Mind-Muscle Disconnect

123 comments written by Joshua Trentine

Mind-Muscle Disconnect

A Response to Doug McGuff, MD
By Joe Anderson

A recent article and intense discussion in the comments section of the RenEx blog over the last few weeks prompted the 12/23/12 blog post on Body By Science. If you have not already read it, please go here and check it out now.

Advancement in thought rarely occurs by digging up common ground, but rather, by seeking unfamiliar seeds of thought, cultivating them, and by their yield you can discern them. To get right to it, after considering Dr. McGuff’s post, I find myself in disagreement and feel the divergent points are worth discussing further.

From the BBS blog:

Recently, the RenEx guys have posted some articles on the “mind-muscle connection”.  I read this with some interest, as I have always assumed that this connection was important, but I have not always felt that I was good at it.  Also, I have watched many people train that I cannot imagine any sort of connection being at play, but they seemed to produce excellent results.  The assumption is that the “mind-muscle connection” is a pre-requisite for good results, but the evidence really is circumstantial at best. 

I think the first problem is Dr. McGuff’s assumption, as it leads toward an erroneous view of the “evidence”. For clarity’s sake, the mind-muscle connection drives the exercise effect; it does not determine a result (adaptation is a multifactorial response). We strive toward improvement of the exercise delivery system; refinement of the experience toward a particular acute effect. Within a paradigm that relies on continuous tension for efficient and thorough fatigue, the mind-muscle connection is undeniably crucial. Whether or not it results in significant hypertrophy for a given individual does not factor into the equation at all. “Big muscles” may be found on a subject who exercises haphazardly or who does not exercise at all. This does not take away from the profit in a mind-muscle connection…it speaks loudly to the amazing plasticity of the tissues involved and the extreme variability in adaptive response.

But, I’m not interested in what is “possible”, only what is best. We learn more from those at the opposite end of the bell curve. What is undeniably required for these lesser responders is merely an amplified view of how to improve the experience for the greater responders. Things that may not appear “required” for the greater responders cannot, however, be assumed unimportant for the lesser responders. Doug acknowledges this later in the article: “This is not to say that I think the mind-muscle connection is unimportant; I believe it is very important and that the less gifted you are, the more you will need to call upon it.” 

Further, hypertrophy is not the only desirable “result”, so using it, solely, as evidence of anything is short-sighted at best. These faulty assumptions lead to an examination of the wrong things when searching for supporting evidence.

McGuff continues:

The discussion that ensued made reference to a YouTube video of Kai Greene referencing the mind-muscle connection and trying to teach it to a less-advanced bodybuilder who Kai feels has not made that connection (but still has way more muscle than most of the participants on the discussion boards).  This led me to watch several other videos of Kai Greene training, and frankly I cannot imagine that he is making any sort of connection that remotely approaches what the RenEx guys are talking about.  The most revealing video was one where Dorian Yates was trying to take Kai Greene through his high intensity chest and back routine.  It was evident there that Kai was almost unteachable and was almost unable to use techniques and positioning that Dorian used to create peak loading and intense contractions.

With all due respect, I don’t think Dr. McGuff understands what he’s observing. A good bodybuilder (and Kai falls into this category) is extremely astute with exercise performance.  Their “behavior” is a product of their intent…an intent that is driven by the mind-muscle connection and biofeedback (feel, pump, etc.).  Their speed of motion, range of motion and body positioning are the result of trying to keep tension on the target muscles with the tool in hand; they are effectively “camming” the exercise on the fly. I submit to the good doctor that this is the ultimate expression of the mind-muscle connection within a bodybuilding paradigm using conventional equipment.

Additionally, the criticism of Kai in the Dorian Yates videos is misplaced. This is not evidence of Kai being unteachable; this is evidence of Dorian’s inability to instruct exercise effectively. I’m willing to extend the benefit of the doubt to Dorian, as it is possible he was doing this intentionally for the film. However, I think those videos are superb teaching tools for new Exercise Instructors…of what not to do.  He has absolutely no clue “how” to get Kai to do what he wants, he has absolutely no way to objectively determine if Kai is being appropriately effected by the exercise, he doesn’t seem to know why Kai is behaving differently than his “instruction” or how to communicate an effective correction. An instructor that talks that much either feels inadequate in his instruction or has an inadequate system of delivering exercise.  At this point, the “instructor” only serves to disrupt the necessary flow of communication between mind and muscle, which is painfully evident on the videos.

Kai Green competing naturally in the NGA. The same organization that lifetime natural Pro Joshua Trentine competes.

You have a subject, Kai, who is accustomed to and adept at training intuitively, by feel. Then you have Dorian attempting to teach body positions and cadence toward creating peak loading and intense contractions, with no way to control and evaluate. This causes the subject to become frustrated because the exercise doesn’t “feel” right, so he begins to revert to his expertise. This, in turn, frustrates the instructor, who lacks the ability to fix the situation, and instead tries to talk around the problem. What results is an absence of exercise. Amazingly, with all of the talking, Dorian excluded the one piece of info that would have helped- he never established a clear intent. Without a target, what is the subject to aim for?  Without a target, how does one distinguish a miss from a hit? No wonder everyone was frustrated. The whole scene is absolutely ridiculous.

Those videos expose the glaring need for all the things Renaissance Exercise has discussed; the environment, the technology, the protocol, the instruction.  In the absence of a true system that adequately controls the exercise experience and provides a specific intent and objective feedback to the exercising subject, the “trainer” is actually a hindrance to the process.  Individuals who can, would be better off learning to guide their own training by feel.  Those who can’t (and there are many) are the target market for anyone opening a studio to deliver Renaissance Exercise.

