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Dumpers HIT A Nerve

Dumpers HIT A Nerve

36 comments written by Joshua Trentine

Dumpers HIT a Nerve

by Josh Trentine & Gus Diamantopoulos

Wow! It seems we may have HIT a nerve. We have had more questions, complaints, emails, phone calls and blog site hits than we’ve had since we introduced Renaissance Exercise. In addition to writing more articles about this subject, we reiterate our position and ask you a few questions as well.

The negative is no more or less important than the positive (or any other part of the rep), but people have been mystified into believing that it is. This is because of unrefined/unexamined protocols, friction-laden equipment, and a failure to recognize the primary objective of exercise.

The negative is only one part of the repetition and must be attended to as all the other parts.

If you perform every single part of the repetition appropriately, including the start, the positive, the negative and the turnarounds, the negative is experienced as it should be, and the entirety of the rep escalates the intensity of the muscular work and exponentially advances the inroading process as per the primary objective.

On properly designed equipment, this effect is amplified to remarkable effect, and each negative is as hard as you may want it to be (“…or can stand” as Dr. McGuff says).

Since this is true, it renders competing modalities as obsolete or archaic, because they introduce an unnecessary affront to the working subject. As it has been touted since the early days in our community, anything beyond the minimum necessary to stimulate growth is not only redundant but also presents drawbacks, because it unnecessarily consumes resources. This, of course, cannot only apply to volume and frequency, but also to the intrinsic work within a set of exercise. The principle is sound.

Furthermore, in the case of hyperloading the negative, there is considerable orthopedic risk. The body doesn’t just necessarily increase muscular involvement when extra weight is added on the negative; it more efficiently discovers ways to brace by absorbing loads into the joints. Where once we ensured minimal joint stress and maximal muscle stress, now, with negative hyperloading, we have almost the reverse. Ergo, we submit that negative hyperloading is dangerous. This is notwithstanding other form discrepancies common to the performance of negative-only exercise.

Any exercise that exceeds neurological capacity is problematic and less safe. This is self-evident.

With an internally mediated strategy of muscular loading, all the benefits of negative hyperloading are manifested with none of the risks. In contrast, with negative hyperloading, the machine acts upon you, externally. In our approach—the correct approach, the sane approach, the moral approach, the responsible approach, the safe approach—YOU are, in essence, the machine.

Requests for data are understandable, but all the data supporting negative-only exercise is limited to the numbers reflecting the weights lifted. This data is meaningless as weight, resistance, and true loading are all on varying diagnostic levels. In other words, how much you can lift or move is virtually irrelevant as an absolute value. Besides, when it comes to machines, it’s all about feel.

We haven’t developed machines for RenEx on a whim. None of us wanted to get into such an intricate business as building machines. It is expensive, time consuming, and difficult. We have done so because existing manufacturers have not been willing or able to provide the tools we require. If negative hyperloading was remotely desirable, we’d be first in line to acquire the machines that support it or to build it ourselves. After all, we have the ability to build anything we need.

We have been asked a number of questions about this subject, and we ask a few, ourselves:

  1. Once upon a time we had mechanical issues with machines; we had bushed articulations, weight-stack drag and even machines out of plumb. Machines could have, and often still have, 20-40% friction. This leads to a friction-based respite on the negative excluding other factors, such as cam effects.If one selected 100 lbs on, say a vintage Nautilus machine, it may have required as much as 140 lbs of force to move the load through the positive excursion and as little as 60 lbs of force to lower the weight on the negative. This situation certainly created a needto hyperload the negative. Hence,  negative-only and negative-accentuated exercise protocols were the flavors of that time, and we can certainly understand why: We had mechanical issues that underloaded the negative.We now possess the technology to be past all this ancient baggage. So why in the year 2012 are we purposely building machines to create this same mechanical issue in reverse? Why are we underloading the positive?
  2. Muscles contract to produce force on the positive, and they slightly uncontract to initiate the negative. Shy of absorbing forces or outroading onto ancillary structures, muscle have no more capability to produce force no matter whether we are lifting or lowering. If the load is within our neuromuscular capacity, i.e., if we can engage it, and if the machines allow for proper and continuous loading, then whatever can be properly handled on the positive should also appropriate for the negative, right?
  3. RenEx Trunk Extension

    We are aware of four companies who are currently “dumping”… has anyone else wondered why the companies do not dump or provide machines to dump on neck or other spine exercises? And what does this tell you?

