in their back. It has given them more endurance, and it makes the body smarter. Because you have to do two things at once, you are swinging a kettlebell while walking. So those are at the top of my list, but there are tons of exercises in the book.

Rick Kaselj: Yeah! And one of my beef is 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 an alarm bell, any pressing or pushing overhead would sound when you do anything.

Now 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, how is it important in strength gains and like in people’s lives?

Jon Bruney: Well, I think it is important to do some overhead pressing. Because in real life, let’s take sports aside or any 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 will always find stuff like this where you have to do that. I think it is important to train those muscles in real life.

Now, I love doing the overhead pressing because 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 pulls the arm back, and I find it a very safe way to press for people.

Many people would struggle with the sheer force of the heavy dumbbell press. And I have done those many times and 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 an excellent all-around 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.


Rick Kaselj: You are blowing one of them up, and it is probably. Because that is what you had, I had those growing up. And I was looking for one of those hot water bottle things, and I couldn’t find one. But you are blowing one of them up. One of the concepts that you focused on is the power of breathing.

Maybe you can talk about what power breathing is. And how can it help when it relates to your strength and power?

Jon Bruney: Absolutely! This is one of the most important concepts people need to get in life. The way we breathe can help the body adapt to different situations. Whether it is athleticism, 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, killing you.

But power breathing is all about the extreme pressure it takes to blow up that hot water bottle. 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, people turn into chest breathers because of posture and different environmental factors. 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? You want to do is pressure 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, preparing it for action.

The best way I can illustrate it is this. We all have to drive and get a flat tire one time or more in our lives. It is the same thing with power breathing. Picture this flat tire or 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. 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. If you use the proper pressure, you are going to be stronger and be able to get farther in your workouts.

Rick Kaselj: Okay. Cool and interesting. Another thing you cover in the book is the isometrics, how important isometrics are, and the isometric strength training. I know that is something I focus on when it comes to injury recovery and pain, but I haven’t heard anyone talk about improving strength.

Maybe you can talk about what is an isometric exercise. And how can it help someone incorporate isometric exercises to improve their strength?

Jon Bruney: Absolutely! The easiest way I can explain isometrics; 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 are 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 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 that they build up nervous and 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 it has the same effect as lifting something extremely heavy to your body. 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 have a plateau area, let’s say you are stuck at a certain weight and want to get higher, you push through with the isometrics. I have done that with bending many times, bending steels. I tried to bend something that I couldn’t at first, and then I went to something a little bit easier, and all of a sudden, you can crank it down and bend it.


Rick Kaselj: Awesome!

Please explain to me a little bit more what nervous strength is. You mentioned it when it comes to isometric strength; this is ‘nervous strength.’

Jon Bruney: Absolutely! Your nervous system is, and many people have talked about this in the past. This is one of the things that the book tries to emphasize; the nervous system is the governor of your body.

When I was younger, and not younger, I still do it, we loved to go Go Karting, and those go-karts have a governor on the engine, so you don’t go crazy and crash through walls or get into accidents. In the same way, the nervous system is a governor of your body, of the strength level you are allowed to have and the development 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. Your nervous system gets smarter and releases the governing force on your body to help you make greater gains. That is the best way I can explain it by going through the three different types of exercise, especially isometrics.

That is the end of part 1; I will be back with part 2 tomorrow.

Rick Kaselj, M.S

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