My Experience With Exercise Tolerance

72 comments written by Joshua Trentine

My Experience With Exercise Tolerance

By Travis Weigand

In the weeks after the 2011 RenEx Conference, the RenEx team held a teleconference to answer additional questions posed by the attendees. Someone asked regarding poor exercise tolerance. Here is an excerpt from Al Coleman’s response:

A subject’s exercise tolerance improves as his ability to direct effort improves. Thus, global expenditure lessens as well as the subject’s energy depletion and inability to quickly recuperate from the workout.

Example: About a year ago, I went through a workout of about 6 or 7 exercises and was visually extremely fatigued, wiped out, and dysfunctional for a few minutes.

Immediately thereafter, Josh Trentine and I instructed a similar subject who trained intensely, but who had not quite developed the ability to direct his efforts into efficient inroading.
After three exercises the exercise subject turned green and struggled with severe nausea. His exercise intolerance was merely an inefficiency in the way he had learned to concentrate up to that point.

I’ll start by acknowledging that the subject in this story is me. The workout mentioned was the first time I met Al, and perhaps the third workout I’d completed at Overload Fitness. I offer my personal journey from what I describe as abysmally low exercise tolerance. It is a dramatic example of the progress that can be made.


For approximately three years prior to my first RenEx workout I followed a more traditional HIT paradigm. I look back on that time as valuable. My HIT workouts ingrained in me an obsession for satisfying the assumed objective of exercise.

Because I had unknowingly developed this mental fixation, I resorted to any means necessary to complete more repetitions or add more resistance to the machine. The Renaissance of Exercise: A Vitruvian Adventure discusses these performance discrepancies at length, so I’ll omit their descriptions. However, rest assured that I employed every undesirable behavior one could conjure up in order to make my way through an exercise set.

See ‘The Assumed Objective Versus The Real Objective In Exercise’ Blog Post from January 30, 2012 here.

I abandoned the HIT paradigm after meeting Josh Trentine. I took his advice and read the second edition of the SuperSlow® Technical Manual along with Dr. Doug McGuff’’s Ultimate Exercise Bulletin.

Unfortunately, I was left to my own devices as I made my transition from the HIT paradigm to performance in a RenEx® vein. The physical precision my new workouts required improved my overall experience only slightly. I fell short because the concept, directed effort, was still foreign to me. Inroad was a word I’d used without yet understanding its meaning. Thus, I quickly evolved into the subject Al spoke of during the teleconference.

NAUSEAI worked out once a week and could not tolerate more than three or four exercises without being practically destroyed. Immediately following the workout I lay on the floor for periods of up to an hour fighting off nausea or recovering from vomiting. When Al said that I turned green he wasn’t exaggerating. The remainder of the day I possessed little energy or mental clarity.

anxious-face2As a result of my poor exercise tolerance, I did not look forward to my weekly workout and often had anxiety prior to the first exercise.

Family members observed me in my post-workout stupor, and my father postulated that my poor exercise tolerance might even be genetic; he had become physically ill after several workouts in his younger years. I never considered my tolerance for exercise to be anything but normal. I was convinced that I was just  “working harder” than everybody else.

The Fix

A year passed between my first and second workouts with Al. In that period of time I finished college, certified with Ken Hutchins, and committed to work as an instructor at Overload Fitness. As I began to acquire a conceptual and theoretical understanding of RenEx protocol I adopted a new found outlook on exercise tolerance.

I observed countless workouts wherein subjects attained a deep degree of inroad and demonstrated none of the adverse effects I had experienced. They had all acquired a skill set I was unaware even existed.

power of intentionAfter a month’s worth of workouts with Al I considered myself cured. I started honing in on the power of intention.

If my intent from the moment the exercise commenced was to inroad my musculature as thoroughly and quickly as possible, none of my energy was wasted. My performance discrepancies vanished. And because none of my energy was wasted, I experienced none of my usual, post-workout, prolonged and negative consequences. There seemed to be a direct correlation between my exercise tolerance and my current level of comprehension of the protocol. The more I understood, the more efficiently I could direct my physical resources.

DichotomyThe inherent value in spending so much time working toward the assumed objective is that once the real objective is learned and attained, it carries more meaning. The dichotomy between the two makes the learning process much more captivating.

When my physical and mental competency finally coalesced to satisfy the real objective I felt emboldened. That was the turning point, plain and simple.


energizedI can now rate my tolerance for exercise at well above average. I currently work out twice a week with five or six exercises in each routine. I am no longer rendered dysfunctional for prolonged periods of time immediately following a workout. I don’t lie on the floor anymore, and I don’t get nauseous. Ten to fifteen minutes after my last exercise I am ready to continue with my day. In fact, I tend to feel more physically and mentally energized after my workouts. I have zero anxiety leading up to my workouts and tend to get excited about the prospect of working out.

