Monday, April 21, 2014

The Machine Interview

Afternoon guys, hope you all had a fantastic and fun Easter Weekend full love, food, Egg hunts and more. As a token of my gratitude for all your love and support of the Power & Might Site, I have a very special treat for you. This weekend I had a secret interview with one of the strongest men on the planet and he gave me some powerful insights into his training, philosophy and his future as a coach. I give you the man with arguably the World's Strongest Neck Mike "The Machine" Bruce......

  1. What influenced to become a performing Strongman?

MB: Bud Jeffries is the man that got me started as a Performing Strongman. I have been friends with Bud since 2001 and had ordered some of his courses. When I told him some of my lifts and feats of bodyweight strength he asked if I had any on video. I then sent him video of some of my training footage. The next thing I know I'm on a plane to Lakeland Florida to start filming what would become my first DVD Phenomenal Power for Mixed Martial Arts. At that time in Bud asked me if I had ever tried to bend a Spike or twist open a Horseshoe? When I said no, my journey to becoming an Oldtime Strongman Practitioner began.

  1. What styles of Wrestling did you practice and which style was your strongest?

MB: I wrestled amateur in high school, taking 6th in the state as an alternate. This was strictly Folkstyle wrestling, I never trained in Greco or Freestyle. Then I started learning Catch Wrestling from my coach Tim Gillett. Tim was trained by Pancrase veteran Jason Delucia. I honestly believe that Catch wrestling is the strongest style for the way that I used to compete. It suits my style.

  1. As a coach what are the key principles on disciplining clients?

MB: When it comes to disciplining clients I believe the best way is to 'LEAD FROM THE FRONT' represent and actually practice what you preach. Today, there are so many trainers who don't practice what they preach. They have knowledge from books yet many can't nor ever have performed much of the training methods that they are teaching. I walk the walk and can prove it anywhere, anytime and any day. To me that is very important.

  1. Did you have any favorite (real) wrestlers and if so who were they?

MB: My favorite real WRESTLERS growing up were (in no particular order) Lou Thesz, Bob Backlund, Mark Fleming, Les Thornton, Masakatsu Funaki, Kurt Angle, Danny Hodge.

  1. Has being a former Marine helped you shape your life being a strength coach?

MB: Yes being a Marine has helped me immensely in being a strength coach. More than anything it taught me to be patient and to keep my bearing under the most trying situations. It is important to understand that everyone is different and unique to themselves. One person might grasp something I teach that is very difficult, while another person might find a simpler exercise challenging. As a coach you have to be able to explain and teach to a variety of people who all have different skill levels.

  1. What were your favorite and least favorite feats as a performing strongman?

MB: My favorite feats as a performing strongman is a loaded question. The feats performed by other Strongmen that impress me are: Anything Dennis Rogers does. Slim The Hammer man sledgehammer levering ability, Bud Jeffries human carousel & Squatting strength, Mighty Mac Mackenzie Card tearing ability, John Mcgrath long bar bending, Erik Vining scrolling ability, Noah Jeffries all around strength, Greg Matonick bending a quarter in his teeth, Pat Povalitiis short bending strength, Dave Whitley kettle bell feats. My personal feats I enjoyed having 5/8 steel bars bent across the front of my throat, Picking a grown man up by my neck and lifting him up and down and then swinging him, hanging myself with a noose and I enjoy twisting open horseshoes.

  1. Where do you want to be down the road as a coach, do you also want to train wrestlers specifically as well?

MB: I have no interest in training Wrestlers or fighters. My experience in the past training that type of client was enough for me to know that I have no interest in going back down that road. I'd rather work with ladies and gents that want to lose weight and feel better about themselves. I also enjoy working with youngsters teaching them the importance of manners, discipline and respect. I will strive to keep our gym as the only PRIVATE gym here in Somerset KY. I have a strict admissions policy where I do not accept just anyone, no matter who they are or how much money they offer. I'm only looking for a very select few to join our club. I can only pray that my business continues to grow as it has each year and that I can continue to live my dream as I do each day. Life is beautiful.

  1. One of my favorite strength exercises is the bridge, can you give me an idea as to why the neck is crucial in sports, strength and conditioning?

MB: Building the Neck is one of the most important muscles to work but also one of the most neglected. The neck acts as our "shock absorber" to prevent injury and even possible concussions. A strong neck can help alleviate neck pain, helping get rid of the double chin syndrome, help in bodybuilding contests, Powerlifting in addition to combat sports such as mma, boxing and grappling. The neck is worked in 3 ranges of motion curling the head/chin forward, raising the head backward and moving the head side to side. These 3 angles are generally worked using a 4 way neck machine, manual resistance from a training partner, placing weight on the head or with the use of a Head harness. All of these methods are good for working the neck. I have found that the best way to work my neck today is with an innovative Neck Harness called The Neck Flex. The Neck flex is the most versatile neck harness on the market today. No extra equipment is needed, all you need is the drive to put the work in and the neck flex is ready to go. The Neck Flex was developed my Thomas Hunt and Zachary Elam. They saw there was a need for a versatile, safe cost effective solution for training the neck for both strength and rehabilitation needs. To learn more about the Neck flex go to and tell them The Machine sent you.

  1. You are one of the most conditioned men on the planet, what are your ideals to stay consistent and what do you work on that keeps you in top condition?

MB: I really appreciate your kind words. My whole thing is this: I'M NOT DONE! Coming from a wrestling background I have always trained to be in top shape. In my opinion a Wrestler is the best conditioned athlete around. We must be strong, have great endurance, be fast and be able to have that strength/.endurance in our tank towards the end of the match. I was not the most gifted wrestler technically, but my toughness and conditioning allowed me to do quite well for myself and even defeat wrestlers much better technically and more talented. At 40 years old I have been blessed to be able to go to different schools, prisons and churches state wide and speak/perform. I feel it would be a disservice to these people to show up not in shape. "I have an image to uphold" LOL One of the ways I like to stay in shape is to keep my body guessing. One week I may feel like training for strictly power, then I may feel like training with more of a cardio base. When I train with weights I often keep my rest periods down to a minute and I also will often super set my exercises. This keeps my pace high, my heart rate up and gives me a great workout. I enjoy doing interval sprint work for cardio, such as Tabata'a on the airdyne bike, jump rope sprints at 30 seconds each, ploy metric jumps, wrestling/boxing simulations for time and also kickboxing work on the heavy bag. I weigh 210# with a 32" waist, a 19" neck and am just as lean as when I was 20 years old. I eat clean during the week and cheat on the weekends. Over 27 years of constant training has given me the ability to know how to dial in my body through proper eating habits. I still have things to accomplish, I'm not done. Once we settle and decide to throw in the towel it is my belief that my life would be pretty boring and unsatisfied.

  1. My final question: Have you ever thought getting in the ring and wrestling one last match or is wrestling out for you now?

MB: Yes I have thought many times about competing again. I'm really never out of shape, and realistically would only need a month to get myself prepared to get on the mat again. I have looked into it and learned that I would be in the Masters division for 35 year olds and up. I have not made my mind up completely on if I will or won't compete. I love to roll and I often wonder if and/or how I would perform now, some 14 years later since my last legit contest. I'm much more seasoned and have a lot more wisdom. It would be really interesting to see the difference in myself now compared to when I was competing regularly. Thank you for having me, it has been my pleasure speaking with you. Keep the Faith and I salute you. Mike The Machine Bruce

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