[0:00] Introduction/Ben’s Spartan Delta
[1:44] Safe Catch Tuna
[3:12] Camel Milk
[5:19] Marc Pro
[6:54] Introduction To this Episode
[8:27] Neuro-Mass and Jon Bruney
[11:02] Jon’s Feat of Being Tied To Two Harley Davidson Motorcycles
[13:26] How Jon Developed Neuro-Mass Program
[17:30] What Is A Grind
[26:13] Few Examples of Grind-based Exercises
[27:36] What Are Neuro-Grips
[32:51] How Does Dynamic Power Go
[36:17] Why Do The Power Set After The Grind
[39:58] Isometric Holds
[48:26] Power Breathing
[50:46] Using Kettlebells in Neuro-Sets
[55:48] Programming Cycle of Neuro-Mass for Fitness
[1:03:52] End of Podcast
Ben: Hey. What’s up? It’s Ben Greenfield, and today I have a great interview for you with a guy named Jon Bruney. He created this training style called Neuro-Mass, and lest you run away because you don’t want to get swole, listen because you do not need to want to put on mass to get a lot outta this particular interview. It’s really good. I’ve been using this program in my hotel rooms when I travel, bodyweight, kettlebell. It’s very, very interesting. So we delve into a lot of neuromuscular chatter.
I, myself, am about to head down to Lake Tahoe to put the finishing touches on what is called the Spartan Delta. I’m competing in the Spartan World Championships. So I will be running, and diving, and barbwire crawling over about 30 plus miles of obstacles to finish off what I’ve been doing all year.
Pretty tough event where you race a trifecta, which is a sprint, a super, and a beast Spartan. You complete a Spartan X Coaching Certification, and a Spartan SGX Coaching Certification, and you get your Agoge where I suffered at 38 degrees below zero back in Vermont for about 48 hours of racing. And then you do a 4-hour, what’s called a hurricane heat, and a 12-hour hurricane heat, which is just overnight, hauling sandbags and completing all matter of masochism. And then finally, an Ultra Beast, which will culminate this weekend. So if you wanna follow all the action on that, look for #obstacledominator or check out my website obstacledominator.com. obstacledominator.com if you wanna follow the action over there.
Now this podcast is brought to you by Safe Catch Tuna. Yes, tuna. Not camels, but tuna. Safe Catch Tuna is the brand of tuna, the only brand actually, that tests for mercury. They test every single fish, every single lone tuna, individually for mercury levels, and they actually invented the technology to test each of these fish. And they found that this Safe Catch Tuna has the lowest mercury of any brand because they test every fish. They actually test to a limit that’s 10 times stricter than the FDA.
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Now, a couple other things. I wanna tell you about something that my refrigerator is chock full of right now, and that is camel milk. No, I did not adopt a pet camel. I instead get this stuff shipped to my house. It comes in these little bottles, or you can get it in powder. Why do I drink camel milk? Well I have goats, and I drink goat milk, and that does pretty well with my body, whereas cow’s milk does not, but camel milk is one of the most biocompatible milk on the face of the planet when it comes to supplying amino acids for things like muscle protein synthesis. And camel’s milk, you may not know this about cow’s milk, but camel’s milk does not contain the allergenic, what’s called the A1 protein that cow’s milk contains. And believe it or not, goat’s milk also contains this A1 allergenic protein.
Many people can’t even do goats milk, but almost nobody is allergic to cow’s milk, or rather camel milk, because it has this A2 beta-casein. So camel milk has this non-allergenic beta-casein protein, which means that people don’t get an allergic reaction to it. You get all of the benefits of it. It’s raw, it’s non-homogenized, it’s produced in a gluten-free facility, all the camels get non-GMO feed, soy and corn free feed, there’s no hormones, no additives, just camels chopping on grass, pasture-raised camels made in the USA. Yes. These are USA camels.
And the other very cool thing, the reason I like this is it reduces inflammation and helps to heal a leaky gut. Camel milk literally acts like a gut shot reducing inflammation. And the way that it does that is it actually stimulates the immune cells that reside in your gastrointestinal system and keeps partially digested food from leaking out of your intestines. Nasty thought, but camel’s milk turns all that around. So you get a 20% discount on camel’s milk. You go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/camelmilk, and you use code Ben20 over there. Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/camelmilk, and use code Ben20 to get 20% off your camel milk.
And then finally, you may have heard me talk about electrical muscle stimulation before, and there are different ways to use it. I mean, you can use e-stim devices to simulate the 600 pound squat. We actually talk about that a little bit in today’s episode. But you can also use a special wave form of electrical muscle stimulation called a square wave form, and the way the square wave forms work is they grab your slow-twitch muscle fibers, and then gradually work their way up to fast-twitch muscle fibers so they don’t hit an injured muscle with what could technically cause it to get injured even more.
So, not all electrical muscle stimulation is created equal. So this EMS unit that you can use to heal injuries and reduce pain, and soreness, this one’s called a Marc Pro. It’s the only one that has this square wave form, the only one on the face of the planet. So it’s called a Marc Pro, M-A-R-C Pro, and you get a 5% discount on a Marc Pro if you use promo code Ben at marcpro.com. It’s super easy to use.
You do not need to have a knowledge of anatomy, maybe you gotta know where a bone or a muscle is that you wanna put it over. You need to at least know your knee from your elbow. That’s about it. Slap these electrodes on, put it on, and go to town, and this thing will heal injuries very quickly. I use it almost every week. So you use promo code Ben for a 5% discount at marcpro.com. That’s a MARCPro.com. So you’ve got your camel milk and your tuna, your electrical muscle stimulation. You’re off to the races. Let’s go check out Neuro-Mass with Jon Bruney
In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“And that was my idea with the book. It’s up to your creativity how far you can take this. It can be adapted to whatever you want to do. You want more bodybuilding? You could do the chest set for five sets. If you want overall, just health and fitness. I love what you’re doing. I mean that’s gonna make you an elite athlete.” “So this power breathing is something that you can practice all throughout the day even. If you wanna just work and have a crazy core workout, just do these little hisses throughout the day or along 5 to 10 second long hisses.”
He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness. His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance. He is Ben Greenfield. “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that’s the natural movement, get out there! When you look at all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…” All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.
Ben: Hey, folks. It’s Ben Greenfield. On a few recent podcasts, I mentioned that, especially when I’ve been traveling and have had limited access to a gym or workout equipment, one of my key go-to workouts has been this program that I’ve been using called Neuro-Mass. Neuro-Mass. And I actually consider it to be one of the quickest ways I found for developing things like power and strength with not much more than my own body weight, and sometimes like a kettlebell or two. And it can actually add functional muscle to lean frame pretty quickly, and can build muscle recruitment, and explosiveness in what I found to be a pretty smart and systematic way. So it’s a blend of optional kettlebell exercises and body weight exercises, and they’re all split into these things called Neuro-Sets, which I’ll let my guest describe here in just a second because he created this program, and I’m a little bit obsessed with it right now in terms of it being one of my go-to workouts.
