Dumpers Part IV, Segment A

24 comments written by Joshua Trentine

Part IV

Ken Hutchins, Josh Trentine, Gus Diamantopoulos,
Drew Baye & 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 considered two factors simultaneously. They were the speed of motion in an exercise and its resistance curve. With this discussion we showed the defective thinking that influences the faulty equipment design, and that this defective thinking mostly results from reckless training behavior—primarily, the speed of motion. We then demonstrated that this combined confusion leads to the false conclusion that hyperloading the negative is an efficacious idea.

In Part IV of the Dumpers series, we report our firsthand experiences on many of the various dumper prototypes and products. They include the Nautilus prototype Leg Extension by Dr. Lesley Organ and Phil Sencil, the Life FitnessTM Life CircuitTM, the MotivatorTM, KeiserTM, the Maxout, the CZTTM/ARXTM, the ExerboticsTM, and the X-ForceTM.

We emphasize at this juncture that, although we might lack some informational format (experience on the equipment, photos, videos, exact resistance values and curves, all of the aforementioned, etc.) regarding some of the Dumpers, what we have stated condemning their use in Dumpers I, II, and III still holds true. The negative hyperloading idea is simply bad for all the reasons stated preceding Dumpers IV. Additional discussion is not necessary! In other words, Dumpers IV can be regarded as superfluous to an extent. We maintain that what we have written thus far is adequate to reject the Dumpers wholesale. However, Dumpers IV will satisfy those who require a little more understanding of what is at stake. And we also understand that Dumpers IV will not satisfy a rare few. If not, no amount of persuasion would do it for these individuals.

Also, as time goes on and we learn more, we will backtrack, update, and make any necessary corrections and appropriate augmentations.

Due to its length, Dumpers IV is divided into several installments. We now commence with the first of many so please sit back and enjoy!

First—An Imaginary Divergence

Close your eyes and imagine a large, empty room. It is dimly lit with fluorescent panels that shine light from the ceiling. Its walls are bare. It has high ceilings—perhaps 10 feet. The floor is bare concrete.

In the center of the floor sits a lone, plate-loading, adjustable barbell.

What is the barbell doing? Nothing.

What does it do? Nothing.

What can it do? Nothing.

Does the barbell act upon anything? No.

If you are completely ignorant of the barbell, you might ponder, “What is it for?”

In other words, what might you do with this thing? And if you are creative you might do any number of things:

  • Jump over it. And you might jump over it in several various ways.
  • Use it as a large protractor by rotating it by one end.
  • Use it without the plates as a pole to vault with.
  • Tumble it end over end.
  • Roll it around the room.
  • Throw it against the walls.
  • Heave it away from you. Or merely lift it and drop it.
  • Take off the plates and use it as a club or dull spear.
  • Throw the plates like discus.
  • Roll the plates about the room.
  • Use different parts like a hammer.
  • Use the rod as a lever.
  • Design any number of images on the floor by arranging all the parts
  • Stack all the plates at one end to make some kind of upright stand.

I am sure that as a group project this list could grow much larger.

The above imagery of an empty room with a lone barbell suggests intelligence only slightly more sophisticated than found in the American Tourister® Luggage commercial from 1971:

And most of us have not progressed very far beyond either scenario. As Arthur stated, “Most people use a barbell as if they might purchase a JeepTM and use it to push down trees.”

Another intellectual step is to use the barbell as a muscle-loading device as in exercise. Of course, the sequence of its evolution would need to be reversed. We developed a need for such a device before the barbell was invented. Unlike the gorilla in the American Tourister commercial, we did not merely encounter a foreign object that had been tossed into our cage (territory) that we did not request.

Another perspective on the commercial: One might ponder if this is the man in the gorilla suit behaving this way or is it the gorilla in the man?

Since the advent of the barbell, we have for the most part steeped ourselves in a jargon and forcibly formed the jargon around our reckless gorilla behavior. To express this differently, our ability to think properly about exercise is dependent upon the distinctions in our language, and so far, many of these distinctions are not truly distinct.  Zander struggled with and made contributions to verbal and written expression regarding exercise. So did Alan Calvert. So did Arthur Jones. So did countless others. We have come a long way. And the Dumpers issue underscores that we still have a long way to go. It also suggests that in some ways we have reverted.

