The Renaissance Has Begun!

69 comments written by Kristina

Renaissance Exercise

By Gus Diamantopoulos

Inspired by an original article from Ken Hutchins

The turning point when science took new direction, when scientists took charge and finally questioned all previous explanations of the way things work around us was the Renaissance period between the 14th and 17th centuries. This was a time of great unrest and a time for thinkers to rise. It was a time of rebellion against the unproven, of opposition to tradition, and of forging a new relationship with what we now call the Scientific Method of observation and verification. This emergence of understanding touched every discipline and subject of study including philosophy, astronomy, mathematics, architecture, art, chemistry, physics, and biology.

Ironically, this was not so much an awakening of new ideas as much as it was a re-awakening of concepts once started by thinkers from antiquity whose process of innovation and technology (much of it very close to our own modern conveniences) was to be interrupted by a period of intellectual and moral bankruptcy known as the Dark Ages. It took centuries for us to escape the backward thinking and suffering of the medieval age. Many explanations have been given as to what started the Renaissance and history reveals a myriad of serendipitous discoveries intricately networking to create the path to our modern age.

But it was the centrality of the ‘experiment’–going forth into the world and making simple observations under some semblance of controlled conditions—that introduced the prospect of transparency to all and minimized the subjective component of armchair perception. For the first time in history, there now existed a possibility to find out causal relationships and thus opened the floodgates to the full development of Western Science and Technology. It has since been at the forefront of all modern thinking.

The Renaissance is in spirit, all of science as we know it. We see its influence in all the tangents of the scientific world… We see it in physics where Galileo revolutionized our understanding of motion and replaced the Aristotelian view of “final cause”. We see it in astronomy where Copernicus’s avocation led to the development of the idea of a heliocentric universe. We see it in anatomy where William Harvey’s concept of circulation replaced Galen’s concepts of separate venous and arterial systems. We see it in mathematics with Descartes’ analytic geometry and later with Newton’s calculus. And we see it in the centuries beyond the initial Renaissance with the countless advances in everything from chemistry and biology to industrial technology and the nuclear age.

Unfortunately, one area of understanding where the Renaissance spirit has been almost absent is in human exercise. The so-called “fitness” industry has become awash in a sea of backward thinking, untested and unproven premises and, worst of all, dangerous practices. It may sound extreme to suggest it but if ever there was a Dark Age for exercise we are in it.

Most of our collective consciousness concerning exercise is based on so-called “aerobics” philosophy. In 1968, Cooper coined the term, aerobics, to denote his fascination with running. He later expanded this to include a host of activities, thus crossing over to millions of people and their pet interests and pastimes. Over the past few decades, the term aerobics has been replaced by the term “cardio” under the assumption that “steady-state” activities serve to stimulate and improve the functioning of the cardiovascular system.

But nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, aerobics undermines the necessary process to stimulate strengthening. It promotes injuries and thwarts the body’s ability to adapt to the stimulation were it to occur. In this regard, aerobics philosophy, i.e., steady-state notions, represent the Dark Age of Exercise.

It is important for all of us to realize several facts:

  • The center of metabolism in the body is the skeletal musculature. Collectively, it possesses the greatest vascularity, the greatest concentration of mitochondria, and the greatest peripheral nerve supply. It is the site of a majority of chemical reactions and heat production.
  • Although the heart is a muscle, it is involuntary. It is optimally accessed with exercise only by meaningful muscular (skeletal/volitional) loading. The very nature of steady state (aerobics) is to avoid meaningful muscular loading by burdening the bones, so that the muscles are spared to permit endurance and thus avoid exercise.
  • Cardio makes about as much sense as cutting your heart out of your chest and putting it on an exercise machine.

Aerobics is poor science. It is unhealthy. It is antithetical to exercise. It is backwards and uneducated. It is empty exercise. It subverts the loading required for exercise. It will not burn significant calories or meaningfully improve one’s appearance. It severely compromises what can be accomplished for the heart. Aerobics will incur injuries that lead to inactivity, depression, overeating, and greater fatness.