So this program, Neuro-Mass, and if you want to check it out, the show notes for today’s episode are at bengreenfieldfitness.com/neuro. If you don’t know how to spell “Neuro”, then you need to take out Dr. Google and figure that out. Learn how to spell. But Jon, Jon is actually a Guinness World Record-holding strong man, and he’s been on Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and NBC’s America’s Got Talent, and the Today Show, and Guinness World Records Unleashed.
He is what I would consider to be a true renaissance man when it comes to the realm of strength development ’cause he’s a bestselling author, he’s a trainer, he’s a coach, he’s a motivational speaker, he’s a strong man, and he’s a pastor. So he’s done a lotta stuff. And Jon’s work with competitive athletes includes pretty high-level folks like Olympians and NFL players. So he’s got this book “Neuro-Mass.” He also writes for one of my favorite magazines that I get, a magazine that makes me feel like a weakling every time it arrives in the mail. Milo, M-I-L-O, which is basically a magazine about how to like lift ungodly amounts of weight, develop grip strength, all sorts of cool stuff. And then he also is the co-owner of Submit Strength Equipment. So he designs a cutting-edge training equipment. So, I’ll link to all that stuff in the show notes, again at bengreenfieldfitness.com/neuro. But in the meantime, Jon, welcome to the show, man.
Jon: Hey, thanks for having me. Looking forward to an awesome show.
Ben: Yeah, dude. And speaking of being a renaissance man, let’s start here. One of the pictures that I found of you on the internet, I’ll put a photo of this on the show notes, is you basically being ripped apart by two Harley Davidson motorcycles to test your arms. And I’m curious, I think you call it “The Human Link,” can you describe what that is and why you attached motorcycles to yourself?
Jon: Yeah. Actually, it’s an old-time strongman feat, but it’s one of the biggest rushes I’ve ever had in my life. If you want an adrenaline rush, this is what you go after, and I kinda chase that a little bit. But what it is, it was actually on television this summer on ABC’s “To Tell The Truth.”
They had two, I believe, 800 pound plus Harley Davidson motorcycles, and then we put a strap on each one of my biceps, and so they’re hanging opposite directions, and we basically tell ’em just to hit it and try and tear me apart. And I’m getting pelted with pieces of tire and smoke, I mean it’s crazy. After a while, I just kinda disappear into the smoke. It’s just an incredible feat and it’s something that has its history way back in the old time strongman where they used to hook themselves up to horses or different things.
Ben: I was going to say this is like also what medieval people would have done to kill folks or torture folks. Like don’t you call this quartering? To kill people with horses attached your limbs?
Jon: Yeah. Absolutely. The rack, I guess. But it just has this great history. We used to do it in schools when I’d travel around. They would hook this up to my hands, and just let all kinds of kids grab a rope, big ropes on each side, and pull back. But there’s something about motorcycles that everybody can relate to. The noise…
Ben: Oh, yeah.
Jon: The force of the cycles and like, “Is this guy gonna die?” “What’s gonna happen?” But it comes down to, one of the main aspects of it is what we’ve talked about Neuro-Mass. It’s a huge isometric contraction that keeps you from being torn apart.
Ben: Oh, yeah. Because you’re basically not moving. You’re just like holding against the resistance of the motorcycles.
Ben: I wanna ask you more about isometrics in our discussion as we talk about this whole Neuro-Mass program, but kinda like stepping back, big picture, how’d you develop this program in the first place, like this concept of stringing together three sets in the way that you do in the Neuro-Mass program?
Jon: Well, it’s an awesome question because this is kinda where I like to be sort of a mad scientist individual. My strength training mentor was John Brookfield, and we kind of together learned this whole concept of strength endurance. For instance, John and I originally set a world record by pulling a semi-truck for a mile. It was huge. We had a semi-truck and trailer, and basically you’re setting this grinding pace for long-time endurance. I mean to pull something for a mile, every step is just excruciating. You’re having your whole body tense up with lactic acid. So John kinda pioneered this whole aspect of strength endurance. And then all of my friends were into the maximum amount of strength you could lift. So it’s basically this whole one-rep max system.
Well then, I’m also a big proponent, because in my shows, I do a lot of breaking bricks, and boards, and all that stuff that requires speed. So I said, “You know, you’ve got to really combine all three of these to really become a total athlete. You can’t just be one or the other. You can’t just be strength endurance. You can’t just be power. And you can’t just be isometric.” So what I wanna do is to get something that would actually teach the nervous system to recruit more muscle fiber. What it basically is I wanted to build this smart muscle where you could kind of have multiple angles of resistance and that would kinda bypass your genetics a little bit, because I’m not the most genetically gifted guy. I’m just an average Joe who kinda has clubbed away at this stuff, and tried to develop my mind and body, and that’s kinda how it came out.
Ben: So your idea is that instead of just like building up like slabs and slabs of muscle, or just developing like isometric strength and the ability to resist, or just developing explosive power, or even the ability to just like move objects for a long period of time, you’re trying to combine all of those things into one workout?
Jon: Absolutely. And compress it in a timeframe that is doable during my strength training season, show season, ’cause you’re cramping all these events, the actual training sessions were going about two hours plus, which is just not good for your cortisol levels, it’s not good for your hormones. Trying to get in all these different aspects of strength training, and so I thought, “How can we combine all this into a doable, workable, time period, and also that will still give you the same results, but it’s not gonna burn your body out.” And I also wanna develop something where you didn’t have to go extremely heavy all the time, that you could use kettlebells and body weight, especially during the de-loads and travelling. But this’ll apply to any kind of weight resistance you want. But I wanted to make it, how can everyday Joe have smart muscle without having to go through all that rigamaroo of two and three hour workouts.
Ben: Yeah. It makes sense. And you certainly do compress a great deal of work into the body in a short period of time. I think I’ve almost passed out in a hotel room before doing like an isometric deadlift using the bath towel in the hotel. I mean, you do have this in the book, like some of the isometrics, you literally are just using like a giant bath towel. Maybe we’ll get into that later. I’ve yet to actually rip apart or destroy any towels, but I’ve been amazed at how much I can exhaust a muscle with a bath towel.
So anyways, your Neuro-Sets. Let’s jump into brass tacks ’cause the Neuro-Mass program, there’s three different types of sets that you do, and you kind of string them all together. And the first type of set is called a Grind. Can you describe a grind, and why you start off with that as kinda like that the first set that you do in a workout?
