Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What is The Neck Flex head harness?

I want to introduce you to what I believe is the #1 neck harness on the market. It was developed by Zachary Elam, a disabled combat veteran with a background in engineering and design. In 2011 Mr. Elam teamed up with Thomas Hunt, a high school coach and businessman, and before long The Neck Flex was born. 

The pair’s intention was to develop a quality head harness that could be used to adequately strengthen the neck to prevent injury and concussions. However, the chiropractic community immediately picked it up, finding it extremely effective for rehab situations as well. That’s because of the Patent Pending design, which allows for greater range of movement over the traditional head harness.

The harness is composed of the highest quality materials. The heavy-duty poly pro webbing is double stitched, and features comfortable neoprene padding on the underside and chinstrap. The simplistic nature of the design is its strength, and the implementation of resistance bands revolutionizes the effectiveness of this innovative product.

What makes The Neck Flex different than other neck harnesses?

The Neck Flex uses heavy duty resistance bands instead of the typical chain that a regular neck harness uses.

It has been my experience when using a chain that the exercise is not always fluid and smooth.  Many times during the exercise the chain will occasionally "hitch", also known as "bucking". This is a jarring type move that can possibly cause injury or irritation.  This usually happens when working with a heavy weight and giving an all out effort or when using a lighter weight and increasing rep speed.

Another common issue with a regular neck harness is that over time the rivets come loose or completely out of the stitching on the harness. Some of the harnesses I have used literally just broke in half under heavy loads, this is even after putting coats of oil on the leather harness to make it pliable and supple.

This varies depending on what harness you are using, some are made better than others.

With The Neck Flex we don't have these same problems.
The bands are very heavy duty and provide ample resistance for even the strongest trainee. Each band has a carabiner built into it making attachment/detachment to the d-rings of the harness a breeze.

The Neck Flex does something no other neck harness does, and that is it gives us the ability to work our neck in all 3 ranges of motion. A regular neck harness only allows us to work our front and rear of the neck.
 Before the neck flex I had to work the sides of my neck by laying on a bench and holding plate on the side of my head using the side neck raise.

Using The Neck Flex I can simply attach the band to the d-rings and now work my sides of the neck
or I can even use just the band and work my jaw muscles and side of my neck at the same time like this: side jaw work

Another benefit of the neck flex is the endless ways we can train our neck.
In this video I show you some of my favorite exercises using the neck flex: neck flex exercises

I have been training my neck for 20+ years and have used just about all of the top neck harnesses available.  By far The Neck Flex is the most versatile and best neck harness around.

If you don't have a Neck Flex and want to learn how to train your neck have a look here Neck Workout

The Machine

Monday, June 20, 2016

My favorite neck exercise.

A big neck shows strength on a man. There are many different ways to build the neck and all of them have their pro's and cons.

The neck grows really quickly and I'm going to share with you my favorite neck exercise.

I believe that the neck curl gave me the best results over any other method of training the neck.
The neck curl is also the easiest to perform and all that it requires is a weight plate.

Here is an example of how to perform the Neck Curl.

Two points I want emphasis when performing the neck is to be sure that your shoulder blades are placed at the end of the bench and that your neck and head is completely hanging off the bench.

The second point is your hands are only handles, the hands are not meant to be used as an assist in the exercise. All your hands do is hold the plate in place on your forehead.
 At no time are you to pull the plate with your hands, try to strictly use the neck muscles to raise the weight up and down.

In the past when I first started training the neck curl I would catch myself pulling with my hands as the sets progressed.  This is normal and should stop as you become more seasoned with the exercise.

*When working with a max weight I still find myself occasionally using my hands and try my best to reset so that I am only using my neck muscles.

Here is a picture of the top position and how I hold the weight plate on my forehead:
You must grip it very tight and pay attention to keep it from sliding back and forth on the head.

Notice in the picture that I am wearing a thermal winter hat. I use this particular hat because it provides better protection to my forehead than say a thin wash cloth or tee shirt. When you start placing a weight on your forehead the center of your forehead will get slightly swollen and a light shade of pink or red.
This is normal since your skin of the forehead is not used to having a weight placed on it.
Over time of performing the neck curl this irritation should subside.