If a subject struggles with poor exercise tolerance, it is likely that the word, tolerance, is part of the problem. The idea that you must “tolerate” a set of exercise is a backward one. It implies that somehow the exercise is in control of you and not the other way around.

Remember that YOU are the biggest component when it comes to exercise. Mechanical and environmental constraints notwithstanding, your physical and mental input have the greatest influence on the outcome of any given exercise. Learn how and where to direct that input, and your workouts will become extraordinarily productive.

My transformation has been nothing short of dramatic. And I’ve observed similar transformations take place with our subjects at Overload Fitness. Subjects are not doomed to poor exercise tolerance.

{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Thomas January 14, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Great article. The focus on intent (to inroad) maybe the most important change in the resistance exercise thinking to come around in a very long time-it may be important enough to re-define HIT. Interestingly, it seems so basic. I think Drew Baye coined it well when he described the difference in paradigms as that of intellect vs. instinct.


avatar Joshua Trentine January 14, 2013 at 3:45 pm


I agree,

Ken spoke to me about intellect vs instinct back in the 90’s



avatar Thomas January 14, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Yea, I’m sure Drew wasn’t the first to say it. He probably also heard it from Ken as well. Either way, it is a great way to introduce the idea of intent and exercise.


avatar Joe A January 14, 2013 at 1:19 pm


I REALLY like this article! Exercise frequency is an oft-misunderstood concept. I think certain paradigms promote mindsets (that lead to behaviors) that fuel misguided frequency recommendations. If you start with the assumed objective and build your paradigm on top of that foundation, you can actually end up *seeking* ever decreasing frequency, justified by apparent rising demands in intensity…that aren’t really there.

I think people miss that an elimination of the extraneous, simultaneously increases the exercising demands AND improves recover-ability. A while back on BBS, RenEx was being discussed in this context and someone made the comment that a “more refined approach should allow for less frequency, not more”…this totally misses the point. Improvement in quality allows for whatever frequency it allows for (regardless if it ends up being less or more than you previously were doing)…the neat (and telling thing) is recovery is limited to the stimulus and not all of the spillage from the event.

I think things like this are symptoms of an underlying condition (not submitting to the real objective)…and until the intent is correct, much of the discussion is moot…you simply don’t know until you know (as you found out).


avatar Joshua Trentine January 14, 2013 at 3:34 pm


Well put.

It is very common out there in the HIT world to hear people say that they cannot tolerate more than 3 exercises every so many days or in a week.

It is also common to hear people complain that the “systemic stress” is too great and their workout sufferers if they move to quick from exercise to exercise.

In most cases these are just symptoms of an underlying cause.

The underlying cause is most likely behavioral, but equipment that has poor resistance curves, high friction or gives the wrong feedback can amplify these behaviors and make it very difficult for the subject to learn the correct behaviors….my point is that exercise tolerance is affected by equipment, friction, resistance, feedback and even cues.

Very much related, I have never really been prone to Exercise Induced Headaches (EIH), but I have noticed them quite frequently when training on friction laden equipment….behavior and environment play a role in exercise tolerance.



avatar Joe A January 14, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Good point, Josh. Although, I think I view it slightly different. Given that intent is equal in both scenarios, I see the equipment limitations as not directly affecting exercise tolerance but instead the things you must do to extract the desired effect from them as the bigger culprit.

As an example, I’d be able to perform the RenEx LP more frequently than what I have to do to match its effect in a conventional set up. Certainly the ease of maintaining appropriate behavior is vastly different, but so is the accumulation of work.

I will say, that I have begun abandoning equipment where a reasonable TSC or BW option is possible. It just makes the experience ‘cleaner’. When the equipment doesn’t get out of your way, it is effectively acting on you (as opposed to the other way around)…which, is probably what you meant above…hmm…if that is the case, then I see what you mean. Sorry, I am slow. 🙂


avatar Joshua Trentine January 14, 2013 at 5:12 pm


I think your final paragraph does come to the same point as i was trying to make.


avatar Travis Weigand January 14, 2013 at 8:42 pm


I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’ve read a great deal of what you’ve written and appreciate your intellectual commitment to what I know we both think is a very fascinating area of study.

I think your last sentence sums up my current attitude on the subject better than I could articulate myself.


avatar Ed January 14, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Interesting article Travis. I can certainly relate to most of what you discussed. Could you possibly elaborate on the changes that you made to your workouts that improved your “tolerance”? You kind of leave the reader wondering exactly what changed. Did your workouts change? Did you stop using poor techniques just to add a rep or increase the resistance? It does seem like you made a metal shift to focus on inroading as the goal rather than adding reps or resistance. Was that the main thing? I found that reducing excessive use of set extenders was helpful. When I stopped doing too many rest-pause reps, static holds, super-sets, and drop sets my tolerance improved.


avatar Travis Weigand January 14, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Ed and Pete,

The exercises included in my routines did not change. The order of the exercises in my routines did not change either.