Jon: Well, grind is kind of the bread and butter of most workouts. Again, I’m not talking about your cardiovascular training or specific training, but as far as your overall, you’re gonna have overall fitness, the grind is a big exercise that places resistance on the huge muscle groups. And you have to require total body tension. So these are your squats and your heavy presses, okay? If your body weight, your body weight squats, your push-ups, handstand push-ups, all these type of things, and they’re done in a really slow manner. I had a guy tweet me just [0:18:27] ______ “What is the tempo on a grind? How slow do you go?” And I said, “Slow enough to make it miserable,” because that’s what you wanna do. You wanna exhaust that muscle fiber and work in such a fashion that you can feel it deep, deep, deep into the tissue.
Ben: Yeah. When I first started doing the grinds, it reminded me, are you familiar with this guy named Doug McGuff? He’s a cardiologist, I believe, but he’s also written a book called “Body By Science.”
Jon: I’m not familiar with it, but that book name sounds familiar. I’m not familiar with his name.
Ben: Okay. So he works with a lot of seniors and he developed a program that develops huge amounts of what’s called peripheral blood pressure without a lot of central blood pressure, and allows you to work out with little to no impact in his program, even though I’m not a big fan of like Kaiser, and Nautilus, and all these exercise machines versus functional things like a kettlebell, for example, or a bath towel. He has this program where you’ll do like super, super slow sets. So it’s all about time-under-tension where you’ll spend 30 to 60 seconds per rep, and you’ll do just one single set of like five to eight reps or so of like a chest press, a leg press, a pulldown, and a seated row. And it’s only a 12 to 15 minute workout, but I tried out that workout a few times because I interviewed him on the show, and it’s incredibly hard to actually move in that slow grinding way that you describe. What’s going on though from like a muscular level when you’re doing?
Jon: Well, you’re engaging these deep muscle fibers. And what I like about that is, again you mentioned time under tension, this is really what creates hypertrophy, and especially the older you get, the more you need to engage in these hypertrophic, probably bad language there, but the more you need to engage in those activities that are stimulating muscle growth because you’re going through so much muscle wasting. And if you’re doing it right, I mean you’ll pour buckets of sweat. I mean, literally, because you’re engaging, and this is why I try and tell people. And this comes back to maybe some of the martial arts that I practice.
Like I said, in the introduction, you talk about being a renaissance man. I kinda do a little bit of everything. Learning to go through a movement as if you had a thousand pounds on your shoulders, and opening the book, I show some of the chain lifting that I do, where you put 1,000 pounds plus and you’re doing these chain lift squats. Even if you’re just using your body weight, you wanna engage those quads and make them tight enough, create that whole body tension tight enough just as if you had a thousand pounds on your back. So you’re kind of imagining mentally, and this is where, one of things I love about Neuro-Mass, you’ve got to engage your mind and your body to go slowly through these movements and engage the muscle fiber, which is counter-intuitive for a lot of people ’cause most people just wanna get through it as fast as they can. And that’s not what you want.
Ben: Yeah. That incredible amount of focus when you’re going extremely slow, do you need to breathe a certain way when you’re doing grind?
Jon: Yeah. I teach power breathing and this always came out of my background of being a musician, having voice lessons as a young student, so I kinda learned this before I got in to the weightlifting game. But basically you’re breathing into the diaphragm and then creating a hiss. Now, you can actually hold your breath, but for most people that are just wanting regular gains, you’re not into the hyper level of powerlifting, you shouldn’t hold your breath.
So what you’re gonna do is, we call power breathing where you’re inhaling through the diaphragm, and then you’re actually hissing out and creating this huge tension, and I’ll describe it while we’re talking here. If you just would put your tongue against your teeth and just all of a sudden (makes hissing noises), make that hissing noise, you’ll notice how hard your abdominals contract and how hard your entire midsection contracts. Well, that’s what you want because that’s creating that tension all the way through the movement. And as you hiss out on the way up, you’re still having that tension.
What a lot of people teach is just inhale and breathe out on the way up. Well you’re losing tension, you’re losing power. And if you’re using weights in that system, you’re actually gonna put yourself in a dangerous position. So this power breathing is something that you can practice all throughout the day even. If you wanna just work and have a crazy core workout, just do these little hisses all throughout the day, or 5 to 10 seconds long hisses where you’re doing it. It’s just like a compressed hose where the air can barely come out, and you’re gonna find your abs, your whole core sore for days.
Ben: Yeah. Like that type of breathing, like what you mentioned, that (makes hissing noise), you can you can create your own resistance with your tongue. But like in my car, in my glove box, I keep one of these PowerLung devices that resists the air going in and the air coming out. One that you mentioned, in MMA, Bas Rutten, I know he has like some kind of like a lung training device as well, but it’s all based around inspiratory and expiratory muscle training. And I think there probably is a lot of crossover behind like using a device like that, and then using that same type of feeling of resisting the breath when you’re doing one of these grind sets.
But, you’re right. I mean, like if I go for a two hour drive, if I gotta like drive down to, let’s say like Moscow, Idaho is a place I’ll drive to sometimes, it takes me about an hour and a half to get to, and like every time I pass a mile marker, I’ll do like three sets of 10 seconds in, 10 seconds out on that powerlung, and your abs are just, they’re exhausted by the time you get to where you’re going.
Jon: Man. Dude. PowerLung, just a little props to that, I’m not getting any kickback for this statement. I use the PowerLung every day. It’s one of the…
Ben: Oh, you do?
Jon: My favorite thing is. I mean, I have a Bas Rutten trainer, I have an elevation mask, but they’re limited in their scope of use. The PowerLung, what I love is I can dial up and do resistance breathing in both directions anytime I want.
Jon: In my new book that’s coming out, “Commando Cardio,” that’s one of the things we actually talk about is this whole idea of rare air. When you’re using something like the PowerLung, or you’re using resistance, what you call elevation mask, you’re not really doing elevation training because the same amount of oxygen is still in the air. You’re just taking in less air. So what I like to do is combine that PowerLung with breathing into a paper bag, breathing in some carbon dioxide right after those sets. And, man, the training effect is crazy. I realize we’re going down the rabbit hole here, but that’s a fantastic combo is to keep a paper bag with you along with your PowerLung. So you get the power breathing, resistance breathing, so you’re training those diaphragm muscles, but then you’re also getting the elevation training by just doing a set right after that for 30 seconds with the paper bag.
