Dec
20
2010

Goin’ Slow, Goin’ Hard, Trying to Go Fast

30 comments written by Joshua Trentine

One late night last week after a long day I shot some video to support the article SLOW, HARD, AND FAST. This is not intended as an instructional video. It was shot for one purpose, to demonstrate that sufficient load and gradual force application will result in the desired rate of speed for the advanced subject. The exercises were not taken to failure and I did not continue to the point where I could display a thorough inroad technique (The sets were terminated approximately 2 reps shy). The exercises were done in no particular sequence and since a actual workout was not performed I did not change into appropriate workout wear or use the fans. MedX machines were used for the demonstration, these machines are more common in the field and allow some point of reference for more of the viewers (as compared to Hutchins’ machines). The MedX machines selected have a clear view of the weight stack and give the perception of sufficient load. 

Note that the exercises were not necessarily performed at 10/10. I simply selected a “heavy” load, got into the machine and began to gradually apply force. Initiation of the exercise with a gradual and consistent effort allows for sustainable force production for time. I do find that I will consistently fall within the 8 to 12 second range on the positive and the negative when using sufficient loads on Ken Hutchins’ machines.When it comes to the advanced subject using the right equipment there is no other way to do it. The only way it is possible to approach such loads is when the subject learns to find his low gear. Gus says in the article:
 “An advanced, strong subject is not moving slowly because he wants to; he’s moving slowly because he has no choice. And each moment of effort during such a set requires more and more herculean effort.”

The intent of the article and the demonstration is to dispel the idea that the protocol is using light weights in an attempt to succeed at moving 10 seconds up and down, the reality is that for continued progress the subject MUST find his low gear. Imagine trying to tow a very heavy load with a truck. A truck made for such a duty has a lower gear ratio and the driver must gradually apply the gas and if he tries to accelerate too quickly or shifts up through the gears to fast he slips the gear or stalls, furthermore the truck cannot do 90MPH in 1st gear. It is well worth your efforts to learn to find this gear and use the right technology that allows for sufficient load. The Renaissance approach is an elitist protocol with NO compromises. You can train with maximum effort and greater loads without compromise in form or safety.  

As for anyone who doubts this find yourself a MedX machine, load it up this way and try to explode.  lol 

Go ahead at try to make it go fast, you won’t go to far and if you do you won’t be able to sustain the momentum very long. This is a discipline… it will pay off if you can learn the focus and control, it takes time and concentration but it’s well worth it.

Renaissance Exercise BECOME POWERFUL!

As always, please post any comments or future topics you would like to discuss below and we will personally address them!

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Bert Vila December 21, 2010 at 12:45 am

I think your 100% on with everything you said Josh.The key is “the slow,smooth,& gradual build up of force application” for maximum generation of muscular tension & to minemize dangerously high acceleration forces.It could take three,four,five,or even six seconds to generate that force depending on the load.And let’s remember folks “muscular tension”is both load & velocity dependent.

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avatar Joshua Trentine December 21, 2010 at 3:16 am

big take home message, GRADUAL over sudden.

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avatar jason December 21, 2010 at 4:48 am

josh, is that your gym in the videos? wow!!! that is one hell of a set up!!! i like the devise that was used to add weight to the medx machines. with the low friction machines the weight stacks are way too light. i often wondered what it would be like to add weight to those machines. i have always been abnormally strong in arms and back and i maxed out on all the versions of the pullover, and arm curl machines. all of the equipment manufacturers should have that devise added to their machines. especially the current line of machines like the nitro. the nitro has relatively low friction and a much lighter weight stack than the older nautilus [probably to save money on steel]. i have rigged /pinned plates to my own machines and it worked great. now, i workout in a commercial gym and the machines have the covers on the machines– actually, on the nitro i think the frame prohibits one from pinning the plate on the machine?but that devise would probably work fine on the nitro. man i wish i could workout in a place like that in the video. as we become more advanced it is important to add weight once you hit your target number and unfortunately even if you have access to good machines the stacks are not heavy enough for a lot of advanced trainees. i am good on most machines with my legs.my legs are very weak in comparison to my upper body. so the medx l.p. would be fine the way it is for me.but, the row and the pullover i definitely need to pin weight onto it. that kevlar can handle a lot more weight than the original stacks. but in most commercial gyms they frown upon people adding weight to their machines. i had a trainer tell me years ago to remove the weight from a pullover machine he thought i was going to break the machine. so i have not even tried doing this again in a commercial gym even though it isn’t even the same gym. very cool. that gym is like heaven

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avatar Joshua Trentine December 21, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Hey Jason,

That is our primary location, I want to film it piece by piece, there is so much time and money in there mine as well show it .

