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Power Talk with John Brookfield

John Brookfield is a multiple world record holder who has been seen on television shows such as The Today Show, Good Morning America, Regis and Kathie Lee and the Vicki Lawrence show. John has been listed in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and the “Guinness book of world records.” In addition to being a world class strength athlete, John has authored four books including the popular Mastery of Hand Strength. He is also an incredible trainer with a book of testimonials from world class athletes:

“Battling Ropes training is great. It is a total body sprint. I nearly blacked out my first time. Days later, my arms were still pumped. I love being able to go full fury without having to worry about something breaking or getting hurt. The workout leaves my lungs feeling larger and I noticed better stamina after only two sessions.”
—David Ellis, National Judo Champion-Olympic Judo Team

How did you get into strength training?

Many years ago back in high school I saw a man about eighty years old bend some large nail and drive some other nails through wood with his bare hands. I was very interested in becoming stronger and being able to accomplish these types of strength feats. My father was also a professional basketball player with the NBA which got interested in sports and training.

What feats of strength records do you hold?

I have actually hold quite a few world records for grip strength feats such as bending 520 sixty penny nails in about an hour and a half. I tore 100 decks of poker cards in half in two minutes and fifteen seconds for the Today Show. I have pulled a 30 thousand pound tractor trailer truck for a distance of one mile with the help of Jon Bruney. Much of the route was slightly uphill. John and I have actually done this on several occasions and beaten our old records. I have also had quite a few other endurance type records which I think still stand today.

What is your training philosophy?

My personal training philosophy is to push myself with every workout and try to beat my best performance with almost every workout. I try to go heavier, faster and for longer durations on a regular basis. This way your mind and body stays sharp and ready to do its best at all times.

Do you think that intense training needs to be cycled?

This is somewhat of a tough question because I have different people that seem to respond differently to different training styles. However, I strongly suggest this to athletes and those who want to make good gains in their fitness level. When you are going through intense training cycles and use easier cycles to follow, you should strive to push your easy cycles closer and closer to your intense cycles. By using this simple principle you will find that in a very short time you will be able to sustain and maintain your entire workout with intensity.

What do you do to recover from your intense workouts?

After hard workouts I have found it very important to quickly get a recovery meal in my system. This is almost always whey protein taken with skim milk. I try to do this no longer than thirty minutes after a workout. Whey protein is also the only supplement I ever take including vitamins. Also for recovery is the only time I take in the whey protein. I generally try to get at least eight hours of sleep at night and I try to get one night a week when I get ten or slightly more hours of sleep. Also, for restoration I do cold water dousing which I have found greatly enhances the immune system as well as makes you sleep better and enhances your energy.

What are some of the common mistakes that trainees make?

I think generally people training do not push themselves enough to make it interesting. I have found that when you set new goals and accomplish them on an on going basis you stay sharp and motivated. This way your workouts stay fun and you look forward to them every time.

When did you develop the Battling Ropes system and what are the benefits?

I developed the Battling Ropes system about three and a half years ago in my backyard. I developed the system just for myself, however, I decided to bring the system out when I discovered that the training was a missing link in training. I discovered that after someone works on the training for awhile and pushes themselves a bit they can compete or train at a higher level of intensity for a longer duration of time. The Battling Ropes will transfer very well into any sport or situation allowing the user to push harder and harder without tiring out as quickly.

How can the average person benefit from the Battling Ropes system?

Anyone can greatly benefit from the Battling Ropes in a safe fun way due to the fact that the user works at his own intensity level. The user no matter if their a world class athlete or child can see the results physically and visually. This keeps the motivated and working hard while having fun at the same time. It also keeps the training from becoming boring and keeps the user from burning out.

How can you combine kettlebells and ropes together?

This seems to be the perfect combination of training. The kettlebell user will find themselves being able to work at a higher capacity due to the rope training. I think doing intervals going from the kettlebells to the Battling Ropes is a great addition to training. The user will quickly find a new endurance that does not tire after doing the Battling Ropes for awhile. This new endurance will surely transfer into their kettlebell training.

I understand you work with some NFL teams. What is the NFL teams and players response to the Battling Ropes?

I have been training some NFL teams and they have all really loved it and saw the advantage it will bring. I think at first they were somewhat skeptical and thought the training would be easy. They quickly discovered that the system would force them to give their absolute best and nothing else. They saw the transfer that it would bring at helping them become more explosive on the field and not tire out as quickly.

What are five things that people can do to improve their training programs?

Five things to help your workouts:

1- strive to work hard and go beyond your past performance on an ongoing basis –

2 – Get enough rest, sleep and relaxation

3 – Try your best to eat properly and also take some protein in right after your workout

4 – Proper hydration is a must, however, I have found that very few hydrate properly even at professional levels

5 – Stay motivated with your workouts by setting goals on an ongoing basis. By setting and succeeding at these goals you have fun and will learn to push yourself so that pushing becomes a normal thing to do. I know that these principles sound elementary, however, few follow them on a regular basis. If you follow these principles you will be amazed at how far you can go.

Make sure to check out John’s website at:


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