My technique on each exercise improved significantly and this made a noticeable difference.

However, those changes pale in comparison to the effects of shift in mental focus. I’ve spoken to this aspect in more detail in my response to Larry below.


avatar Russ January 14, 2013 at 2:06 pm

When I was a young man and first doing HIT we used to do as much as 16 exercises all done to no movement could be produced circa 1972-73. I quite often would get sick, pass out, or just become incapcited for about 1/2 hour.

I thought it was because of too much exercise or HGH being released or wiping out available glucose in my muscles. I will have to reread that section in Ken’s book again.

Thanks for the article and Al’s insight.


avatar Pete January 14, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Great article
I seem to be able to tolerate intensity thus far, having said that if I was honest, have I developed sufficient skill to affect deep muscular inroading? I am not absolutely certain, this article certainly triggered me to ask myself the question.
As a second to Ed, may I ask, can you offer any specifics that us readers may be able to put into action? Section 8 “Intensity vs Work” in Volume 1 is worth a re-read also.

Thanks Travis


avatar larrry January 14, 2013 at 3:31 pm

After a high intensity work out that encompasses thorough inroad,intense concentration,and muscular failure. My experience is that coming back to soon .[Frequency] does nothing but attack recovery. I thought the body recovers as a whole! I don’t choose to go thru my week exhausted . What happened to “Less is more” Not everybody falls into the same category in regards to Exercise tolerence.



avatar Joe A January 14, 2013 at 4:24 pm


You shouldn’t go through the week exhausted. I exercise twice per week (usually), with no less than six exercise in a routine, to ‘failure’, performed as focused as possible. After I get past the immediate effects (which are profoundly awful), 15-20 minutes later, I usually feel great…so much so, that I ‘feel’ as if I could exercise most days of the week…hell, if I ‘liked’ exercise, I probably would try.


avatar Travis Weigand January 14, 2013 at 8:31 pm


I wholeheartedly agree that exercise tolerance is relative to the individual. The factors that could potentially effect an individuals current state of exercise tolerance are too numerous to list. It is my contention that, regardless of a person’s current ability to tolerate intense exercise, improvement can be made.

In retrospect (and the reason I chose to write this) the factors that had the biggest impact on my ability to tolerate exercise weren’t obsessing over how much recovery time I’d had between workouts, how “clean” I’d been eating that week, or how much sleep I’d gotten. *Please note I’m not implying these aren’t unimportant factors*.

The factor that had the biggest impact was imposing upon myself a desire to gain a greater intellectual comprehension of what I was trying to accomplish with any given exercise (the RenEx team has written quite a bit of incredibly insightful material on that subject). Couple that newfound attitude and the knowledge I gained as a result with enough rehearsal of the exercises in my routines, and I was dealing with something completely different from where I started.

The fact that I no longer feel beat to hell after a workout is why I’ve settled on my current routines and their frequencies. Only time will tell if I eventually require less frequency and volume to achieve the same level of stimulus.


avatar Greg Roseman January 14, 2013 at 5:42 pm

I’m not sure I would call this exercise intolerance…I’m definetly gassed after a workout of 5-6 exercises, but after 5-10 minutes I’m fine. I like what mentzer had to say years ago….some people can recover and improve on several workouts a week….I on the other usually do best with one workout a week. I have about 10 medx machines in my basement. I’ve trained more than once a week…but see nothing but extra wear and tear. Also on a low carb, low protein, high fat diet….the workout is easier and recovery is much greater. I’m 53 and have trained and studied under Rob Serraino and Greg Anderson.


avatar Greg Roseman January 14, 2013 at 5:47 pm

The point I was trying to make is, I’ve viewed exercise tolerance to how many times a person can workout in a number of days. If I workout too often….I don’t feel any different….nothing changes…..If I workout too little….I’m extremely sore and fatigued…..over the years 5-6 exercises once every 7 days or so seem to work for me.


avatar Thomas Pinson January 14, 2013 at 7:14 pm


I have over 30 years experience with exercise tolerance issues. I won’t go over the “usual suspects” regarding exercise intolerance but I am intrigued with a concept that is not considered in the mix, CO2 tolerance. The respiratory center in the brain has varying sensitivity to CO2 levels in the blood. Pearl divers systematically increase CO2 tolerance of the respiratory center in the brain. I have to wonder what role this plays in faintness and other symptoms of exercise stress…..just throwing it out there. Perhaps some of the buffers for blood Ph are involved??