I was thinking of selling that add-on plate system. I don’t know if there is much of a market for it. IMO most people won’t need it. Certainly depends on the equipment and protocol used. I don’t have to add much , if any weight, to Ken’s SSS Line.

I’m so glad I don’t ever have to train in a commercial gym, adding on weights might break their machine, eh? I was once kicked out of one of the big chains here in Cleveland.

One more interesting point. When you get on a machine that is very low friction with optimized resistance curves you find out that you need less weight , not more. I didn’t know this until we added the low-friction, self-aligning top plate to all of our machines. You might think the subject’s reps and T.U.L would increase with the upgrades. Well… the exact opposite occurred. The top plate eliminates the friction based respite on the negative and also provides a much truer cam effect as we are not overcoming friction + congestion of the associated body parts on the upper turnaround, therefore the cam fall-off is more accurate for it’s intended purpose when friction is removed.

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avatar Denni9s Rogers December 21, 2010 at 4:26 pm

If your intent was to eliminate any doubt that the protocol is about moving light weights at a predetermined slow speed I think you succeeded, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Besides being informative this video is inspirational – what a display of strength although I know that was not your intent.
I train on Medx and I find that my actual speed of movement is much like the demonstrated speed with the last rep being somewhat slower.Over all I think my execution is on target but is constantly evolving, this site has been a huge help in kicking up a round of improvement.
I have been questioning my dissatisfaction with my response from exercise lately and have begun to reexamine the issues of frequency and volume as a solution.
This video has inspired me to look more to finding that appropriate low gear and most likely increasing the load, as apposed to using a longer TUL and trying (usually unsuccessfully ) to maintain a 10 sec pos/neg. I ignored my own feedback that told me that focusing on speed was distracting me from the real business at hand which was muscular tension. Failure was beginning to feel like it was metabolic instead of muscular for lack of a a better way to put it. I know they are two sides of the same coin but it feels like there is a difference.

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avatar Joshua Trentine December 21, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Dennis,

I hope this came through, I’ve spent an endless amount of time trying to explain what Ken’s protocol is NOT. I would really like to put that to an end so we can explain what it IS. There is a great article coming from Gus that expands on this.

I like your comment regarding focus on tension over, speed. When trying to evaluate feedback internal cues always prevail over external cues. I would consider tension, fatique, oxygen debt, over weight, reps and cadence. That being said, when you train on the gear we are using one feeds the other, you will notice are correlation between the feedback and the adherance to protocol and the protocol leads to better feedback. I cannot make this guarantee when you use different machines and I think this is where a lot of confusion comes from.

The other point I want to spin off from your exploration is, whatever you are trying to find out, not matter what protocol or philosophy you are into, see it all the way through. Remove all of the constraints, optimize the variables, learn and master the discipline, be rentless in your pursuit, then…if nothing else… when it’s all said and done at least you know, at least you know beyond a shadow of a doubt. IMO we live in a attention deficit society, it just doesn’t seem like people can connect the dots and even when they do they don’t have the patience to see anything through. I don’t care what your discipline or beliefs are, you don’t really learn anything until you push the boundries. I’m excited that this has created a spark that is making you look deeper.
I don’t want to get into it here but IMO many people fail to produce a desired result because their nutrition is so far off, this looked past in the H.I.T community. I think most males could easily add 10# to 20# of muscle by optimizing diet.

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avatar Joshua Trentine December 21, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Dennis,

I hope this came through, I’ve spent an endless amount of time trying to explain what Ken’s protocol is NOT. I would really like to put that to an end so we can explain what it IS. There is a great article coming from Gus that expands on this.

I like your comment regarding focus on tension over speed. When trying to evaluate feedback internal cues always prevail over external cues. I would consider tension, fatigue, and oxygen debt, over weight, reps and cadence. That being said, when you train on the gear we are using one feeds the other, you will notice a correlation between the feedback and the adherence to protocol and the protocol leads to better feedback. I cannot make this guarantee when you use different machines and I think this is where a lot of confusion comes from.

The other point I want to spin off from your exploration is, whatever you are trying to find out, no matter what protocol or philosophy you are into, see it all the way through. Remove all of the constraints, optimize the variables, learn and master the discipline, be relentless in your pursuit, then…if nothing else… when it’s all said and done at least you know, at least you know beyond a shadow of a doubt. IMO we live in a attention deficit society, it just doesn’t seem like people can connect the dots and even when they do they don’t have the patience to see anything through. I don’t care what your discipline or beliefs are, you don’t really learn anything until you push the boundaries. I’m excited that this has created a spark that is making you look deeper.
I don’t want to get into it here but IMO many people fail to produce a desired result because their nutrition is so far off, unfortunately this is often looked past in the H.I.T community. I think most males could easily add 10# to 20# of muscle by optimizing diet.

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avatar Travis Weigand December 21, 2010 at 8:45 pm

In the discussion that follows the article, I feel that Josh has made a great point that I also make very often. While Renaissance exercise is incredibly efficient and effective, not everybody is interested in engaging in it. For these individuals I always suggest that whatever protocol you do settle on, make the most out of it. I see far too many people give up on a protocol after several weeks because they simply aren’t patient enough to see it through. If you remain focused and consistent, you’re bound to attain some kind of results, and often times actually exceed your expectations.

Josh is the perfect example of someone who has remained focused on and dedicated to a protocol. Josh is also the perfect example of what amazing results can be attained from Renaissance exercise.

I also don’t want to steer this conversation off course, but I can attest to the diet component of the equation. I have added 22lbs of athletic body weight to my frame in the past year as a result of a diet overhaul.

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avatar Paul Marsland December 24, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Looking big and and bad ass there Josh…;-)

I’m 100 % in favour of these video demonstrations as it clearly shows that signigicant loads can be used while still training at a slow rep cadence, and as been noted once weights do in fact get significant one has no choice but to move slow despite applying maximum but controlled force..
Come the new year I might shoot a few video workouts of what for me is a typical workout done twice per week..

Paul.

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avatar Joshua Trentine December 25, 2010 at 1:55 am

Thanks Paul,

I would love to see you train.

We’ll be posting more video soon. Last week was hectic with the holiday squeeze.

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avatar Terry Condrasky December 25, 2010 at 11:50 am

Hey Josh,

As a professional (Renaissance) bodybuilder – please describe your Workouts regarding frequency, duration and exercises.
Thanks for the videos and a great description of “R.EX”
Curious….Is Renaissance Exercise replacing the SuperSlow name?
Be Well
Terry

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avatar Joshua Trentine December 27, 2010 at 5:15 am

Terry,

I use a number of programs and different variations at different times. Below are some common templates I might use.

“A Workout ”
1) Renaissance Linear Spine Flexion
2) Renaissance Leg Press
3) Renaissance Pulldown
4) Renaissance Ventral Torso

” B Workout”
1) Hip Adduction
2) Hip Abduction
3) Renaissance Leg Curl
4) Renaissance Leg Extension
5) Renaissance Torso Row
6) Renaissance Compound Row
7) Renaissance Overhead Press

“C Workout”
1) Renaissance Calf Exercise
2) Renaissance Trunk Extension
3) SuperSlow Systems Pullover
4) MedX Seated Dip
5) SuperSlow Systems Neck & Shoulder

6) Optional
(on occasion I do Torso Arm, Chin Up, or Barbell Curl here) or (Forearm exercises)

“D Workout”

1) Renaissance Biceps
2) Renaissance Pulldown
3) Renaissance Triceps
4) Push-up or MedX Chest Press or Ventral Torso
5) Renaissance Torso Row or DAVID brand
6) Leg Press

Workouts are usually done 2 to 4 days apart, occasionally longer.

Average Rep Range for most upper body Exercise is 4 to 5. On the prefatigue workout I might only get 3 reps on the second exercise in the series.

Average Rep Range on lower body might be 4 to 6.

I may or may not be using all 4 rotations (A,B,C & D) in a program.

I would like to answer your question about the Renaissance name in a blog post within a week or so. I want to make it clear what Renaissance is inclusive of. We will discuss evolution, addition and improvements in protocol, feedback and equipment that have occurred in recent years.

There is currently a Renaissance Exercise certification, equipment line and business systems available. The technical manual is being written.

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avatar Terry Condrasky December 25, 2010 at 12:26 pm

What is the “clicking” noise we hear on the video at the turn arounds of each rep?
Be Well
Terry

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avatar Joshua Trentine December 26, 2010 at 8:33 am

Trip counter

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avatar Brian Liebler December 28, 2010 at 11:17 am

Josh, I believe you do leg curls first, followed by leg extensions, in order to warm the knees up. When I do them in this order, I have to use less weight on the leg ex. Does this hinder the growth of the quads?

Also, do you get more out of your quads by the leg press or leg ex?

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avatar Joshua Trentine December 28, 2010 at 8:31 pm

In most cases L.C. should preceed L.E.

I’ve have never experienced load reductions when working this order, I have noticed the opposite effect.

I don’t think load is the key stimuli for muscular adaptation. I think it has more to do with fatigue, Internal muscular work rate. Assuming the advanced subject I can make an arguement for the sequence that produces greater fatigue with less load.

Can you rephrase the question below? I’m not quite sure what “get more out” means.

“Also, do you get more out of your quads by the leg press or leg ex?”

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avatar Brian Liebler December 29, 2010 at 1:43 am

Josh, What I mean by “get more out”,I mean both size and conditioning. Do your quads respond better by gaining more size and is your heart higher in your leg press “A” routine as opposed to your leg ex/leg curl in your “B” routine.

The reason why I asked is, after dropping a simular leg press”A” routine and leg ex/leg curl “B” routine and just doing a leg press ,I have made a strength and sized improvement in my quads. Every 4th to 5th day I always did leg press,followed by pullover, chin, dip.( sometimes in liew of chin & dip I would do pulldown, rows etc

After almost a year of this I went back to a “B” routine with leg ex/leg curl. I was surprised how much stronger my legs were in the leg ex as compared to last year. Even though I fatique my quads on the leg ex machine. So much I can hardly walk to the leg curl, my heart rate is not as elevated as after the leg press.

It appears with me ,I can really get greater conditioning by doing a proper set of the leg press vs leg ex/leg curls.

I’m also wondering ,if I did leg ex/leg curl only, after a year, would my leg press weights go up.

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avatar Joshua Trentine December 30, 2010 at 1:26 am

I’m not sure which exercise contributes more to the overall development of the quads. If I could only pick one, of course, it would be the Leg Press as it is inclusive of more musculature. I think L.P. and L.E. compliment each other nicely and I would expect more oxygen debt with Leg Press especially on conventional equipment.

With the Renaissance Leg Extension I do see severe oxygen debt and of course the direct work produces greater inroads into quadriceps strength and will momentarily leave those muscles more disrupted.

I think if you did the one year experiment just using the L.E. & L.C. you would not see the same effect because the Glutes are such major players in the Leg Press and they are not addressed in that program.

In the field I rarely see a manfacturer that builds a Leg Ext. that permits the user to go where they could with that exercise. It’s really tough to get that machine just right. Even our Renaissance machine is going through some changes after being in use for many years.

When it comes to program design I would like to use both exercises. I might be using them simultaneously in a program. I might use the Leg Extension as Dr. Doug McGuff recommends, as a means to lessen the overall systemic stress in a program periodically.

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avatar Scott Springston December 29, 2010 at 10:48 pm

These video’s are most helpfull! I have been off work and the computer since before Christmas and won’t go back on untill a few days after New Years but I had to briefly watch these video’s and it’s ” slowly” ha ha, starting to make some sense. Please keep them coming. Some day it might all come clear to me..
Scott

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avatar Joshua Trentine December 30, 2010 at 1:00 am

No worries Scott, I’ve been trying to figure this stuff out since the mid 90’s, it never ends.

Much more video to come, we’re just laying the ground work.

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avatar Dennis Rogers January 1, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Josh
I am transitioning from a once a week – 5 compound movement workout, to a twice a week program similar to what you used as your example.
I have 5 pieces of Medx (compound movements) a Nautilus Leg Ex and a Nautilus Leg curl, Chin and Dip bars a roman chair (for spinal extensions) and free weights.
I have been able to come up with some pretty creative ideas using my existing equipment ,I can even do rear delts and shrugs using the Medx equipment.
My part time business is doing well, but most of my short list of clients are in their sixties so I do not have plans to change training frequency for any of them at this time.
Personally after a year of once a week training I am looking forward to experimenting with a twice a week training again
Thanks again for this great site.
Any tips about using what I have would be greatly appreciated.
Dennis

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avatar Al January 1, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Dennis,

I think what you’ll find is that once your concentration becomes better and you improve the skill of keeping the inroad more direct, you’ll find twice per week to be a better investment.

Good luck and thanks for stopping by.

Al

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avatar Scott Springston January 5, 2011 at 3:55 pm

==Scott==
I’m back from holiday now ready to learn more ! For Christmas Santa brought me a Nautilus BNTA machine and I used it in my last slow approximately 10-10 workout. As I’m trying to get my lats to actually show up I did one set of about 5 behind the necks followed by the pulldown section and then pullover. My lats felt slightly sore the next two days. I won’t workout again for a week. I’m trying to now use a weight that will only allow about 5 reps. It’s been hectic this Christmas season so my workouts have been a mess but I have gone up at least one rep in each exercise for the last several workouts. I know that’s not great but at least I’m going up instead of down or stagnating.

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avatar Jazz January 5, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Hi Joshua,

First of all, Happy New Year to you & the team.

I am based in Melbourne, Australia and run a PT Business. I saw the info on your website,
very powerful protocol indeed. I had a few queries w.r.t this protocol.

I was wondering that what is the criteria to increase the weights,
what should be the starting weight for a client (e.g 25% of 1 rep max etc.) and why would a gym member
need a PT when he might do it by himself.

Thanks in advance.

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avatar Al January 6, 2011 at 1:42 am

Jazz,

Thanks for checking out the site. We have a post coming out shortly that will address that question.

Al

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avatar Joshua Trentine January 6, 2011 at 5:49 am

The criteria to increase load is based on different repetition ranges for a Novice, Intermediate and Advanced subject.

There are quality control standards to be met for each repetition before it can be considered. These standards are based on consistent rate of movement, range of motion, body and muscle control.

If I had to guess what a starting weight for a new client is, using our equipment(which makes a big difference), I would estimate that it’s about 75% of their capacity.There is no measurement, it’s a guess. Our manuals have male and female recommendations for our machines.

I’m tempted to answer why one can’t do this on their own, but it sounds like Al and Gus might be conjuring up a article on this subject.

I’ll give you a teaser, it has to do with the fact that it is IMPOSSIBLE to remain objective about feedback and performance when under duress.

more to come…

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avatar Jazz January 7, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Thanks Josh.

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avatar Joshua Trentine January 8, 2011 at 12:32 am

You’re welcome

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avatar Pierre October 2, 2012 at 1:26 am

Joshua,

It’s with great interest that I have been poring over this site.

We’ve just started experimenting with this protocol using just a smith machine with lower and upper pulley attachments. We are able to do bench press, overhead press, squats, pull-downs and seated rows.

I’d like to know what it is we should be shooting for. . . So far, we’ve been aiming for 15-secs up/15-secs downs reps for a duration of close to 2 minutes. Anything less than 1:45 minutes has been to us an indication that we are using a weight that is too heavy. Your thoughts please. . .

Also, please let me know if there is an article or a blog on this site that addresses my question.

Thanks in advance.

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avatar Joshua April 25, 2014 at 7:08 am

Hi,

I think I understand the idea behind this article, however there are still a few doubts/questions I have. This is in light of the statement (I’m paraphrasing here) that an athlete isn’t going slow because they’re trying to, but because they are unable to go fast with the load they’re lifting.

Let us take the example of the dip, done on parallel bars. If an advanced trainee were to perform this movement – they’re strength levels would be sufficient to enable them to perform this ballistically; therefore to go slow would not be due to the load imposed but rather an act of volition.

If they were to add ~45lbs of resistance, the movement would automatically become more challenging now perhaps their concentric will have slowed down, however since they are advanced should they so wish they might still be able to explode out of the bottom.

If the trainee added ~120lbs of additional resistance, now the weight is heavy enough that while maintaining proper form (no jerking etc) in spite of their greatest efforts each concentric is controlled and slow (similar to the biker riding uphill, ie the gradient proves the limiting factor). However ; it occurs to me that when such a load is imposed on the muscles (such that the positive is slowed down and cannot be performed explosively but rather is forced to slow down – think a controlled 1RM where it takes several seconds for a lifter to complete the rep) that performing more than 2-3 reps is impossible.

This brings me to the crux of my question – load selection. How does one determine appropriate loads without compromising a more ‘ideal’ TUL?

Any thoughts or insights you have will be greatly appreciated

Kind regards,
Joshua from India

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