You can use whatever type of covering you want to protect the forehead.
I have used:

  • hand towels
  • tee shirt
  • sweatshirt
  • thick headband
  • winter hat
I like the thicker winter skull caps the best, I feel these give me the most protection for my forehead and it's easier than trying to hold a towel in place while focusing properly on training the neck.

Here is a slightly different angle where my head is in the bottom position:

When I first started training this exercise was the first one I started doing. My coach had me lay on my back in the ring with my neck and head hanging off the ring apron. I then did neck curls for countless reps until he told me to stop. The other 2 exercises I was taught are the seated neck lift and the side neck raise the Big 3

Then one day I was told to start holding a 5 pound weight plate on my forehead.
I did as was told and noticed my neck got strong and thicker quickly.

I like the neck curl better than the neck lift because I feel for me that I don't cheat and use extra muscles as support when doing the exercise. Often when I would perform the seated neck lift I would catch myself pushing off my knees with my hands. Even when I tried not to subconsciously I would push off my knees thus taking a slight bit of the load off my neck.

The seated neck lift can be seen here:
300 pounds for 2 before the harness broke 2007 Lakeland Florida.

If you are a beginner I suggest starting out training your neck 3 days per week with a d ays of rest in between each workout. Start with a 5 pound weight plate and try to get 3 sets of 20-25 repetitions. Each week I would strive to add more reps to my totals for each set until you reach 3 sets of 100 repetitions.

Yes 300 reps!
This is the standard of my neck exercise programs.
Do not add weight until you reach 3 sets at 100 reps each. Once this is achieved go up to a 10 pound plate and start over again trying to reach 100 reps for all 3 sets.

This is what works for me and has been working for me since I was a young boy of 13 years old. At this current writing I am 41 and still going strong.

The reason I like this high volume is that it builds up both the muscular endurance in the neck as well as size.
Since I was a Wrestler I didn't care about aesthetic looks, my purpose was to build a strong, thick neck for wrestling.

It worked for me and I am sure it will work for you to.
My best selling dvd TNT Neck training has sold all over the world and has helped hundreds build a neck of steel since 2008.
You can learn about it here:
TNT Neck Training

Please keep in mind that if you are a Wrestler neck exercise can be done daily without having to skip a day in between workouts. The reason for this is that I am a firm believer in training the neck to duplicate what it will be put through on the mat or in the ring.

The wear and tear of wrestling requires a well conditioned strong neck. The more I trained my neck for wrestling the less sore and stronger I got.

With all exercise be careful and always put safety first.
If you are a young athlete than a proper coach is essential in helping you along on your strength/sport journey.

Keep the faith in all you do and own your day.

Mike "The Machine" Bruce

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Wrestler: My grandfather Rough-House Reg Stimpson

This is the story of my grandfather  “Roughhouse” Reginald Stimson.

Reg was born April 18, 1908 in England. He then moved to the USA and became a citizen, joining the U.S. Army.
During his military stint, he served in World War 2. During his Army training he began training in amateur wrestling. Upon his release from the Army he got into Professional Wrestling.

I believe he started wrestling in 1938, I know he wrestled in 1946 which is the year he married my Grandmother. She gave him the ultimatum of either marrying her or continuing to wrestle. He chose my Grandmother.

My grandparents were married in 1946 and resided in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

I remember as a very young boy sitting on the couch with my grandfather on Saturday mornings watching wrestling.

Unfortunately, he died when I was very young so he never got to see what I became.
 According to my mother, he knew of or personally new Ed Lewis, Lou Thesz, and Killer Kowalski.

My grandfather was known as a Brawler who was not shy of using dirty tactics to gain a pin-fall. Thus he was given the nickname “Roughhouse”.
Many times he would get disqualified for his behavior.

Between 1938-1946 wrestling had really started to show or entertain than perform a real contest. However, there were many more contests, or shoots back then compared to how pro-wrestling would become.