Worse, in recent years, a literal wave of bastardized exercise trends have stemmed from the “cardio” religion and have, in fact, transcended it in the fitness ranks:

  • high volume training
  • plyometrics
  • pilates
  • westernized yoga and its hybrid equivalents
  • functional training
  • explosive and ‘speed-strength’ training
  • dance aerobics
  • boxing aerobics and hybrids
  • gyro-training
  • vibration devices
  • stretching programs
  • spinning
  • cross training and recent cross-fit programs
  • boot camps
  • home exercise programs such as P90X

Despite the apparent differentiation in the activities listed above, they are all built on an achievement-oriented premise that focuses on the process of the activities and not the results. If you’ve been engaged in a program of fitness that focuses on aerobic activity such as walking or running, using elliptical machines, jogging, or any of the practices listed above, you’ve been wasting much of your time.

This may seem shocking and outrageous but I suspect most readers will have their sense of shock immediately followed by a sobering moment of quiet agreement. If engaging in the above activities did lead to any good (as promised in every infomercial and health club banner), our society would be populated with the fittest people the world has ever seen because the majority of people are doing these things. But this is not the case. In fact, there are fewer and fewer lean and fit people around today than ever before. And it’s getting worse.

But there is a way to correct the problem. There is a solution to not only the challenge of physical conditioning but also the time commitment necessary to effect the kinds of improvements we all seek so dearly.

The key to all of this is proper exercise. And proper exercise is strength training. Strength training is the only practice that can lead to total fitness; that which directly and efficiently encompasses all of the suspected and unsuspected benefits that a person can experience from exercise. Strength training is the only exercise activity that asks not “how much can you tolerate?” but more appropriately “how little do you require?”. In strength training, ONLY the results matter; the process is secondary.

Renaissance Exercise® is the protocol and philosophy that best exemplifies these elements. It embodies the most valid contributions of the few individuals from history who gave us valid exercise principles. These pioneers represent the spirit of the scientific revolution and are among the very few who have applied the rigors of systematic experimentation to the subject of human performance. There’s Gustaf Zander, who emerged with over 20 exercise machines in 1865, the likes of which would still rival the most modern equipment of today’s monstrous health clubs. There’s Arthur Jones, who in 1970 emerged with his exercise philosophy known as Nautilus®. As with Zander over a century before, Nautilus Philosophy swung the pendulum hard toward science. Jones’ ideas reopened the renaissance started by Zander to place exercise with its proper focus: strength training. And finally there’s Ken Hutchins, who in 1982 emerged with SuperSlow® Exercise Protocol, which served to both correct and supersede Nautilus philosophy based on its emphasis of speed control and featuring specialized equipment (1999) to foster this most-ideal protocol.

True exercise stimulates skeletal muscular strengthening. All reasonable expectations from exercise are accessed through the skeletal muscles—the only window into the body—by strengthening or attempting to strengthen the skeletal muscles. These expectations include:

  • improvements in bone density
  • vascular efficiency
  • metabolic efficiency
  • joint stability
  • muscular strength
  • and cosmetics

It’s time to replace all the backward thinking, the erroneous concepts and the absurd and dangerous practices with valid principles and a new understanding.

It’s time to truly level the playing field so that the most feeble, debilitated and elderly homebody can eventually perform with the same sense of vitality and purpose as the most truly gifted, advanced and youthful athlete.

It’s time to ensure that a program of progressive intensity is never compromised by equally progressive risk of injury.

It’s time to admit that exercise requires not only ample intensity but also the correct dosage of volume and frequency.

It’s time to embody those valid contributions of Zander, Jones, and Hutchins.

It’s time to explode forward with insights, applications, and the equipment to effect it all in ways never seen before now.


Please post any comments or future topics you would like to discuss below and we will personally address them!

{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Joshua Trentine December 8, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Just posted part of Al Coleman’s “A Routine”

The workout on this day was:
1) Linear Spine flexion
2) Leg Press
3) Pulldown
4) Ventral Torso

The load we selected for Linear Spine Flexion was a bit light for the demonstraion, i’m disappointed we didn’t get to show thorough inroad technique.

