I’m taking a sabbatical for a while to get closer to God and become a stronger man. Everything is great in my life, but I need to take time for myself to recharge my batteries. I will still update the progress of my amazing clients & our inspiring gym. I will not be taking any interviews, article requests, strength performance bookings or online clients until 2014.
Have you ever wanted to have a back that looks like you have sprouted wings?
Here is a workout that I have used over the years that I feel has really brought my back to be one of my best areas.
First things first Abandon all heavy lifting! That’s right stop all the heavy compound movements such as deadlifts,barbell squats and barbell rows. The reason for this is that these exercises all require the waist and hips to come into play to move the heavy weights you are using.
Next start really focusing on side laterals for your shoulders. I mean really go all out on this exercise with high volume training.
You want to do your best to vision your delts looking like cannonballs. This will give you a broader look. I feel my delts have come along way since making them a priority using this type of training.
Now we will use all pulldowns seated using different hand placement. The routine looks like this:
*I do favor pull/chin-ups over all machine work. However sine I’m on the mend from injuries I had to change my method of training slightly to still get results. This method is not in anyway “functional” training but that is not what I’m looking for here.
Wide grip pulls to the front
Shoulder width pulls to the front
Narrow [inside shoulder width] pulls to the front
[DO 4 SETS OF 20 REPS]
Side laterals [2 handed] 4 sets of 20 reps
Single side laterals 4 sets of 20
Along with this type of work we must really focus on our midsection,if you have a thick waist your v-taper will not look good.
So try and watch your eating,keep junk to a minimum,put some cardio in to your training, and really focus on ab work, no weight though because it will tend to make the abs thick and give the appearance of sticking out.
Put alot of emphasis on high reps of crunches and some type of leg raise. Do not focus on your obliques because this muscle will grow very quickly and though hard will make you look very blocky.
Give this routine a solid effort of 4-6 weeks. Let me know how you are doing.
Even though all the infomercials and steroid taking celebrities will have you believe that training is a complicated process, it is not.
Be as Big,Cut,and Powerful as You Want,
It is all up to YOU!
Don’t listen to all the Guru’s out there telling you to take this super, dooper power potion and use this awesome new technological piece of high-tech gadgetry.
All you need is some basic knowledge, a good program and a desire to achieve and you will be fine.
No matter who or what program you choose to follow none of it will amount to a hill of beans unless you put forth the effort to make it work.
First thing to do is determine what it is you want to accomplish=your goals. Do you want to be Big,Cut, or just in better all around health?
Once you figure this out you then must devise a plan to achieve it.
You can do all 3 using the same program. It all depends on what you eat and how you train.
Example: To get Big,eat massive quantities of food,limit cardio and lift very heavy for 3-6 repetitions.
To get Ripped cut your carbs and calories,increase your cardio and do repetitions of 15-20.
And for all around health emphasize full body workouts going from one exercise to the next with very little rest and moderate to high cardio at the end of the training session.
You could have 3 different people on the same lifting routine and if they applied the above instructions they all could achieve their personal goals.
Make the plan your own and bust your tail to make it work.
Many times after I have performed a show I ‘am asked “Is your strength more a mindset or more of Physical power?”
I feel that it is more of a mental strength than a physical one. Of course I need to have the strength to do the feat, but I also have to be able to put my mind in a different place to be able to bend some of the rowdy pieces that I use in my shows.
So just what do I do before a show and How do I feel before I get on stage are a few other common questions I am often asked.
The first thing I do is make sure I’m in shape. This is imperative to myself as the people or groups that book me expect me to look a certain way. If the clients are expecting a Ripped and Muscular Machine and I show up out of shape then I did not live up to my responsibility as the performer.
After all I need to be in tip top shape to perform my feats of strength so any other shape besides Immaculate is a definite NO!
The day before the event I write down what feats of strength I will be doing and in what order I will be doing them. This is very important as you always want to be prepared and have a set plan going in. Never just go in to a show and “wing it”
You will most certainly be setting yourself up for failure.
Along with my Conditioning and my plan I make sure my clothes are all put out , ironed and cleaned. My look is very important to me and I will never show up unkempt and not squared away. Being unprepared and looking like you just got out of bed is very unprofessional and not exceptable.
Now that I’m all set to roll I make sure all travel arrangements are good to go and then leave for my destination.
I always make sure that I’m an hour early. I feel this is an adequate amount of time for me to set up my feats of strength and get the feel for the venue I am at.
As the time comes near I start to reflect on my training. I ask myself questions such as If a piece of steel gives me an exceptionally hard time am I prepared to improvise and finish it anyway?