Roughhouse Reg was known more as a heel and often booed more than cheered.

Reg wrestled throughout all the New England territories. These states and towns consisted of Vermont,  Maine,  Massachusetts,  New Hampshire and sometimes New York.
Most of Reg’s tours were held in North Swanzey Mass at a placed called The Rec.

Another venue he wrestled at was in Holyoke, Mass called Cauliflower Row.

I am fortunate enough to have my grandfathers scrapbook with all his newspaper clippings. This helped with gathering some of this information.

Many times these venues would sell-out often filling up with 600 paying customers every Friday night.

Some of the wrestlers Reg wrestled were Ali Pasha,  Jack O’Brien,  Stan Decker,  “Mighty” Red Gibbs,  David Mann,  Pat Scheaffer,  Jack Marshall “The Colorado Giant” and the ex-Olympic champ Charlie Strack. T

he promoter of these shows was a man named Louie Andres. My grandfather was never a main event wrestler or a champion. But he was a wrestler and a wrestler that was taught back in a time where you had to know how to wrestle as well as perform.

He was not an acrobat, a clown, or a giant. He was a 190-200 lb journeyman wrestler that could hook you and stretch you out if need be.

He was a REAL WRESTLER and kept his scrapbook to show he was in the business for 8 years.

I enjoy reading through it still today.

Mike The Machine

In the newspaper clipping above you can see at the bottom right corner it says semi-main event featuring boxer vs wrestler match. This is a mixed match between my grandfather and a gent named Minichello.

How to train your Neck.

I often get asked about my beginning neck workout and how I train, what type of exercises I'm going to go over my TNT Neck program.

Back in 2008 I put out my DVD TNT- Total Neck Training.
This DVD contain's my full workout program to build a big neck and massive traps.

With that being said today I'm going to cover my basic neck program from my dvd TNT Total Neck Training

My neck training started when I was 13 years old. My mother enrolled me in the Natick Ma Boxing club under the tutelage of Billy "Rocky" Smith. I was training in the same gym with Peter Mcnealy while he was training for the Golden Gloves. I was a skinny kid that started out more as the water boy for all the fighters.

Boxing was not really my thing since I was very gun shy and afraid of being hit. As time went on I stuck with it and got better like anyone would if they don't quit. One of my first experiences of neck training was laying on the floor on my back with my head hanging off the edge of the ring. All of the fighters then performed neck curls.

Once I hit 8th grade I was allowed to go to the high school wrestling practices. This is where I really started my neck training.

I read that some of the old school wrestlers would do endless repetitions of neck work.  I'm speaking of wrestlers from the early days of the 1940's and earlier. Just so happens that my Grandfather "Rough-house" Reg Stimson was a Professional Wrestler for 8 years. My mother gave me his scrap book containing all his newspaper clippings. I would read this every night and look at the old pictures of my grandfather wrestling. You can learn more here about Rough-house Reg
So I started my mission to build my neck with high volume work.

My program starts with my basic 3 exercises

  • neck curls

  • side neck raises

  • harness neck lift

This gave me the ability to work my neck in all 3 ranges of motion that it would face while on the mat.
Next I worked my way up to 1 set of 50 repetitions per exercise, then, I worked my way up to 100 reps.
 Once this was achieved I added another set to all 3 exercises. Finally I finished with my main template of neck training which is 3 sets of all exercises for 100 repetitions.
Many say this is only for endurance, many knock my program saying my rep speed is too fast and more nonsense from supposed men whose neck resembles a stack of dimes.

With all these negative comments I have been able to build my neck to 20" of yoked thickness.

Not only have I had success with the program but hundreds of people from all over the world have experienced great results as well:

Ryan Pitts of
Machine, TNT DVD is fantastic! Thanks for the extra 2" on my head pedestal(Neck)l!

Adam Glass strongman and all around strength athlete:
I ordered Mike Bruce TNT neck training when it was first released and i am happy i did. Mike covers all aspects of neck training and explains progressions. If you are serious about neck or trap power, get TNT.

Warren Morgan
I did order TNT DVD it rocks !!!! Thanks for all your help Coach Machine

Darrin Shallman
I think TNT is great, since ordering it and applying Mike's methods I have been able to push my weights and reps up like I've never done before.

If you're not eating enough your neck will not grow like you want it to. You need to consume more calories than your burning off. A healthy weight gain diet will help add inches while the program will add the needed strength.

The difference with my TNT program is that once you reach the 3x100 reps you then increase the weight. This way you are still keeping the volume high to give the needed muscular endurance for competition all the while building the size through the progressive resistance of adding weight.

If you are not a wrestler/grappler then this program will still work for you simply cut the volume down to 2-3 sets per exercise and try to keep your reps at 20. Once 20 is reached with a certain weight then increase the weight for a steady progression.

In regards to a starting weight I suggest you start with a 5 lb plate. If you have never worked your neck it will not take much to make it very sore and to the point where you will become very stiff. So start out small. This light weight also gives you plenty of room to grow by increasing the weight and see the positive progressions.

 After all results stoke the fire and keep it burning.

You can learn more about my neck workout here at TNT Workout

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The 3 exercises to a Big Neck

The neck is one of the most important areas of the body to train yet is one of the most neglected.


Is it because people are more drawn to big arms and a large chest or are people more concerned with having that tight 6 pack?

Our neck serves as a shock absorber for our head and to a degree it protects our why not give ourselves the best chance to protect it?

Some of the other benefits of developing our neck are:

  • headache prevention prevention
  • resistance to chokes in defensive situations and/or sport
  • protection on the football field, hockey rink, wrestling mat/ring, MMA cage.
  • a built neck can help in the ability to take punches in combat sports....Heavyweight boxer George Chuvalo shares his neck workout that he attributed to his iron chin Iron Chin
  • helps in the prevention of concussions.
  • acts as a deterrent against would be attackers because it shows a sign of "strength"

 Another point I want to make (just my opinion) is that it looks terrible when you have a big muscular body and a tiny pencil neck.
With that in mind, if a person is a bodybuilder than a neck that is aesthetically pleasing and strong looking will only add to their physique.

Let's assume you don't have access to any 4 way neck machines and that you are training by yourself (with no partner)

The basic 3 exercises I was taught to use for training my neck are the Neck Curl (my favorite)
Neck Curl demo

Side Neck raise Side Neck demo

Neck Harness lift

Please keep in mind there are many different opinions on how to train the neck, I come from a Wrestling background and can only tell you how I was taught and how I have been training for the past 28 years.

I believe you should train in such a fashion that duplicates what you will be facing on the mat, in the ring, in the cage or on the field.
If you are just training for aesthetic purposes than my training for you will be slightly different.

My basic workout for a Combat athlete that has never trained the neck before should be done on a 3 day per week schedule with one day of rest between each workout.
My coach had me do all 3 ranges of motion for 3 sets of 20 repetitions using a 5 pound plate.
The goal was to increase my repetitions daily or weekly until I was able to do 100 repetitions straight in each range of motion.

* We could not increase the weight until 100 reps was met for all 3 sets.

There were no breaks really, we worked the front first then each side then the rear. The training was grueling and my neck felt like it was going to break. The next day after training my neck was so stiff I could hardly move my head and turning my head wasn't an option.

Over time the neck adapts to the load it is being put under and this "stiffening" fades away.
My coach believed in high volume and I was oddly excited to graduate to using a 10 pound plate and starting the process over again.

The speed of the exercise was done in a fast fashion to duplicate the aggressive push and pulls I'd face on the wrestling mat. I did not focus on contracting the muscle and popped off my reps in quick fashion.

During all my years of training I have never sustained an injury to my neck.

I was 13 years old when I started training and now at 42 continue to train this same way.

