See What You Can Truly Be When You Engage Your Mind and Body in Strength Training
Talking Fitness with Jon Bruney
Many strength training approaches exist, from calisthenics to resistance training or isometrics. Engaging your mind and body with focused attention can help to accelerate outcomes. We recently had a chance to speak with a best-selling author and a true renaissance man in the realm of strength development, Jon Bruney. Jon is a best-selling author, world-class trainer, coach, motivational speaker, strongman, and Guinness World Record, holder.
We recently had the chance to catch up with Jon to talk about his approach and release the TriadXP in-app workout version of his best-selling Neuro Grip Challenge. Read on or download and listen to our discussion in TriadXP App
Bill (TriadXP): Jon, thanks for taking the time to speak with us today. We're excited to talk with you and discuss the TriadXP in-app workouts version of your best-selling Neuro Grip challenge book. It's really been great to work with you and the team at Dragon Door Publications, and we think your followers will see a lot of benefits from having app-based workouts of your program.
Before we jump in, I've been learning a lot about you as we have worked on your programs. You've got a ton going on, you've got a podcast of your own called Pressing The Limits, it looks like you've recently become a grandfather, or a grandpa if I can say so, twin boys. Congratulations, what's that like for you? What's going on for you?
Jon Bruney: I tell you what, there's never been a more exciting time in life, you know, we always go through different chapters, and this is just an exciting chapter, and hopefully it is going to be a story, of what, God has done through my life. But yeah, being a grandpa, it's a great thing, because, you know, when you see those twin boys, and the potential there, and the chance that you get to invest into their lives and to help shape their future, and encourage, and invest in them. What a privilege. And, you know, that's really what my life's all been about, is investing in other people, and my reward is getting to see them be successful. So this is just another way of doing what I feel like I've always tried to do with individuals.
Bill (TriadXP): Well, congratulations, what an exciting time, our founder here at Triad recently became a grandfather as well. Hopefully, he won't beat me up for sharing that, but I know it's a magical time. I also see you will be on The Big Show on TBS in 2022, appearing on season two. What can we expect from that?
Jon Bruney: Well, you can expect to see something totally crazy. I can't tell you exactly what that will be, but it will be definitely a feat that will be unbelievable, very dangerous, in fact, people have been injured really bad performing what I'm going to perform. But right now, I'm supposed to keep what that actual thing is a secret, but it will be exciting. I want everybody listening to cheer us on when that show airs, and I promise you will not be disappointed. You're going to see something very, very unique, and it's definitely something that takes a lot of training to do, for sure.
Bill (TriadXP): We'll be excited to see that in January when that airs as well. So let's jump and talk a little bit about strength training. There are so many different techniques and approaches that people can apply, lots of different methodologies and protocols, and, in your career, you've worked with Olympians and elite athletes in the NFL and such, what do you think are the most important things that the average person should take into consideration when they're trying to figure out the right approach for their strength training program and goals?
"One of the things that we want to avoid no matter what your training goal, is what we call mindless training, where you're just going through the motions" – Jon Bruney
Jon Bruney: Absolutely, that was a fantastic question. One of the things that we want to avoid, no matter what your training goal is, is what we call mindless training, where you're just going through the motions. And so whatever that goal may be, whether it's strength, whether it's physique transformation, whether it's endurance, whatever that is, we want you to be fully engaged in what you're doing.
So we want you to be committed, we want you to be engaged, and we want it to be effective, and that's what this program is all about, not only the app, which is going to take things to the next level but the implements that we're going to use, which are the Neuro-Grips. And I think those are the big things that everybody has to do. They must be committed, they have to be engaged mindfully in what they're doing, and then it has to be effective.
That's one of the-the tough things that we see so many times is that people are putting in the time, but they do not see a good return on their investment. And so, these three things, when you combine them, are going to be really, really important. And also, one of the things that are left out so many times is engaging the nervous system. And when we begin to do some of the things that people are going to find out is through this program, they're going to see all aspects of their athleticism improve, even if athleticism isn't the goal, just because the mind and body are going to be able to work together in a much greater, greater way.