The Renaissance of Exercise is an ongoing journey toward leveling the playing field for exercising subjects, allowing for an experience that is not only on par with more capable subjects, but also simplistically-repeatable and measurably progressive. Regarding the needfor mind-muscle connection, Dr. McGuff noted that, “We have to rely on someone’s subjective assessment that they indeed have such a connection.”  No, we don’t. Renaissance Exercise absolves the exercising subject of the responsibility to make such assessments; the system accounts for this by providing solutions that deliver objective feedback that is effectively communicated and precise cueing is available as needed. Renaissance Exercise removes the doubt and hones in the accuracy at “driving in the nail with one strike”.

{ 123 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Bill S. January 2, 2013 at 1:15 pm


This is excellent.


avatar Rob K January 2, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Like several others have said.
This textpert is taking your work down. No way did you allow this latest hijack of your reputation.
You’re losing your audience. I’d consider shutting this guy down.


avatar Joshua Trentine January 2, 2013 at 6:22 pm


Ad hominem…..

What points do you disagree with?



avatar Joshua Trentine January 2, 2013 at 6:38 pm

“Like several others have said”

One other….and also Ad hominem….

no specific complaints regarding content…


avatar Nathan Block January 4, 2013 at 11:11 pm

Please understand that this is not about Josh,Gus,Al,McGuff or Ken.This site is about exercise and whoever can add to it.Joe A. does that and much more.He can take you from the abstract down to detail… nicely,slowly and with tremendous logic.I honestly think that even those RenX guys are many times stunned by Joe A.’s insight.


avatar Trace January 2, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Bravo! The RenEx monitor feedback settles your point.


avatar Pete January 2, 2013 at 7:02 pm

I see the value in all parts of this discussion having read both points of view in balance. Firstly my observation is as a trainer Dorian is not a natural communicator, does not display an genuine rapport or congruent empathy with his subject, the two men have opposing emotional and mental forces at play hence a clear mismatch, also Dorian jumps in stops the movement as force is being applied and interrupts the subject dangerously by placing his hands on the machine during the stroke. Had the two gents clearly defined a common exercise movement objective and how the process would proceed, the well pre framed outcome would have allowed for genuine attempt to achieve a mind to muscle connection. Many years ago I studied NLP, the “Mind to muscle Pattern” is worth googling if you want a psychological aspect, after all everything we are doing has deep emotional, mental and frames of mind drivers, fight flight at that juncture of deep inroad on a leg press can be scary shit, but as Doug stated in his book BBS we gents are mastering a rare talent in intellectually overriding instinct.
Back to “mind to muscle” having in the past applied many years of Buk Sing Choy Lay Kung Fu I learned to be able to control individual muscles at will, perhaps being born with profound hearing loss and terrible eyesight has allowed me the skill of kinesthetic motor efficiency and control during physical movements, if my mind does not visualize the muscular structure contracting against load I sometimes fall through or screw up my breathing , I like to close my eyes for the last 20 secs of TUL and immerse myself in the movement, I am not even aware I am on a machine, when the set finishes, I sometimes feel like you do when you wake up from a trance and suddenly become aware of the external surroundings, when I miss the mark I sometimes walk away frustrated that I let some fibers off the hook, somehow I get the feeling that when I try a RenEx visual feedback machine I will walk away a happy boy.


avatar Pete January 2, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Apologies to Trace and other ladies……….

We ladies and gents, are mastering this art of inroading…………..



avatar Trace January 4, 2013 at 4:37 pm


Would you mind clarifying your reference to me? I don’t understand what you mean?


avatar Doug McGuff, MD January 2, 2013 at 9:14 pm


I really don’t see that we have any disagreements, and didn’t wish to pose a disagreement with RenEx on the importance of the mind-muscle connection and its importance. We have come to many of the same conclusions.

I also agree with you regarding the Kai Greene videos referenced….I don’t understand what I’m looking at. I have some personal experience with those I believe are making a mind-muscle connection. What I witness in these videos nowhere near approaches what I have seen Al Coleman, Gus or Josh (with our without feedback). I also agree that muscle mass is not the only objective end-point, it is just one that is commonly referred to, and we were invoking bodybuilders like Mr. Greene, which is why I made the comment. So once again, it seems something you thought we were disagreeing about was something we were actually agree upon.

Perhaps our only disagreement is the utility of any reference to Kai Greene or Steve Michaelic in this discussion. Perhaps where you see someone “camming the exercise on the fly”, I see just another genetically-blessed, steroid enhanced bodybuilder throwing weights about. I guess I will just have to wait until I perfect my mind-muscle connection to be able to see what you do.

One final request. There is an incredible urge for people in our field to refer to me as “the good doctor”. I cannot quite articulate why, but this phrase irritates me. “Doug” will do just fine.


avatar Joe A January 2, 2013 at 10:24 pm


Thanks for chiming in. In fairness, I didn’t think there was a BIG disagreement here. I suppose I could have been clearer, but that is what I was referring to when I mentioned “digging up common ground”…and there is certainly plenty of it.

However, the points I addressed, IMO, left me somewhat puzzled upon reading your blog. And, based on some of the responses left in the comments by your readers, I thought others may have taken your statements the way I did…seemingly posing an argument against the “mind/muscle connection” and using big muscles as evidence. Taking the conversation down the path of mind/muscle vs. “excellent results” seems counterproductive, and even if that was not your intent, I don’t think clarifying that point is a bad thing.

As for the comments about Kai, I see no reason why our observations and perspectives of the videos need to agree. I felt strongly enough about my perspective that I thought it should be thrown into the mix…everyone has their own eyes and experiences from which they can discern. Opposing viewpoints can only enhance the discussion, right? Also, it seemed to provide a springboard for highlighting the need for the Renaissance movement (of which you have participated and contributed). So, while the above article was a response to your article, it wasn’t a repudiation. I certainly wasn’t “swinging for the fences”…just taking what I was given.

