Jan
6
2012

Dumpers

38 comments written by Joshua Trentine

Dumpers

Part I

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

What are “dumpers?” Dumpers represent a new class of strength-training equipment designed to hyperload the negative phase of the typical two-phase, dynamic excursion.

Dumpers are manufactured with competing methods to accomplish negative-phase hyperloading. Some, like the X-ForceTM, employ a tilting weight stack that reduces the load during the positive phase by tilting the weight-stack header. Then a motor drives the header into the vertical position to effect a heavier negative.

For instance, if the header is tilted 45 degrees off the vertical orientation during the positive (Sine 45 degrees = .707) 100 lbs. on the weight stack becomes an effective 70.7 lbs. of load (not accounting for friction). And erecting the weight-stack header for the negative phase is a 29.3 lbs. increase over 70.7 lbs. This provides a 41.4% (~40%) resistance increase compared to the positive.

X-Force has devised some interesting mechanics to accomplish the positive-to-negative cycling of the header orientation to provide negative dumping. There are other companies approaching this issue in different ways and we will address those a little later.

The cool-factor of such wiz-bang exercise technology easily blinds most subjects and their instructors to the unnecessary dangers of its implementation. We make these assertions because of two major arguments. The first resides in the history of negative-only loading. This history has inappropriately led to a false dictum that the negative phase of the exercise is more important for muscular stimulation than the positive. The second argument resides in the lack of proper mechanics built into all previously designed exercise equipment, particularly the weight-driven designs. Once these arguments are appreciated, the dumpers really have no place in the market.

The History of Negative-Only Loading

At least within the context of Nautilus Philosophy, negative-only and negative-accentuated loading gained prominence because of what might be termed negative null loading. This null loading was highlighted by the early-1970s advent of isokinetics exercise devices such as the Cybex dynomometers and the Mini-Gym and Leaper products based on the friction-reel principle. Such devices provided positive-only resistance. In fact, they advertised the so-called benefits of positive-only exercise as though the negative phase of the exercise had no benefits—a clever approach to the fact that their products were devoid of negative work potential.

Nautilus founder, Arthur Jones needed a way to combat the popularity of these devices and devised his Ten Requirements of Full-Range Exercise to do so. In his list of the Ten Requirements he included:

1. Rotary Resistance
2. Direct Resistance
3. Variable Resistance
4. Balanced Resistance
5.  Positive Work
6.  Negative Work
7.  Stretching
8.  Pre-Stretching
9.  Resistance in the Position of Full Muscular Contraction
10. Unrestricted Speed of Motion

The Ten Requirements deserve a complete explanation. Also deserved are the arguments showing that most of Arthur’s support for the Ten Requirements is invalid. We provide this in other materials.

Suffice it to say for the benefit of this treatise: Arthur emphasized that, without negative-work potential, most of his Ten Requirements were missing from an exercise, thus leaving the exercise mostly useless. For instance, without negative-work potential rotary resistance, direct resistance, variable resistance and balanced resistance were only partially provided. And negative work (of course), stretching, pre-stretching and resistance in the position of full muscular contraction were totally missing.

Arthur then went on to produce expensive, heavy-duty, negative-only exercise devices then known as the Omni line of Nautilus machines. These upper-body machines provided the subject a way to lift the weights with the legs and lower with the arms. They were termed Omni because they also allowed for the normal style of training whereby the arms both lifted and lowered the weight.

And for the lower-body exercises, negative-only work was provided by heroic measures. At Nautilus headquarters in Lake Helen, Florida, ladders were available in the exercise area to allow instructors to climb onto the weight stacks to ride them down after the subject raised a manageable weight or the weight was raised for him by one or more instructors. Visitors saw this and sometimes incorporated the practice into their own Nautilus facilities. Fingers of instructors so engaged were sometimes severed in the machinery’s sprockets.

