Jun
20
2012

Dumpers Part IV, Segment C: The Motivator, Keiser and The MaxOut

36 comments written by Joshua Trentine

The Motivator

Our experience with the Motivator goes back to the mid-1990s. The innovator with the product on display in a box truck parked just outside a facility where Ken Hutchins worked. Ken tried it and was very impressed with it when used as a pulldown exercise.

Essentially, it worked by reeling in from the subject a cable and then reeling it back out. Once the turnaround points were set within the subject’s range of motion, it was ready to go. Ken’s memory is that it worked much like the NOS leg extension. The subject strove to make the positive faster and strove to slow or stop the negative. A monitor paced the subject and provided force feedback. However, there was a significant pause at each end of the excursion causing the subject to unload and rest, violating continuous loading.

The machine seemed limited to provide practical exercise for only pulldown. The constraints were inadequate, especially for other exercises. If there were any other versions we are unaware. We welcome input on this.

At one point in the 1990s, Ken mentioned that an approach somewhat like this machine might be the future of exercise. He noted that robotics offered an infinite degree of speed control as well as an infinite degree of resistance curve modulation—not just within a repetition but from repetition to repetition. He also feared the probability that the robotics would be misapplied by brainiac computer engineers who did not understand—nor could ever understand—the fundamentals of exercise. Witness the current popular success of Wii® programs that teach and reinforce myriads of misconceptions regarding exercise.

Our feelings now—including Ken’s—are the same as regarding the NOS leg extension. We deplore negative hyperloading for all the arguments already provided throughout the Dumpers series.

This concludes our opinions regarding The Motivator.

Keiser

Keiser equipment is based on pneumatics. It has the ability—utilizing thumb buttons—to ramp up or down the resistance at any time during a set.

Our experience with Keiser is that the resistance ramp is too slow, and that the body mechanics are extremely poor. Note that resistance ramping on most Dumpers is dangerously too fast.

The resistance curves are way off—perhaps partly because the company training philosophy has traditionally recommended so-called “sports-specific,” ballistic training speeds. We remember their recommendation is that their equipment, due to its pneumatic properties (It feels very spongy.) enables safe ballistic training, or something to that effect. This is dangerous hogwash.

This concludes our opinions regarding Keiser.

The MaxOut

The MaxOut is a negative hyperloading device designed by Michael McMillan, MD. As usual with the other dumper enthusiasts, Macmillan contracted the Jonesian disease regarding negative-only exercise. He then put exorbitant time and money into an apparatus that no one should go near. Fortunately, we are told that its days are over due to expired patents and lapsed interest.

We have experience using this device under the supervision of Macmillan himself. The video link furnished below gives the viewer somewhat of an idea of how it works but does not really completely expose the violent nature of the weight transfer:

The MaxOut is a motorized counterweighting device, and not a complete machine. It attaches to other machines to reduce the weight lifted during the positive. Unlike the X-Force, which alters the positive and negative loads by a fixed percentage, the MaxOut difference depends on the amount of weight selected on the particular exercise machine used and the counterweight selected on the attached MaxOut stack.

The transition at both the upper and lower turnarounds on the MaxOut are jarring—considerably more so than on the X-Force. At the upper turnaround it quickly takes the counterweight from the subject—truly dumping the weight onto the subject, and it adds it just as quickly at the lower turnaround, causing the same control problems as the X-Force, but to a greater degree.

This concludes our opinions regarding The MaxOut.

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar joel waldman June 20, 2012 at 5:37 pm