Did I do enough in practice training?
If I have any nagging injuries do I have a back up plan to succeed no matter what?
I basically run through a check list in my head to make sure I can go through the show with absolute confidence.
After I do this mental check list I then start getting myself really excited. I think about the crowd and how they are going to respond to my intro, how they will respond to my look, I think about my story and ask the Lord to bless me to speak clearly and not mumble.
As the crowd starts to fill in I get even more Pumped up with excitement. I never actually get nervous, I feel the reason for this confidence is that I put my time in the training hall/gym and really work to perfect my craft. I take what I do very seriously and though I will never be perfect I train as if I will be one day.
You will find that all the greats no matter the sport all do their homework and never seem that nervous.
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t some butterflies here and there but rather a calm, soothing confidence.
And when it comes to the difference between the physical and mental strength:
I believe that all of us posses the ability to be stronger than we are right now. All of us can build our bodies up to their maximum potential. But there are only a select few that can go in to a small group that can push their mindset to a whole other level.
These few can push past the pain, drive towards a certain goal with a ferocity that others can only dream, a no-quit attitude that makes these individuals that much stronger in all walks of life, and the ability to walk, with head held high and a confidence that some with insecurities may find cocky but with a respect that is given by all.
Keep the Faith,
You hear it all the time, body weight training is the best, master your own body weight and you will be well on your way to physical perfection.
Then you you have the other side of the bar, where those in the realm state that body weight exercise only builds muscular endurance. Giving the impression that lifting weights is the be all to end all.
Last you have the Boots or Newbie’s, the confused up and comers to training. These students don’t know which method to choose.
So we have three key points that need to be discussed. I’ll do my best to give you my personal opinion that may help you in your decision of what side of the bar your on.
I personally love doing bodyweight work. I actually get so motivated for my training session that it is not uncommon for me to push out anywhere from 500-900 pushups, 80-150 pull-ups, 500 squats and/or reps of handstand pushups.
The pump you get from doing high repetitions flows to all the right muscles. When you are done it feels so refreshing, no aches, no pains every muscle worked feels nice and limber.
The next day I’m usually much more sore than when I finish a heavy weight training session. I can only compare it to being pumped all day.
Another huge benefit with bodyweight training is no matter where you are you can always get a workout in. The possibilities are endless. The degree of difficulty in bodyweight exercises is extensive. You have a variety of beginner exercises that just about anyone can accomplish all the way up to very difficult movements that only the most advanced trainee can finish. I’ll be the first to tell you I still have yet to master all my bodyweight in all exercises. That’s the beauty of using your own bodyweight, there is always something out there to learn and try to accomplish.
Our next topic of discussion is the lifting of weights. Weight lifting is awesome! I get such a rush knowing I’m about to go into the gym and lift the equivalent of a small car.
If you want to gain muscular weight, there is no better way than by clanging and banging some weights. There is such a variety of different ways to train with weights. For example you can use very heavy weights in the low repetition range to build a thicker appearance.
Or you can do higher repetitions in the range of 20′s, 30′s and even 50 for a leaner, more ripped look. In my opinion the difference between bodyweight training and weight lifting is that you can always progress more with weight lifting by increasing the workload or weight lifted.
Another great benefit about weight lifting is that you can basically choose what type of body you want. As I spoke of earlier you can train for a streamlined physique or you can train for a thick, dominating look of power. The possibilities are endless. The more you can visualize what you want and how to get there the faster the image you want will become a reality.
With weight lifting we do have to pay more attention to safety than we do with bodyweight training. I have seen a lot of uneducated people in the gym doing some wild and crazy things that are a sure fire way to injury. The main thing to remember is to respect the iron and use your brain. If you don’t know how to do something the correct way then find someone to teach you. If you follow these 2 principles you will surely reap the rewards of lifting weights.
So which one is better?
I feel that both methods are great and of much benefit to you. If the person wants to get really strong then I suggest weight lifting. If the person just wants to be in better shape, then I’d go with bodyweight training. But if the person wants the best of both worlds then I suggest you implement the two methods for a complete package.
Have you noticed how many people in society are a Slave to their own body?
I have and it is a shame.
People are held accountable for their checkbooks,jobs,children,bills and how they conduct themselves in life. But when it comes to their own body many are “SLAVES” to the food they eat. They let the food control themselves instead of them controlling the food.
This problem is easy to understand if we look at the way People are programmed today. Food can be a comfort,a stimulant and a killer.
When people are having problems in life [fighting with spouse,work related,depressed,anger] many of us turn to food to help cope with such problems.
