Dumpers: Part III

47 comments written by Joshua Trentine

Part III

By Ken Hutchins, Josh Trentine,
Gus Diamantopoulos, & Al Coleman

In Part I of our Dumpers series, we explored the history of negative hyperloading, starting with its emphasis by Arthur Jones as he used it to combat isokinetics philosophy in the early 1970s.

In Part II, we closely examined the issue of friction in exercise equipment, especially in the early Nautilus®, that gave rise and continued sustenance to the false need for negative hyperloading.

In Part III, we consider two factors simultaneously. They are: the speed of motion in an exercise and its resistance curve. Please note that the discussion herein is somewhat streamlined for the Dumpers series. The same material is discussed in much deeper detail and with greater argumentative support in The Renaissance of Exercise: Volume II.

Apparent Simultaneous Problems

The two factors—movement speed and the resistance curve—are integrally related. Referencing a standard of 10 seconds positive and 10 seconds negative, the resistance curve, to impart a challenging load, changes from repetition to repetition. In the early repetitions of, for instance, a Leg Extension exercise, a resistance curve perfect for random-range failure at 4-8 repetitions is not challenging at or near complete extension in the first and second repetitions.

And if we design the resistance curve to be truly challenging at or near complete extension during the early repetitions—assuming we choose to forego knee safety—then random-range failure will not occur. In other words, failure will almost always occur during the first half of positive extension, never at or near anatomical zero.

At this juncture, it is important to clarify that random-range failure is a highly desirable and somewhat elusive feature.

Another approach to offset this dilemma is to use speed variation as a means to effect a variable resistance curve of sorts. By moving progressively faster as the set progresses, the resistance curve that is challenging during the first repetitions is deliberately overwhelmed by momentum as speed increases, thus providing a random-range failure.

Of course, the variable speed issue introduces many other interrelated problems:

  • How quickly do we make the movement faster? Answer: A SWAG (scientific wild-ass guess) of an answer. By feel(?): Feeling is highly subjective.
  • How do we account for this? Answer: We can’t.
  • To what degree does this becomes skill dependent? Answer: Highly.
  • How dangerous and uncontrolled do the forces become? Answer: Wildly.
  • How do we determine proper form? Answer: Another SWAG.
  • How do we keep reliable and repeatable records for resistance progression? Answer: We can’t.

This, as anyone should be able to see, is a morass.

So…we go back to keeping the speed at 10/10 and applying a resistance curve to effect the random-range failure in 4-8 repetitions.

As is exhaustively planted in The Renaissance of Exercise, the 10/10 protocol is the standard! Not 15:15. Not 5:5. Not 3:5 as the XForce people expect of the subject. Not 4:4 as the MedX® people have recommended. And certainly not the traditional 2:4 Nautilus® protocol.

To vary protocols is a disservice to the subject and provides no benefit. As is experienced by some subjects who travel and exercise in different facilities with different instructors, the performance of different protocols unnecessarily compromises their competence. In dynamic exercise, everyone should teach 10/10 and nothing else. Any deviation strongly implies several possible conclusions:

  • Inept instruction.
  • Poor equipment.
  • Inadequate focus.

And since they (speed, resistance curve) are so related, one factor must be held more-or-less constant in order to derive the other.

We staunchly proclaim the speed of motion to be the one held firm as the constant of the two and, thus this factor, speed, is also the independent factor. Once the speed is set, the other, the resistance curve, is roughly known and derivable. Until Ken Hutchins came along, this was never correctly done. His cams on the SuperSlow® Systems equipment were spot on because, he alone, did two things simultaneously: He controlled the speed and profiled the cam to effect a predetermined outcome. Exactly how Ken did this is explained in The Renaissance of Exercise: Volume II.

Vintage Nautilus Resistance Curves

Arthur Jones’ Nautilus resistance curves were grossly incorrect, often backwards to what we now know is required with the application of slow movement speed and minimal friction. Ken once observed Arthur testing a prototype Pullover cam for its correct resistance curve. Ken was surprised by two things. First, Ken was amazed that Arthur would allow Ken to observe as this was tightly controlled proprietary information. Second, Ken was shocked by Arthur’s speed of movement during the test. Arthur seemed to not know that he was exposing his greatest weakness to Ken.

Arthur’s excursion was very controlled by most standards of the day, however, was at a speed of between one and two seconds each—positive or negative. For so large a range of motion as the Pullover was, this was a fast speed—too fast to determine proper cam profiling.

This made Ken ponder several questions. Why did Arthur move so fast?

Did Arthur seriously believe that he was capable of sensing meaningful loading of the intended musculature at that speed? And if that answer was yes, did he believe that anyone else was able to sense the loading—with no flat spots—throughout the range?

Was Arthur deliberately trying to make the machine an acceleration device merely to overcome the friction? (At this point, Ken still believed that Arthur might be aware of the excessive friction in the equipment and was merely compensating for it. Ken was in great awe of Arthur and believed that Arthur knew best about all things.)


We staunchly decree that the excursion speed is 10 seconds—an acceptable range of 8-12, but we strive for 10. Only by maintaining a 10-second positive, as well as a 10-second negative, can we control a myriad of other factors. Yes, the 10-second excursion requirement is merely the median of a range of acceptability, a median we use as the “central target,” but without it as the independent variable treated as a constant, we must endure chaos at every other turn in a host of dependent variables.

Knowing this, we have scant patience for our detractors who minimize the importance of the 10-second standard. To us, this merely proves their ineptitude and insensitivity to the inherent problems. With some exceptions, they are the intellectual untouchables that cannot be reached with reasoned arguments. And, by the way, this group includes some, if not many, of the Nautilus old guard as well as some of the original (pre-2004) SuperSlow community who have since fallen off their wagons. It even includes some of the former SuperSlow masters. These individuals demonstrate by their actions that they do not possess the ability to appreciate the supreme importance of the 10-second excursion.

It is possible—even probable—that the typical excursion, while not at uniform speed, clocks an average speed at 10-seconds. This is particularly important as the excursion approaches the upper turnaround and when a fall through occurs. Fall through denotes an inappropriate speed increase into the endpoint. This common discrepancy effects an excessive resistance decrease that leads the imprecise exercise buff to conclude that our properly-designed cam delivers an inappropriately radical falloff.

One former SuperSlow master displays this ignorance, not just in his statements and training habits, but also in his machine camming. Very conveniently, we possess some of his work—a tangible example of his intellectual defect toward proper cam design as well as the proper excursion speed.

The case in point regards the cam retrofit of a MedX Compound Row (Product name: “Row.”) machine. For starters, he incompetently copied an early, perfectly-functioning retrofit by SuperSlow Systems. Second, he changed the positive cam—as used in the original product—to a negative cam, a totally inappropriate cam type for any exercise machine. The end result is a resistance curve that is worse, not better, for the performance of SuperSlow exercise, although it did slightly improve the resistance curve compared to that provided in the original product.

Lower Turnaround (LT) Radius ~2.38

Mid-Range (M) Radius ~3.04

Upper Turnaround (UT) Radius ~3.79

Above are sequence photos of the retrofit cam by the mentioned former SuperSlow master. The net effect of this retrofit was to change the original MedX resistance curve—a curve that provided a slight (~5:4 ~ 20%) and inadequate falloff (ever-decreasing-faster toward the upper turnaround) and make it decrease an additional 60% (ever-decreasing-faster, but less faster than the MedX). In other words, when the falloff should have been corrected to effect a greater and much more ever-faster falloff, he made it fall off slightly more and not as fast. The machine’s net falloff with his cam is ~1.8:1.

In contrast, the correct (SuperSlow) cam for this MedX machine provides a total falloff at approximately 12:1. And—as it must—this falloff becomes progressively much faster as the endpoint is slowly approached. Note that this falloff exceeds the one illustrated by over six times! Its application truly allows the shoulder extension musculature to squeeze into itself.

So why would a former SuperSlow master, trained by Ken Hutchins and ostensibly devoted to the 10/10 protocol, lose his way? Sure, he has a difference of opinion regarding excursion speed, an opinion that we categorically reject and condemn. And we condemn this for the following reasons:

His cam profile and its portrayed resistance curve reflect his dedication to an excursion speed much faster than 10/10. In fact, he now recommends 5/5, a speed that, in practice, is always much faster than 5/5 and therefore not controllable. And this faster speed reflects his state of mind regarding those earlier-mentioned dependent variables.

It might be nigh impossible to completely list all of the dependent variables, but we can make a generalized attempt. The first regards safety that further regards control of forces, and this mostly regards control of speed. Once excursion speed exceeds 8 seconds (performed in less than 8 seconds), the start of the positive is likely abrupt and the upper turnaround is likely fallen through with attendant bouncing of the movement arm and jolting to the subject.