Best Thomas Pinson


avatar Ben Tucker January 14, 2013 at 9:27 pm


You mentioned that you train twice a week. Would you mind breaking down what your weekly routine looks like? I’d like to compare notes.

Really enjoyed this article.


avatar Travis Weigand January 15, 2013 at 3:13 pm


I run an A and B routine. I usually workout on Wednesday and Saturday.

The studio I train out of has somewhere in the realm of 60-70 pieces of equipment. As wonderful as that sounds, the temptation to constantly vary my routine is pretty high. However, the more consistent any person can be with the exercises in their routines, the greater mastery they can gain.

My A routine usually looks like this: Calf, Trunk Extension, Leg Press, Simple Row, Ventral Torso, Pulldown.

My B routine usually looks like this: Leg Curl, Leg Extension, Bicep, 10 degree Chest, Overhead Press, Compound Row.

I’ve always liked Al Coleman’s January 2011 blog post “Training for the Sake of Training.” It has influenced my training habits more than just about anything else, its worth a re-read to anyone interested. So if I do decide to change my routines up now and then, I always do it with his blog in mind.


avatar Jonas January 14, 2013 at 10:46 pm

Q to Ren-Ex:

How to use the specialized routines in ROE?

For an example: Im doing the A-B-C rotation and want to do the Shoulder Spec (D).

Would I 1. Just add it to the normal rotation eg. A-B-C-D or 2. Do D exclusivly for 2-3 weeks before going back to the A-B-C?

And more: Do you have examples of Spec-Routines for Chest and Legs (incl Calves)?

Thank you in advance.



avatar Joshua Trentine January 15, 2013 at 12:34 am


If you want to do one of the specialization programs don’t add it because it will take too long before it comes back around in rotation. I don’t recommend repeating a workout that infrequently.

I don’t prefer people to do A-B-C-D….as a matter of fact I rarely even have anyone doing A-B-C simultaneously.

They usually start out with an A-workout only and repeat that twice a week until they get the hang of it and we start getting the weights dialed in and providing a good workout effect.

When that becomes too much then we will add a B workout and they will alternate A&B….if I decide to use a C-workout it will only be after MANY months of doing A&B.

The C-workout will replace one of the others so we might now have a A&C rotation or maybe a modified B&C rotation….and so on with D.

We have a number of specialization programs as the possibilities really add up with TSC as an option, but we are saving these for future articles and publications.

Even kicking around doing a members only area on this site……



avatar Jonas January 15, 2013 at 2:08 am

Thank you.

I dont want you to give away to much “free”, but some stuff in ROE makes me very curious.

So, after more then a year of RenEx inspired training, A & D could be a good rotation for a while?

i do notice however that my arms dont seems to be worked enough without the C rotation (with Nautilus), do you have any solutions to that?



avatar Joshua Trentine January 15, 2013 at 7:33 pm


list your idea of A & D and equip used


avatar Bradley Warlow January 15, 2013 at 4:51 am

‘the neat (and telling thing) is recovery is limited to the stimulus and not all of the spillage from the event’ this I have realised myself. The difference between a Renex style workout and a HIT workout is that one produces more tiredness and less stimulation than the other… this perhaps implies that muscle stimulation is not dependant on fatigue, so this clearly contradicts the total- tonnage theory and reinforces the inroad theory.


avatar Jeanne Berry January 15, 2013 at 8:09 am

“It is my intention to inroad my body’s musculature as deeply and efficiently as possible”. In my humble opinion, Intention fuels the universe and when we function from the level of Intent, we recruit our entire being (mental, physical and spiritual). I propose that everyone state this intention (aloud or to oneself) before his/her next training session and then allow whatever happens. No need to overthink. Thank you for sharing this Travis. With this simple, elegant and profound concept you have elevated RenEx to another plane altogether.


avatar Travis Weigand January 15, 2013 at 3:22 pm


Thank you for your kind words. Each workout I personally go through has one specific area of mental focus. This focus may vary from workout to workout (the curse of being an instructor). However, if I invest all my mental and physical energy into satisfying that focus on every repetition of every exercise, my workouts feel tremendously productive and purposeful.