My apologies for using “good doctor” in reference to you…it was intended to show the light-hearted nature of the article and not meant disrespectfully. I work closely with a few family physicians everyday, and if my experience led me to believe that phrase would have been taken negatively, I wouldn’t have included it.


avatar Joshua Trentine January 3, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Reading both articles I still see the two of you as being opposed in your opinion.


avatar Patrick January 2, 2013 at 9:17 pm

“With all due respect, I don’t think Dr. McGuff understands what he’s observing. A good bodybuilder (and Kai falls into this category) is extremely astute with exercise performance. Their “behavior” is a product of their intent…an intent that is driven by the mind-muscle connection and biofeedback (feel, pump, etc.). Their speed of motion, range of motion and body positioning are the result of trying to keep tension on the target muscles with the tool in hand; they are effectively “camming” the exercise on the fly. I submit to the good doctor that this is the ultimate expression of the mind-muscle connection within a bodybuilding paradigm using conventional equipment.”

YES! To get the most out of free weights and cable exercises, you gotta know how to self cam and develop the MMC, be it HIT or HVT.


avatar Joe A January 2, 2013 at 10:38 pm


Exactly. We can argue the safety of such performances, the inability to sustain this practice long term with these tools…but, the bottom line is bodybuilders don’t think like that. They are trying to eek out every last ounce of lean tissue, with little regard for potential consequence (as does just about every athlete in any sport). The implications for “exercise” (at least the way we view it) may be limited, but many of these guys are simply artists the way they coordinate their efforts in accordance with their intent (strong contractions, pump, local fatigue, etc).


avatar Joshua Trentine January 3, 2013 at 1:14 am

“many of these guys are simply artists the way they coordinate their efforts in accordance with their intent (strong contractions, pump, local fatigue, etc).”

I just wanted to highlight this sentence



avatar Gus Diamantopoulos January 2, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Everyone, please note Doug’s comment.

This is a civilized, fluent and affable means of responding to posts and articles.

If all comments came in this guise these forums would be a kinder place and real ideas might commence a true and progressive exchange.



avatar Joshua Trentine January 3, 2013 at 1:15 am

Sure would Gus!


avatar Donnie Hunt January 2, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Very thought provoking article and comments as usual. Joe, I remember you writing something similar to this on Dr. Darden’s site some time ago.

I can recall many a time in the gym, seeing trainees working out with what I would consider bad form. This goes back to what some of you have talked about being reluctant to post training videos. You can’t see what the trainee is experiencing.


avatar Joe A January 3, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Donnie brings up a great point…there is A LOT of bad form out there. I’m not advocating for it, most of it is misplaced, ignorant copy-cat “technique”. Here’s what I wrote on Darden’s forum awhile back:

Many mis-perceive atrocious form for the artistry of the bodybuilder. Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying, there is some horrendous exercise performance by many exercisers. But the reason for it is a misperception of what the bodybuilders are doing AND the inability of the bodybuilders to articulate what is going on during their sets.

The bodybuilder, the REAL bodybuilders are athletes who have the ability to do things with their bodies that not everyone else can (I believe this is a product of fiber recruitment and neuromuscular coordination). On the fly, the bodybuilder is manipulating his body position/alignment, rep speed, moment arms, ROM, etc. ALL by “feel”. Their is a “groove” that he will get in that produces a targeted “feeling/performance” for the musculature he is attempting to affect. He stops when he no longer can achieve said “feeling”. It is art, and as such, the on-looker may or may not “get” what they are seeing. It looks haphazard, but it is far from it.

Then you have less genetically-fortunate “athletes” who do not have the ability to engage and coordinate their musculature similarly (or ones who simply have never put in the work to learn) who try to copy the bodybuilder’s performance by “sight”, i.e. it “looked” like the bodybuilder leaned back to start the rep, extended his elbows at the mid-range, did 15 reps at a 1-1 rep speed, etc, etc. They try to copy what they “see” and frankly cannot accomplish the same effect, and certainly cannot do it safely.

With proper instruction and cueing almost anyone can learn to “get at” their musculature effectively and safely. It may not look like what they see others doing, though. Monkey see, monkey do, usually is not an effective way to learn to exercise.

Additionally, exercise performance is dictated by the tools being used, not necessarily what is necessary or best, in terms of muscle and joint function. You do what you can with what you’ve got.


avatar Bradley warlow January 3, 2013 at 10:17 am

In regards to Dougs comment on’ larger bodybuilders having more ‘grist for the mill’could this perhaps suggest that the larger you become in terms of muscle , the less need to apply superslow ? thus more muscle you have the greater your ability to stimulate even more?


avatar Joe A January 3, 2013 at 12:25 pm


I think the ship starts to go off course when try to look at things through that type of perspective. In a broad sense, none of this is “needed”…but the critical points are less about ‘needed’ vs ‘not needed’ and more a continuum of good-better-best. RenEx, in one sense, is quality control for exercise. It matters not if a subject has extreme levels of muscularity or not, quality control improves the exercise experience (this includes this communication-feedback loop between mind and muscle, between intent and expression). If one is not striving toward better focus, better “connection” (or whatever we want to all it)…what then is suggested? Are we really going to go down a path of debating that less focus, less quality control will improve exercise? Any subject, performing any type of exercise (HVT, HIT, BBS, Aerobics, Spinning) will benefit from more better focus and quality improvement.