And with conventional equipment, such as the barbell, teammates of football teams (and others) would gather around the barbell to lift it for the subject and then attempt to hand-off en-mass to the subject so as to evenly load him. Such was reckless and dangerous.

Nautilus created such a stir regarding the importance of negative work that positive work almost fell into disfavor. The pendulum of favor had swung from the idiotic extreme left to the idiotic extreme right. As part of this, Arthur repeatedly enjoyed telling the 1975 story of the football player who risked his professional contract and the $80,000 bonus paid to him by the Bengals, because the player could not chin himself. The Bengals desperately begged the Nautilus people to enable the player to become able to chin within 12 days. Nautilus put him through a series of negative-only chinning workouts, thus strengthening him to chin himself positively and thus keep his contract. Negative-only chins truly enabled this dramatic turnaround, but this approach is rarely worth the injury risk with the typical workout subjects, much less rehabilitation subjects. There are better approaches.

Another story that Arthur told to the point of ad nauseum was the old gag about the square wheel being supposedly improved by reducing its number of bumps from four to three. He used this to underscore the ignorance of those in the isokinetics camp who removed negative work from the exercise and then pointed to its deletion as an improvement.

What completely escaped all Nautilus people in those years—including Ken Hutchins for a while—was the fact that the Nautilus machines—due to excessive friction—hypoloaded the negative phase. Ken eventually explained this to Arthur Jones, and was fired in 1986, because Ken refused to back down on the subject.

In the early 1990s, Maria Fiatarone and her team at Tufts University conducted a large-scale osteoporosis study. Although the misunderstandings propagated regarding exercise with regard to speed, force, balance and other issues are too numerous to mention in this article, we herein implicate the study’s inappropriate emphasis on negative hyperloading with Kaiser® Exercise Equipment.

At or about the same time, Michael MacMillan, M.D., produced a line of negative-only equipment, a laNautilus. Ken Hutchins was advised on several occasions by members of the Nautilus old guard that he should investigate these innovative machines. Little did they understand that Ken was already working to correct the mechanical deficiencies that entice the uninformed to embrace such devices.

Within the past year, in an attempt to explain to some of the Nautilus old guard that dumpers are a mistake, his listeners reminded Ken of the immense value of negative-only exercise as if Ken had not been at Nautilus for 10 years to witness it himself. Indeed, Ken was part of the macho nonsense that occurred during the Nautilus heyday and the fever-pitched passion regarding the magic of negative-only exercise. Ken, however, has since learned better. Apparently, many others have not.

Next Time:

In Part II of our Dumpers series, we will explore the mechanical deficiencies in exercise equipment that led to the myth that negative loading is superior to positive loading.

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Jonas Olofsson January 6, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Some questions after reading the RoE:

1. Without an endstop, would you still do the squeeze tech?

2. Is there compounds where you dont squeeze?

3. Without a neck machine, is shrugs the way to go or is there something better to do (in the generic routine).

4. TSC, are they to be done without rest between the 3 sets?

5. Could/should you do them in a machine eg. doing flyes in Nautilus 10 degree?

6. How do you determine the frequency?

The book was excellent and I learned so much, will try to come to you in march if I can find a flight from Sweden to Ohio.

//Jonas

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avatar Joshua Trentine January 7, 2012 at 12:32 am

Jonas, I tried to answer these the best I could under each of your questions. I combined #’s 1 & 2 into one answer below #2.

1. Without an endstop, would you still do the squeeze tech?

2. Is there compounds where you dont squeeze?

-Squeeze technique was designed to be used on all single joint exercises , Compound Row and and Pull Down, the technique was designed to be used against bodily congestion.-

3. Without a neck machine, is shrugs the way to go or is there something better to do (in the generic routine).

-Shugs do not address the muscle/joint function of the neck musculature, there are much better ways without a “neck machine”, we’ll be discussing more in a article that we’ll realease in April.

4. TSC, are they to be done without rest between the 3 sets?

-TSC is done for a single set.