I try my best to guide my subjects in the same way, its amazing how far investing all of one’s attention into one focus will go to improving everything else about the workout.


avatar Joshua Trentine January 15, 2013 at 7:22 pm


I like this!


avatar Pete January 16, 2013 at 2:21 am

Great point, I touched upon this in a previous post stating “Energy flows, where attention goes, as guided by intention” what you feel becomes a state of how connected you are to your goal, as Drew Baye elegantly puts it “Use pain to work harder, find every fiber, leave no doubt you emptied the tank” Also Doug McGuff demonstrates in the video in his RenEx experience discussion with the boys “the click of mercy”…….now that is exercise immersion in the moment.
I did wonder how long it was going to take before one of the boys fetched Doug a glass of water……

Travis, Thanks for expanding upon the article.


avatar Ed January 15, 2013 at 9:10 am


What amount of in-road will optimize muscle growth and strength improvement? Lot’s of research points to muscle tension as the key factor for stimulating growth. The implication is that muscle tension will be highest when training with a high % of 1 RM with good form, but going to failure with a lighter weight implies greater in-road compared to starting strength. How do you reconcile this paradox?




avatar Joshua Trentine January 15, 2013 at 11:43 am


Tension is crucial that’s why we build equipment to create continuous tension throughout the entire R.O.M.

Is the “implication” above yours?

Define high %……

post your research….

I don’t think Travis can do much with this question in its current form.



avatar Ed January 15, 2013 at 8:08 pm


Thanks for the response, but I was looking for a different response.

My point is that if you go to failure with a heavier weight or higher resistance your inroad % is not as far as if you go to failure with a lighter weight. If you can bench 300 lbs and go to failure with 250, you may still be able to bench 249 – implying a 17% inroad into your initial strength level. However if you fail at 200 lbs then you have inroaded by 33%.

Does the higher inroad lead to greater muscle hypertrophy and strength? Is there an optimal level of inroad?

But, wait… one more issue. If you are benching 250 lbs in a controlled manner you will generate more muscle tension than you will if you are benching 200 lbs in a controlled manner. This is pure physics – you don’t need a load cell to prove that hanging 250 lbs from a rope creates 25% more tension than hanging 200 lbs.

So, which is more important, % of inroad or high muscle tension? Or is the answer (as I suspect) some combination? I have recently begun training reverse pyramid style to leave no stones unturned. I do one very heavy set (approx 5 reps) and then a lighter set (approx 12-14 reps).

I would appreciate you thoughts on all of this?




avatar Jonas January 16, 2013 at 1:57 am

Nautilus OME Calves
Nautilus Low Back
Nautilus Nitro Plus Legpress
Nautilus Nitro Plus PD OR Nautilus XPLoad PD
Nautilus Nitro Vertical Chest OR N XPLoad Vertical Chest
Barbell Curl OR N Preacher Curl (optional)
Nautilus Nitro Tri Ext (optional)

Nautilus OME Shrug
Nautilus Nitro Rowing Torso (Rear delt)
Nautilus Lateral Raise
Nautilus Nitro OP OR N XPLoad OP
Nautilus Seated LegCurl OR N LegCurl
Nautilus Nitro Plus LegExt OR N XPLoad LegExt

What do you belive is best: Nitro or XPLoad?

What you say about this rotation (twice a week).

Thank you in advance.



avatar Joshua Trentine January 17, 2013 at 8:52 pm

It looks really good.

I don’t have experience with XPLoad….in theory it should have much less friction, so that would be an advantage. Use 10/10 to test one machine against the other…. try to figure out which machine has less sticking point on the positive (another way of saying this is, which machine has the flattest curve?) and see if you can tell which machine feels like it has the least respite on the negative. Another good was to test is to see which machine you can do a better lower turn-around on, generally the better the turn the better the overall rep quality.

It would be cool to hear your report after you do these tests.


avatar bradley warlow January 16, 2013 at 5:41 am

Hey Ed, I hope I can chime in without displeasing you; in the words of Drew Baye -“Rope fibres don’t contract!” Comparing muscle tension to the tension APPLIED to a rope is a mis-anaolgy , the tension that we RenEx followers recommend is the tension GENERATED by the muscle.


avatar Bradley warlow January 16, 2013 at 1:11 pm

im gonna grab some eggs in morrsions so maybe a little late ok


avatar Joshua Trentine January 17, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Ok Bradley…we’ll be waiting 🙂


avatar Jay Horn January 16, 2013 at 3:49 pm


Muscle respond to tension, they don’t know the load.

Short and simple. Load must be heavy enough… Not extremely heavy, not extremely light. But heavy enough to thoroughly induce an inroad within the allotted TUT,

This ensure it is fluid so there is not oning or offing.

If the heavier load increases tension on the muscle, yet fluidity and effort remains high without breaking this form and tempo integrity, then this will cause greater inroad.

It’s when form and tempo become subpar that inroad isn’t as efficient. Better the mechanics and continuity of the set, the greater the effort that can be placed upon the muscle, which means greater inroad to its functional ability.


avatar Jonas January 17, 2013 at 4:56 am

Jay, excellent post, if you understand that fundamental fully, youre training wont look the same again.

How long have you trained RenEx//SS style and how have you progressed so far?



avatar Ed January 17, 2013 at 8:37 am

All the Zen stuff is great because it de-emphasizes focus on resistance and rep counting and encourages the trainee to focus on form, the contraction, and reaching the promised land of failure through “thorough inroad” . I get all of that.