To address your question specifically regarding the larger you become…I think in some ways the need for RenEx becomes heightened. The more force production potential that exists the more likely a subject harms himself expressing it. RenEx may be the best way for this type of subject to sustain exercise long term…


avatar Joe A January 4, 2013 at 9:49 am

Wow…sorry guys, my grammar and spelling in the above response is atrocious. 🙂

I want to clarify one sentence in particular, as two words transposed changed the meaning:
“Any subject, performing any type of exercise (HVT, HIT, BBS, Aerobics, Spinning) will benefit from more better focus and quality improvement. ”

This should have read:
“Any subject, performing any type of exercise (HVT, HIT, BBS, Aerobics, Spinning) will benefit MORE from better focus and quality improvement. “


avatar Bradley warlow January 3, 2013 at 12:25 pm

@josh – definately! Dougs approach seems more in the lines of ‘ you either got it or you dont’ where as Joe A is saying that improving ypur connection is the only way to stimulate additional gains


avatar Joe A January 3, 2013 at 3:06 pm

I’m not saying that…at all. Improving communication/mind-muscle connection is better than not improving communication. ..simple as that. I don’t see how this is even questionable, additional ‘gains’ or not.


avatar ad ligtvoet January 3, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Today I tried for the first time the shrugg as explained by Joshua.Seems not to be corrolated with this article but since I had to concentrate on the new movement ,the mind-body connection had to be primed .However, still room for improvement on that level.


avatar Bradley warlow January 3, 2013 at 12:31 pm

josh – I am curious how a bodybuilder taking steroids for their first time could even get larger muscles, if his connection remains exactly the same as it did when they were natural? perhaps having steroids in your blood stream improves your connection? – more grist for the mill-


avatar Joe A January 3, 2013 at 3:29 pm


None of these relationships exist. Steroids don’t supply large muscles. Large muscles don’t supply “improved connection”. Steroids don’t supply “improved connection”. “Improved connection” doesn’t supply large muscles.

Regardless of genetics, regardless of how advanced the trainee is, regardless of the additives and perservatives in their system, regardless of the paradigm the choose to exercise within…improving communication (or striving toward it) between mind and body (focus or whatever else we are calling it) IS BETTER than not improving it.


avatar parker February 6, 2013 at 6:32 pm

“Steroids don’t supply large muscles.”

Yes, they do. There are a number of peer-reviewed papers that show even in the absence of weight training, steroids and do induce hypertrophy.


avatar Joshua Trentine February 6, 2013 at 6:38 pm

if you are going to reference them you should post them….let’s see what they say.

there is a big difference between hypertrophy for a hypogonatic male and an asyptomatic male….under normal conditions the introduction of steriods without any stimulus will lead to little or nothing.

I have had a number on online and in person clients who used steroids over the years i don’t think its the magic that you guys believe.


avatar Craig January 3, 2013 at 12:50 pm

“Individuals who can, would be better off learning to guide their own training by feel. Those who can’t (and there are many) are the target market for anyone opening a studio to deliver Renaissance Exercise.”

Interesting comment! I think a lot of the hard pushback against the RenEx marketing message comes from hard core enthusiasts who feel that they already have mastered the art of training. Some of them seem to get irritated and take exception when they think they are being told that their preferred method of training is inferior.


avatar Joshua Trentine January 3, 2013 at 2:42 pm


I agree… and we have NEVER called other strength training inferior, we see different paradigms…I’m far more interested in finding common threads among successful methods.

I think the only case where the message comes across different is when people are training on custom equipment that is radically cammed and using it incorrectly or as if it were conventional equipment.



avatar Joe A January 3, 2013 at 3:12 pm


And in context, that was quote was referring to training on your own versus training with an “instructor” who does not have the system or skill to deliver the desired exercise experience. Everyone, IMO, would benefit most from training in a system with the best technology, the best environment, the best protocol, the best instruction, the best feedback, etc.


avatar Bradley warlow January 3, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Thanks Joe for the response. i guess im just trying to findvthe easy way out lol it is obviously clear from what you say that the larger you get the more likely it is to injure yourself


avatar Ben Tucker January 4, 2013 at 7:34 pm


What I find with my clients, is that the bigger and more naturally muscular they are (guys, that is), the less they want to do hard work.
Now they can do feats of strength, mind you… but that’s usually all they want to do.


avatar Joe A January 4, 2013 at 11:52 pm


What I find with clients, “bigger and more naturally muscular” are rarely clients. LOL.


avatar Jay Horn January 5, 2013 at 12:23 am

Hahaha ^^

How very true that is!!!


avatar Bradley warlow January 3, 2013 at 3:27 pm

—so the greater the need for superslow. I merely thought that a larger bodybuilder could perhaps get away with training with a faster rep cadence than a smaller bodybuilder


avatar Pete January 3, 2013 at 8:21 pm


Mindful of dragging this discussion out too far, I seek your permission to add one final part based upon my training experience today.

Tony Robbins many moons ago talked about ‘modeling’ the excellence of another in order to improve one’s skill. Essentially morphing mentally into that person’s skill.

Prior to my workout I watched on youtube Al Coleman do his A&B routines, Josh on chest Press & compound row and Doug McGuff on his BBS site, I watched attentively and tried to go first person into these guys workout. Prior to my workout I visualized intensely and during the workout almost tried to be in the moment as these guys were trying to accurately mimic their motor skill and intensity of effort. It worked and my trainer noted massive intense effort, super clean turnarounds and quality inroading, I could not walk after MedEx leg extensions, compound row and shoulder press blew my body apart.

Perhaps just one other weapon we can utilize in our arsenal of tools.



avatar Steven Turner January 3, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Hi all,

Many years ago I did not understand what was meant by “learning the process” I suppose you could say that I just tried the “instinctive approach”. I have undertaken many different coaching roles in my sporting career and when I found it difficult to teach a skill someone I had nothing to fall back on I didn’t understand about learning the process. I spent sometime reading about teaching/coaching skills all the books referred to about learning the process once the process is learnt than the skill becomes easier to learn.

Another thing I learnt about teaching sporting skills, I am sure that many would have heard of similar stories. Some of the best coaches never played a particular sport I know of one famous swimmming coach who had never swam but trained a number of olympic swimmers. On the other side many “gifted” sports people failed as coaches.

I think that Doug may have mentioned this before the 20/80 rule, my take is that 20% of the population will respond to almost any type of training “big muscles”, “gifted athlete”, the other 80% of the population need to learn the process of proper exercise to gain many of health benefits.