Also, with these faster excursions, subtle shifting and squirming by the subject—all apparently innocent and innocuous—are glossed over. These subtleties become obscured and ignored and, therefore, uncorrectable.

If the subject moves so fast—faster than approximately 8 seconds—then these subtle and sometimes injury-producing subtleties go unnoticed. If they go unnoticed, the instructor cannot identify them and inform the subject of them. And if the instructor is so inept, is uninformed, so unobservant, so reticent, and therefore so uninformative to advise the subject, then the subject is essentially without supervision.

Less important than safety, but still very important, many of these nuance subtleties are forms of ratcheting, a discrepancy that unloads the targeted musculature. The subject of ratcheting is thoroughly discussed in The Renaissance of Exercise: Volume I.

What’s more, the 10/10 speed is the required standard for determining the resistance curve and therefore the cam profile for any exercise machine. Anything else is sheer lunacy. Without this 10/10 speed standardization, correct camming is forever elusive.

We realize that Nautilus engineers don’t agree with this. We realize that MedX engineers don’t agree with this. Of course they don’t agree. As far as we are concerned, they do not possess the understanding in order to deserve an opinion. We have witnessed these engineers perform their own personal exercise on their own products and they are blatantly ignorant of proper excursion speed. In view of their reckless behavior (obscenely fast: one-second-or-less positive/one-second-or-less negative), how could anyone expect a cam/resistance curve for the proper 10/10 speed of motion? Their behavior reveals their bad thinking and attitudes regarding equipment design.

With the typical and improperly-fast speeds of excursion, momentum rules the resistance. It influences the design to include excessive loads at the upper turnaround of the compound pulling movements and the rotary movements. And the usual exorbitant attending friction fosters a decreasing resistance for the negative excursion.

Note that with the correct camming on a low-friction exercise machine—such as a Leg Extension—the positive resistance decreases progressively faster as full extension is attained. Once beyond the turnaround, the same experience occurs in reverse. If the cam provides a progressively faster falloff as positive excursion completes, it provides a progressively slower resistance increase as the negative excursion begins. Another way to express this is: If the final wrap of the cam during the positive—that position of the cam where the belt just flattens onto the flat of the cam (the position of least resistance)—provides the fastest resistance decrease, then the immediate unwrapping of the cam provides the fastest resistance increase.

Start of Cam Rotation (Positive Cam)

Complete Cam Wrapping: The belt flattens against the flat of the cam with minimum radius, precisely at endpoint.

Overwrapping of Cam: To precisely wrap the cam (and avoid overwrap) requires a timing crank.

In an unintended way—as this is a mechanical property and not deliberately designed—this relationship is highly fortuitous to provide negative loading just as is desired. At first, negative loading increases reasonably fast and continues to increase for most of the negative range in most cases although the increase grows progressively slower—exactly as needed. And none of this beauty operates properly if the speed is much, if any, faster than 8 seconds. Therefore, we strive for 10 seconds just to be sure.

Another fallacy of the wayward master mentioned earlier is his apparent quest to accommodate the first repetition. The goal is random failure after completion of the third or fourth repetition. The goal is not random injury before the third or fourth incomplete and defective repetitions.

Some of this discussion may seem unrelated to our Dumpers criticisms. We assure you that it is exactly this information deficit that makes instructors, exercise subjects, as well as exercise equipment design engineers vulnerable to the lure of the Dumpers insanity. We pledge to you that we will keep this scourge away from Renaissance Exercise.

Another former SuperSlow master is or was promoting ExerboticsTM. This is another example of a tremendous inconsistency between what he should know and his ostensible beliefs and behavior.

Our last major discussion point in this third part of the Dumpers series has already been mentioned in a comment by Josh Trentine, however, for continuity’s sake, we mention it again.

Using a SuperSlow Systems Leg Extension machine, a proficient and highly willful subject performs the exercise to deep failure. As he is just able to complete the fourth repetition, he performs the turnaround and then—due to the highly efficient inroading— immediately encounters negative loading that requires 100% of his will, effort, and strength to control the negative to the degree that he does not lose control and drop the weight. Therefore, what is the point of adding 40% to the resistance to the negative at this juncture? And what would be the point of adding 40% resistance (or any additional resistance) to the final repetition of this exercise performed by the typical housewife, a stroke victim, an osteoporosis patient, a rehab subject, or anyone else? To do so is nuts!