The motivator that I have used for the past nearly 20 years is quite god for the following exercises…pulldowns, rows, chest press, dips, overhead press, and shrug/deadlift…slightly less effective for curls, tricep extensions and a variety of rotary sigle joint movements. It is capable of speeds of from 1″/sec to 8″/sec…pauses can be programmed into the upper and lower turnaround of from zero to 9 seconds…upper and lower exertion limits can be set for both the positive and negative…and the visual display of the last workout can be set to show progress if from 50% to 150% of the last workout is achieved…and this is displayed in real time through every millimeter of movement throughout the range of motion. To address your concerns of hyperloading the negative a trainer might do the following for the pulldown exercise…with a subject capable of producing 300lbs force with a fresh muscle, the machine would be set to limit exertion level to a maximum of say 210lbs during both the positive and negative…a minimum exertion level of say 140lbs…a zero rest in the turnarounds…and a speed of 2″ per second for a 20″ pulldown stroke…the motivator gives the following feed back…last and present workout average force per rep…last and present workout best rep comparison…peak force at any point in the set(of no interest to superslow folks)…and a force-time product of total work for the set(average force throughout the set times the number of seconds the trainee was exerting said force. As the trainee gets stronger and the total work increases, the reps are normally decreased to not exceed the subjects recovery ability….damn good and versatile machine…ahead of its time and too expensive so unfortunately the company is out of business…any questions?

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avatar Joshua Trentine June 21, 2012 at 2:21 pm

(Posting for Ken Hutchins)

Joel,

If we have inappropriately condemned the Motivator on some points we will alter our Motivator section in Dumpers IV.

You list five basic exercises you recommend for the Motivator. I would like to see these performed. We manufacturer a product with which someone might apply 20 different exercises, but good stabilization renders some of them to be avoided.

You state that the Motivator can be adjusted down to a speed of 8-second excursions. This really needs to be 10-seconds for all those reasons I have stipulated for the same 20 years you have used this machine. I believe that Jan Miller and I discussed this at one time. Eight seconds is barely passable, but not consistent with teaching subjects to obtain a feel for the correct speed on all equipment on all exercises. If we have the luxury of imposing speed control, let’s be consistent and not confuse the subject.

By the way, your 8-second maximum excursion speed is not consistent with your allusion to setting the machine for 2 inches per second for a 20-inch excursion.

Your sentence, “To address your concerns… with a subject capable of production 300 lbs force with a fresh muscle… ” does indeed address my concerns. It concerns me greatly that this implies that your percentages are obtained from a maximum test with a fresh muscle. I hope this is not the case. The Motivator, by your estimation, seems to render great feedback information, but this is true only if a maximum test is not prerequisite. Maximum tests, regardless of the tool, are flatly unethical.
-Ken Hutchins-

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avatar Scott Springston June 22, 2012 at 12:03 pm

==Scott==
I really don’t understand your fixation with the 10 second rep to the exclusion of anything else. 10 seconds–8 seconds, what’s the big deal? If you start out your rep slow and steady and pause at the contracted position briefly and slowly turn around to go back down it doesn’t really make a fig of a difference if it’s 8 or ten seconds. I think this narrow thinking that all has to be exactly as REN-EX protocol states or it isn’t right is what really gets you guys in trouble. I’m sure if I was to read the REN-EX protocol book it would state that if you changed the pin on the weight stack with your left hand and not the right all is is for naught.

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avatar Joshua Trentine June 22, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Scott,

This is covered extensively in the technical manual.

Joshua

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avatar Joshua Trentine June 20, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Joel,

Thank you very much for filling us in on your plentiful experience with The Motivator. As we indicated in the Dumpers series, we appreciate any and all feedback as well as experiences from people who have been or are presently using any of the machines we have been discussing.

So far, our experiences with the machines listed in our article have only confirmed our suspicions for how bad things are. In a few cases we were literally shocked to discover that things are far worse than we thought. We have a uncompromising mindset when it comes to biomechanics and overall “feel” as well as extremely heightened sensitivity to inconsistencies in machine function that could lead to injury. For these and other reasons, many consider our standards for such to be extreme but it’s actually very easy to detect something that feels “wrong” when you’ve had a taste of that which feel so very right. None of this, of course, even begins to include protocol, which is actually the more important factor as all of the “dumpers” originate from a mindset of asking the wrong questions philosophically.

Having said this, your appraisal and adamant defence of the Motivator are engaging. Notwithstanding the many and varied features that you have listed, our main questions might be whether or not it is being used in the fashion that we describe that most “dumpers” are being used?

RenEx Team

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avatar Scott Springston June 22, 2012 at 12:08 pm

, our main questions might be whether or not it is being used in the fashion that we describe that most “dumpers” are being used?

==Scott==
Maybe your concept of how those machines are used isn’t very accurate? You guys tend to judge that most people use machines in the worst way possible. Most people with any semblance of intelligence can safely use just about any machine to build muscle if they are careful.

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avatar Joshua Trentine June 22, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Scott,

“Most people” ? Bold statement, supervise enough sessions and get back to me on this. I would say it’s just the opposite…more like, barely any people.

Joshua

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avatar Scott Springston June 22, 2012 at 1:20 pm

==Scott==
Ok, you got me there. Let me restate that. Most people with intelligence can use just about any machine safely and properly. Of course there’s very little intelligence out there these days.

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avatar Joshua Trentine June 22, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Scott,

Strength training has less to do with intelligence and more to do with controlling instinctual behaviors that prevent us from effectively duping the body’s protective mechanism. The prupose of protocol married to machine is to control as many variables as possible.

Joshua

avatar Scott Springston June 25, 2012 at 8:19 am

Strength training has less to do with intelligence and more to do with controlling instinctual behaviors that prevent us from effectively duping the body’s protective mechanism. The prupose of protocol married to machine is to control as many variables as possible…

==Scott==
Call it what you will a smart person can controls those “instinctual behaviors” on just about any well made machine. I agree that it’s important to control as many variables as possible. Your machines are top notch in my opinion and your protocol will build muscle to some extent but it’s splitting hairs to contend that results had from REN-EX is superior to that had by standard Nautilus protocol or the use of just the plain old barbell.
What you have are excellent machines that when used with your protocol will allow one to train hard and safe. It’s still up in the air if it produces better or even equal results as far as size and strength as compared to standard Nautilus protocol or any of the other methods used by bodybuilders.

avatar Thomas June 21, 2012 at 10:54 am

“It is probable that the background in the videos is a deliberate device to display the jockism as a badge of closeness with the athletic community.”

I doubt that…

…Although someone on the grassy knoll did kill Kennedy and I’m pretty sure there are UFO’s stored in hangers in Roswell.

Seriously, if they wanted to display some typical gym jockism you’d probably hear a few F-bombs in the background and some grunting or screaming. Hearing weight stacks “clang” in a room full of weight stacks doesn’t seem like a deliberate attempt at jockism to me, especially in what appears to be a casual video.

Still, it’s interesting to see how drew is yanked forward by the weight transfer-a potential injury for some to be sure.

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avatar Joshua Trentine June 21, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Thomas,

“It is probable that the background in the videos is a deliberate device to display the jockism as a badge of closeness with the athletic community.”

Thanks for the heads-up. The caption here is actually for one of the other MaxOut videos. The environment in this one is OK. We will change this out.

Ken

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avatar Scott Springston June 22, 2012 at 12:10 pm

==Scott==
The grassy knoll, the sewer and possibly from the bridge before the motorcade as well!!!

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avatar Scott Springston June 22, 2012 at 12:41 pm

==Scott==
Hey come on, in the video the instructor is in a suit and tie ( ei REN=EX) so this stuff has got to be great!!!Oh, I just realized he has no pocket protector for his pens, my bad….

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avatar Joel waldman June 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Ken, you misconstrued my spped of movement…i meant to say the cable could adjust to feed out or reel in at 1″ per second to 8″ per second…as you can see, at 1″ per second on a 20″ pulldown stroke you would have a 20sec pos and a 20 sec neg…40 sec tul… What i intended to say was that at 2″ per second a subject with a 20 ” stroke wouldperorm perfect 10/10 reps.
Just as you dont need to max test your trainees, we admonish our motivator trainees to pull about at half their power in the beginning….and then titrate the effort up to a safe but intense set on subsequent workouts… The upper preset exert limit insures that no one can over exert… Especially on early reps

Regard… Joel

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avatar Joshua Trentine June 23, 2012 at 10:50 am

Joel,

From what I can see here this is the behavior that we would like to distance ourselves from.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sVv_kz1TNs

Joshua

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avatar db144 June 22, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Typical crap. 30 years of failure but still trying….