Bill (TriadXP): Great. Well, let's dig a little deeper there. One of the things in your book, Neuro-Mass, you talk about muscle exhaustion. Can you highlight what you mean by that? How is that essential in strength training?
Jon Bruney: Well, this is so important. For instance, there are a lot of people that don't understand this concept, one of my favorite concepts my mentor came up with, and we were working out one time, is the Grind and Go concept. We talked about doing all different types of strength and athleticism. So let's take this in thinking about maybe a football player, they have to have the ability to grind, to push up, to come against resistance, then immediately drop that resistance and be able to explode, and then have to do that over, and over, and over again.
"In Neuro-Mass, we combined all three types of things, we would take a grind, which would be a big compound movement, maybe a squat, or a push-up, or handstand, uh, push-up, whatever that may be, and then combine that with a dynamic power drill." – Jon Bruney
I find that most programs only focus on one type of strength. They either focus on all power, you know, super slow, absolute strength, or some kind of isometric movement. So what we want to do is combine all of those things to synergize and make you a complete athlete. And when I say athlete, everybody's an athlete. Whether you're a homemaker, a parent, when you're picking up kids, you're carrying groceries; everyone is an athlete in their way. So no matter what you choose, you know, athletic activities are, you're going to be better just because you can go through them all.
So, for instance, let's say you're carrying groceries, well, carrying groceries, that's a strength load, but then you have to have some kind of explosiveness to pick up the groceries. Then there's an isometric component of having to hold on to it for a period of time. So in Neuro-Mass, what we did is we combined all three types of things, we would take a grind, which would be a big compound movement, maybe a squat, or a push-up, or handstand, uh, push-up, whatever that may be, and then combine that with a dynamic power drill. So you would start with the grind, which is the slow, you know, controlled, absolute strength movement, and then go into something totally explosive.
So, for instance, if you're in the squat, you might squat heavy, then you would immediately go into something like box jumps or some other kind of explosive activity where the muscle's like, "Whoa, what are you doing to me?" And then we want to finish it off with absolute exhaustion, and that would be in some kind of isometric hold. And isometrics are basically, just in a nutshell, you're moving against an immovable resistance. So for instance, if people want to picture it in their mind, the best way I can picture is you're going out to a tree, you're trying to push that tree out of the ground, it's not going to happen, but your muscles are going to work to absolute failure. I can't remember the man who first had to scroll, I want to say it's Brett Jones, but I could be wrong here. But he said, "What is the heaviest weight you can lift? It's the one that you can't." And that's the idea behind isometrics.
"We want to finish it off with absolute exhaustion, and that would be in some kind of isometric hold. And isometrics are basically, just in a nutshell, you're moving against an immovable resistance." – John Bruney
Bill (TriadXP): So it sounds like there's an approach to the programming of going from grind to dynamic power drills and isometric in a progression. And that concept of ending with total muscle exhaustion is the key to kind of achieving that strength and- and growth that you're looking for?
Jon Bruney: Absolutely. And then, so not only does it have muscle growth in it. And here's the thing, you can plug and play what- what your goals are, if you want to get bigger, you can get bigger using that style of program, if you want to get stronger, you can focus on strength with that type of program, if you just want to get lean and build endurance, you can do it with that program. The secret sauce is the rep scheme. So you need always to incorporate these three things into your training, but the secret sauce scheme, and the weights, the resistance, determine what your goals are.
So that's how it's good for anybody, you know, whether you're training for, you know, Ironman, or something else, or whether you want to be a bodybuilder or a powerlifter, the key is having all three different kinds of resistance, and it's the rep schemes, and the weights that vary, that change that outcome.
Bill (TriadXP): So let's dig into the Neuro-Grip Challenge since that's what we're specifically launching. Let's start with the basics for a minute. Can you talk a little bit about what the tool is, how it works, you know, kind of how it's essential and- and what's different about it? What if somebody doesn't know what the Neuro-Grip is?
Jon Bruney: Okay, this is a fantastic thing and opportunity for people because everybody out there knows what a push-up is. So what we wanted to do is take one of the exercises that everybody knows, and make it extremely more effective. So what a Neuro-Grip is, is the concept that has been around for a long time. It's a stability and irradiation concept. What we have is we have a handle that's on a spike with a small base, and what happens is this, it creates instability, so the whole body has to engage, and then the handle, it is the perfect diameter so that you must squeeze down to engage what's going on. That squeezing, and why it's been designed that way, is to refine it, so you're getting the perfect instability factor along with the perfect grip and irradiation where everything in the body has to engage. So these are explicitly designed not to target just your arms or your wrists, not just your core, but the entire body. And so there's really it's unmatched in its ability to do that when it comes to bodyweight exercise as far as tools that are out there.
Bill (TriadXP): Great, you helped me. I was curious whether or not the tool was focused on the upper body and core. What it sounds like is the Neuro-Grip is a total body workout. It really does engage the to- plus the mindfulness of what you describe; you need to be mindful of what you're doing. It's a total body workout.
“We're trying to make your body not only more athletic, but we want to make your body smarter” – Jon Bruney
Jon Bruney: Absolutely. And again, the reason why we call it Neuro-Grip is that it's a grip that engages the nervous system. That was one of the things we wanted to do. We're trying to make your body not only more athletic, but we want to make your body smarter. So when you engage the nervous system through this exercise, all of a sudden, you're kind of taking previous athletic limitations off of the body. So there are all kinds of ways you're going to see through the different exercises that will be in the app, how we can take this thing to the next level, but even the basic Neuro-Grip push-up involves not just your body, but you're training that nervous system to be stronger, to be able to handle more stress. And again, that's one of the benefits of this, is we all need to increase the amount of stress that we can handle effectively. And so, it's just a tremendous tool.
Bill (TriadXP): So, tell me, what makes the Neuro-Grip different from other training tools? What is the unique aspect of the Neuro-Grip?
Jon Bruney: Okay. Well, a traditional push-up stand really doesn't do much for you, except maybe give you a little bit deeper range of motion. And actually, what a traditional push-up stand does is it gives you more stability. And what we want to do is have instability. We want to engage all the stabilizer muscles throughout your entire body. And also why that's so important when we engage stabilizer muscles, that's where you see the growth hormone take over, and some of the other aspects that we can tap into to make this even more effective.
Bill (TriadXP): So, if someone's just getting started, can you talk about what kind of an assessment someone should do. Whenever you're going to engage new muscle groups or try something new, you want to be sure you don't injure yourself. You want to make sure you're ready for what you're about to engage in? Is there an assessment that you'd encourage people to think about or do before they get started?
Jon Bruney: Well, yeah, there's not only an assessment but also ways to progress. Even the most absolute beginner can start out with this device by doing it on their knees. But in the app, and as well as in the book, you're going to see all kinds of things that can prepare you, everything from, mobility exercises using the tools. It's an amazing hands-on approach, so you're going to get to know those tools way before you ever even do a push-up.
But as far as assessment, there's a beginning step, so what we do is we kind of deconstruct the exercise to bring it down to the most basic level. We've got vestibular drills because, again, you are bringing in all different types of the nervous system. So once you get your hands on these things, you know, you can start on the knees, you know, you can start on all different positions, but I have found that even people with limited mobility can all do this, at least on their knees the first time.
We're not leaving anything to chance. You're getting an opportunity to have, rehab and then, what we call prehab with this app. So we're going to walk you through stuff. It's not just about doing push-ups. It's about shoulder health, wrist health, mobility, all of the different types of tools. That's what you're getting. You're not just buying a tool. You're buying a system. And you can plug and play, so it's using what you need, we've covered the vast amount of needs out there, but you can say, "Hey, this is where I'm at, this is what I need," and the app is going to take that to the next level for you.”
“So let's say you're doing a push-up. You can strategically hold at different positions. This will engage the entire body.” – Jon Bruney
Bill (TriadXP): You talk a little bit in the book about the idea of strategic stops, and isometric holds, and so on. Can you give people a bit of insight into what you mean by strategic stops and isometric holds?
Jon Bruney: Oh, this is great. So let's say you're doing a push-up. You can strategically hold at different positions. This will engage the entire body. You're going to find shaking. You're going to feel quaking, all different types of things, because again, we're trying to add progressions and difficulty to the exercise. So, for instance, if I'm doing a push-up and I strategically stop at the bottom, my body's having to lock out in an uncomfortable position, or maybe in a position that is the most difficult or sticking point for me. So not only are you engaging different muscles and ratcheting up the intensity, but you're also maybe helping to blast past a sticking point.
So when somebody is doing push-ups, and they've stopped in the number of reps they can do, they can have strategic stops at the bottom, the middle, the top, and they can use that as a way to blast past, plateaus. Or they can use it just as a strength, you know, uh, intensifier. And so each one of those positions, when you have to hold a position, the body has to lock down, and more muscles have to engage to keep you from toppling over.
So strategic stops, again, it's an isometric, but it's also a tool that we call an intensifier. These are so important, and that's what's so great about this, we aren't just doing push-ups, we're doing all different kinds of exercises that are going to carry over to your daily life.
Bill (TriadXP): One of the key things, and you've been touching a little bit on it, is we're bringing an app-based version of this. Your book's been out for a while. So people have been taking advantage of this for a while. The app will give voice and visual guidance, the ability to track results, the ability for someone to adjust the workout, and personalize it, move exercises around, turn exercises on and off. So there are lots of opportunities for personalization. Talk a little bit about why you're excited about an app-based version of your workouts and what you think your followers will really benefit from the Neuro-Grip Challenge as in-app workouts?
“How do we do the most effective workout in the most, efficient use of time?" And the app does all that for you. So you don't have to think.” – Jon Bruney
Jon Bruney: I'm so fired up about app-based programs because accountability is the number one issue in most training. People don't have time, and the average Joe is not a professional athlete. They're working a full-time job, plus many are parents, or they have other kinds of commitments out there. So, not everybody has time to sit down and design a program every day with that in mind. They don't have a half-hour to sit down and say, "Well, let me, you know, design a program that's going to meet my needs for me today." And so it helps you to be accountable, but it's also user-friendly.
The app is plug and play, so even though the workouts are intense, the planning is not. That's one thing we can take right off the table for you. And we can look and say, "How do we do the most effective workout in the most, efficient use of time?" And the app does all that for you. So you don't have to think. And then another thing about the app is there's workout demonstrations, exercise demonstrations, and this is one of the advantages that you get over a book, is when you look at a book, the pictures don't move. The pictures are stationary. So you can get a good idea of what's happening, but, you know, motion adds so much more to it. You can see and watch the muscles being engaged, and you can see, "Oh, this is what it looks like, you know, when I'm doing it right." And so, as I said, the app is just going to bring your training to another level. It's another tool in your arsenal. I think everybody can benefit from some kind of app training. We use apps for everything else in our life. Why wouldn't you want to use them for your training? It's making it time effective, it's making it efficient, all these different things are happening through the app.
Bill (TriadXP): Awesome. Well, listen, Jon, this has been great. In closing, are there any other insider tips or secrets? You know, anything you'd share with your followers that they should expect as they get the Neuro-Grip Challenge as an in-app workout?
“The biggest secret I would give is consistency and then challenging yourself. Never be satisfied when you reach another level.” – Jon Bruney
Jon Bruney: Well, the secret tips are always trying to keep growing and pursuing that next level, even though you don't want to move too quickly. The biggest secret I would give is consistency and then challenging yourself. Never be satisfied when you reach another level. And there are all kinds of little intensifiers you can always add, you know, you'll see in the book, you can blindfold yourself, you can do all sorts of things, you can put in iPods or something to put pink noise or brown noise in your ears, so you're distracted from hearing or different senses. There's always a way to take it to the next level. You know this is something that I believe it's a tool you'll never outgrow. So the big things, the big two big secrets, would be consistency and challenge yourself. You will be elated with the results you're going to receive.
Well, I have enjoyed talking with you today, Jon. We're excited about bringing this to the market and getting your followers exposed to app-based versions of your Neuro-Grip Challenge. We wish you a lot of continued success in your ministry as a grandpa, and of course, on the Go-Big Show. I know you couldn't tell us what t you're doing, but we're excited for you. Thanks so much for your time; it was good talking to you.
Jon Bruney: I had a great time on the show. Thank you so much.