I view the muscle mind connection as another step in learning the process.


avatar Jay Horn January 4, 2013 at 1:52 am

Screw it

Start pulling diesels and hitting tires with a sledge


avatar Bradley warlow January 4, 2013 at 6:00 am

joe-i understand what your saying. but Doug’s point was that a bodybuilder with larger muscles can feel the muscle working more than someone who is smaller and this gives them a better image of the intended objective. if you have circulating steroids in your blood stream,this can improve the feel of the contraction, as it enhances the internal ques?


avatar Joe A January 4, 2013 at 11:48 pm

“Big muscles equals better connection” is basically conceding that the tail wags the dog. Does the body drive the brain, or is it the other way around?


avatar Scott January 5, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Does one’s apparent success (by easy visual determination) not demonstrate that they are, in fact, successful at this important skill or art? Does not Kai’s musculature, irregardless of whether he’s own roids or whether we can SEE his MMC, demonstrate that he has excellent MMC skills?

And would not increased musculature make the MMC even stronger, thus creating a self-enforcing effect.

I say, “Yes, it does”. The dog observing how well he’s wagging his tail only helps him to wag it better.


avatar Joe A January 6, 2013 at 6:53 pm


No, I don’t think outcome is (necessarily) indicative of focus. I do think that focus enhances experience, which will elicit *some* outcome (which may of may not be visible). I believe observing an exercising subject on equipment with feedback will give you a better idea about how well they communicate (mind/muscle) than a measuring tape.

To extend the analogy- I think it is easy to be distracted by dogs with long tails…


avatar Agatha August 21, 2016 at 1:14 pm

I’m gretaful you made the post. It’s cleared the air for me.


avatar Nathan Block January 4, 2013 at 12:57 pm

What freaky bodybuilders do,the way they exercise is simply not the best way.Those 1/1 speeds,throwing the weights around is the wrong way to do it.Regardless of what they feel or whether they improve on it.They would be all much better off going slowly using 10/10 speeds.Even if it works wonders for them does not mean they use the best method.


avatar Doug McGuff, MD January 4, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Bradley, Joe,

I was not saying with certainty that more muscle made the connection easier…I was just asking the question.

Joe makes a good point that making a better connection is always better than not. He also makes the point “None of these relationships exist. Steroids don’t supply large muscles. Large muscles don’t supply “improved connection”. Steroids don’t supply “improved connection”. “Improved connection” doesn’t supply large muscles.”

This was also my point. Most that participate on this board and BBS are in the game because they want large muscles. I really wanted to point out that as Joe says…”improved connection doesn’t supply large muscles”. However, for those of us with modest potential, a shitty connection guarantees it won’t happen.

The only thing I might disagree with is the notion that steroids don’t supply large muscles. Semantics aside, steroids most certainly will produce muscle growth. I recently saw a patient who had a car wreck. He was a steroid user who did not work out at all. On his CT scan you could really see the hypertrophy (and the peanut sized testicles). The most interesting thing was all groups on the left side were bigger than the right side. Turns out he was right handed and gave all of his injections on the left side…freaky!


avatar Joe A January 4, 2013 at 11:39 pm


This may be what you meant by “semantics aside”…but what I was referring to as “supply large muscles” is not equivalent to “will produce muscle growth”. I’ll concede “some” effect solely by the inclusion of steroids…but certainly nothing even close to the outcome I was referring to. There must be a stimulus…and even then great outcome is not guaranteed. This was more to my point.


avatar Joshua Trentine January 5, 2013 at 7:59 pm


I’ve never heard of unilateral hypertrophy from steroid injections. Is this even possible? Aren’t the drugs circulated systemically via the blood stream?

I would agree with Joe…without stimulus I think steroids alone will do little or nothing in the way of muscle growth.



avatar mark January 4, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Did anyone ever actually -claim- that “the ‘mind-muscle connection’ is a pre-requisite for good results”?


avatar Dan Graves January 4, 2013 at 11:19 pm


“Did anyone ever actually -claim- that “the ‘mind-muscle connection’ is a pre-requisite for good results”

So well put. Last I knew we were trying to find ways to lift (or hold) more weight … or if set extenders really helped … or what was the ideal rest time …

Hey Joe, should we do aerobics every other workout day or on all six days?



avatar Joshua Trentine January 5, 2013 at 12:24 am


I’m guessing this is a blend of sarcasm? if it is I don’t “get” it….I’m not trying to be smart but I can’t understand your comment, perhaps you can restate it.


avatar Rob K January 4, 2013 at 2:22 pm

This tongue tied Creed Blogger has now gone 30 years back to the past. Please restore your site to 2013 science, and the tweaking it may need.
Perhaps ja can get his very own blog … here is the link …
You are losing those who have attained understanding already. It is about your ideas we seek …
You have invested so much!


avatar Nathan Block January 4, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Joe A. belongs right here and will not go away anytime soon!Envy aside,this man to me is on the same level as Josh,Gus,Al,Drew Baye and Ken.I find him totally amazing.


avatar Joshua Trentine January 5, 2013 at 12:29 am

Rob K,

Thanks for your concern, but Joe is welcome here anytime, I foresee many future projects with him.

I have no idea what this comment means or what exactly is 30 yrs in the past??

“This tongue tied Creed Blogger has now gone 30 years back to the past”

maybe you can be specific with your criticisms?


avatar Dan Graves January 5, 2013 at 12:34 pm

It is satirical and ironic. Did he ever actually read the SSTM like most of us have. I doubt it. Typical forum degradation when you allow your accolytes to control your message.

All good to RenEx and Ken and much thanks for getting us to the 2013 HIT. Let’s fine tune. Let the other readers find the info and move ahead!


avatar Joe A January 6, 2013 at 6:39 pm


My copy of the Technical Manual is the second edition and the binding is now failing…good thing the RoE text came hardbound. 🙂

I don’t see how any of this matters?? Please stop trying to make the topic about me; it’s getting old…


avatar Andy January 4, 2013 at 4:02 pm

In order to achieve the desired exercise effect – pump, local fatigue, strong contractions of the targeted muscle group etc. – do you feel that under certain circumstances it is better to apply a quicker rep cadence than 10/10? I’m thinking of e.g. conventional machines or free weight exercises. Or is the slower the better exercise stimulus?


avatar Joe A January 4, 2013 at 11:26 pm


I never seek to ‘apply’ any rep cadence. 10/10 is not an intent, but rather an approximate expression of an ideal (which includes a specific intent, corresponding behavior, on equipment with specific cam effect, etc). Intent should be unchanged regardless of tool in hand, but proper behavior is relative. Adjusting behavior to accommodate equipment will alter the expression (cadence, ROM, volume, etc).

“Is slower the better exercise stimulus?”

What is causing the “slower” in your question? The answer to your question depends on the answer to mine…


avatar Trace January 4, 2013 at 5:04 pm

I finally read Doug’s blog and agree with him: Where is the big difference of opinion? He simply stated a fact that happens to be true – that for most people it is a “subjective assessment.” (This is without the benefit of the RenEx In-Line Feedback.) He also verbalized something that I think gives instructors problems with many of their clients. “…trying to teach this connection to someone with minimal muscle mass is akin to making a blind person describe the color green.” He then goes into precise detail as to how someone may cultivate the mind-muscle connection by learning to contract and un-contract targeted muscles. I suppose these techniques have been described before, but I think they are valid and can see them working very well for many trainees. Thank you, Doug.


avatar Pete January 4, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Hey Trace
I suspect a cultural difference may have caused me to make a mistake, being English, I had a girlfriend named Tracey, I called her “Trace”. If my assumption about your name is wrong please accept my sincere apology, no offence is intended towards you. Problem is when I empty the tank, there was no blood left to assist brain function……as perhaps when I typed that 🙂



avatar Trace January 5, 2013 at 8:56 pm

Pete, I kind of suspected as much. Thanks.


avatar Joe A January 4, 2013 at 10:59 pm


The points of disagreement are stated specifically in the article. None of the things you mention are included.


avatar Trace January 5, 2013 at 9:12 pm


I know, but I wanted draw attention to Doug’s practical ideas. And I liked his observation about people with minimal muscle mass. Making the connection you’re talking about can be problematic for them. I had a conversation recently with someone who had real difficulty grasping this. So Doug’s musings reminded me of that. And from my experience with the TSC feedback in October, I believe everyone will get a better idea about this. I didn’t mean to stray from the subject.


avatar Joe A January 6, 2013 at 6:31 pm


I, too, liked his idea with practicing contracting to improve communication…I think there is much more there to explore.

However, I’m hesitant to trek down the path of “big muscles improve focus”…I find it to be an odd observation, to say the least.


avatar Steven Turner January 4, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Hi Jay,
Great advice
I am nearly 60 years of age in my younger days they used call this “hardcore manual labour” something like “wood chopping” or “brickies labouring”, shearing sheep when I looked at the older guys who had being doing this labouring type work for many years. I quickly learnt that by the age of forty most of these older guys were cripples. Now I am not the smartest person in the world but I was smarter enough to know that manual labouring career is short lived. But I was also smarter enough be paid for manual labouring work not to pay someone to make me do manual labouring work.

Jay my advice if someone is going to get you to pull diesels and hitting tires with sledge make sure you get paid to do it there are still many labouring jobs out there where you can get paid. You could than tell all your mates about how you get paid to pull diesels and hitting tires, now your a professional athlete.


avatar Jay Horn January 4, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Doug that’s very interesting!


avatar Jay Horn January 4, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Turner…. I was kidding….

I mean shit guy.

regarding conventional equipment, a 10/10 wouldn’t be the best route, clearly due to different curves throughout the full ROM. Especially on a machine, where there are radical ascending and descending curves…. such slow cadence would result in mechanical inefficiency as opposed to an inroad to volitional fatigue. Not to mention the high amount of friction…

I think intuitively, BBs know this… so as mentioned before.. they self cam themselves to a high enough degree of fatigue. These BBs are also in absence of quality resistance machines (but then again so are 99% of the population) which then means the workouts will be predicated on this subconsciously…

Such slow speeds may be great when working with proper equipment, but when applying conventional equipment to ones workout, it then becomes a different ballgame.

You apply proper techniques based on what tool you have to work with.


avatar Joe A January 4, 2013 at 11:28 pm



avatar Andy January 5, 2013 at 3:07 am

Your answer makes it clear.
Thank you very much!


avatar Kenny O January 5, 2013 at 10:18 pm

The chief characteristic of the volotional act is the existance of a purpose to be achieved; the clear vision of an aim. – Robert Assagiolo


avatar Steven Turner January 5, 2013 at 11:46 pm

Hi Jay,


My thoughts were that you were just kidding, my comments were to some extent just in jest. You make some very good points in your post above.


avatar Jay Horn January 6, 2013 at 12:17 pm

No worries brahsky. I’m not mad. You mad? Bro, I ain’t even mad!