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avatar Joshua Trentine June 22, 2012 at 11:18 pm

db144,
Thank you for your frequent viewing of our blog articles.

Joshua

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avatar Scott Springston June 25, 2012 at 11:59 am

==Scott==
I do have to applaud you Joshua for letting some dissenting posts appear in this blog. It makes for much more interesting reading than when it’s all favorable, rah rah posts.

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avatar gmlongo June 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Welcome db…Glad you could break away from being so “disinterested” in RenEx to make it over here.

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avatar joel waldman June 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm

i agree and am fully aware of your concerns…but i just want you to be aware of the potential for good with the motivator…as Arthur Jones was wont to say…his machines were foolproof…not proof againstfools…even your ren ex machines are subject to misuse!…regards, joel

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avatar db144 June 23, 2012 at 6:59 pm

One must know the enemy to defeat the enemy.

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avatar Joshua Trentine June 23, 2012 at 7:51 pm

I had no idea we could be so scary to people.

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avatar Joshua Trentine June 23, 2012 at 7:52 pm

I think you should cut back on the 80’s karate movies…Really strange man.

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avatar db144 June 30, 2012 at 11:43 pm

Required reading in any business school worth attending?

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avatar gmlongo June 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm

If RenEx is “30 years of failure” as you previously stated, then why do they need “defeating”?

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avatar Andrew Shortt June 25, 2012 at 8:39 pm

lol!

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avatar Patrick June 23, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Scott, did you not injure yourself in the past doing NO chins and using multiple sets with unrestricted speeds using the so called “Rogue HIT” method?

What have you learned from this?

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avatar Joshua Trentine June 23, 2012 at 11:58 pm

I guess he wasn’t using any “semblance of intelligence” or being “careful”.

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avatar Scott Springston June 25, 2012 at 8:35 am

==Scott==
I learned that I started out with way to much dang weight on negative reps. I pretty much jumped from doing some negative body weight chins to adding 70 pounds to the belt. Very stupid!! My speed was not unrestricted, in fact I was going very slowly but it was just too much for my structure. I never injured myself doing fast reps but I saw that they could easily lead to an injury. I have no disagreement that unrestricted and fast rep speeds can lead to injuries much easier than slow controlled reps. The fast reps do produce results though and I guess that is why they can be so popular with select bodybuilders who value progress over their health.

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avatar Brad K June 24, 2012 at 9:11 pm

I actually looked at a franchise in Pennsylvania called Max out strength. Seems like this guy bought the patent for the Max out tower from some guy in Florida. Anyway they hadn’t sold a single franchise and when I went to visit I pointed out everything that was wrong with the concept. They owner didn’t want to hear it and a year later still not one franchise sold. I tried the machines and although not bad they routines where horrific and it wasn’t used correctly at all.

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avatar Donnie Hunt June 24, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Guys, I just posted a similar post as this over on Drew’s site. I’m trying to understand the whole “speed” issue. I just workout with conventionl equipment. I get the idea of using 10/10 to eliminate momentum and make the muscle do all the work. You also by doing this bypass the “pump”, and all of the details you guys talked about in some previous articles and probably go into even more detail in Ken’s book. I understand with the equipment that I use that the speed of movement is up to me, I have to control it. When using the RenEx machines is the movement largely “slow” because of the way the resistance is varied. I understand that even on ideal equipment that the trainee still has to be conscious of form and force output.

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avatar Joshua Trentine June 24, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Donnie,

The shortest answer is; because force is built up as gradually as possible ,ValSalva is avoided, and non-muscular body torque is minimized….the rest takes care of it’s self.

Joshua

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avatar Donnie Hunt June 24, 2012 at 10:50 pm

Thanks alot Joshua!

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avatar Joshua Trentine June 24, 2012 at 10:58 pm

Donnie,

YOU ARE WELCOME!

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avatar db144 June 30, 2012 at 11:46 pm

When will we see the research results from RenEx study you proudly boasted about being done in the best research facility in the world?

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