If you are training for aesthetics and not a combat athlete than I would follow the same method of training except I would increase the work to 4 sets and decrease the volume to sets of 12, 12, 8, 8. 
I would go at a slow pace and hold the contraction at the top of each exercise for roughly 5 seconds and resist on the negative 5-10 seconds.
An example would be 5 pound plate for 2 sets of 12, then maybe a 25 pound plate for 2 sets of 8.
You can make steady progressions in this way of training.

The neck grows quickly and you will notice increased size and strength but if you really want to pack on the inches you must consume more calories than you're burning off.
A good mass gaining nutrition plan should be followed.

In wrestling it is said "where the head goes the body follows" and I believe this 100%.
If you are a combat athlete you better work that neck and not have a "stack of dimes" protecting you.

Own your Day,
Mike The Machine Bruce
The Neck Flex sponsored athlete
Learn about The Neck Flex here

Thursday, July 16, 2015


Length-60 mins.
(speaking with feats of strength)

Description: With this show package you will learn how one man stepped out of the darkness of his horrific childhood and into the light.

  • Learn how to overcome crisis and become stronger.
  • If you never quit you will never be a failure.
  • How to be a Maximized Man.
  • Setting up your environment for success.
  • The long lost art of being a Gentleman.
And how the choice all depends on YOU in regards to Who You are/will become.

This is Mike's testimonial how he overcame a horrific beginning and chose to go down a different path.

Souvenirs: Any person that comes up on stage with Mike will gladly be given any piece of twisted steel, bent spike, or torn cards from his performance.

Contact Mike for more details at


Length-60 mins.                                                                     

Description: Leave your guests amazed with this jaw dropping birthday experience! 
This show package features a 45 minute show filled with exercise games, Machine Superhero Coloring pages, Nerf Stick Battle, Hand eye coordination skills, How to become strong like Mike The Machine, proper eating habits with Machine Cartoon work sheet and more.

In between the fun Mike will perform various feats of strength that will captivate the kids attention.

There is strong emphasis on how to be good boys and girls and all children get a Team Machine Chore sheet for their parents to hang up and take action.

Souvenirs: All children in attendance will receive a Team Machine packet to color and mail to Mike if they want him to autograph it.
The packet includes:
  • How to be like The Machine coloring worksheet.
  • The Machine eating plan to be a Superhero.
  • Team Machine chore sheet.
The birthday child gets his or her own special packet from Mike and also gets to keep all of the broken debris, steel and torn up cards. 

Mike makes sure that the birthday child is the "STAR" of the day with his own special game called I am the STAR.

Mike always saves time at the end for any and all questions for young and old.

Contact Mike for more details at



Length-45 mins.

Description: Learn The Machine's 3 step plan for becoming the Strongest person you can with this spiritual plan of:

  1. Love
  2. Forgiveness
  3. Knowing Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

As a Christian and Sunday school teacher Mike understands how important it is to share the Gospel as a Man of God. Mike uses his God given talent of Strength to inspire and motivate you to build your character and try to walk a path as Christlike as possible.


Team Machine Anti-Bullying Program
Designed for youth in middle school and under. 
Price: $159
  • Great for schools during Red Ribbon week, Drug Awareness Week, week leading up to School breaks.
  • Learn how Mike “The Machine” Bruce overcame being bullied at school and beaten by his stepfather aka “The Boogeyman."
  • During this 60 min program Mike shares his story of rising up above the Bullies and learning how to become A Strongman.
  • Topics covered:
  • The Machine's  5 Pillars of Strength:
  1. Be strong enough to be nice.
  2. To be strong is to be intelligent. The strongest weapon any strongman has is his mind.
  3. Self-discipline.
  4. Becoming a Machine aka Team Machine.
  5. The importance of physical exercise and proper nutrition.
  • Within the program Mike performs feats of strength that have aptly earned him the title “The Machine”. 
Mike teaches exercise games with kids such as Nerf Stick fighting, exercises using their own bodyweight and more.

Other topics covered:                                         

-Proper manners
-Being a good listener
-Following directions.
-How to be a lady and gentleman.
-Saying NO to Drugs. 

*Mike has always been 100% DRUG-FREE.
Contact Mike at