Note that this surprise negative is built in. It naturally occurs as a result of the combination of proper speed, proper camming, minimal friction, willful and disciplined effort without loading respite and with progressively-faster inroading at and after failure.

So you muse, what about a 40% increase to the negative of all those repetitions leading up to the final repetition so as to foster faster and deeper inroad all along the set of repetitions? In this way, the required weight for the set might be less and result in deeper and faster inroading.

Good question! This is, perhaps, the most difficult question for us to address, but as you will see in Dumpers IV, this is a clumsy affair at best and outrageously dangerous at worst. And although it seems a futuristic promise of benefit, in practice, so far, it has merely reinforced the bad training habits that we are trying to correct.

Nevertheless, we believe the surprise negative (not truly hyperloaded) at the last repetition is deserved and should be reserved for the last repetition. A gradual buildup to that last repetition is best for safety, particularly for progressive joint lubrication. Many marginal joint issues—like that often observed with the knees—are often far more sensitive during the negative excursion rather than the positive! Hence, hyperloading the negative merely makes for heightened irritation instead of the desired lubrication.

In Part IV of the Dumpers series, we will report our firsthand experiences on many of the dumpers products. They include the Life FitnessTM, the XForceTM, the MotivatorTM, ExerboticsTM, and CZTTM/ARXTM.

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Scott Springston March 12, 2012 at 2:38 pm

If the subject moves so fast—faster than approximately 8 seconds—then these subtle and sometimes injury-producing subtleties go unnoticed.

I think this is one part of the puzzle that many have issue with and that is all these possible bad effects that will happen when using anything faster than 8 or 10 seconds in your repetitions. You even state here how 10 seconds is an arbitrary number so can it be explained how anything faster than 8 or ten seconds can result in such poor performance? Of course I don’t have REN-EX machines to experiment on but even when using my best cammed and lowest frictioned Nautilus it seems that 10 seconds is just agonizingly too long for a repitition and that so long as my turnarounds are slow and controlled and I’m not using momentum in my sets, what’s the difference if I’m using 5-5 or 10 -10? Are you saying that a 10-10 pace is the only pace where you can do proper turnarounds and not involve momentum, bracing in their reps?


avatar Joshua Trentine March 12, 2012 at 6:17 pm



avatar Scott Springston March 13, 2012 at 11:03 am

Knowing how friction laden my Gen 1&2 Nautilus machine are and how their cam profile leaves alot of room to be desired if you were stuck with doing a REN-EX type workout on them what pace would you recommend using? Would you still stay with the 10-10? It seems that due to the high friction on these machines if I try to go slow like 10-10 it works ok on the concentric but on the eccentric or negative portion the weight sticks and drags on a 10 down so it’s almost as if I need a much faster negative to equal the feel of the 10 positive?


avatar Joshua Trentine March 14, 2012 at 12:23 am


This subject in covered thoroughly in The Renaissance of Exercise


avatar John Tatore March 12, 2012 at 2:53 pm

You reference The Renaissance of Exercise—Volume II. Is that near to being released?



avatar Joshua Trentine March 13, 2012 at 8:24 pm

1st quarter of 2013


avatar Mario Di Leonardo,MD March 12, 2012 at 5:53 pm

I think one of the major points about RenEx machines that people can’t wrap their heads around is that, in addition to minimized to non – existent friction, the CAM/RESISTANCE CURVE is radical, totally different from other machines, and directly suited to very slow movement across the full ROM for every specific exercise.
Hence, the inroad/time in any given machine, assuming an approx. 10-10 protocol is far superior.
IMO, negative only or negative enhanced machines are a prescription for injury and there is absolutely no need for them.
All the best, gentlemen (and Brenda), 🙂


avatar Scott Springston March 13, 2012 at 9:41 am

I’ve heard many a folk complain about REN-EX machines who haven’t even actually tried them and the REN-EX team rightfully comes down on them for that so let me ask you, have you actually tried the X-Force machines to back up your opinion that they are a prescription for injury?


avatar Joshua Trentine March 13, 2012 at 2:52 pm


Myself, Al Coleman and Drew Baye went to test them at Gainsville Health & Fitness. We went in with the intention of going through a full workout on them.

We ended up going to the upstarirs of the facility and working out on MedX Avenger instead…these machines were far superior to X-Force…we’ll be discussing more in DUMPERS IV.


avatar Scott Springston March 14, 2012 at 11:20 am

So are you saying then that you didn’t actually go through a decent workout on the X-Force machines to give them a fair test??


avatar Joshua Trentine March 14, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Tried every one of them.

They don’t meet my standard for a decent workout.

avatar Jonathan March 12, 2012 at 6:20 pm

I love this site.
10/10 is the way.
Thankyou, the information presented here has completely liberated all my training hangups!
I have needed clarification on many training ‘issues’ and i have found it here.
Best wishes


avatar Joshua Trentine March 14, 2012 at 12:25 am

Hi Jonathan ,

Thanks for taking the time to write….much more to come!


avatar JOHN O'ROURKE March 12, 2012 at 6:44 pm

This is all very interesting, two manufacturers of top of the range exercise machines disagreeing on such a fundamental design feature. When I think about how machines are typically used, heaved up and dropped down again I can see the X-Force gear being dangerous in the wrong hands. It will be possible to use them safely under the right supervision but to what benefit?


avatar Luke O'Rourke March 13, 2012 at 12:46 am

10/10 represents a necessary standard on low friction equipment such as RenEx. It’s a standard for comparison between instructors and between facilities so meaningful conversation and comparison can take place. Moreover it’s a necessary standard for the client. Trying to adjust one’s speed of movement to suit varying equipment is a recording and comparison nightmare. You’re already under extreme physical duress, and trying to remember a dozen different rep speed protocols, all the while, isn’t conducive to good performance. 10/10 is easy to remember, easy to reproduce and ideal on RenEx equipment. It is also ideal under any circumstance for consistency.

RenEx equipment represents a precision sniper rifle. There is only one best way to utilize this tool. In the case of a lesser rifle, one still needs to apply the same marksmanship principles to get the most accuracy out of his equipment.

On my less than ideal equipment I have found that I actually go too slow and are more often told to speed up than to slow down. The heavily friction burdened negative is where we pay most attention so the exerciser does not subconsciously exaserbate the already increased respit. We could slow the positive and speed the negative, but then you’re introducing all sorts of unnecessary variability and risk into the equation.


avatar Hugh Hines March 13, 2012 at 7:00 am

Good article.


avatar Carlos March 13, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Oh, my… -glup- this is war…(cant wait 2 Dumpers IV), man


avatar New Orleans Personal Trainer March 14, 2012 at 8:13 am

Much to think about regarding negative work. Thanks for the information.


avatar Marc Noel March 15, 2012 at 12:10 am

“Above are sequence photos of the retrofit cam by the mentioned former SuperSlow master. The net effect of this retrofit was to change the original MedX resistance curve—a curve that provided a slight (~5:4 ~ 20%) and inadequate falloff (ever-decreasing-faster toward the upper turnaround) and make it decrease an additional 60% (ever-decreasing-faster, but less faster than the MedX). In other words, when the falloff should have been corrected to effect a greater and much more ever-faster falloff, he made it fall off slightly more and not as fast. The machine’s net falloff with his cam is ~1.8:1.”

Just to clarify, a positive cam will fall off at an ever-increasing rate, but a negative cam falls off at an ever-decreasing rate. A positive would fall off thusly: sine of 90 degrees is 1.00, of 75, .97, of 60, .87, of 45, .71, and of 30, .5. Reverse this order for a negative cam. For every 15 degrees of positive rotation from a starting point of 90, it drops 3 points total, then 13, then 29, then 50. The amount is disproportionately greater with each 15 degrees. In comparison, a negative cam will reverse the fall-off, meaning it will fall off, but at an ever-decreasing rate.


avatar Stan March 15, 2012 at 1:28 am

You staunchly decree that 10/10 is the standard, the ideal, to be used always. But then you admit that it is arbitrary?

In any case, the logic of your argument is clear enough: IF you fix the cadence at 10/10, then bio-mechanics dictate the kind of resistance curve you need to get a certain kind of muscle failure. So what you sell is equipment optimized for 10/10. OK. But that doesn’t mean that 10/10 is necessarily the optimum cadence for a different kind of exercise or machine with different resistance characteristics. If the speed of movement and the required resistance curve are intimately connected, it would seem like you couldn’t change one without changing the other. So can you rule out the possibility that 5/3 is actually better than 10/10 IF you have XForce cams and 40% overload on the eccentric phase? (To do so would require having used those machines with a variety of different protocols – from Josh’s comments, that doesn’t seem to have been the case.)

This notion that one should only train with 10/10 protocol on a certain kind of machine seems highly impractical, if only for the fact that RenEx equipped facilities are VERY rare, and super slow facilities are not that widespread either. Surely you are not suggesting that people are better off not training at all, if they can’t train the RenEx way? The fact is that impressive physiques have been built using a wide variety of equipment and training techniques. I believe McGuff refers to this as plasticity of response. We probably would not have survived as a species if we couldn’t adapt to a wide variety of stimuli.


avatar Luke O'Rourke March 15, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Try to accurately measure and maintain a 5:3 cadence rep over rep. It’s impossible. You move far too fast to be corrected, and far too fast to effect an easy turn around at the end points of the reps.

Remember, this is not about bodybuilding. This is not about impressive physiques attained by those statistical few who have a genetic predisposition to holding lean body weight in spite of what they do and perhaps with chemical assistance.

This is meant for everyone in the bell curve. It’s exercise and not weight lifting. The approach is medical in nature. Specific, repeatable and recordable.

I can’t think of an eloquent way to put this, but what the few respond to the majority will not, and moreover may be negatively impacted by it. But what works for the majority will work for the few genetically predisposed. It won’t satisfy their egos doing what is prescribed to the majority, but they will respond to it because they’ll respond to anything.

Medicine would not be possible if we were all so different that each person needed a different approach.


avatar Karl March 30, 2012 at 7:45 pm

“Medicine would not be possible if we were all so different that each person needed a different approach.”

In fact, one of the limitations of modern medicine is that not everyone has the same response to medications. To date, the pharmaceutical industry has assumed that a successful test on one trial population can be extrapolated to everyone. But in fact, men and women do not always respond the same to certain medications, and some racial groups exhibit distinctly different responses to the same medication.

For example:

“In the early 1980s, clinical differences in response to the blood pressure (BP)-lowering effects of β-blockers and, to a lesser extent, diuretics were noted between ethnic groups. The most convincing evidence at that time came from a Veterans Affairs (VA) Cooperative Trial,1 which, along with other smaller studies, suggested that whites (those of European ancestry) had a better antihypertensive response to β-blockers than blacks (those of African ancestry), whereas blacks had a slight better response to diuretics than whites. Shortly after the first angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor was approved in the mid-1980s, it was also recognized that whites responded more favorably to ACE inhibitors than did blacks. Over time, these differences in response became well accepted, such that ethnicity began to be used in helping to guide selection of antihypertensive drug therapy.2,3 Although the ethnic differences in response between β-blockers and ACE inhibitors in hypertension are perhaps the mostly widely recognized examples of ethnic differences in response to cardiovascular drugs, there are others.”


avatar Joshua Trentine March 15, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Some readers express concern regarding the word, “arbitrary,” as used in Dumpers III.

Perhaps “arbitrary” is a poor term here. I suggest replacing it with “convenient.”

We know that any speed faster than 8 seconds is too fast. We also encounter segmenting and off/oning and bogging with speeds slower than 12 seconds. Therefore, we are left with an acceptable range of 8-12 seconds for an excursion.

But within an 8-12-second range there are an infinite number of acceptable speeds. So pick one. We pick 10 seconds. All this is laid out with reasoned support in The Renaissance of Exercise—Volume I.

-Ken Hutchins-


avatar marklloyd June 5, 2012 at 12:51 am

The last rep’s an exception to the 12 second max rule, when the subject is pulling as hard & fast as he can. The rep’s allowed to continue as long as movement’s constant.


avatar Joshua Trentine June 5, 2012 at 1:33 am



avatar Joshua Trentine March 15, 2012 at 6:14 pm


Personally I would have criticisized the word usage (“arbitrary”) instead of the protocol.



avatar Marc Noel March 15, 2012 at 12:54 pm

I am curious as to which machine was converted to a negative cam, because a negative cam cannot be directly attached to the movement arm. It has to be driven remotely. I assume that said machine had a remotely driven positive cam, which was then re-configured.


avatar Joshua Trentine March 15, 2012 at 6:07 pm


The machine in question was Compound Row. We do not believe a negative cam is required either.



avatar Marc Noel March 15, 2012 at 8:00 pm

If it’s the same Compound Row model that Ken had in Altamonte 12 years ago, I see what you mean. It was a remote positive cam that could be re-engineered to accommodate a negative cam.