Ben: There’s gonna be Ben Greenfield fitness listeners all over the globe dying of paper bags over their head now. You might have to put a medical disclaimer on this podcast. Well, that’s interesting. So you use the PowerLung and the paper bag, or you could, to a limited extent, use something like the elevation mask. But as far as the actual grinds themselves, what would be an example of a few exercises that would be like a good grind-based exercise? Like a super slow grind?
Jon: Well, I love all manner of squats. I just think the exercise cannot be improved on if you’re doing it right, doing it low enough. Of course, you’ve gotta make sure your hip flexors are stretched out enough to get deep into it, but any kind of grind, or the deadlift is another fantastic exercise, whether you’re using a sandbag, whether you’re using kettlebells, whether you’re using a barbell, whether you’re using your own body weight.
What we try to teach though is make the exercise harder on the grind by changing the leverage. So if you’re using bodyweight, do one-legged squats. If you’re in a hotel room, put one of those legs up on to the bed. Change the leverage to make it difficult, but it ought to be a really challenging grind. So I think you can’t be any kind of squat [0:27:24] ______, deadlift, any kind of press, whether it’s just simple push-ups or whether you use the Neuro-Grips, which are an amazing tool.
Ben: What are the Neuro-Grips?
Jon: Okay. In the book, you’ll see they’re handles, and they actually have been selling like crazy. It’s a play on what we used to call spike handle push-ups, or T-handle push-ups. I did not come up with the concept, but what I did was try to develop it to where it’s very user-friendly. Basically, I had made my own by taking 2 a half inch piece of pipe and having a welder weld it on to a spike. And what that causes if you have to balance, and here’s one of the things we talk about, and again these are available from lots of different companies, but I feel like the way that we have developed it and improved it is the best out there.
Basically, you’ll find that your mind, a huge portion of your brain, is dedicated to the use of the hands and the fingers. So when we bring the hands or increase the grip strength of an exercise, you’re bringing the mind and the neuromuscular efficiency even harder. So in the book, you’ll see there’s just a couple exercises, ’cause I’ve written a whole book that’s gonna be coming out hopefully this year about how to use those. A lot of people say, “Well, I love doing push-ups, but they’re just not intense enough for me. I need that increase that leverage.” And so, by trying to balance on these two spikes with these thick handles, it increases the difficulty of the grind by a 1,000%.
Ben: Okay. I know what you’re talking about now. They are basically like two T-shaped objects that when you’re doing a push-up, you’re holding on to these handles, but they’re different than those ones at the gym that are more of like a platform that you do a push-up on under each hand. They’re instead almost like something that’ll force you to balance and grip really intensively as you’re doing a push-up.
Jon: Yeah. You have to engage your entire core and upper body. It’s funny because I’m a pretty heavy bench presser, but I’ll put guys on here who can bench quite a bit of weight, and they’ll struggle at 5 to 10 reps on these things because of the balance factor. It’s kinda like a bamboo…
Ben: Yeah. It’s really cool. Those are interesting. I saw those in the book, I forgot what they were called, but, yeah, I haven’t pulled the trigger and gotten any yet, but they actually look like they’d be pretty tough to use. So I’m gonna have to add those to my regimen. So we’ve got to grind as the first exercise that you do, the first type of exercise that you do. You have like this slow grind. And how many reps are you doing of the grind typically?
Jon: Well for me, and this is where it’s very personal, I should have delved more into the book into this issue. For me, it’s a very personal thing, but for me it could be anywhere from 6 to 8, and some people can even go to 12, but it’s all based on how much you can push your body. Some people may be able to do 3 or 4 reps of a grind and they have taxed everything. Some people, ’cause it’s all on how you learn to engage those things. It’s like the first time, when I talk about muscle engagement, it’s like the first time somebody uses a muscle stimulator on their legs and they think, “Whoa! That’s the amount of tension I should have.” So some people can recruit a lot more with 3 or 4 reps. Some people, it takes 8 to 12 reps to get that. The magic number for me personally is right around 6, but again, the lower the number the better if you can keep that much tension.
Ben: Gotcha. You mean like an electrical muscle stimulator when you’re talking about like people actually realizing how hard to contract a muscle?
Jon: Yeah. I mean the first time my family watched me use the Compex unit, and me and my muscles are just tapping out everywhere. That’s the feeling though. You wanna go after that deep stimulation. That’s one of the things that love about muscle stims is it takes all the fiber. If you can see ’em just pop out, that’s the goal mentally what you wanna do when you do a grind.
Ben: Yeah. Have you ever heard of this guy named Jay Schroeder?
Jon: Not sure. Is he an endurance guy?
Ben: No. He uses a different machine. The Compex is the one that I own for electrical muscle stimulation to like get a whole bunch of muscle fibers recruited all at once. And like you said, like you don’t realize how many muscle fibers that you can actually recruit until you slap the electrodes on like your quads and just jack that thing all the way up. But he uses one that’s even more powerful. It’s called the ARPwave. It’s like based on some kinda like Russian e-stim technology. It’s the same one that Dave Asprey, the Bulletproof exec uses this one. And I’ve seen it at a lot of conferences, it’s getting more popular. But it’s like a high, high-level electrical stimulation device that can simulate close to I guess like a 1,000-pound squat when you put on your quads and hamstrings. So it’s called the ARPwave. I think that one’s like a $10,000 unit.
Jon: (laughs) Well, that’s awesome! That’s out of my price range right now, but…
Ben: Yeah. The Compex is enough for most mere mortals. Alright. So we’ve got the grind. And then after the grind, you move into this isometric hold, right?
Jon: We’re gonna go into dynamic power drill.
Ben: Oh. So the power comes after the grind. That’s right. I should know this. So the dynamic power comes after the grind, and how’s a dynamic power go?
Jon: Well, it’s some kind of speed movement, power movement. So it’s going to look different based on the exercise or the muscle group that you’re choosing to work. But the goal is to have maximum speed, and maximum velocity, and be able to keep that up for 15 all the way to 60 seconds depending on how hard you can work. And we have things like the Neuro-Burner, any of those type of things, those explosive movements. My MMA guys love these movements. They include any kinds of jumps, anything that where you just have to explode sprinting.
One of my favorite exercises is the anchor sprints, and that’s where you’re going to take a yoga block and put it out front of you, extend your arms, and try to push the yoga block in as hard as you can while you’re sprinting. I use this exercise on so many people, and the first reaction is they almost wanna fall over because you’re teaching your body to do an isometric contraction with the top while the bottom is doing this dynamic power drill. But any kind of speed movement, when you do these things, so you’ve gone from the grind, now you’re immediately going into explosive movement, and this is what I love about this workout is most athletes are in one or the other camps. They’re here in “I’m all power.” Like a sprinter, I’m all into the grinding mess. And by combining these, again you’re forcing the nervous system to recruit more fibers.
