Form Follows Function

34 comments written by Gus Diamantopoulos

Introducing the Ventral Torso by


RenEx Equipment Logo

From the beginning, innovation and progress have been at the heart of the Renaissance Exercise ethic.

In practice, this means a never-ending pursuit to discover better ways to exercise.

Evolving standards for instruction, improved methods for performance and groundbreaking technologies for our equipment are all part of a network of practical strategies to create more efficient and effective systems to experience the Renaissance Exercise protocol.

The new Ventral Torso machine by RenEx Equipment® is a perfect example of this synergy. 

ventral torso

Start with the name: Ventral Torso

The moniker is more than just a new name badge. It identifies the function of this radical interpretation of a compound pushing movement thus satisfying a little-understood characteristic of the pectoral structures. 

Beyond any ordinary chest press, the unique design of this machine truly connects the user to the entire ventral musculature. The arms, shoulders, chest, and mid section combine to produce a triad of press, dip, and trunk flexion, all in perfect synchronization for a global upper body experience unlike any other.

Form indeed follows function.

Like the other machines in its cohort, the entire machine has been impeccably overhauled.

The familiar elegance of its asymmetrical frame reveals refined upgrades like a solid aluminum cam, integral add-on weights, and the patented RenEx UltraGlide® top plate and tunable Freedom Stack® for ultra-low friction resistance delivery.   

ventral torso_2And a micro-adjustable end-stop delimiter serves to deeply enhance the performance of the squeeze technique in an inspiring new way. 

To address the challenge of misbehaving shoulders as well as start-position discrepancies, a multifaceted new movement arm was developed with straight handles that enable collinear adjustment from narrow to wide. Now you can tailor hand spacing to individual subjects and accommodate everyone from petite females to the most strapping males, all with a higher level of comfort than ever before.  

ventral torso_3After fastening the seat-belt and setting your hands on the new, firm handles, gradually begin out of the start position and you can feel the magnetic attraction to the tailored upholstery, a sublime feeling of security and a hint of the exhilarating intensity to come. 

As you proceed through the range of motion, the nearly friction-less apparatus practically recedes making you the center of attention and sparking your muscles to life.

The new Ventral Torso by RenEx Equipment® delivers a merging of design and technology, unsurpassed attention to detail and the dedicated care that the RenEx TEAM gives to the entire protocol and philosophy.

Stay tuned….We have lots more to come!

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Drew Baye May 30, 2011 at 10:49 am

This also looks great. I can’t wait to see what Ken has done with the leg press, pulldown and shoulder press machines.

Will there also be updated Linear Spine Machines?


avatar Joshua Trentine May 30, 2011 at 11:16 am

Everything has been revised, improved and re-engineered or built brand new from the ground up.


avatar Mario Di Leonardo,MD May 30, 2011 at 11:25 am

OMG. Another incredible movement involving NATURALLY a number of muscle groups!
Mentzer would have been proud. Kudos, gentlemen.
BTW, pls call me Mario- we are all friends and students here! M


avatar Joshua Trentine May 30, 2011 at 4:11 pm


The complex innate movement synergy pattern here is awesome, it feels so good and it’s inclusive of so much.

I really think this is the only way to go if you are trying to follow Mentzer’s stuff.


avatar Michael Petrella May 30, 2011 at 11:43 am

Things are moving along nicely for you Josh. The machines look awesome. You are putting inovation into these machines not seen since the earliest MEDX days. Can’t wait to come down to Ohio and try them out. I wish you continued success.



avatar Joshua Trentine May 30, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Thanks Michael!


avatar Russ Wakefield May 30, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Your teasing us! Revealing these beauts one machine at a time! It’s torture but its like a good workout. We will be glad when get to see them all. Anticipation makes it fun.



avatar Joshua Trentine May 30, 2011 at 3:57 pm

We just took the photos last weekend, we’re writing the descriptions as we go, it takes a good bit of time to pull each blog together.


avatar Russ Wakefield May 30, 2011 at 1:18 pm

I’ll have to scrap any Medx purchase I guess


avatar Joshua Trentine May 30, 2011 at 3:51 pm


Some time after training on the RenEx gear Al Coleman did a workout on MedX stuff, he said to me after “don’t let me waste another workout on that stuff, it feels disjointed and sloppy by comparison”.

I still get some use out of a retrofit version of MedX Chest press, which is great if you’re looking for a chest exercise otherwise I’m not finding much use for their gear. If your model is going toward a consolidated approach the MedX stuff just won’t cut it.