On a side note, Ken had used some angle-iron to fuse the movement arms. Great stuff!


avatar Marc Noel March 15, 2012 at 8:18 pm

In response to Stan’s comments about going faster with other equipment:

It might be necessary to go faster with that equipment, due to its design, but not necessarily advisable. The speed dictates the resistance curve, not the other way around. Moving faster decreases efficiency and increases force unnecessarily (Drew… are you there?). Let’s take it to its logical conclusion: say you had equipment that HAD to be used at lightning speed. Would one be justified using it, knowing full well of the maximum injury potential? I guess it depends on the person. I wouldn’t. Ren-Ex equipment represents the current state-of-the-art for SuperSlow movement speed, but many of us have older equipment that has been tweaked to be acceptable. I have vintage Nautilus that works like a hot damn. If it were me, I would look elsewhere for a facility, vs. being forced to use equipment at a too-fast speed.

Bear in mind, if everything were hunky-dory in exercise and fitness, there would have been no need for Nautilus or SuperSlow. Just because people have gotten results from doing what we consider crap NOW doesn’t mean it’s appropriate to keep doing crap. At the time, we didn’t know any better. Now we do. I, for one, would never return to conventional training or equipment. If someone gave me a piece of crap, I’d modify it to be acceptable, even if it meant replacing everything but the paint.


avatar Scott Springston March 16, 2012 at 8:34 am

” I have vintage Nautilus that works like a hot damn. I’m a little fuzzy on the hot damn term, is working like a hot damn good or bad??


avatar Scott Springston March 16, 2012 at 8:42 am

I’m curious, is there some kind of evidence out there that shows how people have gotten injured alot by moving fast on machines like a Nautilus? I’ve been around Nautilus machines for many a year and have seen people get injured doing bouncy jerky cheating type sloppy reps on a Nautilus but have yet to see someone injured from just moving at a fast but careful pace with their reps on a Nautilus machine.


avatar Joshua Trentine March 16, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Force= Mass X Acceleration


avatar Scott Springston March 19, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Is this supposed to mean something? Am I speaking to Landau, Mr. Cryptic here? I asked if there was evidence of people getting injured doing less that 10-10 cadence and this is your answer??


avatar Marc Noel March 15, 2012 at 9:35 pm


My apologies. I had started reading after the negative cam pics, so didn’t see the text denoting Compound Row. I found it in review.

I just finished Trunk Extension. I could feel my erector spinae past the top of my skull! The quality of this type of exercise – the only type that actually qualifies as exercise – is unbelievable. The only way people can do multiple sets is with such garbage equipment that they get so little out of it, they have to do more sets to piece together one good one. Done properly, who can show an improvement on the second or later sets using this equipment? A few people have tried, and done, maybe two reps with the same weight, even though they just did seven in their first set. Only those who truly understand and have experienced it can know.

I didn’t quit training two hours a day, four days a week because I was getting great results. I am more muscular, stronger, and heavier now than I’ve ever been, plus I ain’t not wasting my time nor energy, and not hurtin’ myself none.

Luke O’Rourke said:

“I can’t think of an eloquent way to put this, but what the few respond to the majority will not, and moreover may be negatively impacted by it. But what works for the majority will work for the few genetically predisposed.”

I tip my hat to you, Luke. What a great way to put it. It reminds me of how fat and skinny people can both go through a wide doorway, but only skinny can go through a narrow one.


avatar Marc Noel March 16, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Yes, hot damn means good.

I purchased my equipment back in ’96, and have modified and upgraded it using Ken’s writings in the 2nd edition of the SS Tech Manual and The SuperSlow Exercise Guild newsletters. As time went by, some things needed to be tweaked as I encountered different issues, so I made further improvements. The end result is equipment that is efficient, safe, and extremely adjustable. I actually have adjustable cam timing on five out of the six Generic routine movements laid out in the 2nd edition. The mechanisms are not cranked, though, nor are they adjustable in as small increments as Ken’s. However, between seating height, fore/aft positioning, cam timing, bottom-out positioning, and two different-sized handles, my pull-down has a total of 172,500 possible combinations for configuration.

And I use every one.


avatar Joshua Trentine March 17, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Awesome man!


avatar Scott Springston March 19, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Cool stuff, would you be willing to share how you did some of your machines with pictures etc? You could e-mail me direct at


avatar Marc Noel March 17, 2012 at 5:39 pm

I forgot I incorporated a third handle with palms facing each other, for some with certain elbow issues. Slump is obviated, due to dramatically less mobility around the wrists in this position. Anyway, increase previous number of possible combinations to 258,750!



avatar Joe A March 18, 2012 at 11:58 am


This question has nothing to do with the article.