Ben: So you are working the same muscle with the power movement as you work with the grind, right? So if I do like a super slow grind for like, let’s just say I’m doing bodyweight, and I do a really, really slow squat. Let’s say like, whatever, 15 seconds down, 15 seconds maintaining as much tension as possible for 6 reps. I would then move into a series of explosive, say, like jump squats for 15 to 60 seconds?
Jon: Jump squats, box jumps, long jumps, any kinda jump for 15 to 60 seconds. And the reason I put this 60 seconds in there is some movements you can maintain for a lot longer. Generally, when, and how I gauge it is after that 15 to 30 seconds, if you’re starting to slow down and you’re not able to produce that velocity, it’s immediately time for that part of the set to be done and then move into isometrics.
Ben: Okay. Got it. Now that actually surprised me that you said 60 seconds ’cause don’t you kind of exhaust like your creatine-phosphate stores after a maximum of about 30 seconds? So wouldn’t like true power training be 30 seconds or less?
Jon: Yes. But when you do something like the Neuro-Burner, which is just upper body, it’s a lot less, it’s fatiguing like crazy. It’ll get you breathing hard, but it’s different than a sprint. A sprint, if you’re doing longer than a 30 second sprint, you’re probably not sprinting anymore. But some of the upper body drills, you could actually go 60 seconds because they’re just far less taxing. You’re not engaging as much power as you do with the legs.
Ben: So why do you choose to do the power set right after the grind?
Jon: Well again, we’re trying to recruit more neuromuscular efficient workouts. And so as you do that, you’ve exhausted the muscle through time-under-tension, and now you wanna exhaust it even further, almost creating a little bit of trauma to the muscle, what I call “controlled trauma”, by pushing it through the power exercises, and these would be any kind of sprints, any kind of jumping. For instance, if you go from bodyweight squats, you might wanna go into box jumps, long jumps, as we talked about earlier, anchor sprints. And then when you’re talking about the time factor, so you want to do this from 15 to 60 seconds, and again, the 15 seconds to 30 seconds, you’re usually starting to slow down, and once the velocity starts to come down that’s when you want to end the set.
Now there are some dynamic power drill that are not very metabolically cost as far as they’re not very demanding. For instance, if you’re doing a lateral shuffle, that’s one of the exercises to work the lateral muscles, you could work that up to 60 seconds without taxing your levels. So it really depends on the exercise. Like I said earlier, if you’re trying to do jumps for more than 30 seconds, I guarantee you you’re not put a lot of power into it any more. The goal is to keep that power going, sustained power and velocity.
Ben: That’s generally the rule with most plyometrics and power-based exercises anyways, as once you’ve lost the ability to create maximum velocity, it’s a good idea to just stop ’cause at that point, I guess like there’s kind of that idea, and I don’t know what you think about this, Jon, where if I were gonna do, let’s say, lunge jumps, I can create maximum velocity. I could tell you right now.
I could maybe get maximum velocity for like 15 seconds worth of lunch jumps. But if I kept going to 60 seconds, you used that term “controlled trauma”, there’s obviously a great deal of lactic acid that begins to build up, I think you still get more of like a metabolic conditioning effect once you get to a certain point. But it sounds to me like for the purpose of getting what you’re going after with a Neuro-Set, once folks get to the point where they’re not able to move as quickly during that set as they were at the beginning of that set, that’s when you say, “Okay. That’s the number of reps that I’m doing for the power set.”
Jon: Yeah. Because the goal is we’re trying to create smart muscle, and the goal is to stimulate those power fiber, those type 2A. And so once you drop that off, you go into some kind of endurance training or almost cardio. And that’s how you can adapt this program, we could talk about that later, you could adapt this program for endurance too if you wanted to. It’s all what your training goals are.
Ben: Yeah. That’s a good point. So you could do a grind, and maybe do more reps of a grind, and just like a longer period of time with the power training, and get a little bit more metabolic conditioning or endurance effect.
Jon: Absolutely. That is cool.
Ben: I like it. And by the way, I’m gonna be running up and down my driveway holding a yoga block now. I’ve jotted that down as something to guinea pig. So I’ll let you know how that goes. A new use for the yoga block that sits, gathering dust in my closet. Okay, cool. So we’ve got the grind as the first Neuro-Set, and then you move on to do the power, working the same muscle group for that next part of the Neuro-Set. And then you finish with this isometric hold. Why do you finish with the isometrics and what are some examples of how somebody does that?
Jon: Well, you’re basically moving against a force that cannot be moved. So the idea is, it goes back to, I dunno who said the quote, but “What’s the heaviest weight that you can lift? It’s the one that you can’t.” And so you are moving against an irresistible resistance. Basically, what you might want to do here, the easiest form of this, or idea, is to do a wall squat after you’ve done regular squats and if you’ve done your dynamic power drills. So you’re putting that back into there and you’re stimulating the quads by pushing with your heels as hard as you can into the floor, pushing your back into the wall. You’re gonna find this huge stimulation and you wanna hold that, and you wanna keep it for 7 to 12 seconds. And as you do that, your muscles should start to shake a little bit. That’s how you know. So your body’s not moving, but the muscles are still contracting in that state.
Now there is a way to do, and take us to another level. I’ve done isometrics, but the goal is different, to where you basically almost kill yourself. I’ve got in a power rack and set the pins to a certain height, so it’s like mid-level of a squat, then put the bar underneath it so you can’t move. You’re locked in that position, but you’re still pushing against that locked position. And I’ve done that for time just as long as you can possibly hold it and your legs are jell-o.
Jon: But for the regular isometric, I say 7 to 12 seconds, and if you’re doing all three of these types of exercises back-to-back-to-back, your muscles should be stimulated to the core. I mean it should be, those fibers should be traumatized.
Ben: Yeah. I agree. ‘Cause I kinda laughed when I was reading a book and I saw he said like 7 to 12 seconds for holding the isometric, but then I actually did the set. Like I did the grind first, and then I did the power set, and then I finished with this isometric hold, and you’re not just sitting there when you do isometric hold. Like I think a lot of people used to wall squat being just like put your back and your ass against the wall for as long as you can sit there, but you actually, like you just talked about, to stimulate the quadriceps, for example, you are pressing your heels as freaking hard as you can into the ground for those 7 to 12 seconds and it becomes extremely difficult. Like when you’re talking about the minimum effective dose of exercise, for me, going for those really, really short isometric holds where I’m just recruiting as many muscle fibers as possible and squeezing the muscle hard as I can, I had learned how to do that a little bit from, you probably know who Pavel Tsatsouline is, right?
Jon: Oh, absolutely.