5. Could/should you do them in a machine eg. doing flyes in Nautilus 10 degree?

-All single joint exercise, admittedly this gets pretty hard with independent movement arms and nautilus cams, although even Nautilus philosophy encouraged something of the like on this machine.

6. How do you determine the frequency?

-of what? exercise recommendations were in RoE

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avatar AShortt January 6, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Having experimented with N.O. and N.A. extensively throughout the years (on self and clients) I have never seen any reason to make serious allowances for it.

Regards,
Andrew

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avatar Joshua Trentine January 7, 2012 at 12:36 am

I desperately hoped and tried to make these methods work for many years….ended up learning the hard way.

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avatar Doug McGuff, MD January 6, 2012 at 8:41 pm

With a proper cam, low friction, good turnarounds and a squeeze technique, you will have all the negative you will ever want (or can stand).

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avatar Joshua Trentine January 7, 2012 at 12:49 am

The only way that I think we’ll get across how profound this effect is will be experientially.

Ken recently did a new cam for the Leg Extension, it literally scared the shit out of me after ONLY the FIRST upper turn, I have no words to describe the 4th turn after the Squeeze Technique, there is no way you would want a pound increase after feeling this. I use leg Ext because it’s fresh on my mind, but we get a run away negative on any RenEx piece.

The Dumper is needed because the cams are so far off and because of friction based respites or full body bracing that needs to be made up for.

I really appreciate the engineering on something like X-Force and I’m sure it improves on Nautilus Nitro- level technology, but it’s just covering up what’s wrong with the machine.

Additionally, I think people are still brain washed by a bunch of the “Negative” hype from Nautilus….that being said, after all we’ve put up here I can’t imagine that anyone still believes that the muscle is capable of producing any more force on the negative…the muscle produces THE SAME force whether lifting, lowering, or holding… only constraints keep us from experiencing the same load in different phases.

Joshua

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avatar Gus Diamantopoulos January 6, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Dr. McGuff’s single sentence successfully articulates our entire argument.

gus

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avatar Joshua Trentine January 7, 2012 at 1:04 am

lol…I guess I didn’t have to write all of that then…oh well…

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avatar Daniël Niks January 7, 2012 at 5:09 am

Interesting… I ‘tried’ the X-Force equipment at FIBO 2010 (in Germany), but the machines didn’t quite feel right. I later tried some of the Med-X machinery and these provided a more direct and balanced resistance throughout the full range of motion, without much friction at all.
Will I have the possibility to experience using machines incorporating this ‘dumper’ technology/design at FIBO this year?

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avatar Joshua Trentine January 7, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Daniël ,
There is no way we could know where they will show up, we have no affiliation with any of these companies and believe that the technology is unnecessary and used to cover up machine design flaws. I don’t believe any of the companies are international, but I really don’t know enough to say that certainly.

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avatar Daniël Niks January 8, 2012 at 11:46 am

Joshua,

I obviously misunderstood the content of the article. The question that I should have asked was:

Will your equipment (that has no need for ‘dumper’ technology as I understand it now) be presented on FIBO and if so, will I be able to experience a workout like MCGuff went through?

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avatar Joshua Trentine January 8, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Daniël,

I would love to give you the RenEx experience, but I will not be bringing the machines to Germany this year.

Joshua

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avatar Ken Hutchins January 7, 2012 at 7:57 am

We mentioned the “Nautilus old guard” almost as if we forgot to directly mention that I was one of the old guard. Indeed, in those days I was the most ferocious of all of Arthur’s little henchmen!

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avatar Joshua Trentine January 7, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Ken,

Vaulable experiences….nearly everything we/I advise against I’ve had to learn first hand.

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avatar Scott Springston January 9, 2012 at 12:14 pm

What completely escaped all Nautilus people in those years—including Ken Hutchins for a while—was the fact that the Nautilus machines—due to excessive friction—hypoloaded the negative phase. Ken eventually explained this to Arthur Jones, and was fired in 1986, because Ken refused to back down on the subject.