But… at the end of the day if you have mastered form, tempo and turn-arounds how do we turn this from something fuzzy into a measurable science so you will know if it is working and you are progressing?

What is a “thorough inroad”? What is “efficient inroad”? What inroad % does RenEx strive for? How long is the “alloted TUT”? Lots of fuzzy parameters here.

If you can bench press 300 lbs (1 RM with perfect form) and you choose to exercise with 250 lbs and reach failure (with perfect form and tempo), then we know you achieved at least a 17% inroad to your starting strength.

If you choose to use only 200 lbs for your resistance and you trained to failure (again with perfect form and tempo) then you will have achieved an inroad of at least 33%. And your TUT was probably a fair amount longer than when you used 200 lbs.

If you used the same form and tempo for both of these, clearly moving against the 250lbs required more muscle tension than moving against the 200 lbs. It defies the laws of physics to say that you could achieve the same or more tension with the lighter resistance – assuming the same form and tempo was used in both cases.

How do you optimize in-road, TUT, tempo, and tension?

Why is one set the magic bullet and not one-rep? Is it TUT? What if you did that Rep extremely slowly so that the TUT was the same as the set?


avatar Joshua Trentine January 17, 2013 at 2:23 pm


Have you read our technical manual? most, if not all, of this is covered in there, I won’t rehash it here in the comments.

The statement you make (below) is all wrong:

“If you can bench press 300 lbs (1 RM with perfect form) and you choose to exercise with 250 lbs and reach failure (with perfect form and tempo), then we know you achieved at least a 17% inroad to your starting strength.

If you choose to use only 200 lbs for your resistance and you trained to failure (again with perfect form and tempo) then you will have achieved an inroad of at least 33%. And your TUT was probably a fair amount longer than when you used 200 lbs.”


avatar Thomas Pinson January 17, 2013 at 10:14 am


Time to fatigue (resistance level) is a pretty tough issue. I also wonder whether the necessary threshold for proper stimulation varies as the muscles strengthen over time.

Best Thomas Pinson


avatar Ed January 17, 2013 at 2:36 pm

At one pont Arthur Jones indicated that we should train with 80% of our 1 RM.

Due to neurological efficiency differences (and fiber type differences) there is a fairly wide range of TUT’s (and rep ranges) that would result.

I would like to understand if this 80% guideline is still the way to go. If not, what is?




avatar Joshua Trentine January 17, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Best I can figure he made it up….

Like I said our position is covered in the technical manual.


avatar Jay Horn January 17, 2013 at 3:03 pm


I don’t train In a SS protocol, and have never experienced RenEx, however, I am looking forward to the experience.

I understand what my goal is regarding exercise. Many times ill perform slightly more volume and will have to “self cam” myself, depending on the tool I am using…

I’m okay with this… I love lifting. But at the same time I understand my goal and do the best I can to effectively stimulate the musculature.

With all that being said, it still doesn’t take much volume to have an effective workout. As long as one understands the primary goal and performs proper application that enhances that goal.

The majority of people have a lack of understanding in how to apply the exercise stimulus. Sadly, this includes almost every trainer as well… Or wanna be trainers.

As Josh has said many times, which I agree with – equipment dictates protocol –

I do the best I can!


avatar Jonas January 17, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Josh, If you have the possibilty to comment my A & D routine above it would be great.



avatar Joshua Trentine January 17, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Done!(above)…..it looks real good on paper….I might be able to add to it if you indicated your weaker (in appearance) looking body-parts, but generically it looks really great.


avatar Pete January 17, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Hi Josh
I train on European design Kieser Machines, do you know much about the technology? if so I would appreciate your thoughts? I train SS 10/10 RenEx A/B routines, I find them to be very smooth on both upper & lower turnarounds, having said that I find on the leg press & chest press at mid-stroke I sense a feeling of “leveraging” if that makes sense, that could be just subjective to me, I reckon RenEx machines may suit me, as I am totally anal about correct form.

If you Google “Kieser South Melbourne” if you want to get the idea



avatar Ed January 17, 2013 at 9:43 pm


I have not read your manual and at $150 it is pricey. Your videos show subjects training in essentially super-slow fashion, or very close to it with TUL’s of approx 2 minutes (5-6 reps).

Is your approach workable and effective with other equipment, or only with RenEx?




avatar Jonas January 17, 2013 at 10:57 pm

Thank you. XPLoad defineatly have lowe friction, but are built for giants. At 187 cm (6.3) Im still a bit small for some movements, but overal I like them better then Nitro.