Ben: Yeah. Like his plank hold, you’re doing a plank, but rather than holding a front plank for five minutes, you’re just like doing a full-on hard core isometric plank contraction for like 10 seconds. And it’s kind of like that same concept. There’s like a passive isometric hold versus, I don’t even know what you would call, but like kinda more an active, aware, concentrated isometric hold where you’re contracting all the muscles.
Jon: You gotta engage. And that’s why people when ask questions about all these things, it’s like if you’re doing it right, you can’t go longer than 15 seconds. If you’ve done the whole set together correct, that’s the key. It’s not a passive movement. You are pushing, and isometrics is the great secret behind all great strong men, whether it’s bending, no matter what it is. And so for instance, if you wanna change the leverage, so if people say, “Well, how do I get that same effect on my hamstrings?” Well, instead of pushing the wall away with your heels, now you take the heels and try and pull them against the wall, and you are engaging, you’re grinding your heels into the ground, pull them towards you, now you’re getting your hamstrings toasted.
So it’s all a matter of leverage. But if you’re not engaging, if you can’t, what I call, and it sounds kinda different for a lot of people that aren’t used to engaging this way, but you ought to be able to feel the muscle. You have to think, use your mind, think into those muscles that you’re trying to work to engage them. And you’re gonna have a powerful thing. There’s the mind-body connection. It’s such a powerful thing.
Ben: Yeah. And you even mentioned in the book, I talked about this earlier, for example, for an isometric hold for the hamstrings, you can literally just plant like a giant bath towel under your feet and grasp either end of the towel as though you were gonna do a deadlift, and just do a deadlift where you’re pulling as hard as you can against the towel without allowing your body to move, and you get an extremely intense, almost like full-body isometric contraction.
Jon: Yeah. It’s so intense. We went on a cruise one time, and the weight facilities were not that great, and we did some running, and different things. But it was like how can you do a whole workout with just a towel? And so, some of those exercises came out of that. We did a whole video on that. Somewhere, it’s buried on YouTube, how you get a whole workout with just a beach towel. But when you do that, I mean your grip is toasted, you’ve engaged your biceps, your triceps, your shoulders, your traps, your core, everything down to your calves. And again, you can’t always gauge the work level on sweat, but if you are doing a great towel isometric, you will be pouring buckets of sweat because of the tension.
Ben: Yeah. That’s crazy. And you said this was something the strong men used to do as like one of their secret training methods was they use isometrics?
Jon: Yes. All great strong men have always used this. And one of the famous of all the Alexanders, he became strong in prison holding back these bars, and just pulling against them all the time, using what you have, pulling against the chains that were on his body and create this isometric strength. When I was learning to bend nails, one of the things that I do is get a nail three or four sizes bigger than what I could bend, and just try and bend it. Of course, it wasn’t going to move, but I was generating so much tension in that that the lighter nails just became easy and cake, and you could just pull them over like nothing.
Ben: Yeah. That’s awesome. You’re probably familiar with like the Captains of Crush hand grip strengthening device, right?
Jon: Absolutely. Love Captains of Crush.
Ben: In addition to all sorts of goodies and toys in my glove box, but in addition to the PowerLung, and I keep these in my bags too. So when I’m on an airplane or I’m at a conference, standing in the back and not able to exercise, I do isometric contractions with these Captains of Crush devices. I mean you can just squeeze it as hard as you can 10 times in a row or whatever, but I’ll hold it just as hard as I can for as long as I can, and it’s just this intense hand grip strengthening device. But isometrics, when you, it’s really interesting.
I dunno if you feel this way, Jon, but even something like as simple as a hand grip sitting in the car, you start to feel your entire body working. I mean, like your little kegel muscles are working, and your deep pelvis, and your core, and you’ll feel the other hand kinda working a little bit as you’re squeezing with the, say, like the right hand, you feel the left hand working a little bit ’cause you get a bit of a contralateral effect. It’s pretty powerful. Like a lot of people don’t realize how much of a workout you can get literally by just squeezing a muscle.
Jon: Yeah. Because if you’re doing it well, that hyper irradiation factor takes over. And like you’re talking about everything, even your guts get engaged. I love doing negatives like with the number four and isometrically resisting it as it’s forcing itself to open. And you’re not just engaging your hands there. I mean it’s the entire body.
Ben: So a number four, that’s the term that you give to one of these Captains of Crush Hand Grip Strength Devices. That’s what? Like several hundred pounds?
Jon: I believe that one is 365 pounds of resistance, or more. The number four is the biggest one.
Ben: Okay. You’re closing that with like two hands and then using one hand to resist it from opening.
Jon: Yeah. Or forcing it shut on your leg, which takes a lot tension in itself, and pushing down with your body, and then letting go. Pulling it away from your leg and just holding it with your hand, and letting it force your hand open.
Ben: That makes sense and that also sounds like a really good way to get bruises up
and down your leg.
Ben: But it does make sense. So during the isometric, one thing that I’ve found, Jon, is you describe the breathing, like that hissing breathing that you’re doing (makes hissing noise) doing the isometric, I’ve found that, for me, rather than like watching the clock, I’ll just do like two or three of those long hiss, like power breathing type of breaths, rather than, say like, looking at the clock counting 7 seconds, 8 seconds, 12 seconds, whatever. Do you count time? Do you count breaths? Is there something that you really focus on during the isometric hold to engage the muscle as much as possible for the period of time?
Jon: Well, I do two things. I count the time as well as how much fatigue I’m feeling. I wanna feel that muscle. I wanna force that muscle to really feel that inner trauma. But with my clients, one of the things we do is exactly what you’ve said. When I’m training them with Neuro-Mass, especially on any kind of leg, isometric, any lower body, they’ll do the power breathing just like that. They’ll do, three to four power breaths will take at least 12 seconds. And that’s how they do it. We’ll have inhale, ’cause they keep that tension, exhale through the teeth as hard as you can, again, and again, and again, and that usually has reached their threshold by doing that. And it’s an excellent technique.
Ben: Nice. I like it. So we talked about body weight a little bit. So like an example, a Neuro-Set for, for example, let’s say like the chest, because I know that you can work like, you could choose a few different Neuro-Sets, like work the chest, back, the quads, and hamstrings in one workout, and just do one of these three different sets for each of those muscle groups to kinda like string them together into a full workout. So like for the Neuro-Set for, let’s say, like your chest or upper body, you could do a super slow grind of push-ups, or even like use these Neuro-Set grips that you talked about and do a super super slow set of push-ups with these handles. And then you do, let’s say, like clap push-ups or plyometric pushups for 15 to 60 seconds. And then you’d finished up with just like, I think one of the examples you give in the book is the crossover chest contraction, where almost like a bodybuilder on stage, like contracting the chest as hard as possible for 7 to 12 seconds. And that’s your upper body, bodyweight set. But then you also have kettlebell sets in there. Can you give an example of how you could, let’s use the same example, like how could we do like a chest or an upper body Neuro-Set, but use a kettlebell instead of body weight?
