Every now and then in the generations of strongmen, there are a few that come and go, some stay on as performers, others teach and bring in a new generation but this time around only one has not only done both but is also a Marine and is one of the toughest men out there today. I’m talking about Professional Strongman and Coach Mike “The Machine” Bruce. Not only is he known as a Strongman but also one of the coolest guys you’ll ever talk to. Trained by the Grandmaster of Strongman himself Dennis Rogers and one of the most conditioned Heavyweights of the modern era Bud Jeffries, Mike has become one of the best destroying steel in his path and in one of the most dangerous places to bend.
Throughout his life he’s dealt with abuse, ridicule and always wondered what he will become. Joining the Marine Corp. as a young man he made the choice to create something of himself and not only made it through one of the toughest military factions in the world but served his country the best way he could. Upon returning home he tried out wrestling and I believe either kickboxing or boxing or both and excelled by winning the majority of his fights and became known as we know today as The Machine, a man who’s conditioning is world-class with people who couldn't tell if he was human or not because he didn't know when to stop. He literally and figuratively became strong in every since of the word.
His trademark and famous strength is known because of the strength of his neck. Forget this guy that bend horseshoes and destroy steel at a moments notice, his neck is considered the strongest out of not only the majority but possibly of all strongmen. He own records for having steel bend over his throat such as long steel bars and believe it or not horseshoes, seriously I’m not joking you can look it up yourself. When you put up 300+ pounds using only the strength of your neck and have steel being bent over your throat and not just any easy type of steel, I’m talking steel the majority of people can’t bend with their own hands let alone around the neck, you are a freaking beast. He’s not just strong in steel but has one of the strongest backs and abdominals in the world and that’s just the tip of the Iceberg.
I believe coaching was something he wanted to do before and after retiring as a performing strongman and has opened up a gym in Kentucky called The Machine Shop and has produced many clients that not only got in awesome shape but became something more than themselves and a lot is influenced on Mike. I've always wondered what it be like to be coached by a former Marine, I've dealt with great coaches in the past including a few being trained personally by some of the strongest and most conditioned people on the planet but a Marine takes it to whole new level in ways you can’t imagine unless you’re there experiencing it.
To me he has gone through such great adversity yet is one of the most humble guys I had the chance to speak with a time or two. A man who has put God ahead of everything else except maybe his beautiful wife but anyhow and still able to have a great sense of humor and a wonderful motivational speaker to kids and adults alike, he is truly a man’s man with a lot left in him and I hope to be trained by him someday and want to not only shake the man’s hand but salute him with the best of intentions. I’m proud to have written this article and hope it gives him something to check out and know that when I write something, it came from the heart and has more meaning than he can imagine, Happy Birthday my friend.