  4. If your very first experience on this technology was toward exercising your neck or back, what do you believe your opinion would be?

Feel free to answer these questions in the comments section.

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Joshua Trentine January 13, 2012 at 11:40 am

The ironic thing about this title is dumpers don’t hit the nervous system as we intend.



avatar jim January 13, 2012 at 11:43 am

Your questions , of course , are rhetorical and the answers obvious ( to me ) . But what you are demonstrating is another kind of inroading , intellectual inroading . This and other blog pieces stimulates / challenges the neural networks responsible for formulating a more useful mind . If one is staying in form i.e. obeying the rules of logic and reason , one will , in doing that alone , strengthen one’s ability to adapt to further , deeper challenges of the sort . In terms of biological evolution , this consciousness development is what separates the successful from the * marginally * less successful . Its not only that I feel stronger from having read such material but that I recognize it as something that has already ( intuitively ) been lifted i.e. the neural networks are already there to handle it .


avatar Joshua Trentine January 13, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Well put Jim


avatar Donnie Hunt January 13, 2012 at 12:31 pm

This answered my questions. This is great stuff! I hope to get to try the RenEx equipment out some day!


avatar Joshua Trentine January 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm


You are welcome!



avatar AShortt January 13, 2012 at 12:31 pm

“…or to build it ourselves. After all, we have the ability to build anything we need.”

This is the point that is so obvious it is overlooked. It is the same thing I use to cut through the details when asked why I don’t have a client using stability balls. They’re cheap and thus if they provided any real use…I’d use them.



avatar Joshua Trentine January 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm


I own well over 200 machines…i own the good stuff and even some of the not so good stuff…..if it has use we’ve come across it…and IF i want a machine to add weight on the Negative we’ll build it.

I actually had a engineer contact me who has an AMAZING mechanism for doing this…just brilliant, unfortunately I had to tell him we weren’t interested for our technology.



avatar joel waldman January 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Bravo…much good food for thought…need a bit of time to digest all this food…having been a lifelong fan/believer in negative and hyper protocols…and having trained for the last 17 years with “the motivator”.
This machine allows for hyper positve, hyper negative loading and requires a great deal of recovery between workouts…but stores every workout millisecond by millisecond…and allows for accurate workout by workout comparisons.


avatar Joshua Trentine January 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Hi Joel,

Fellow RenEx member, Al Coleman was put through ‘The Motivator’ many years ago by you.

To date he frequently references this experience… from what I understand he was pretty destroyed for something like a month.

Perhaps he’ll comment.



avatar Al Coleman January 14, 2012 at 11:33 am


I plan on writing an article shortly on my experience with motorized equipment that will include my unforgettable experience at your beach front property.



avatar Fred January 13, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Please excuse me while I persue theory and apply the above ideas to a standing barbell curl. Since we are stronger in the negative portion of the rep, wouldnt it benefit to move slower, or as AJ & MM would say, “accentuate the negative”?
Assuming our example chose a weight to reach failure at 10 reps in the positive portion of the movement using perfect, controlled form, since he is stronger in the negative portion would it not be logical to assume he has only reached failure in one aspect of the repitition? The positive portion, and not the static or negative? Wouldnt simply lowering the weight (negative) slower – compared to the positive – cause more stress on the negative portion of the rep and bring our example closer to both negative AND positive failure? Lets say, a 6:1:3 rep cadence, with 3 secs being the positive. Is this what its all about? Bringing the worked muscle to momentary muscular failure in ALL aspects? However, we are not equal in strength in all aspects. We are strongest in the negative, second in the static, and weakest in the positive. Arent we?
Thanks for the great articles.


avatar Joshua Trentine January 14, 2012 at 2:46 am

Mr Hahn,

Our most recent blog precisely addresses your question. What we have been saying is that while the subject can hold more than he can lift and lower more than he can hold, this is not because of variations in strength. It may be impossible to identify all the reasons why we can lower more but fundamentally, to answer why is irrelevant. At the biological level, strength is strength….positive= contract….. neg= begin a slight un-contract. You can more easily protect your body from forces on the negative even though your output drops.

This is incredibly easy to overlook and without the use of a machine built with this in mind, all a subject will ever do is find a way out on the negative. Of course, given this, the Dumpers simply add weight so you’d think this would overcome the subject’s attempt to find a way out on the negative, but what happens upon negative hyper-loading is that the subject is further encouraged to deepen his resolve to find a way out: he braces, he uses gravity, friction, is led further and further away from the primary objective. He doesn’t allow the muscles to load better on the negative as much as he becomes experientially entrenched in holding his ground.

The way out is to teach people how to attend to the primary objective and then support this with equipment that is designed to effectively load in each and every part of the exercise, including turnarounds, and to account for the fact that the musculature possesses strength charecteristics that are virtually opposite to what we believe at a glance.

These concepts are esoteric in many ways because their confirmation is only truly possibly by way of experience but this is also what has made the Renex group so passionate and excited about expressing such to the public. When a person has the eye-opening experiece, these words come to life in a visceral way.

To summarize, as blasphemous as it may sound:

You are not stronger on any phase of the repetition

A working subject must approach exercise from an Internally mediated strategy and must possess a working knowledge of inroad theory.

The three phases of a repetition (an incomplete breakdown, by the way) are elements more to help a subject understand his purpose during the rep (what to do) rather than a description of the levels of strength.

-RenEx Team-


avatar Al Coleman January 14, 2012 at 11:41 am


In addition to what we have already written, I’d like to personally emphasize what I feel is the most important statement in the reply above: Exercise MUST be an internally mediated event.

IMO, the nervous system must interpret a set of exercise as an unbroken loop without any “hiccups” in order to by pass the protective mechanisms that cause the body absorb a given. That means a rate of speed that is constant throughout each and every inch. The effort is to chase after that constancy as fatigue ensues. While this is just a hypothesis, it is one that has shown me that no portion of an exercise is any more important than any other.



avatar Joshua Trentine January 18, 2012 at 1:09 am

Perfect Al! 🙂


avatar Craig January 13, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Recently, I came across a brief but intriguing mention of “the motivator” on another fitness site. I subsequently tried finding out more via Google, but didn’t get any useful search hits. From the brief description I found elsewhere, I got the impression that it had a motor driven resistance mechanism, and didn’t succeed in part because of the high price. I wonder if anyone has a link to some history on the machine? I also wonder if it was functionally similar to the ARX machines that are currently hitting the market.


avatar Joshua Trentine January 13, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Hi Craig,

We’ll be delving into these dumpers.



avatar Joshua Trentine January 13, 2012 at 4:30 pm

We continue to get a huge backlash from the H.I.T community about the Dumper articles.

The old guard complains that we are hurting HIT and we some how shouldn’t be making these criticisms.

I think it’s an appropriate time to remember this quote:

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.


avatar Donnie Hunt January 13, 2012 at 5:34 pm

You bring up a really good point here Joshua. I’m all about people challenging the “old guard”. After all it’s to the individual to process information and do what they will with it.


avatar Joshua Trentine January 13, 2012 at 5:43 pm


We’re presenting what we believe it. Trust me, no one is getting rich taking the route we’re going.

I want people to be critical of us in the same way. If we’re pushed we will always submit our final word in article format.



avatar Laszlo Komaromy January 14, 2012 at 6:51 am

Thank You, Josh!

Very interesting articles! I believe You, and as Jim above says: intelectually stimulating.
I am learning from Your vast knowledge and experience all the time. I felt what You describe about the negative, while visiting RenEX last year.
Keep up the good work and good luck.

Greetings from Sweden Laszlo Komaromy


avatar Joshua Trentine January 18, 2012 at 1:11 am

Thanks Laszlo!

I hope you are well.


avatar karthik January 14, 2012 at 7:01 am

Great info and a question that begs as to why there has been so much emphasis on the negative while a vastly superior technique in infimetrics lies relatively untouched except by one person. A muscles greatest, smoothest and absolute strength equal on resistance could be only itslef. Infimetrics, also provide the unique opportunity to minimise how little an equipment interferes with obtaining effective inroad. I am loving every bit of the text book and to say the education has been awesome would still not do justice to the content. Still, I get a feeling that ren ex protocols are best suited to ren ex equipment. Not having studied the book completely, I do not know if the protocols are accepatable to body weight exercises, though a chapter to manual resistance is listed in the index. I remember Al mentioning about this during the tele conference. It would be great if the renex team could post some educational videos on bodyweight squats, pull ups, dips and push ups where the ren ex protocol is applied.



avatar Joshua Trentine January 18, 2012 at 1:15 am


We’re doing some products like this later in the year.

While I believe infimetrics have some potential there are still a number of limitations….motor control and movements that simply cannot be trained this way, to say the least.


avatar Paul Marsland January 14, 2012 at 10:55 am

Wow, you guys are really stirring up the hornets nest in the world of HIT and I for one say its about bloody time!!!!. Effectively what you are doing is re writing the HIT rule book, by analysing it bit by bit. for example as you rightly point out, negative only based exercise is practically folk lore in the world of HIT, but ANYONE who has applied this form of exercise will very quickly learn that A : Its impractical at best: B Dangerous and C: Not any more effective in terms of other more safer protcols,…ie Ren Ex.

Also I love the fact you have addressed intra muscular bracing as this is a very important topic and needs to be understood even by those who are thinking of applying Ren Ex, to borrow a term from the Zone Training manual, even with Ren Ex, one should “earn the rep/s” and thus subsequent weight increase, as what can all too easily happen is the trainee begins to add weight, but due to the increase in weight form degrades and muscular bracing then comes into effect, thus taking the load away from the targeted muscles and onto the joints, the biggest culprit of course being the chest press…the ultimate downside is that inroad decreases and the trainee then comes becomes disheartened to due to lack of results…

How many times on HIT sites have we heard the comment ” I don’t understand I’m getting stronger but not any bigger”..only to find out there form is abysmal and there volume and frequency is too high..it takes discipline on ALL levels to apply Ren Ex properly….even someone like myself who has been applying slow rep protocols since 1994 needs to take a step back and learn just what is going on in terms of Ren Ex….the whole process of exercise and its objective (muscular inroading) is being refined..and rightly so!
The proof is in the eating and lots of times the question is asked especially on HIT sites, where is the proof that this type of training works, well I can only speak for myself but using this method I’m currently 252 lbs and about as strong and as big as I’ve ever been, in fact I’m actually the biggest and heaviest I’ve ever been…proof enough? I think so and I’m more than happy with what I see looking back in the mirror…to quote a phrase from t my fiancée….”You’re all puffed up looking (assumes the arms out to the sides stance for visual effect) and its like sleeping next to a baby elephant…you weigh so much!!!..”

Paul Marsland.


avatar Joshua Trentine January 18, 2012 at 1:08 am


‘How many times on HIT sites have we heard the comment ” I don’t understand I’m getting stronger but not any bigger”..’

When I read this stuff it about sums up the understanding out there .