Thanks… but to be fair thoughts were simply ingested and articulated slightly different than what has already been stated.


avatar Bradley warlow January 6, 2013 at 3:02 pm

I say the steroid user Doug was reffering to had zero hypertrophy from the steroids. He was probably naturally big. But not ‘using’ the steroids can lead to side effects; faster than if one were to direct the chemicals to the muscle cells through exercising regularly -hence the shrunken testicles;which I believe, in this instance, the steroids contributed to entirely


avatar Pete January 7, 2013 at 2:53 am

While we all enjoy the attainment of muscle mass in our craft of HIT, I could not help reminding myself as I read all the posts one of the most profound and latent benefits to our biology.
Doug reminds us on one of his BBS posts

W.O.W. 9/26/10-Muscle Mass and Organ Mass
Posted by Doug McGuff under Uncategorized


avatar Bradley Warlow January 7, 2013 at 9:29 am

Thank you Ben that is very true observation and one that I’ll take into consideration .


avatar Blain January 8, 2013 at 11:14 am

Great blog post as always Josh. Keep up the good work.


avatar Donnie Hunt January 9, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Have you guys ever experimented with having a set-up of say a leg press in conjunction with a compound upper body movement? I’m assuming this would not be an ideal set-up or you guys would have built something like this. Too much simultaneous stress on the body?


avatar mark January 11, 2013 at 3:49 pm

A machine push-press? Without the legs assisting the arms, it’d really be 2 machines, since arms can’t handle what legs can. The problem’s focusing on 2 big efforts, rather than full-body stress, & you’re gonna fail at one before the other, so it reverts back to being a single exercise. It all adds up to “why bother?”, to shave 3 minutes off the workout? Want a 1-set / 1-exercise workout?: Slow barbell deadlifts hit plenty muscle. The more adventurous can try slow overhead squats. (Use the best spotter you know!)


avatar Donnie Hunt January 11, 2013 at 10:25 pm

I hear you loud and clear on your points. What seems of possible value to me is being able to dynamically load the upper and lower body with a proper level of resistance simultaneously. Possibly setting off a greater alarm for adaptation? Whether or not it would really be worth bothering with I don’t know.


avatar mark January 12, 2013 at 4:33 am

How about an ARX-type unit, an enclosed compartment with a descending ceiling; instead of a pre-set turnaround, it reverses from negative to positive -only- if you reach a certain level of tension. If you don’t, it keeps coming down, and it kills you. Now -that- would stimulate one hell of an adaptation.


avatar Donnie Hunt January 12, 2013 at 6:09 pm

LOL! Yes I supposed it would.

avatar Bradley warlow January 10, 2013 at 7:03 am

Donnie, there is a machine that has been designed in Europe called the ALL-IN-ONE apparently -it targets every muscle simultaneously. I heard that Josh has one but it maybe just rumours lol. dont think it has the same requirements as the renex machines though.


avatar donnie hunt January 10, 2013 at 1:26 pm

@ Bradley, sounds very interesting!


avatar mark January 10, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Didn’t Evander Holyfield use that on “Saturday Night Live”?


avatar Donnie Hunt January 11, 2013 at 10:26 pm



avatar mark January 26, 2013 at 3:09 pm

I can’t find anything re “All-In-One”. “ROM Time Machine” makes similar claims. Their theory is that elite milers get a full workout via full-speed mile runs, while most of us sacrifice intensity, duration, or both. ROM’s ultra-heavy flywheel & electric brake claim to apply accommodating resistance to a full-body alternating push-pull: Try your hardest for 4min & you get the elite miler’s workout. It’s more to convince cardio-folks that 20min can be 4, with some muscle as a bonus. Many flaws: Push-pull invokes alternating respite, & even with the “heavy” resistance, too much mechanical work being done, (too many reps). It strikes me as similar to a max-speed Schwinn “Airdyne” workout without the explosive speed.


avatar Rob K January 10, 2013 at 9:50 am


this would be like Crossfit-HD/HIT


avatar donnie hunt January 10, 2013 at 1:29 pm

@ Rob, exactly! Minus the explosive movement/ high forces.


avatar Patrick January 10, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Kai Greene is featured in the movie Generation Iron. The trailer shows some of the top Olympia contenders training.



avatar Bradley warlow January 10, 2013 at 4:38 pm

how can using conventional equipment force us to completly abandon superslow? surely only a slightly faster rep cadence like say 5/5 is nesassary??


avatar Bradley warlow January 10, 2013 at 4:40 pm

how can using conventional equipment force us to completly abandon superslow? surely only a slightly faster rep cadence like say 5/5 is necessary??


avatar mark January 10, 2013 at 11:27 pm

On a road trip, it was the resistance curves of the hotel machines that threw me off, (more than the friction, which I guess could be somewhat mitigated with your 5/5, but “stiction” can kick in at anything less than explosive speeds). Screwed up curves can be minimized by narrowing range: Stay away from “light” segments that feel like a respite, and “heavy”segments that might force a break in form.


avatar Jay Horn January 10, 2013 at 4:59 pm

It’s the difference between mechanical error and reaching failure because of that AND reaching failure because the muscle can’t produce any more force through out the full ROM…


avatar Bradley warlow January 11, 2013 at 7:35 am

Thanks for the response Mark. Do you find that a more explosive cadence is required for barbell exercises also?


avatar mark January 12, 2013 at 4:23 am

No. My free-weight reps might be as fast as 1/1, but I narrow the range so much that it’s equivalent to 10/10.


avatar Bradley warlow January 11, 2013 at 10:28 am

Thankyou also Jay for the response


avatar Doug McGuff, MD January 11, 2013 at 11:11 am


The hypertrophy was not unilateral, but it was much more pronounced on the left side. With a “depo” or oil-based injection, the effect will be more pronounced locally and then fade somewhat like a ripple effect. The “depo” is oil based, so tissue levels will be higher closer to the injection, after a certain distance, the blood level approaches equilibrium. I never really thought about this until I saw this.

I wouldn’t necessarily take the word of this guy, but he said he did NOT work out. Steroids will work in the absence of a stimulus. This is why it is used in HIV and cancer cachexia. WRT hypertrophy, it probably works a lot better than the mind muscle connection. If you doubt it, stick around and watch what happens to Kai when he goes off them and relies just on his mind muscle connection.


avatar Joshua Trentine January 11, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Thanks Doug,

I don’t know much about how the drugs work, but must admit I have a tough time understanding how the effect could be more pronounced on the one side.