Ken was actually hopeful, at one point, that MedX would relieve him from having to build machines.


avatar ad ligtvoet May 30, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Hi Joshua,
I”m really curious how performing on this exercise would feel to the body by involving many muscles of the front of the body. The difference I felt when working for the first time on the med-x and nautilus equipment compared to conventional equipment was amazing and the same can I say of the few times I tried equipment from x-force . I’m still trying to come as close as possible to the perfect performance on the nautilus equipment I have .And this brings me to the following. I commented to the article of april 11 with the question below regarding my legpress performance.
On april 20 I wrote:
Regarding the fact that the negative should also become harder I must say that it does but not that much as compared to the positive ( I feel indeed a relief in breathing at the earlier repetitions) . Since I have to use a faster speed in the negative this takes a bit more to control to not drop the weight at the turnaround especially when fatigue (shaking) becomes more pronounced. At the leg press for instance I had to push with all I got to make the positive but still could handle the negative although I couldn’t start the next rep so I pushed for 5 seconds without movement. I also have a dead stop but used it so that I couldn’t extend my legs completely and I understand that if I used it at the last rep that my fatigue would be deeper and the negative probably harder , but that would only be on the last repetition.( I tried the deadstop before and I feel a rest moment when I contract hard at that point if done during the earlier repetitions, so never used it on the last pepetition ).Would you say that in this situation I should use a heavier weight? Then I must push harder earlier in the set on the positive and this can lead to a shorter tul. What would be the best option ?
Is this slowly starting of a set for 3-5 seconds done to eliminate momentum at the start ?
Your answer on april 21:
It takes 3 to 5 seconds just to couple into the machine, finding all of your contact points and loading gradually will lead to a better connection throughout the set.

with any significant loads an attempt any faster will cause a harsh loading….kinda of a full body bracing compared to a targeted load up. This behavior can only lead to more morphing during the set.

i cannot comment on the load selection issue with your leg press example, perhaps a video may give me enough info to critique.

I finally uploaded a video of me performimg the legpress on youtube on the channel of myogeen . See work out 29-05 part one. If time permits maybe you can comment on it and/or give some advice.
Thank you in advance,


avatar Al Coleman May 31, 2011 at 5:44 pm


A few quick comments.

First-I like the manner in which you approach your training.

The main thing I’d work on is your turnarounds. When doing an exercise whereyour stoke exceeds the machines, make sure you allow the stack to “barely touch” on every rep. You need this for consistency. Try to make your turnarounds an uniterrupted, almost imperceptible “U-turn”. The more fluid and seemless you can make this, the better. do the same for the turn around at the top. You’ll be suprised by how much more intense this makes things. This is the essence of the Ren-Ex protocol. Without masterfully beautiful turns, there is no protocol.

The next thing would be to make sure that your chin remains a fist distance from your sternum on most exercises. On a few I noticed that your next looked rather extended.

Third, instead of blowing air out through puckered lips, try lifelessly hanging your jaw off your face as though it were detached. Make sure you are NOT holding your breath and then forget your breathing.

Hope this helps. I look forward to seeing your progress.



avatar ad ligtvoet June 1, 2011 at 3:57 am

Hi Al ,
Thank you for your time and advice.
Do you think that I need to reduce the resistance when implementing your points? This because the tul was about 60 seconds and when improving the turnarounds leads to more intensity this would then reduce my tul .A longer tul would however mean that ,with my equipment ,the the effort would be lower for a longer time.I feel comfortable with the used resistance but have also the idea that a bit longer tul would mean a better stimulus . That is the reason why Idid a second set on the 45 degree leg press directly after the first set.
Any comments on the seat position?
You are right about the neck and breathing issue . These are things that I lose track of during the exercise , so videos are really eye opening , supervision would make a difference .Funny is that I instruct my clients to do these things correct and at the same time I don’t do them correct myself although I thought I did . Luckely I train by myself so they didn’t see it.
Great you and the team put so much time in promoting exercise as intense and safe as possible.


avatar Joe A May 31, 2011 at 11:27 am

I love the synergistic movement patterns that are promoted by your method, as opposed to isolated joint function (which has its place too). However, I believe you are re-defining “functional training” for the exercise industry. The sophisitication of the designs seem to allow for the complexity of these coordinative movements, something that simply is not available with conventional machine training. And you’ve thought of every client- enough resistance for the strongest athlete, yet enough adjustments to accomodate the limitations of rehabilitative patients. Congratulations, gentlemen- I believe these are game-changers.


avatar Joshua Trentine May 31, 2011 at 2:48 pm


Joe, I was actually thinking of writing an article called “more functional than functional training”

IMO many times manufacturers are trying to make compound exercises into quasi single joint exercises and ignoring the complex innate synergy pattern.


avatar Richard C May 31, 2011 at 4:44 pm

I envy the people that get to use this equipment.
How well I know the benefits of training with Josh.
The best just got better….


avatar Hugh May 31, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Will there be the ability to upgrade Ken’s older pieces?


avatar Joshua Trentine May 31, 2011 at 5:23 pm


We are not going that direction at this time.

Thanks for stopping by sir


avatar Joshua Trentine May 31, 2011 at 5:19 pm


Thank You for taking the time to check this out, i’m hoping the desert is treating you well 😉

Stay in touch,


avatar Andy June 1, 2011 at 6:55 am

in the previous post Josh mentioned that the squeeze technique should be part of every method. For me this always meant holding the weight in the most difficult point of the range of motion for 1 or 2 seconds in order to intensify the stimulus. According to your answer to Ad I am wrong. Please give me an answer to understand this important topic. Thanks Andy


avatar Joshua Trentine June 1, 2011 at 9:45 am

Working towards a “squeeze” is important in any method. This concept is more universal with single joint, rotary form movements and compound pulling movements.

IMO “hold” is not an appropriate cue or intent in any method.

“Squeeze technique” is specific to RenEx equipment and can be done on ANY of our exercises.

I’m defining ‘squeeze’ as a muscle control technique, universally applicable and “squeeze technique” as a method dependent on equipment.


avatar Andy June 1, 2011 at 11:38 am

Thank you Josh!
Sorry, did I understand your answer: To hold the weight at the point of greatest resistance for 1 or 2 seconds is no method to intensify the stimulus regardless of equipment used?
The motion should always be as fluid and seemless as possible especially at the turnarounds…is that the right description?


avatar Ed Hovanik June 1, 2011 at 10:33 am

RenEx team

I thought the current Ventral Torso at the Beachwood facility was as close to perfection as one could attain. It is the only chest press I can do without shoulder pain. But apparently you guys have re-invented the wheel and improved upon perfection. I can hardly wait to try out this entire line.

Ed H


avatar Joshua Trentine June 1, 2011 at 10:44 am


I thought the same, although we did have some hunches about it that turned out to be spot on.

We’ve been using the machine over a decade, this amount of time and experience allowed us to nail down significant refinements.


avatar Russ Wakefield June 1, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Are these units soon to be in your Cleveland area facilities? As soon as it would be possible I’d love to expierence them. If that would be possible Josh.


avatar Joshua Trentine June 1, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Currently i have prototypes in Cleveland.

The RenEx machines will be displayed, this event will be formal and by invitation.


avatar Andy June 1, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Thank you Josh!
Sorry, did I understand your answer?
To hold the weight or to pause at the point of greatest resistance for 1 or 2 seconds is no method to intensify the stimulus regardless of equipment used?
The motion should always be as fluid and seemless as possible especially at the turnarounds…is that the right description?

Thank you very much,


avatar Joshua Trentine June 1, 2011 at 11:49 pm

not to be illusive, but the answer is…it depends

i do not like the cue of “hold” in any case


avatar Andy June 2, 2011 at 8:36 am

Thank you, Josh!


avatar chris causer June 11, 2011 at 12:37 am

were can we purchace these fantastic peice s of kit in the uk


avatar Joshua Trentine October 13, 2011 at 9:37 pm

They would have to be purchased in the USA and shipped to the UK


avatar Joshua Trentine October 13, 2011 at 9:37 pm

They would have to be purchased in the USA and shipped to the UK


avatar Clive Andrews September 28, 2011 at 9:02 pm

I have always been intrigued by the unique design of Ken’s chest press machine. Why is a downward stroke superior to a conventional chest press?


avatar Joshua Trentine October 13, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Hi Clive,

Note the name is the Ventral Torso

The design is intended to work the most musculature

It is a anterior torso group machine, since it involves such a large muscle mass.

The movement begins as a chest press movement that immediately goes inferiorly into a decline press and finishes in a conventional dip with shoulder girdle depression. The torso does flex secondary to a posterior pelvic tilt as the arms straighten. The motion results in a more complete vision of the multiple functions of both pectoralis groups. They are involved, not only in horizontal ADduction, but also in shoulder girdle depression, shoulder girdle protraction, and trunk flexion. This last function occurs because the pectoralis major overlaps into the top of the rectus abdominus. At the lower part of the thoracic region the deep fascia is well-developed, and is continuous with the fibrous sheaths of the Recti abdominis.

Think complex innate movement synergy pattern over just pectoralis function

As time passes and we learn more about tensegrity i think people will see even more genius in this design

This tool is a must for anyone who subscribes to consolidation programs….a’la McGuff and Mentzer

Joshua Trentine


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: