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Review – John Brookfield Exercise DVD\’s

To those in the grip world, John Brookfield needs no introduction. He was the 2nd man to ever close the #3 Ironmind gripper (which takes a whopping 280 lbs of force to close). He is a mainstay in the strength world and a living legend.

John Brookfield

picture courtesy of

Go there for all your strength equipment needs!


When John contacted me recently to talk of training, I was quite excited. At the end of our conversation, he mentioned two different DVDs that he wanted to send to me. These were the “Beyond Bodyweight Training System” and the “Mastery of Physical Prowess” system.


Pick them up here.


John had described several of the exercises on these DVDs already, so I was eager to watch them.

Beyond Bodyweight Training System

In the Beyond Bodyweight DVD, John presents several various crawling and crawling-like exercises. These are meant to bring up general conditioning as well as arm, leg, and midsection strength in particular. Many of them are deceptively hard – having tried them myself and with clients. There are some that will become mainstays in my repertoire. They are not fast movements, but they keep the body working and under tension for a considerable period of time.

This considerable period of tension begins to wear you down mentally as well. I can remember very well of various physical challenges in which I partook when I was younger – Can I do 100 pushups in a row? Can I do 500 squats in a rows? – Being mentally tough is what brought me through those challenges. In the DVD, John has some exercises where you can clearly know when the end is – and some that are simply maddening, because you have no idea how long they will take. Building up your mental toughness is something I believe a lot of people in the gym need to improve.

I will say that the DVD can get repetitive at times. You are taught an exercise, then you watch it performed for quite some time, and then see it performed with the other arm, etc, etc. Some will appreciate all the creative variations, while some may find themselves fast forwarding.

Many of the exercises require equipment of some sort – whether it be a rope, bucket, or chain. This may seem like a barrier to some, but I assure you that many of these exercises can be adapted with similar equipment and some creativity.

This DVD teaches great strength and conditioning exercises, and you will definitely pull some new drills out of it. John has produced a very interesting DVD to watch.


The Mastery of Physical Prowess Series

In the next DVD, John Brookfield pairs up with Ingrid Marcum – an elite level athlete who can probably lift more than you (read her bio here). This DVD explores three types of training that John has developed –

The Chain Reaction Program

The Weight of Water System

Battling Ropes

As with the Beyond Bodyweight System, some of the DVD gets repetitive. Again – some may like these multiple variations, some may fast forward through them.

In the first section, John presents various strength and conditioning drills with chains. These will tax your body in new ways. The biggest limiting factor with getting yourself involved in some of these exercises is the need for specific-sized chains. John sells them on his website here. I have not been able to try all of these drills, as I have not found an acceptable substitute for the chains. Some of the exercises can be done with long ropes though, and they provide a great and unique challenge to the midsection and upper body. Here is a video of Ingrid demonstrating some of the exercises –



In the second section, John goes over his “Weight of Water” system. John already covers some very similar exercises in his Beyond Bodyweight DVD. Here we see John and Ingrid continue with various exercises involving buckets of water. It’s got a very “Shaolin Monk” feel to it. It’s these exercises that I feel are most mentally difficult. As John mentioned on the phone – “I know how long this exercise might take, but you won’t. You have to keep pushing yourself without knowing when you will finish.”

In the third section, we see more Battling Ropes exercises. Some of these are also covered in the Beyond Bodyweight DVD. Various pulling exercises are covered.

In this DVD, the Chain Reaction System gets a majority of the time. The Weight of Water and Battling Ropes are briefly introduced. If the chain system interests you, then I recommend you get “The Mastery of Physical Prowess” to give you many various exercises to work on. If ropes and various crawling exercises interest you more, then I recommend the Beyond Bodyweight Training System for more exercises and ideas.

Personally, I liked the Beyond Bodyweight Training System for drills that I could immediately try. A lot of the drills on the BB DVD would also be applicable and adaptable to help with handbalancing. Regardless of which DVDs you choose, you’ll find new and fun exercises to add to your training.


John Brookfield’s Page –

Nov 16, 2011 | Category: Blog | Comments: none


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