==Scott==
Wow Ken, is it really true that you were fired just because you refused to back down on is?? I always figured you had just left Nautilus on your own account? Was there was more to it??
Also, I must be confused here as it says due to excessive friction the negative phase was hypoloaded?? It seems like the excessive friction of some Nautilus made for less effort to be displayed on the negative not more??

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avatar Joshua Trentine January 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Scott,

Hypoloaded means under loaded or a friction based respite.

I will have to ask Ken to comment about the outcome of his friction stance.

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avatar Scott Springston January 10, 2012 at 9:52 am

==Scott==
Boy those terms like hypoloaded sure are missleading. When I see hypo or something like it I think hyper or more . It’s quite obvious that Nautilus is underloaded in the negative . Some day I hope to change the bearings etc to try and remedy that. With all his brains it’s hard to imagine why Jones would fight that but then again maybe it was a money issue?

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avatar Joshua Trentine January 10, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Hyper= over or above

Hypo= under or below

avatar Joshua Trentine January 10, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Arthur Jones fired Ken Hutchins in June of 1986, because Ken demonstrated to Arthur that the friction in the Nautilus equipment was excessive. Ken tried to keep this criticism confidential with Arthur, but Arthur exposed it publicly to keep Ken in line. Ken politely refused to acquiesce.

Four months later, Ken was rehired by the regime that purchased Nautilus from Arthur.

Ken walked off the job in February 1988.

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avatar Scott Springston January 12, 2012 at 2:34 pm

==Scott==

It’s to bad they couldn’t have worked together better. No telling what they both could have come up with in all this time since the 80’s had they stayed a team and Arthur wasn’t so bull headed.

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avatar John Tatore January 7, 2012 at 8:27 am
avatar Jonas Olofsson January 7, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Thx for your answers. Some points that I dident address correctly the first time:

1. Without end stops, should Istill do squeeze tech?

2. In RoE, TSC is described to be done in 3 30 second “sets”. Should they be done without rest?

3. Frequency of workouts is well described in RoE, BUT, how do you determine when to train once every 4 days, 5 days, 7 days etc?

4. Im training my wife who has a bad neck, could you give me some advices how to help her right now?

Thx in advance.

//Jonas

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avatar Joshua Trentine January 7, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Jonas,

-Squeeze technique should be considered on single joint exercises, Compound Row and Pull Down, it was originally conceived to be used without an end-stop, as a matter of fact End Stop Technique may be a better descriptor for the latest version.

-TSC is only done as a single set, the gradations you are reading are all in that one set.

-I’m not sure if I can add more beyond RoE at this time.

-I am not comfortable consulting about neck exercise in short form and without hands on instruction, if such confusion exists when describing TSC the subject of neck exercise is likely to lead to more.

Joshua

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avatar Jonas olofsson January 8, 2012 at 2:04 am

I appreciate your answers.

//Jonas

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avatar Donnie Hunt January 8, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Guys, this stuff is great! Some of this stuff is over my head and some of it makes so much sense. So it’s the tools that can give the illusion that one is stronger in the negative phase of an exercise?

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avatar Joshua Trentine January 8, 2012 at 11:23 pm

The “tool” can create a Negative respite.

A person has the ability to absorb forces on the Neg, this can be seen with dimmished surface electromyography readings.

The best exercise is going to give us feedback about how well we contract as compared to how much harsh loading we can absorb.

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avatar Donnie Hunt January 10, 2012 at 4:40 pm

I want to see if I’m up to speed on some things: Use the lowest load necessary to minimize wear and tear. Attempt to keep tension on the muscles throughout the entire duration of the exercise. Move at a speed that allows you to keep tension on the muscles throughout the exercise. No sudden starting or stopping of movement….

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avatar Donnie Hunt January 10, 2012 at 7:41 pm

I haven’t been exercising / working out much lately. I still have an interest in all this stuff though.

To me it seems like you guys get right to the core of what is really relevant and what is ideal. Things like strength being strength. Not explosive strength, and all these other types of strength. Addressing the different parts of the body with safe movements. Movements that truly match the functions of those bodyparts.

I’m curious about the TSCs. Is there ever a reason to do these in an ideal setting with RenEx machines? Other than working around an injury? I’m not even sure if that’s what you guys use them for.

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avatar Joshua Trentine January 13, 2012 at 2:01 am

Hey Donnie

TSC is defined in the manual, I’ll get to your other question when i get a minute.

JOSHUA

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avatar Andy January 11, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Joshua,

I also bought and read TRoE and it´s really an excellent book!
I would love to get the RenEx experience, but I´m living in Germany and I read above that unfortunately you won´t be bringing your machines to the FIBO this year. Hopefully next year!!!

Concerning the book I have 2 questions:
1. The suggested INTERMEDIATE ROUTINE (page 104) and the SUPPLEMENTED GENERIC ROUTINE (page 237) begin with two single joint movements – calf exercise and lower back – before leg press etc..
Why is the sequence built that way and not beginning with leg press, pulldown, chest press…?

2. Why is it so important to minimize the rest between exercises, aside from a profound cardiovascular and metabolic effect – just looking at the muscle growth stimulus for every targeted muscle group?
Please let me explain:
When reading chapter 8 of TRoE “Intensity vs. Work in Exercise” one question arose in me that I couldn´t answer myself.
I understand the theoretical background and the two tables that are provided in this chapter. But looking at these two scenarios from a different perspektive – why should it be beneficial for the targeted muscle group to start an exercise with a reduced starting strength if this previous inroad isn´t based on a direct stimulus for that targeted muscle?
For example: An advanced subject uses the suggested routine on page 104 – 1. Leg Press 2. Pulldown 3. Ventral Torso.
The subject performs the leg press first and with nearly no rest begins the pulldown with a reduced starting strength of maybe 20%.
Why is the resulting growth stimulus specific for all the targeted pulling muscles of the upper body superior to a growth stimulus when beginning the pulldown with a fresh starting strength?
The inroad provided through the leg press is not specific for the pulling muscles, it´s a general depletion of liver and muscle glycogen stores, a general reduction of ATP and CP levels and of course a specific reduction of these energy substrates in the lower body muscle groups. The resulting depth of inroad into the upper back muscles is greater of course, just because the subject is somewhat prefatigued in general and can´t use all previously available energy substrates anymore.
But does this mean a superior growth stimulus for his upper back?
Let me say it another way: The subject could mow the lawn for two hours just before beginning his routine. His upper back would be prefatigued somewhat and the depth of inroad after the pulldown would be greater too, compared to a level of resulting inroad after beginning the exercise in a complete recovered state. Provided the subject trains to failure in both scenarios.
But does this mean a superior growth stimulus for his upper back?

I suspect just looking at the factor “inroad” isn´t the complete answer to finding the most efficient and efficacious stimulus for muscle growth.
Please let me know your opinion!

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avatar Joshua Trentine January 12, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Andy,

I’m posting this for Ken Hutchins.

I haven’t had time myself to read your questions yet. I would like to keep the comments in line with the actual blog post though.
==============================================
I believe that you are too much compartmentalizing the multiple effects of the exercise. They are all connected. Maximizing one positive effect is not at the expense of another. To redirect a common retort from Dr. Philip Alexander when confronting those who overlook the effect of this protocol on the vascular system (We can use the same answer for your question about muscular growth or for any other factor that we can reasonably expect to improve through exercise.): “It’s a packaged deal.”

Please ruminate on Dr. Alexander’s quip. It deserves more than a mere pause. In some respects it justifies years of reflection!

The major message of the Intensity vs Work chapter is that the subject derives the best muscular stimulus as well as the best global stimulus while minimizing time, force, and counterproductive work if delimiting the rest intervals between exercises.