I was attempting to video and provide some cueing and instruction on the exercise, This led to some timing issues with the quasi “squeeze” on the Leg Press video.I want to post another Leg Press video soon.

The rest of the workout will be posted this week.

Check back in for a “B Routine”
and video presentation of what Ken’s original protocol is NOT, and what the Renaissance Protocol will not be mistaken for.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 8, 2010 at 9:37 pm

Someone on another forum asked “What’s with the breathing on the leg press?”

I’m glad you asked about the breathing because it explains exactly why most people don’t get this protocol.

“The breathing” isn’t intentional. All I’m making sure I do is not hold it. The intensity of the muscular demands pushes my resperation like that. The harder I have to contract, the faster I have to breathe. Think all out wind sprint.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 8, 2010 at 6:01 pm
avatar Hugh Hines December 8, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Congrats on the new site! It’s first class and I look forward to upcoming additions.



avatar Joshua Trentine December 8, 2010 at 5:34 pm

Renaissance Exercise represents a unified method for overall fitness. Moving forward with many years of experience and many instructors before us we intend to bring forward the state-of-the-art in training. A technology based protocol that is applicable for anyone wishing to achieve overall fitness. Going forward we will define this protocol not only as a general fitness program, but also explore it as protocol of choice for physical rehabilitation and conditioning for sport. We will define this protocol as a bodybuilding program for the person who wants to optimize body composition and functional ability all the way to the competitive bodybuilder/athlete.

Renaissance Exercise is a continuation of a movement that started with the Nautilus Principles and Nautilus Trainers in the 70’s and 80’s. These trainers became hardwired with the foundational information to jettison into the original master SuperSlow instructors, they further refined the protocol and the tools we use for the protocol. Basically removing constraints and improving Nautilus technology piece by piece. In the year 2011 we carry forward the momentum of the Nautilus trainers and the master SuperSlow instructors into the Renaissance instructor. These instructors will carry forward this technology into the exercise field, as well as physical rehabilitation and sport performance.

Those who are interested should study the Nautilus materials and become familiar with all of Ken Hutchins writing including the RENAISSANCE EXERCISE Techincal Manual, which will be available through Ken Hutchins in early 2011.


avatar Al Coleman December 8, 2010 at 11:14 pm

In answer to a question regarding my breathing during my leg press video that came from a poster at

“The breathing” isn’t an intentional technique. An increased degree of resperation becomes a mirrored response of what the muscular system is going through at any given moment. This holds true IF one does not Val Salva and is allowed to breathe freely. This is easily observed when someone performs an activity such as a wind sprint that requires a maximal degree of muscular effort, but is not hindered by the goal of trying to move an object of significant resistance from A to B.


avatar Paul Marsland December 8, 2010 at 11:52 pm

Some obersvations upon Al’s video, anyone that has used slow reps with a significant amount of resistance will VERY CLEARLY understand what Al is experiencing…, I actually found myself grimacing in response to his effort, the hightened breathing as he edges towards lockout, the legs trembling and in fact the whole torso are all natural and normal to the slow rep trainee, to the outside observer it may seem somewhat dramatic to what appears little mechanical work, but that is only a part of the equasion it is the metabolic work that also plays a significant role, and what the video doesn’t show is the intense and downright discomfort of the lactic acid burn in the thighs from such exercise…

As the say goes “Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it”…I, like many here have used more protocols than I can remember but I keep on returning to slow reps as my mainstay as nothing else comes close..

So in light of Ken and Josh’s work this is not merely a Renaissance, but a revolution!!!!!