I was watching television, saw a commercial and thought the actor looked familiar…couldn’t place it though. Saw it again this morning and it hit me, the actor looked like you (or at least what I think you look like from memory of last October’s workshop). Looked up the actor in the Charles Schwab commercial and his name is Chris Diamantopoulus.

Any relation?


avatar Gus Diamantopoulos March 18, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Hello Joe,

Good eye, my friend. Indeed my brother is the Charles Schwab spokesperson.

Look for him next as Moe in the upcoming Three Stooges movie….



avatar John Tatore March 19, 2012 at 8:55 am

I think he is playing Moe in the new three stooges movie.


avatar Dave Colbeck March 31, 2012 at 1:11 pm

I was very interested in the comments regarding time under load being replaced (again) by counting the number of reps to give advantages in the execution/coaching of the movement/subject. You state that rep numbers between 4 and 8 are acceptable which would indicate a time under load of between 80 to 160 seconds using the recommended 10/10 protocol. How did you choose 90 seconds as the correct duration for TSC and what is the advantage when compared to the previously recommended TUL of 120 seconds?
May I just add that in my opinion Ken Hutchins has pioneered the way for the evolution of meaningful exercise. Although I live in the UK, I have travelled to Altemonte Springs several times to learn from him first hand. His contribution to this industry through self sacrifice and sheer effort of will, has earned him the highest respect for his honesty, integrity, unwavering dedication and knowledge.



avatar Mark April 18, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Re: Speed-control exercise units: As my resistance on the MedX Lumbar Extension’s increases, the time it takes to build the required tension to move rep#1 has become quite long. This would register rep#1 on a timed machine as lower-than optimal effort. It’s a reasonable assumption that effort on the following reps would have no incentive to increase.


avatar Marc Noel April 18, 2012 at 5:43 pm

I am confused by your comment. What do you mean by “timed machine”? Regarding the time to build tension to move rep 1, do you mean time before it starts moving, or time to complete the rep? Once underway, if your speed remains constant, so does the force moving the weight stack. I interpret your comment about rep 1’s longer time as equating lesser effort, which is true compared to later reps, but optimal isn’t the right word, as we aren’t so concerned about effort at the start of the set as much as at the end. With fresh starting strength, maximum effort on the first rep would result in maximum speed. Also, effort must increase on subsequent reps, because fatigue reduces your capacity. If effort does not increase as the set progresses, the resistance must be decreasing, thereby matching your capacity.


avatar mark April 22, 2012 at 4:00 pm

A/Timed machines, ARX, for example, supply no actual resistance: A motor moves it at a set speed, no matter how hard one pushes or pulls. Theoretically, a motivated trainee’s enabled to exhibit a greater % of his fresh strength on the first rep, and of his remaining strength on each subsequent rep, higher tension leading to more efficient inroad. B/My experience on MedX lumbar extension leads me to believe this wouldn’t necessarily true: It takes me 5-7 seconds to generate enough tension to begin moving the first rep. (I’m able to continue for a few 10/10 reps, so this isn’t a truly max effort, but it feels like one!) The point is, if the machine’s already moving, I doubt that I’d contract as hard as on MedX. In either case one can train to failure and get a training effect, but the implied efficiency is doubtful, perhaps exactly the opposite.


avatar Sonny March 20, 2013 at 9:49 pm

I train in the dark ages, a garage with just free weights. I probably know less than anyone here about the science of all this but I do know enough to listen to someone when they are explaining how to do something properly. I have both “SuperSlow” manuals and by studying them like I would a textbook, and one phone call to Mr Hutchins, I have gotten excellent results using a 10/10 protocol. I try to pick the best conventional exercises and do them the way they were explained in the book. I enjoy this system, to me I am always trying for the perfect rep/set and I don’t find it boring in the slightest. On the subject of diet I simply eat more or less of a well balanced diet, nothing more than that and the only supplement I use is creatine, a pre-workout powder (optional) and whey protein mixed in fat-free choc milk after my workout and I stay fairly muscular all year. I published what I do on a HIT site and quite a few people told me that what I was doing couldn’t possibly work…oh well, I don’t mind, to each his own I guess. I’ve been very pleased with what I’ve achieved, thanks for the excellent articles.


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