A couple of details:

1. For how long do you normally use a special routine? 2-3 minths?

2. With Nitro, do you still recommend 10/10 or is 10/5 better?

3. In the B routine from ROE, when doing Compund Row, do you use a wider, palms down grip or neutral grip, palms facing)?

Keep up the good work, would love to visit Overload some day.



avatar Joshua Trentine January 17, 2013 at 11:09 pm

1. For how long do you normally use a special routine? 2-3 minths?

I don’t have a set time, but that is likely not long enough for us, I feel it really takes at least a good 6 to 10 weeks to even start getting everything you can out of a program, I’ve been doing that B-Workout with Gus all summer, fall & winter and i’m just starting to really get it where i want to.

2. With Nitro, do you still recommend 10/10 or is 10/5 better?

I’ve trained on the Nitro Leg Press many times, i get a real solid 8/8 out of it….the later reps will get closer to 10 on the positive….if you set that machine up well you can get a pretty darn good effect.

3. In the B routine from ROE, when doing Compund Row, do you use a wider, palms down grip or neutral grip, palms facing)?

Neutral for any machine I use.

you are invited 🙂


avatar Steven Turner January 18, 2013 at 12:43 am


Travis, I feel like I have progressed somewhat the same as you have over the past 12 months or so I continually try to improve the “intent” and “inroad” process. I have to do my own self evaluation but by you sharing your story I can evaluate my own training efforts more effectively.

Question Josh, I hope this does not sound dumb but where does the traditional principles of the “overload” sit with RenX. I am thinking that the more effective you become at the real objective “intent” “inroading”, increasing/adding weight would be a last resort.


avatar Travis Weigand January 20, 2013 at 2:21 pm


Self evaluation is tough. Like most other things in life, it is in your best interest to be as brutally honest with yourself as possible. I was unable to this until my knowledge and understanding of the protocol reached a certain point. I imagine that point is different for everybody, but I think its reasonable to assume most people can reach it.

Fortunately, I am spoiled because I have been evaluated and re-evaluated by Al Coleman and the rest Overload Fitness’s instructors. It also doesn’t hurt that it is my job as an instructor to evaluate my subjects and their training efforts on a daily basis. I have a unique frame of reference, but it wouldn’t mean anything if I wasn’t continually seeking a greater understanding of the protocol for my own sake.


avatar Bradley warlow January 18, 2013 at 4:13 am

Josh, don’t laugh, nut that last message I sent about the eggs was meant to be to my girlfriend! lol something went wrong as I was still logged on the message went through to you!
btw we have a nautilus nitro leg press in college, was wondering if this is the Nitro leg press you say you get 8/8 on?


avatar Ed January 18, 2013 at 8:48 am


A few questions:

1. do you feel that your training protocol is the best way to build strength and muscle hypertrophy, or just the safest and most time-efficient?
2. what results are your already lean trainees typically seeing in terms of muscle hypertropy and strength gains?
3. Are there any studies in the works to demonstrate superiority of RenEx equipment and training protocol?
4. is your training protocol applicable to non-RenEx equipment, or does the friction, stiction, resistance curves all make it less useful to apply on non-RenEx equipment?
5. Can you provide a list of gyms that have your equipment so we maybe find one in our area to train at?




avatar AC January 18, 2013 at 8:55 am

I’ve just posted this on BBS, but figured it might as well go on this post as well.


Now this ain’t rcoket science but it’s something I’ve picked up on reading the major HIT boards online over the past 8 years.

There is a point if diminishing returns when you increase the volume and frequency of your training.

Brace yourselves now for the revelation…..

There is also a corresponding point if diminishing returns when you decrease the volume and frequency of your training.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read something along the lines of….

“So I’ve been doing one set of wrist curls every 6 weeks and my progress seems to have stalled. I’m still eating 6000 calories a day. I seem to be getting bigger but I’m worried that I’m just gaining fat now, even though I am still getting stronger. Can anyone help me out?”

At this point I bang my head against my keyboard.

Now that Drew Baye’s website and the Renex website have brought the real objective of exercise to my attention, it makes me realise why posts like the one I made up above (yes I was exaggerating for effect!) make me cry all the more.

No wonder people always bash HIT and say that it’s dreadful and doesn’t work.

If you reduce volume and frequency to the point where there is no difference between you and someone who doesn’t train, and couple that with too many calories and massive amounts of outroading and fidgeting when you train, then what do you expect? To look like Mike Mentzer?


avatar Pete January 18, 2013 at 8:48 pm

The value of these discussions cannot be underestimated, real trainers, real trainees sharing real experiences, thanks all.
This article prompted me to thoroughly read again chapters 5. Thorough Inroad & 6. Muscular Loading.in RenEx Volume 1

This morning my WOW on Kieser Machines
Chest Press 275 pounds RCT 6
Seated Row 220 pounds RCT 5
Shoulder Press
Leg Extension
Lumbar Back Extension

All performed ss 10/10 min rest between exercises assisted by trainer, pinning, setting, counting & record keeping.