As for Kai he was the biggest natural bodybuilder i had ever seen… he was over 235 at 5’8″….he’s actually not all that much bigger on the sauce….and his physique looked better to me when he was in the natural shows. He only went on the sauce after turning IFBB Pro.

I also remember how big Ronnie Coleman was back in the day when he was competing in Natural Powerlifting years before the drugs. Juice or no juice the guys with the best genetics end up the biggest.

I just don’t think the drugs are magic.



avatar Donnie Hunt January 11, 2013 at 10:29 pm

I have wondered about this before. You hear guys make comments about bodybuilders “looking freaky” or getting a look not possible without steroids.


avatar Patrick January 12, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Agree with JT. Mid thread, Lee Priest from age 12-21. At 15 and natural, damn few bodybuilders can touch him.



avatar parker February 6, 2013 at 6:35 pm

How can you confirm or verify he was clean? If Arnold admitted to juicing as a teenager in the 60s and performance enhancing drugs becoming quite common by the 80s, there’s little doubt they were accessible and probably utilized.


avatar Mark January 21, 2013 at 11:35 am

I’ve seen teen photos of Ron before he did any lifting of any kind, (to say nothing of obviously still being ‘natural’): He was already more muscular than many trainees will ever be. Exercise, nutrition, & drugs are all we have to work with, but physique’s first three rules are similar to real estate’s: “Location-Location-Location” / “Genetics-Genetics-Genetics”.


avatar Mark October 21, 2020 at 3:33 pm

Natural is a technicality. While Josh is lifetime natural, Kai merely tested natural in times for the contest.


avatar Brian Schamber January 11, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Wouldn’t the all-in-one machine be the zenith for full body bracing (which is what RenEx recommends avoiding)?


avatar Donnie Hunt January 11, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Good point. My thinking is would the simultaneous loading( if moving under control) cause a greater adaptive response? But again I do see you and Mark’s points.


avatar Bradley warlow January 12, 2013 at 10:32 am

I have noticed since the oil based injections came in around the early ninetees , that bodybuilders started to appear to have rediculously disproportionate deltoids, I also have heard of them injecting half of the dosage in one shoulder and half inthe other, in fear of this localised effect that you talk of.


avatar Bradley warlow January 12, 2013 at 5:10 pm

@mark – equivelant in terms of speed or stimulation?


avatar mark January 14, 2013 at 8:06 am

Can you elaborate on your question?


avatar donnie hunt January 12, 2013 at 6:31 pm

At mark lol yes I suppose it would


avatar Bradley warlow January 23, 2013 at 5:23 am

Sorry mark I just noticed your comment after looking back over them. My question was reffering to your movement speed 1/1 . You said it is equivalent to 10/10 because the range of motion is so short. Did you mean equivalent to 10/10 in that it gives you a similar sensation i.e lactic acid burn, pump ,stimulation etc..or was it meant to state that the movement speed is just as slow as 10/10 because the range of motion is kept so narrow?


avatar Mark January 26, 2013 at 12:12 pm

At the time, I meant that the movement speed is just as slow as 10/10 because the range of motion is so narrow, but the aspect of similar sensation is also true.


avatar Bradley warlow January 27, 2013 at 5:32 pm

If im correct Ithink its http://www.aio.fe


avatar Bradley warlow January 27, 2013 at 6:39 pm

http://www.aio.fi sorry got it wrong


avatar mark February 5, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Thanks for the link. “AOI” seems to be designed for one traditional exercise at time; all of them, apparently, according to the machine’s name;-) Too bad: As much as I don’t believe one “big” exercise can ever be a better way, I was curious to see how it might be accomplished.


avatar mark February 5, 2013 at 6:29 pm

On the other hand, it’s made by “David”, certainly not the -worst- company around.


avatar mark February 5, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Last post here, I promise: At least 2 problems w/the “AIO”: 1/It claims to allow 20 exercises!, (each vaguely illustrated in miniature). A “Big 5” ‘s impossible enough to line up properly on one machine; 20’s absurd. 2/ The weight stack’s 120kg , for a unit that includes a leg press! There’s no way this compact unit’s constructed in a way to make 264 lbs enough for a healthy adult male to make long-term strength gains on the leg press. Oh well.


avatar Bradley Warlow February 7, 2013 at 6:13 am

Im glad you had a look through the website yourself because I was thinking the same thing when I was referenced to it by someone at the renex conferen after I made the same inquiry -of working the whole body synergistically – my apologies for refernecing it to you here, the person obviously didnt understand what i meant lol


avatar Bradley Warlow February 7, 2013 at 6:13 am

I will look through the info before referncing it next time :p


avatar Bradley Warlow February 7, 2013 at 6:23 am

think the transition may be quick however


avatar Mark February 13, 2013 at 3:31 pm

If you’re seriously interested in practicing a single full-body muscular contraction, isometrics are likely the way to go, &/or perhaps something akin to “dynamic tension”. (Some of the most muscular martial artists practice certain katas while exerting full-body tension.) It’s gonna a take an elite level of self-motivation, along with Ken’s protocol; even then, the possibility of all of the muscles being under a productive level of tension at the same time seems unlikely.


avatar Bradley Warlow February 14, 2013 at 6:36 am

Yes I agree, may still give it a go though. I remember practising Katas in this way when I was doing Judo at 15. (this may seem peculiar but I was following a more traditional style of judo which actually included kicks and punches). i also remember experiencing a tremendous burning sensation in my muscles at a lot of Oxygen debt! Didn’t think, however , that I was probably performing an exercise regime far better than any other that I was to undertake for the next 8 years!


avatar mark February 17, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Not so peculiar: After the Japanese surrendered , Patton forbid(?) them from practicing aspects of judo that he found to be war-like.


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