In 1980, Ken Hutchins was working at one end of the showroom at Nautilus Sports/Medical Industries in Lake Helen, Florida. This room doubled as a gym (among as many as five gyms on the premises) with most of the Nautilus equipment line available for use. As he was working at one end of the room with a therapy patient, Arthur was closer to the door, leaning against a Compound Leg machine as he talked with a couple of men donned in two-piece suits and wingtips.

Amidst this, a young woman entered through the door. She appeared sharply dressed in business attire and ostensibly there for a job interview. Since the five doors on the outside of the building were not marked, she had chanced into one of the incorrect choices.

Of the front-side doors into this metal building, the first opened into Ed Farnham’s (Nautilus general manager) private office, the second into his secretary’s office, the third into the waiting area (the best choice for this woman), the fourth into a courtyard where a live 12-foot alligator was kept, and the fifth into the showroom.

She stood near the door looking lost and embarrassed for a few seconds, then timidly asked, “Where is this? What are these machines? What do they do?”

Arthur turned toward her and responded, “Young lady, these machines don’t DO anything.”

With that she turned and left as Arthur’s reply was not helpful.

Ken has told this story numerous times. Arthur’s words and inflection are profound for several reasons.

For most of the time—almost all the time—the machines just sit. They have no subject on them. And when they are being used, it is the subject that DOES something with them, to them, in them, etc. Like Arthur said, they “don’t DO anything.” The DOING is done by the subject if a subject happens to be present and engaged.

From another perspective—one saliently grasped by Josh Trentine—Arthur’s words have another meaning. They also allow that the machine does not act upon the subject.

And with the dumpers, we—for the first time—indeed do have equipment that acts upon the subject. This probably has some legal significance as well!

We are told that exercise equipment manufacturers—though often mentioned in a lawsuit involving personal injury—are often or usually excused. Instead, the brunt of the responsibility for an injury often falls upon the exercise facility and the facility personnel. Basically, fault is most often placed upon the instruction, not the equipment, unless, of course, the equipment has obvious design or manufacturing flaws. For instance, the equipment would be to blame if an injury occurs due to a faulty weld. Otherwise, the blame usually goes to the instruction or lack thereof.

However, the dumpers have changed the game. We now see that they act upon the subject rather than just the reverse. This is very different.

As Dumper IV continues, please reflect on these images and concepts.

Up next: The Nautilus/Organ/Sencil Leg Extension

Until then please post any comments or questions you may have below and we will be sure to answer them!


{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar marklloyd June 13, 2012 at 11:38 am

Indeed, -we- must -begin- the action, but even in the simple case of an effectively heavy barbell, -it- will act on -us- if a set’s continued to failure & non-volitional eccentric.


avatar Joshua Trentine June 14, 2012 at 12:14 am

Outline for the Dumpers IV sequence:

Life Fitness
Motivator and Keiser
XForce general
XForce equipment
Conclusion with full article pdf downloadable report and cover



avatar Drew Baye June 14, 2012 at 9:23 am


Technically, the barbell does not act on us, or anything. Neither does a plate loaded or selectorized machine. Without energy input from a user they do nothing at all. When you lift a weight you impart potential energy to it, but that’s because of gravity acting on the weight, not the weight performing any action.


avatar Jonathan June 14, 2012 at 10:28 am

Thanks Joshua.
I really find the information here very inspirational.
It has really transformed my mindset towards training.
I train in a mainstream corporate gym and have learned to block all the stares and distractions out when i train.
I use a metronome on my ipod with a 60bpm tempo.
People see me use the 10/10 lifting and lowering cadence and they really don’t get it consciously,but i believe when a person has seen something profound they cannot unsee it and it works in them on an unconscious level making them very uneasy and unsure about there own routines based on mainstream corporate training methods.
Its the same when one hears something profound one cannot unhear it because it probably rests in truth.
I can say that my strength is skyrocketing at the moment due to this 10/10 training method but i just wish i could workout on your guys incredible equipment.
Many thanks again.


avatar Donnie Hunt June 14, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Keep the thought provoking stuff coming. You definately seem to continue to stir up conversation on another website as a article about RenEx is often at the top of the list. Some of this stuff goes over my head and some of it makes me go, “Damn! Never thought about that before?!”


avatar Scott Springston June 14, 2012 at 8:37 pm

I do enjoy reading old stories from Hutchins about Jones!! It does seem that the article is trying to say that dumper machines ( like an X-force for example) may be bad because they act upon an individual where as a REN-EX machine is acted upon by the subject. I see no reason to assume that a machine regardless of what is it can be bad simply because it acts upon a subject. There are many examples of things in our lives that act upon us like an automobile that still serve a very useful purpose. I think any machine or whatever it is, , can give the desired results within it’s capabilities and the subjects capabilities if used properly and carefully.


avatar John Parr June 15, 2012 at 9:16 am

Scott, how does an automobile act upon a subject?


avatar Joshua Trentine June 15, 2012 at 9:23 am

awaiting this one….


avatar Scott Springston June 15, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Somehow I knew you were going to ask this question. If you sit in an X-force machine it doesn’t act upon you until you initiate movement or are you saying it grabs you and makes you do a set whether you want to do one or not, ha ha.. If you sit in a car it doesn’t do anything until you start up the engine and put it in gear. I guess if you want to split hairs like you like to do it could be said that the car can do any number of things upon the driver even before he puts the key in. The driver might knock off the emergency brake accidently and the car could roll down a hill smashing into traffic etc. Just like a X-force machine the car can lurch forward or do any number of things that could be bad or be hard to control if you don’t know how to control it. This is really such a stupid argument. The notion that REN-EX is superior because it doesn’t act upon someone while an x-Force does is juvenile. You still can’t get past the knocking of other methods and machines to boost your machines.Your machines in my estimation ( not having actually seen them) are most likely a tad improvement over Nautilus in that friction is lower and the cam curves are slightly better. That being said what’s the big deal. If one was to compare the difference in how much muscle can be produced using your machines vrs Nautilus or the many others out there the difference would be microscopic!!! Until you can demonstrate some actual bodybuilders who have gotten superior results with you machines and methods please stop with the negative flack at other methods. You have produced no evidence at this point what so ever to substantiate your methods work at all!! It’s all theory/talk.


avatar db144 June 14, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Where are your results? I see much talking but no studies or before and after pictures. Keep talking as it hides the truth of the failed protocol.


avatar Joshua Trentine June 15, 2012 at 9:23 am

“Results” happen across a vast continuum in exercise and rehabilitation.

It sounds like what you’re looking for is a demonstration of physique improvements and perhaps your physique requires such. We certainly can help you with this.

While we can (and will) provide many examples of results (including physique improvements) in the coming posts, we hope that by now you understand that observable improvements in human muscularity from strength building exercise, are directly associated with dietary discipline in a 90%-10% relationship, diet being 90% and exercise 10%.

At the far end of the spectrum, (proper) strength training can be very efficient and more effective (Renaissance Exercise) or it can be less efficient and with inconsistent effectiveness (traditional approaches). Whether any approach contributes to visible physique changes is only a product of individual genetics and eating in such as way as to expose them.

Our position is that anyone can choose to do innumerable activities that may or may not alter your physique. RenEx is simply the safest, most effective and most efficient method.

Best wishes on getting the results you need.

RenEx Team


avatar JesseS June 15, 2012 at 2:34 am

The Xforce machines can be unplugged to eliminate accentuating the negative; wouldnt the subject now have more choice as to how to proceed to act upon the machine? wouldnt a cam profile be a function acting upon a subject depending on how said machine is used?


avatar Joshua Trentine June 15, 2012 at 9:27 am


X-Force cam or lack there of is covered later in the article.



avatar Donnie Hunt June 15, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Been thinking about the whole “volitional effort” thing. If i’m understanding you guys from reading various things: The trainee ideally is put into an environment where she/he can exert with all thier effort. They don’t have to concern themselves with speed, or holding back toward the end of a given exercise like you would with freeweights or conventional machines? From my own experience and the equipment I have worked out on, I know I have to concern my self with consciously slowing down to avoid an abrupt stop. Also being concerned with getting out of a sometimes awkward or maybe potentially dangerous position with certain exercises. I read where someone said using the RenEx overhead press was like “lifting heavy air”.


avatar Craig June 15, 2012 at 9:28 pm

I’m not buying into this notion that there are exercise machines where the machine acts on the user (dumpers), and there are exercise machines where the subject acts on the machine (free weights and conventional machines).  That kind of division does  not square with Newton’s third law:

“To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction: or the mutual actions of two bodies upon each other are always equal, and directed to contrary parts. — Whatever draws or presses another is as much drawn or pressed by that other. If you press a stone with your finger, the finger is also pressed by the stone. If a horse draws a stone tied to a rope, the horse (if I may so say) will be equally drawn back towards the stone: for the distended rope, by the same endeavour to relax or unbend itself, will draw the horse as much towards the stone, as it does the stone towards the horse, and will obstruct the progress of the one as much as it advances that of the other”.  (from Wikipedia)

To me, Newton’s 3rd law makes it clear that any time a subject interacts with any resistance based exercise machine, the machine acts on the subject just as much as the subject acts on the machine.  It has to be that way according to the laws of physics.

I think what does matter is the issue of who (or what) controls the level of force generated by that interaction.   And here there is a clear distinction.  There are cases where the machine controls the force of the interaction (weight stack machines) and cases where the user controls the force of the interaction (isometric, isokinetic).   

I think it would be more useful to examine these alternative machines from that perspective.


avatar Ben Tucker June 15, 2012 at 10:47 pm

“we hope that by now you understand that observable improvements in human muscularity from strength building exercise, are directly associated with dietary discipline in a 90%-10% relationship, diet being 90% and exercise 10%.”


That is the most profound and simply put way of stating the painfully obvious. Thank you.

I have clients that want the incredible change in physique and I start, right off the cuff, by stating the same exact thing you’ve said. It seems to be disheartening for most. It’s as if they’d prefer the lie. And when they don’t achieve the physique they desire… they blame the program.

It’s been an interesting 2 years of training people. Some do quite well, but most are simply not up to the commitment.


avatar John Parr June 15, 2012 at 10:59 pm

A perfect example in favor of the Renex argument would have to be the automobile. Imagine how dangerous and destructive and automobile could be if it made the user drive it 40% faster than you wanted it to go? 40% faster in all circumstances! 40% faster regardless of the weather or road conditions! 40% faster whether you wanted it to or not! While it wouldn’t pull you inside, belt you in and force you to drive it, once you did you would understand why it’s not a stupid argument. So, you judge the superiority of a training method by the finished product of someone’s physique. Perhaps the Renex team should hand pick a few genetically gifted test subjects who use steroids and growth hormone, and let them lie about using drugs, put them through 3 Renex workouts and gain 30 pounds of muscle to prove to you that it is superior.


avatar Donnie Hunt June 16, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Trying to see you guys perspective on everything the best I can without having read Ken’s book. May get around to ordering that eventually. For so long I have been of the mind set, “lift heavy weight”. You can tell this from my post up above. Trying wrap my brain around all the stuff I have read on here and when Josh was still talking about this stuff on drdarden.com.


avatar Joshua Trentine July 17, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Donnie, internal cues always trump external…..”lifting a heavy weight” is secondary to the metabolic experience.


avatar marklloyd July 17, 2012 at 12:39 pm

I’m convinced: 1/of the serious shortcomings of all dumpers in use up to the present moment, and 2/ that RenEx protocol makes negative hyper-loading unnecessary. Nonetheless, as my personal experience is that I can lower heavier items than I can lift, and slow the descent of weights that I can’t hold statically, I must wonder: Might there be a future technology that solves the current problems? Perhaps a double-cam?


avatar Joshua Trentine July 17, 2012 at 9:35 pm


Not only is negative hyper-loading unnecessary with with RenEx protocol it’s impossible, by rep three the negatives are running you over if you have any lapse in attention.

I thought we dispelled any “problems” and highlighted the fact that mechanical and behavioral faults are what allow for absorbing more load on the negative. It only takes 1 set on RenEx to dispel this idea.

I would like to introduce the technology that allows for the most consistent muscular loading in a few more days.


avatar Aloysiusmiller Miller August 4, 2012 at 7:17 pm

I am a slow burn enthusiast who stumbled across this site. The substance of the writing is interesting but lose the pretentious vocabulary and grammar. It is silly.


avatar Joshua Trentine August 4, 2012 at 7:33 pm
avatar marklloyd August 5, 2012 at 1:51 pm

How about you just call yourself “Al” then?


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