Have at ye…..!!!!!!!!!1


avatar Bert Vila December 9, 2010 at 1:14 am

Josh thanks for inviting me on. I consider myself a “purest” aka a protégé of Ken Hutchins & Aurthur Jones.I welcome a rebirth of intellectual exercise & a platform in which we can exchange ideas about productive exercise science(That is slow(low velocity) strength training.I would like to focus on how we can work together to make Slow Exercise more popular,not by putting other forms down but by elevating our endeavor.However the next time someone ask about Yoga I must mention that it is deriverd from “Yogies” from India which is a third world nation,where individuals sincerely believe that their dead relatives are walking around as reincarnated ” sacred cows not to be eaten & that it is not a strengthing exercise & therefore offers little to no benefits.


avatar admin December 9, 2010 at 4:21 am

note that we differentiate westernized yoga and its hybrid equivalents.

moving forward i have a real problem associating Renaissance with “slow exercise”, it’s creating tremendous confusion, considering that I’m trying to go as hard and as fast as i can. Especially considering all of the bastardized forms of “slow training” . I’ll deal with this more in a four part video piece.

assumed objective=move slow

Bert, thank you for the support


avatar Bert Vila December 9, 2010 at 1:31 am

On The Leg Press Video Albert does not seem to be performing “full range repetitions” & is gripping the handles,I would like for him to comment on why?Is it purposely a “partial” repetition? is he trying to train ” in the range” where he can produce more torque?Thanks Bert Vila.


avatar admin December 9, 2010 at 3:41 am

Hi Bert, Al is getting ready to leave on vacation tomorrow I’m not sure if he’ll reply in a timely manner.
Technically there is no such thing as “full range” in this exercise. Although, I do agree that he could be one notch deeper on the lower turn-around and allowed one more inch on the upper turn-around. On this workout we experimented with a shoe that had a raised sole and it compromised his normal settings, i do want to record another LP video. All of that being said i still think we got the desired effect.
The hands remained completely relaxed, so much so that you can actually see them vibrating on the handles. Al can completely turn off any activation in his face,neck, jaw and hands.We may all need reminding from time to time but, this is one discrepancy I have never seen from him. It might be from his Zen training. Look closely and remember holding the hands open can be just as much of a neural distraction as squeezing them shut.


avatar Calina Ouliaris December 9, 2010 at 3:48 am

Congrats on the website, first post and extended article – quality information!

As someone who has dabbled a lot in various exercise communities, I would note that the “sense of shock and outrage” that the general public may experience, is more likely to be followed, at least in these early stages, by thoughtless dismissal rather than a “sobering moment of quiet agreement”.

As Einstein said, “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” May you get the attention of those in the conventional (commercialized) community and incite the opposition necessary to revolutionize the fitness industry & bring about the Renaissance!


avatar admin December 9, 2010 at 11:22 pm



avatar Donnie Hunt December 9, 2010 at 4:30 am

The article “The Assumed Vs. The Real Objective Of Exercise” really made me think.


avatar admin December 9, 2010 at 11:23 pm

This may be the most important article Ken has ever written.


avatar Donnie Hunt December 10, 2010 at 2:09 am

So let me see if i’m understanding what Ken is saying here. You want to reach a point in a given exercise were you are contracting very hard but you have reached a level of fatigue where movement against the resistance is not possible? Should the level of resistance decrease as you progress through the set?


avatar Joshua Trentine December 12, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Yes, Donnie you want to reach positive failure and continue with thorough inroad technique.

Renaissance Exercise does not support the idea of drop sets or strip sets.


avatar Al Coleman December 9, 2010 at 4:38 am

Hi All,

Josh is correct. I’m about to head out and in the midst of packing and such, but I’ll give a brief reply.

Paul- It’s always a pleasure to have you around. It’s guys like you that make this stuff worth doing.

Calina- Thanks for the kind words. Shouldn’t you be studying? LOL. See ya soon.

Bert-I hope all is well. Josh’s description is dead on. I make certain that I don’t even so much as tighten my hands. Please remember that I have long arms and had I been gripping you would have seen a chain of contraction up my forearm flexors, brachioradialis, and triceps. There was none. Hanging the arms off the handles is just as bad as gripping as the weight of the arms must now be supported by the trapezius and the various neck muscles. Not good. I opt not to place them under my buttocks as I find it strange. Supinating my hand and resting the back of the hand on the handles creates problems as I would have to flex my elbow which would cause tension in the shoulder to keep them supinated. To make a long story short, I assure you there was no excessive gripping going on. That is why they were shaking so much.