Jon: The kettlebell, you wanna roll down. You can either do the floor press or you could do it on a bench, just sticking with the chest, for example. So you’re gonna do that, and you’re gonna grind it out, and it’s gonna give you a different feel than you would have by doing that with dumbbells, or a barbell because you’re actually gonna be pulling backwards a little bit. So leverage is a little trickier. So you can do that for your acquired number of reps on the grind.
And then one of my favorite dynamic drills, it’s kinda like this hidden gym of the kettlebell world, is the rolling speed press. And that’s where you’re on your back, and you roll on one side, and punch up, roll the other side, and punch up. So you’re punching and rolling your body side to side, and it’s a tremendous engager of awareness, kinesthetic static awareness, by doing that because your body is making contact, and rolling, and punching. And you want to do that for 15 to 30 seconds. And then I would grab that kettleball and then put the horn down, or handle down on the ground, and then grasp the kettlebell on the sides. So you’re having to crush with your chest and balance on the handle for the isometric.
Ben: Gotcha. So the power exercise is the rolling speed press?
Ben: I mean, you’re proceeding that with like your basic grind, which is almost like a bench press or a floor press with a kettlebell, and then you finish that up with just like flipping the kettlebell over, and holding it in like that crush grip for 7 to 12 seconds.
Jon: Well, from a push-up position.
Ben: From a push-up position. Yeah. Or the other one I’ve noticed is you can like hold the kettlebell up to your chest and just like try and crush the kettlebell like you would like a soda can for 7 to 12 seconds.
Jon: Yeah. That would be the easiest. That would be the beginner, like where you can do it. Start right there, crush it. And as you get stronger, you can keep that same crushing position, but you’re holding your whole body weight on top of it, and putting that on the floor. And that really torches the chest.
Ben: Yeah. I like it. I mean, I’ve done this before. I’ve taken a yoga mat and a kettlebell out in my driveway, and done Neuro-Mass workouts. What I do generally is, I bought your book on Kindle, so I just flip open to, I choose a quad set, usually a hamstring set, a chest set, and a back set. So I’m doing like a push-pull-push-pull, and that’s the way I kinda string ’em together. I don’t know if I’m totally blaspheming your program by arranging them in that way, but I try to do a full body Neuro-Mass workout.
And for stuff like that, I’ve gone three days a week where I’ll just do the same thing, push-pull-push-pull-push-pull, and just have each of those four different Neuro-Mass sets that I’ll go through. And it takes like 30, 40 minutes. Usually I’ll finish up by going out and hammering on my mountain bike for another 15, 20 minutes to round it out to have a good hour-long workout. And it’s a cool way to train. It’s also really good for hotel rooms where you’ve always got bath towels and your own body weight.
Jon: Yeah. And I love that. And that was my idea with the book. It’s all up to your creativity how far you can take this. It can be adapted to whatever you wanna do. And if you want more bodybuilding, you could do the chest set for five sets. If you want overall, just health and fitness, I love what you’re doing. I mean, that’s gonna make you an elite athlete doing that. For guys that want size, like I said, they stick with one body part and do it for as many sets as they can possibly do it, and then call it a day.
Ben: Yeah. That actually makes sense. So if I wanted hypertrophy, instead of what I’m doing, which is more athleticism, I could just take like three different Neuro-Sets. I guess it would be so a total of nine different exercises for, say, like the chest, and just blast the chest in a day, and then let that recover for a week?
Jon: Yeah. Absolutely. And that’s why this program’s just so adaptable for what you wanna do. And that’s my goal is to say, “Hey. There are very few people who wanna be a professional strong man, but what is your goal? And then take these principles, and apply it.” Because the principles are principles. Truth is truth. But you can use it for how you wanna use it. And that’s one of the things as a coach, I’ve always tried to say is that take what you can from me, and use it, and adapt it. It’s like eating fish. You eat the meat and you leave the bones. Take what you can take out of it, and I certainly don’t think I’m the only person who knows anything. I try and take from everybody I can out there and gain some kind of knowledge. And that’s the idea. Take this stuff and make it your own. That’s what I love.
Ben: Yeah. I like it. And one other question that I had about like the actual programming would be the number of weeks. Do you generally do this as like a cycle and then move on to something else? Like a 12-week cycle of Neuro-Mass for three or four days a week? Or do you do it as like a four week cycle? What would you say is the best way to put these together into like a programming cycle for fitness?
Jon: Well, I would try it for no less than six weeks. I mean you’ve gotta give something about six weeks to really allow the body to adapt. You can even probably go as little as four weeks, but you’re not gonna get the results that you will with six weeks. But it really depends again on what your goals are. You can take this, and I use a lot of times for [0:56:35] ______ , I do body weight. But even when I’m working with the extreme strength weights, I still try and apply these principles. I may not do it as a Neuro-Set itself, but I will make sure all three of these things are involved in my workout, if that makes sense. That I’m doing something. And that’s the big thing.
So try it for six weeks as a stand-alone program. But then as you adapt, and you say, “Hey, I wanna make this more specific for what I’m involved in,” still take those principles, still make sure every workout, you’re doing a grind, you’re doing dynamic power, and you’re doing isometric. And so, you may choose not to do that all in one set, but if you’re getting all three of those things in the workout, you’re still creating yourself into a superior athlete. It’s like John Brookfield and I used to joke around with if somebody comes up to you and says, “Well, what’s the best exercise for kicking field goals?” Well, the best exercise for kicking field goals is kicking field goals.
Ben: It’s not attaching electrical muscle stimulation to your quad and imagining a football?
Ben: As most biohackers would think.
Jon: Yeah. Because it’s like if you’re a triathlete, use this as an assistance to what you’re doing. If you’re an endurance athlete, do practice your sport and plug some of these things in, even at the end of practice or what you’re doing on your off days. I will say that this, one of the benefits for those that are into endurance, if you do this and you just raise the numbers a little bit, it actually improves your recovery rate. For guys that are doing big time endurance work, you’re able to recover quicker because the body is learning to take resistance from different levels. It’s a powerful thing.