Note: During Casey Viator’s workouts administered by Arthur Jones, Casey’s ears were purple!
================================================

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avatar Andy January 13, 2012 at 4:11 am

Joshua,

Thank you very much for your answer!
In sports science there is the widely accepted SAID principle: Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. IMO in this case it would mean:
If you strictly delimit the rest intervals between exercises you impose demands that shift the possible adaptations toward the cardiovascular system and away from the adaptations concerning muscular growth and strength. It doesn´t mean that you get one or the other, just that the emphasis of the adaptation is directed to the most pronounced demand…more cardiovascular adaptation and less muscular growth and strength.

I will ruminate on Dr. Alexander´s quip!

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avatar Joshua Trentine January 14, 2012 at 2:54 am

“If you strictly delimit the rest intervals between exercises you impose demands that shift the possible adaptations toward the cardiovascular system and away from the adaptations concerning muscular growth and strength. It doesn´t mean that you get one or the other, just that the emphasis of the adaptation is directed to the most pronounced demand…more cardiovascular adaptation and less muscular growth and strength”

Andy,
We do not agree with your statement.

Maximizing one positive effect is not at the expense of another.

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avatar Andy January 14, 2012 at 6:56 am

Thanks Joshua for your answer.
I´m just a motivated trainee who tries to find the most efficient and effective way to train for body and health.
I don´t know which statement is right and sometimes I find it frustrating to be confronted with such a diversity of statements from experts of this field. I think there are some experts from the HIT group who would have a similar opinion like mine expressed above concerning rest intervals between exercises.
Maybe you are right, I don´t know.

avatar Donnie Hunt January 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Does the negative phase of a lift cause more microtrauma than the positive phase?

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avatar Donnie Hunt January 12, 2012 at 8:52 pm

I’ll try to keep my comments and questions pertaining to the article.

Is there anything exclusive to the negative that is productive? I’ve heard and read that during the negative there is more potential for microtrauma.

So the body uses the same amount of energy and muscle involvement during the positive and the negative? This would of be on ideal equipment and keeping the speed slow enough?

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avatar Brian Liebler January 13, 2012 at 8:02 am

RenEx Team,
I’m enjoying reading TRoE and have a question which pertains to me, possibly others. I had low back surgery 5 yrs ago L4 to S1 with hardware.
Prior to surgery I trained SS since 91. I sometimes have a problem with the various leg press machines available. At times it appears to ache just above the fusion and at times the muscles get inflamed due to the hardware.

I understand, as pointed out, that the pre-ex problem with the leg press is the hips, however the only hip movements I have available is the AD/AB. Besides, my but is big enough from over 25 yrs of deep squats.

For the past 5 yrs I always pre-ex my frontal thigh with leg ex. In this way the weight used in the leg press is less and protects my low back. Very much like “Intensity vs Work”. A “very good problem” which I have is I’m pretty strong in the leg press, even with slow turn arounds and slow cadence.
I’m now considering TSC leg ex prior to leg press and perhaps doing free squats. These would be in my A routine with my B being AD/AB, lex ex/leg/curl. I’m training every 5 to 6 days and sometimes 7 as 2 leg movements makes a pretty deep inroad.

Last year there was some discussion about posting a video with body weight exercises. I see an illustration by Ken Hutchins(TSC machines) with a women ready to do a dynamic squat on a multi-purpose machine. A video would be helpful.

Anyway, thanks for all of you, especially Ken Hutchins for starting all of this. I have through SS Protocol vol 1&2 influenced many, especially now that myself and most of my friends approach 60.
Brian Liebler

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avatar Joshua Trentine January 15, 2012 at 1:32 am

Andy,

You are welcome.

The major message of the Intensity vs Work chapter is that the subject derives the best muscular stimulus as well as the best global stimulus while minimizing time, force, and counterproductive work if delimiting the rest intervals between exercises.

Joshua

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