You are correct, the range was short. As Josh mentioned those shoes were thicker than we had accounted for, never the less we don’t desire to ever allow the knee to travel past 15 to 20 degrees of extension. When using the quasi squeeze on this machine I would lean closet to 20 degrees. The only real consequence to accidentally shortening the end point is a faster rate of inroad and this I consider to be a good thing! Empty your tank as quickly as possible.

Regards to all,



avatar Dennis Rogers December 9, 2010 at 2:37 pm

What a gem,great site
I am looking forward to the continued delopement of the site and the renaissance. Thank You


avatar admin December 9, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Thanks Dennis! much more to come.


avatar Donnie Hunt December 9, 2010 at 4:09 pm

I’m really liking this site! I’m curious if the new “Superslow Technical Manual” is available yet?


avatar admin December 9, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Ken is shooting for Feb. 2011.


avatar larsvonthreat December 10, 2010 at 11:44 am

is the concepts of renaissance exercise appliable to conventional equipement(ie free weight,pulleys,universal machine or bodyweight)?


avatar Joshua Trentine December 12, 2010 at 5:47 pm

more to come on this soon.


avatar Hugh December 10, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Excellent form demonstrated on the videos. The protocol, when done correctly, is deceptively simple. Al’s stoicism masks the very hard work that he is doing and may give some the wrong impression the simply moving slow is the “secret sauce.” As an example of “its harder than it looks;” had a potential client call yesterday and in the conversation she mentioned that she tried “slow burn” but quickly got “bored” with it. She recognized that she was obviously doing it “wrong” and thus the call. How many out there are doing it incorrectly based on a book or video demonstration, concluding that there’s nothing to it, and moving on to something else? In future videos I suggest showing the resistance being used to show that we are not talking about moving a mere 50% of one’s 1rep max. My clients are surprised when they learn that they have added say, 150 pounds, to there leg press over the course of a few weeks. A 79-year-old man doing leg presses in perfect form with 302.5 pounds for two minutes on Ken’s leg press machine is a far cry from the guys pumping out reps using 100lbs down at the Y.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 10, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Thank You for your comments! Al’s stoicism is ideal. Isn’t it amazing how strong clients get? and fast! they can be unstoppable once they have learned the stoicism and the real objective, when training on this gear.

One instructional point i hedge against is this idea that they are “simply moving slow”, yes when they are learning , yes they are attempting to kill any stored energy on the turn-arounds but the initiated subject must eventually push as hard and as fast as they can, it just happens to go slow. One of my favorite cues when timed properly is “hurry-up!”.


avatar Hugh December 10, 2010 at 8:01 pm


You’re right. I was referring to the uninitiated perspective of seeing only “slow movement.” Seeing only the video, you wouldn’t know that at the end of the set, Al is pulling as fast as he can. The prospective client I referred to in my post just left my studio with a completely different way of thinking about the protocol after I took her through three sample exercises and she also left as a paid client!


avatar Joshua Trentine December 10, 2010 at 10:49 pm

Yup, we’re on the same page, i find this to be the single biggest misconception about what we do.
We’re going to tackle this subject in great detail next week.


avatar John Tatore December 10, 2010 at 11:44 pm

Josh … the best videos showing proper exercise on the web. I’m looking forward to next week’s discussion on explaining the speed of movement. It’s been too long since these topics were discussed.



avatar Joshua Trentine December 11, 2010 at 5:21 am

John and Travis,
We really appreciate the knid words, as you both already know there is so much time and thought behind this, it’s gratifying to see the appreciation.
Next week we will be tackling a major point of confusion, a point that makes or breaks the protocol and a point that seperates ordinary gains from extraordinary gains.


avatar Travis Weigand December 11, 2010 at 12:13 am

The true beauty of this protocol lies in the details. Al certainly has a mastery of those details. I am really enjoying these videos thus far! They serve as excellent demonstrations of the protocol, I’m excited to see what’s next!


avatar Marshal Linfoot December 11, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Congratulations on the launch of what promises to be a great resource for exercise, the real deal!

I’ve been a client at the Strength Room in Toronto for over a year, and in that time, under the thoroughly professional and experienced guidance of Gus D, I have witnessed a transformation that is nothing short of amazing. Back pain that plagued me for nearly three years — gone, elbow tendinitis from steady state repetitive “exercise” — vanished. At 60 I feel stronger, fitter, healthier tha I did when I was 20, and it just keeps getting better.

Spread the word, let the Renaissance in exercise truly flourish. Thank you all.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 11, 2010 at 4:50 pm


Great to have you on board, we intend to demonstrate that this technology represents the most intense, safe and efficient way to train. Just as important this absolutely IS protocol of choice for physical rehabiltation.

please share your experiences as we get into some of the specifics with the equipment and program design.


avatar Andrew Shortt December 11, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Sure is encouraging to see this site up and running. Great work folks…carry on.



avatar Al Coleman December 14, 2010 at 7:12 am

Thanks Andrew,

I was just reading a bit of Z3. Good work….


avatar Paul Marsland December 11, 2010 at 5:36 pm

Another important point when learning slow reps, is once past the inital learning stage I belive that resistance levels should be increased aggresively to the point the trainee is not far off using their previous weights but done much slower, but the biggest downside for slow reps (and I’ve had this happen many times with some of the people I’ve trained, who were fairly big to start with) is that its a real ego killer and for some the level of intensity is simply too much, BUT if you stick with it you begin to realise just how effective it is..

I really do hope, that we don’t get “hung up” on what is defined as slow, as even Ken stated that 6-10 seconds is fine, for me it tends to come out at 8/8, I move slow enough to feel the resitance on an even level throughout the ROM, over the years and especially on the various HIT forums, the purists have tended to steer people away…

Many have claimed its not for “bodybuilding”….and you can’t build strength with it, well at 240lbs and with a 600lb deadlift I beg to differ…


avatar Joshua Trentine December 11, 2010 at 6:04 pm


We teach the fastest speed devoid of momentum, this will vary depending on equipment. To a great extent equipment dictates protocol. 10/10 is a guideline and it is not arbitrary. When protocol is used properly it is ideal for the Renaissance Exercise machine.
The advanced subject, who has mastered the protocol, uses appropriate loads and makes every effort to kill any stored energy on the turn-arounds will require no formal cadence. I think this takes years and most advanced subjects will still need cues.
More to come on this next week

(note: The instruction above remains figurative as Momentum = mass X velocity. Thus, if there’s any movement at all there is momentum present. We use protocol that robs the subject of excessive momentum. Equipment that has excessive friction or poor resistance curves encourages the subject to lunge or heave, using momentum to overcome the faulty mechanics which unloads the muscles and increases the risk of injury.)


avatar frEe frostwire December 12, 2010 at 1:46 pm



avatar Paul Marsland December 12, 2010 at 2:08 pm

The only downside of moving too slow, is that the exercise then becomes a series of mini static contractions, this is compounded by excess friction on some one should move slow enough to keep this from happening…


avatar Joshua Trentine December 12, 2010 at 6:04 pm


I agree, a real issue with sub-par equipment. The discussion of speed becomes very clear once the friction issues are resolved and cam is optimized.

The advanced subject strives to kill any stored energy as he/she changes direction and just ends up pushing as hard and as fast as he can.

Lets resume this discussion next week as we delve into this subject with a new article and video.


avatar John Tatore December 12, 2010 at 6:22 pm

Josh … how often does Al do this A/B Routine ….. how many days between each workout?



avatar Joshua Trentine December 12, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Al usually trains on Wednesday(A) and Saturday(B) nights.Sometimes he ends up on Sunday afternoon. Either way there are 2 or 3 days separating the “A” and “B” workouts.

He doesn’t like to train near work hours beacause he has difficulty focusing on his clients or on his own session.


avatar Richard chartrand December 13, 2010 at 12:29 am

Is twice a week for Al his personal preference or is this a general recommendation as opposed to less frequency?


avatar Joshua Trentine December 13, 2010 at 3:53 am

I would say that 70% of our clients are on a that type of schedule.

Personally, I have used this type of schedule more often than not over the last 12 years.

Al also has a “C workout” that gets dropped in there, it still occurs 2 or 3 days after the previous workout and of course it creates more space before the A&B workout are repeated.


avatar John Tatore December 13, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Josh … what is the C routine made up of? Is it done all the time or just dropped in occasionally?


avatar Al Coleman December 14, 2010 at 7:11 am


The C routine is usually ancillary exercises such as neck, torso rotation, lumbar extension, etc….

I also like to use the “arm routine” for my C day.


avatar Brian Liebler December 13, 2010 at 12:50 pm


How to determine TUL? In the video the TUL for the leg press is much shorter than leg ex/leg curl. Also, how to determine when to hold in the contracted position for an extended period. I always hold in the contracted position for at least one second on each rep, but I see it being held there at times longer. Are you loging TUL or just reducing the strenght level as much as possible?


avatar Al Coleman December 14, 2010 at 7:08 am


Great question. I didn’t determine it. I stuck the pin and then proceeded to move with the intention of putting an end to the exercise as quickly as possible. At no point was I ever trying to hold the rep. It is in that position that I can volitionally squeeze every drop of strength out of the musculature as fast as possible. For the vast majority of the reps I had to squeeze hard just to get into the finished position. Anyone who think these things fall off too much are slacking off else where in the rep.

IMO-if the sujects intention is pure, than the TUL is irrelevant as long is it falls in a resonable window of time. Also, TUL is the wrong goal to give a subject. TUL tends to give the subject the mistaken notion that as long as they “milk it for time” and reach their goal, then the set was successful. Try this: at your next workout look how long you lasted the previous time and see if you can perform the exercise in such a pure fashion that it forces you to fail FASTER. This is what you should be trying to do.



avatar Doug Holland December 14, 2010 at 12:45 am

Thanks for making this site available.I will be checking in on a regular basis.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 14, 2010 at 4:58 am

Hi Doug,

Honored to have you stop by.


avatar Al Coleman December 14, 2010 at 7:08 am


Search and Destroy 🙂


avatar Al Coleman December 14, 2010 at 5:14 am

Wow! I step a way for a few days and……..

Thanks to everyone here for stopping by. I genuinely am ready to improve the viability of this form of training for everyone involved.

I’m going to try and answer the last few questions posted here. There are other major ones that I will discuss at another time that are more mechanical in nature based on my long time experience and friendship with someone who will remain nameless. Needless to say, I owe this gentleman as well as Josh, Ken, Jeff, and Gus a ton. Thanks guys.

John, Richard, et al.- As Josh said, I usually perform my “A” and “B” routine on Wed and Saturday evenings. This isn’t written in stone though. I have a template that I work off of,but my “A” and “B” routines change all the time. My personal experience and physique changes have shown that( at least for advanced subjects) trying to overly standardize such things is a mistake.

I really think Brian Johnston had some valuable insights in this regard(volume and frequency). Josh has pointed this out to me on numerous occasions and the 10 pounds of lean tissue I’ve put on since moving to Cleveland in late July have proven it. I think we have the chance(and mechanical means) to evolve thinking in this regard.

To be quite honest though, I don’t really think of training so myopically. I train to improve as an instructor. That sounds altruistic, but its true. I tinker with equipment to understand experientially what the optimal rate of speed is, how I can better relate that to a subject(and if you can’t do that then find a new line of work), and gain a sense of when they may incur a “rate” change and disallow it. This is how you master the art of training another. Get to bogged down in your own conceptual box of how things should be and watch your clients progress come to a schreeching halt. It just so happens to have improved my own gains.

Don’t misunderstand me; we need standardization and a place to strat, but we must also allow the standard to evolve if that is what needs to happen(it may not always need to).

My point is saying all of this is that unfortunately, I think that once a week is optimal for most is misleading and probably not correct. This is nothing new. Sure, you can make numbers on a chart go up, but are you OPTIMIZING everything involved?

There is a skill that once mastered(and this requires an insane amount of concentration) I feel answers most of this stuff. I’ll go into more detail at another time.



avatar rob December 14, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Wow … just found your site cause it was referenced at Body By Science …. you sure aren’t afraid to lay it out in black and white … nice work.


avatar larsvonthreat December 14, 2010 at 10:04 pm


what’s that “arm routine” you are previously reffering to?i’m curious to know what your C routine usually look like..

keep on the great work!


avatar Jeff December 14, 2010 at 10:17 pm


Typically the “arm routine” looks like this:

Biceps curl
Triceps ext
Ventral Torso
Leg Press.

I like this routine although it does somewhat screw up the cam effects of the compound movement that follows the rotary movement.



avatar larsvonthreat December 15, 2010 at 1:35 pm

So I assume you do the rotary movement as a prefatigue?Or are you taking some rest in between exercises?

thank you for your answer


avatar Al December 15, 2010 at 3:16 pm

You’re correct- no rest.


avatar Brian Liebler December 16, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Do you test for fiber type(TUL)? The reason I ask is with me under the 2/4 cadence my rep range(TUL) is on the low side. About 7 reps(TUL 60 seconds). However, with a 10/10 cadence, if I do 3 reps(TUL 60 seconds) I feel like I left something on the table. I don’t get the extreme level of fatique as I exit the leg ex machine.

If I lower the weight and increase the reps to around 3 1/3 to 3 1/2 with a 10 sec static hold(TUL around 80 sec) I get a very deep level of fatique. Much deeper that the 2/4 cadence.

I reduce my strenght level so much that if I reduce the weight by 50%, I can barely get out a 10 sec positive without cheating .

I once thought that the machine’s mechanical sticking point was the factor. Although I have never used Ken’s machines I have trained on many machines in many facilities with the same results.

One additional benefit that I get by increasing my TUL 20 seconds is great conditioning but, beause I inroad so deep, I can only train every 4th and sometimes 5th day.


avatar Al December 17, 2010 at 2:29 am


You probably failed slightly faster with the 2/4 cadence primarily because of the mechanical work, however there is less metabolic work.

It is my sincere opinion that at 2/4 one never learns to go through all their gears.

It has been our experience(we have the equipment to test it) that fiber type testing is a waste of time. There is a great range of productive load times.


avatar Paul Marsland December 17, 2010 at 3:20 am

A somewhat vague (to some) but has proved invaluable to me in all the time I’ve been training using some form of slow reps (on and off since 1994), is try 4-8 reps and see how you progress, if progress is slow, reduce it to 3-6 and again check progress and for advanced trainees even 2-4 reps will suffice…
For me 3-6 works out just right as I’m able to progress at a stable and steady rate…

I also agree with Al (Based on Brian Johnstons materials) that for the advanced trainee, variation around a base level routine allows for a better all round optimisation, hence Al using a, A, B and C routine covers all the bases and also helps keep metabolic demands within reasonable levels…

I myself tend to prefer two weekly workouts encompassing a specialisation routine for a given bodypart and then finishing out the rest of the workout with a few basic exercises, I tend to think in terms of progress overy 3rd or-4 th workout rather than a workout by workout basis, as this I’ve found places too much stress mentally on me to better my previous workout since I’m already at such a high level..


avatar Joshua Trentine December 17, 2010 at 3:37 am


My conclusions are VERY similar to what you mention here.



avatar William C. December 17, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Hey everyone,

Congrats on the new blog! I have a small solo facility on the south shore of Montreal and I use a modified Max Pyramid protocol to great effect with my patients and clients.

Looking forward to reading material from like-minded individuals. I got here from Doug McGuff’s blog and do not regret clicking that link.

Cheers all.


avatar Daniel December 17, 2010 at 10:28 pm

great post, thanks for sharing


avatar Joshua Trentine December 18, 2010 at 8:05 pm

you are welcome sir


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Only gets better from here


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