Isn’t anyone else asking what might be going on here?


avatar Paul Marsland January 14, 2012 at 4:47 pm

I recall reading an article about upon lowering a weight there is greater friction within the muscles fibers as they slide over each other, so the increaese in strength has more to do with friction than anything else. in the case of Ren Ex if the weight is selected correctly the negative will take care of itself. also while we are discussing the evolution of what is termed ren ex, if we recall superslow was first
10/4. then 10/5…and then evolved into 10/10…..as these machines and protocol move forward it is we as its practioners which also evolve and move with it, as we are seeing in some of the HIT camps they prefer to cling too tradition….


avatar Joshua Trentine January 18, 2012 at 1:05 am


I see more interest in nostalgia than advancement in the HIT communities.


avatar Terry Condrasky January 15, 2012 at 7:10 am

I ‘ve been following HIT style training since 1978 and agree with Paul. I am pleased to see people “climbing out of the HIT box” and trying to advance efficient and effective training. Much that has been written over the past decade is a re-hash of early HIT principles rather than trying to refine and improve training , many have simply chosen to “worship” the past. I for one, applaud RenEx for challenging the status quo and advancing effective and efficient training . They have been quite generous with their time and sharing their theory of training.
I do not own RenEx equipment , but I have been able to “translate” the information in the book as well as on this site to increase the quality of my training.
Thank you


avatar Joshua Trentine January 18, 2012 at 1:03 am


Thanks for your support and taking the time to comment.


avatar David Lee January 16, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Hey Renex:

Thank you for taking the time to write such an interesting blog post. Your words are almost poetic.

I am very interested in your approach and your equipment. Before I invest my time and money I need to critically evaluate a few comments.

1 – With regards to hyper loading the neg. how do you know it’s unecessary? Especially if frequency and volume are low.

2 – You mentioned orthopedic risk…undo joint stress. Can you elaborate a little more? Adding a hyper load neg. might be an orthopedic reward….outroading my enhance all tissue loading and/or tolerance?

3 – Lastly you mentioned the nerve system, now this is something I deal with all day long from a pain perspective. What do you mean by exceeding neurological capacity? Not being able to engage it? What if you just didn’t go that deep into inroad? Don’t you also lose the ability to engage the weight concentrically with your protocol?

Thansk for your time.


avatar Joshua Trentine January 18, 2012 at 1:02 am

Hi Dave,

The purpose of the articles is to explain why we think it is unnecessary to hyper-load the negative. If this series of articles isn’t explaining it I don’t have much else.

Orthopedic risk refers to forces absorbed by unintended or non-contractile tissue. The body will absorb massive forces as joints move valgus or varus all the up to the point where bones even bend.

In excess of neuro-muscular capacity mean that one is trying to ‘handle’ load that they are incapable of engaging with the command and control of the nervous system and muscles. If a load cannot be lifted what would make anyone believe the lowering of the load is from higher recruitment threshold? EMGs diminish on the Negative.

I don’t exactly understand your last question, but more often than not I get a run away negative after my 3rd or 4th postive.


avatar Sean McNicholas January 20, 2012 at 7:31 am

Interesting discussion. I often wonder why AJ seemed not to notice the qualitative difference between performing the negative part of a rep on friction-laden kit when compared to a friction-free barbell movement. His contention that strength is significantly greater in the negative than in the positive (to the tune of 40%) could not have seemed consistent to him as he compared friction-laden machines to frictionless barbells. Why did he not realise that one appears stronger on the negative of a 1st Generation Nautilus Leg Extension, for example, because the friction in the device helps to stop the weight stack falling back to the starting position consequently unloading the legs of the user? Did he perhaps choose to ignore this? Why?


avatar Paulo January 26, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Even Brian J.Johnston once said or wrote that He got very strong from HIT but looked progressively worse.I could never understand what the hell he meant.Where the strength was coming from??From his bones or from where?If somebody gets stronger he must look better!!


avatar Nathan Block January 31, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Many times I have read that statement “I got considerably stronger but I did not get any bigger”.Just don’t know what these lunatics really mean!!It is a contradiction like hell.


avatar Fredrick Hahn February 1, 2012 at 9:30 am

And “inroad” is a pretty invalid concept. It simply does not work the way it has been suggested by earlier SS principles. Lighter weights using a slower rep speed do not “inroad” your muscles more deeply. We all must obey the orderly recruitment theory.


avatar Joshua Trentine February 2, 2012 at 1:18 pm


It appears that you don’t understand the Inroad Theory, we wrote a blog to help you.



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