To make things worse everywhere we go there are big billboards with pretty,bright signs inviting us to come in for the SUPER,TRIPLE BURGER for only 99 cents! and we will throw in 2 packs of fries and a HUGE mug of pop.
We are constantly made to believe that quick and easy is what we need.
This can kill those that may be weak in the moment and lead them down a path of self-destruction.
Listen up folks!
YOU and only YOU can control what is put into your mouth.
Don’t be a slave to your body,control that urge to eat out of depression and anger.
When you feel down get out there and do something positive. Get out there and workout,eat some fresh fruit instead of that chocolate or ice cream.
I have never heard of anyone gaining weight by eating fruit. Working out can become your counterpunch against anger and depression. What better way to counter bad feelings and negativity than to do something positive that will make you feel good.
It is a proven fact that when you like the way you feel and you like the way you look then you will be a more positive individual with a much brighter outlook on life.
Surround yourself with positive people,do things that make you feel good,get into the bible and read and then pray.
When you are in control of yourself it is a whole lot easier to enjoy others and life.
What personifies a strongman?
Is it someone of immense size and strength?
Or is it someone that works hard for a living doing a manual labor job or maybe a man that has come up from a hard life?
All of these examples are good definitions of a strongman.
But to me a strongman is none of the above.
I feel the real essence of a strongman is one who sets the standard on how a man should carry himself. A strongman is not one who carries his attitude on his sleeve, or walks with a chip on his shoulder. Nor is he someone that has so much pride in himself that his personality grows ugly and starts to destroy the character he once had.
Strongmen are leaders who strive everyday to be the best man they can be. A man who learns humility and understands that personality can come and go but your character must be built. A true strongman works on the lost art of being a gentleman. He enjoys helping those that are less fortunate than himself. This strongman knows that every word he says must be of truth and that only insecure men speak in lies and exaggerations.
He limits the words can’t, maybe, doubt and it’s impossible and lives by the words I can, I will, and all things are possible. This strongman makes it a point to make absolute sure that whoever he comes in contact with has one of the most joyful and happy experiences of their life. He believes that it is better to give than to receive.
Strongmen know that we must look to the future and let go of the past. Holding on to the negative times of our past will only hold us back from success in the future.
He does not sit and dwell on those that don’t like him as he knows life is to short to be concerned with negative people. Strongmen do their best to be around all those that provide a positive atmosphere in their life. Through positivity comes happiness.
A true strongman puts others first and understands that to be a leader he must make these sacrifices so that he can grow. And with growth comes failure, but a strongman takes these failures and learns from them thus becoming an even stronger man.
One of the best qualities of a strongman is his walk with faith. A strongman who believes in God and tries to emulate his walk can only grow stronger as a man. Now of course being in great health is a must for a strongman as we only have one body. Our body should be treated as a temple and not as a garbage dump like many in society treat it as.
We should at least get a minimum of 30:00 minutes of exercise per day.
As men we must provide security for our families and an out of shape man fails at this important responsibility. So it is imperative that strongmen train not only their minds but their bodies as well.
So what is a strongman?
He is a man of great health, dignity, tact, wisdom, faith and love, a leader who provides and sets the example for not only his family but for others to follow.
And that is the true essence of a strongman.
Keep The Faith,
Mike “The Machine” Bruce
I’m often asked what I do to train my Biceps?
I honestly don’t do much direct arm training at all. I never really have.
As a matter of fact, what I’m about to tell you will benefit you more than any type of curl ever could (this is my opinion)
In order to make a muscle grow you need to overload it with weight. The more weight you lift, the bigger the muscle grows.
Take the Barbell Cheat Curl an ok exercise but one that really ends p becoming a lower back/shoulder movement due to the increased use of body momentum.
I contribute my Biceps growth to performing Barbell Rows, Heavy 1 arm dumbbell rows and weighted pull-ups and chin-ups.
I guarantee you that your arms will grow to new heights with these exercises. I believe you need to train these exercises as heavy as you can in the 3-5 rep range. You should be doing sets of 3.
This has worked for me and I believe it will work for you.
Here’s why….You must force the muscle to work past it’s normal capacity. And what better way to do this then by lifting as much weight as possible.
*The following weights listed are just examples.
If you are rowing 315lbs, arm rowing 150lbs, doing chin ups with 135lbs attached to you, then there’s no way your biceps won’t grow. They don’t have a choice. Think about it, do you know anyone that can curl 315lbs? I don’t.
But you can row that much weight. Remember you must always find ways to adapt and improvise to improve.