Ben: Yeah. We’re gonna find out if it’s powerful, man, because I’ve been traveling a ton lately. I’ve been on the road, speaking, going to conferences, living on airplanes that I’ve been, is basically I’ve got my Kindle and my bag, and I pull it out, and I open up your book, and just flip to a few Neuro-Sets, circle ’em, and go to town. When I get to my hotel room, or even just like in the crappy hotel gym, I’ll even sometimes substitute a dumbbell instead of a kettlebell and do the same exercises. But I’ve got the Spartan Ultra Beast, the Spartan World Championships in a couple of weeks, and basically my workouts have been very brief forays into heavy sprinting, some long hikes, and then this Neuro-Mass program with a little bit of powerlifting thrown in. So, we’ll find out if it really does work, man. If I find myself stranded on the slopes of Tahoe, being pulled off the course after the time cut off, I’ll blame.
Jon: Yes! Please do! Dude, I love that! That’s a great combo, man. You put sprints with anything, it’s just gonna be killer.
Ben: Oh, dude. You do like a Neuro-Mass set like in a hotel room that’s got a treadmill and just put the put the treadmill on max incline, like 15%, and as fast as you can get it going, like 10 miles an hour, and I’ll finish up a Neuro-Mass set with like, there’s another guy named Martyn Rooney who wrote a book called “Cardio Workouts for Warriors,” and I lifted this from that book. But you do 10 sets of 30 seconds on the treadmill. Just max speed, max incline, every time you get to 30 seconds, you hop off and just walk around the room until you don’t wanna vomit anymore, and then you jump back on the treadmill. And that’s kinda like the finisher. He calls that a hurricane. So you finish up like a Neuro-Set with a hurricane, and man, I mean, when it comes to getting the minimum effective dose of exercise, or building endurance with a minimum amount of time, you do have to go into the pain cave. But you can save yourself a ton of time using strategies like that.
Jon: You’d sprint intervals, whether you’re doing ’em on a treadmill, whether you’re doing it with the battling ropes, they cannot be beat for your conditioning factor. I absolutely love ’em. Finishers are a whole great [1:00:29] ______ to talk about sometimes. I have friends that use Neuro-Mass as a finisher sometimes with a light weight.
Ben: Yeah. I could see that. Like just go through a Neuro-Set as a finisher after you’ve done a full workout.
Jon: Yup. With a light barbell and go through it ‘cause that’s the thing. You can plug in barbells, dumbbells, body weight, whatever you wanna plug in, that’s the beauty of the system. But I love those sprint intervals. I’m a big guy, and so that’s one of my favorite workouts just for fat loss is to get on and do sprint intervals on the treadmill because it forces you to go a certain speed that you set it as, it’s forcing me to stretch out. If I put the treadmill on, I’ve got one at home that goes up to 12, and I don’t do too well at 12, but about 11 miles per hour for short sprints, my body’s moving. My legs are pumping.
Ben: Yeah. Especially once you toss the incline on there, man. Makes it tough.
Jon: And I love it. I love it.
Ben: Yeah. Well, cool. I’m gonna link to everything that we talked about from, of course, your book “Neuro-Mass,” to the magazine that you write for, MILO, which I like and subscribe to, the Compex electro-stim, these Neuro-Grips that you talked about, I gotta remember to pick some of those up later on today, the PowerLung, everything. Just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/neuro, that’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/NEURO. There. Thank you. I spelled it for you. And you’ll be able to grab Jon’s book, thrown it in your Kindle, or I think, is there like a hard book or paper book version available, Jon?
Jon: Yes. You can get a paperback on my website on Submit Strength, or on Amazon, or at Dragon Door.
Ben: Cool. Sweet. I’ll link to that too. Oh, and by the way, if any of you are listening and you’re into strength and you don’t subscribe to the Dragon Door catalog, you gotta get on that bandwagon too. It’s got like all those guys I mentioned, like Martyn Rooney, and Pavel Tsatsouline, and other guys who’ve been on the show before like Dan John. And Jon, of course, is on there. So check that out too. Jon, thanks for coming on the show, man, and for writing this book.
Jon: Dude, it was killer, man! You’re awesome!
Ben: Yeah! Well, thank you. I’ll take that. You just made my Monday. Well, folks, if you’re listening in, check out bengreenfieldfitness.com/neuro. And ’til next time, I’m Ben Greenfield and Jon Bruney signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com. Have a healthy week.
You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast. Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting edge fitness and performance advice.
On several recent podcasts, I’ve mentioned that (especially when I’ve been traveling and have limited equipment), one of my key, go-to workouts is a program known as “Neuro-Mass“, which I now consider to be one of fastest methods for developing power and strength with little more than your own bodyweight and, optionally, a kettlebell or two, adding slabs of functional muscle to a lean frame quickly, and building muscle recruitment and explosiveness in a smart, systematic way.
Neuro-Mass gives you the exact protocols you need to create an impressive, functional, athletic physique, combining the best kettlebell resistance and bodyweight exercises with a new cutting edge training method called “Neuro-Sets“.
These Neuro-Sets, comprised of grinds, isometrics and explosive movements, create rapid physique transformation. While most training programs only focus on one approach to create growth or lean muscle or power or strength, Neuro-Mass uses multiple stressors in a single workout to create a better and smarter body, developing pure power combined with amazing capacity for sustained and continual strength output.
The entire program was designed by this episode’s podcast guest: Jon Bruney.
Jon’s exploits as Guinness World Record-holding strongman have been immortalized in Ripley’s Believe it or Not and seen on NBC’s: America’s Got Talent, The Today Show and TruTv’s Guinness World Records Unleashed.
A true renaissance man in the realm of strength-development, Jon is a best-selling author, world-class trainer, coach, motivational speaker, strongman, and pastor. Jon’s work with competitive athletes includes Olympians and NFL players. He is the author of the best-seller “Neuro-Mass – The Ultimate System for Spectacular Strength”. He also writes a training series called “Foundations” which is featured in MILO, widely considered the world’s most prestigious strength training journal. As co-owner of Submit Strength Equipment, Jon has been responsible for the design of numerous pieces of cutting-edge training equipment now in use around the world. Jon is also a veteran of numerous trainer certification courses.
During our discussion, you’ll discover:
-Why one of Jon’s favorite tricks is to attach two Harley-Davidson motorcycles to his body…[11:15]
-How to start each set that you do with something called a “grind” to stimulate maximum muscle recruitment…[17:40]
-The best way to breathe if you are lifting a weight to maximize muscle tension…[21:45]
-Why Jon is such a fan of the Powerlung, and also putting a paper bag over his face…[24:10]
-A surprising training trick you can do with a yoga block while you are sprinting…[33:45]
-Why you should create “controlled trauma” in a muscle during an exercise…[36:40]
-The reason most people do isometric exercises like a wall squat the wrong way, and how you should actually do it…[43:00]
-How to exhaust a muscle completely with nothing more than a bath towel…[44:25]
-And much more!
Resources from this episode: