Q&A with Mike “The Machine” Bruce: Man with the Worlds Strongest Neck & “Neck Flex” Representative (2016)
Ever since I have started this website I have constantly been preaching about neck training. I was talking about how it will make you look more yoked, protect you from certain injuries, improve some of your lifts and the list goes on. In other words, I’ve been on it since day 1 with no exceptions.
I am sure that you guys were probably wondering: “where did he get all of this knowledge from?” and it was at first a bit from Jason ferruggia, but most of the knowledge that I have on neck training comes from our special guest today: Mike “the machine” Bruce.
For all of you guys who don’t already know, Mike is the God of neck training. He arguably has the strongest neck on the planet. He does neck curls with 90lb for 200 reps, he did a 300lb neck extension with a harness and he has other out of this world feats of strength that are just jaw dropping.
Not to mention that he is also one of the main representers of the Neck Flex fitness product which he will discuss to us later on in this Q&A. I will also be asking him about several different neck training questions that are frequently asked by most lifters, enjoy!
First off, how old were you when you started weight training and how many years ago did you start training your neck?
I started training my neck when I was 13 years old.
The reason I worked my neck was for Wrestling. When I started Wrestling I would get dominated with ease due to being so thin and having a pencil neck.
I was pulled aside after practice one day and told that in wrestling the neck should be build like “tree trunk”. The reason for this is that where the head goes the body follows.
That day I began my journey with neck training.
The last record I set was in 8/27/2011 where 7 5/8 bars of steel were bent across the front of my throat in :57 seconds.
I have had to stop performing this feat due to the scarring I have caused on the sides of my throat. MY cardiologist and primary care doctor advised me to stop due to the possible life threatening injury I could cause.
With that being said I suffered a life changing back injury in may 2015. This injury was so severe that I was bedridden for 2 weeks and then had to use a walker to get around.
I am now about 90% fully recovered and can walk without dragging my left leg and train as hard as I can but with limitations.
I am grateful for each day to be able to stand straight, walk by myself and not be in pain.
That was a very dark time but “Strongmen” become stronger through crisis and learn how to adapt and push forward.
I feel I am a better man now after going through that ordeal.
I know that the neck flex is a powerful tool, but please explain to the audience why it is the best piece of equipment for neck training, why it is different and why it can’t be duplicated with other apparatuses?
I believe the neck flex is the #1 neck harness on the market.
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. Unlike regular neck harness’s that come with a chain and require the use of a dead weight The Neck Flex can be used anywhere, anytime and anyplace. It can even come with you when traveling since you do not need a gym to use it. It is small enough to fit in a hand bag and is a great tool to be used for Wrestling and Football teams when on the road to warm up the neck. It also differs in the range of motion giving the user the ability to train their neck rotationally by turning the head side to side. The motion when exercise is the most fluid and smooth action I have ever experienced. Normal head harness that require a chain and weight can give a jerking motion when increased speed of reps is performed. This jerking motion has been known to cause what is known as a “Zinger” in the neck and trap area. You don’t experience any of this risk when using the Neck flex.
I highly recommend that you take a look for yourself. For ordering information, photos and additional specs please visit www.theneckflexmachine.com
How many band tensions does the neck flex come with and how could this piece of equipment be used from the biggest beginners all the way to the most advanced guys (Ex: what are the band tensions)?
Who created the neck flex in the first place?
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.
Where do you see the success of the neck flex product in the next few years?
Besides the neck curl with plates, Ext and lateral neck work on bench along with wrestler work, what else is there?
On my youtube channel I show various other exercises that you can do with the Neck Flex. The possibilities are really endless, it just comes down to ones imagination and determination to succeed and build a tree trunk for a neck.
Can the neck flex be used with a cable stack or does it really mostly only work well with bands?
The neck flex can be used with a cable stack, all you have to do is detach the band and than place a chain to the neck flex harness and than attach it to the cable stack. I did try this but don’t see the point or the need. The Neck flex gives me all I can handle in my neck workouts. Though I am no longer trying to set records and am limited due to my prior back injury……I am still very capable at working my neck and believe that most would have a hard time keeping up with me during one of my neck workouts. I don’t mean that statement arrogantly at all but I have an image to uphold and even though I am older and coming off a terrible injury I am not done, I have more yet to still accomplish.
I know that you could do neck flexion, extension and lateral work with the neck flex, but what are some other unique exercises that you have thought of throughout time?
One of the most intense, or some call insane things I did was hang myself with a noose, unassisted, with no hands holding the rope behind my back. I hung by neck. Youtube made me take the video down. This was filmed in 2007 in Science Hill KY. I did manage to still add the clip to my promo of my top selling TNT Neck training DVD. It plays at the beginning of the video. Can be seen at my youtube if anyone is interested. I also have bent a 4’ ft long round 3/4 “ thick steel bar over the top of my head, I have supported 405 pounds on a barbell on the front of my throat, I have also supported 2 grown men on a barbell on my throat and even achieved the dreaded STRANGLE feat made popular by Stanless Steel. This is where a rope is placed around my throat and then 2 men are on each end and being to pull the rope in opposite directions choking me. All of these are very dangerous and not something I would advise anyone to have a go at. I’m glad I don’t have to do them anymore LOL.
Those are some of the unique neck feats I have done over the years.
I am not a Doctor but there are a few studies that prove neck training prevents concussion. The most notable source is the Don Comstock study. It proved that for every single pound of improved neck strength an individual reduces his or her concussion risk by 5%. The Neck Flex company is selling multiple units to division 1 football teams on a regular basis for this very reason.
At my gym there is a 4 way neck machine that goes up to 6 plates plus I add bands. Although I might change gyms soon and there won’t be a neck machine there so I’ll have to start doing my neck work with plates on my forehead, but I noticed that when I do it this way (even with a winter hat) I still end up with the circular shaped plate imprint on my forehead, how could this be prevented?
Is there anybody who is even close to your level of strength when it comes to the neck or are you just light years ahead of everyone?
Thank you for your time Mike, we will hear from you soon!
If you want to see more of Mike then you could check him out at:
Professional Performing Strongman/Motivational speaker. Trained by Bud Jeffries and Dennis Rogers. Former USMC Honor Graduate. Former 5x Submission Wrestling…