I made a massive effort to focus purely on clean turnarounds and just contract, contract, contract against the load as purely as I could.

I increased RCT on most movements by at least 1, I felt deep inroad ( i struggled to walk after Leg Extension) but focused on safe entry & exits on all exercises to minimize risk. Interestingly I did not feel outroaded so much and despite localized muscular fatigue for around 15-20 mins afterwards I was ready to go about my normal day.



avatar Travis Weigand January 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm


Sounds like you’re on the right track! After a certain point, it behooves the subject to narrow his focus during each exercise and each workout. Select a task and worry about nothing else. Assuming the task doesn’t lead the subject toward the Assumed Objective, then your workouts will continue to improve.


avatar mark January 19, 2013 at 4:07 pm

It seems that every time RenEx stresses a principle, many interpret this as a denial of other principles. ReEx machines do have adjustable weight-stacks, that should tell you something.


avatar Alex January 19, 2013 at 7:26 pm

For the first time since I started exercising 7 months ago, I was able to leave the gym immediately after my workout — which was much briefer than usual as, to my surprise, I’ve managed to handle the minimal transition times between exercises with ease.

Thank you Travis.


avatar Travis Weigand January 20, 2013 at 1:57 pm


Glad to hear it! A productive RenEx workout should leave the subject’s musculature reeling. The metabolic effect of the workout as a whole should be extremely apparent in the minutes following the final exercise. That being said, one should be able to function throughout the remainder of the day with relative ease and energy.


avatar Steven Turner January 20, 2013 at 1:09 am


Mark your response appears to be aimed at my question to Josh on “overload principle” my question was not meant to question RenEX and I apoligise for any confusion with my question. Joe A has stated to focus on the “process” I have followed his suggestions focusing on the muscle contraction process and eliminating “outroading”. From my own self evaluation/feedback of my training, if I feel that I “wiggle” or “shift” to get another rep I have decreased the weight. I don’t feel a need to increase the weight at this point as I try to focus on the muscle contraction process. The reason for my question on the principle of the overload which states to regularly increase the weight , I hope that doesn’t offend anyone.


avatar mark January 21, 2013 at 4:20 pm

Steven, No offense taken here, & no intension to refer your comment specifically. Every aspect matters: Intension an example of purely internal, form where internal & external meet, # of plates, reps, or seconds purely external. While adding weight can fairly be called the “last resort” you refer to, (or perhaps, more accurately, the -first- step in the next set of readjustments, just as there was once that first weight chosen before any exercise was done), your phrase might be a bit misleading, as adding weight’s a regularly reoccurring part of the process, &, tho not what we should run blindly towards, surely neither is it something should strive to avoid.


avatar Joe A January 20, 2013 at 1:28 pm

@Steven Turner

The overload ‘principle’ does not state to regularly increase weight…that is how it is commonly interpreted though.

Increasing demands is not limited to imposing greater loads; in fact, increasing the weight is often the least productive way to try.

Advancing weights is not to be avoided; however, it should be a quantitative outcome to qualitative improvement.


avatar enlite January 20, 2013 at 2:04 pm

The fundamental principles of intensity,duration,frequency are universal.The issue of how they are applied however are not.I feel that performing 5-7 compound exercises per session is overdoing things,and i realize that people will differ and argue on this point.Some people also perform routines that consist of 8-10 or more single joint exercises.Intensity is the variable that is universal,one must train hard in order to achieve maximum results,but when it comes to how much and how often that is another matter.We must keep in mind that because something can be”tolerated”or that you can condition yourself to do so,it does not necessarily follow that it is optimal and beneficial.Excellent results can be attained with very little in the way of volume and frequency, example;one or two exercises per session every 7-10 days,even though many may scoff at this.enough said for now.


avatar Joshua Trentine January 20, 2013 at 9:52 pm


You’ll be hard pressed to even find 7 different compounds.



avatar enlite January 20, 2013 at 11:58 pm

I see your point Joshua,but many people seem to find a way,mainly through overlapping of various exercises whether compound or single joint.


avatar Brian Liebler January 21, 2013 at 5:24 am

In RoE Ken Hutchins leans towards an advanced trainee frequency of 1x per wk. with a few compound exercises. You listed Ken’s routine recently and I believe you indicated that he trains 1x per wk.
I believe this is where the confusion about volume & frequency comes in. I have found that if I follow the traditional Big 5, which contains too many compounds for 2x per wk training, I lack


avatar Brian Liebler January 21, 2013 at 6:04 am

Sorry, I must have sent my comment before finishing.
Anyway, what I’m tryiny to say is the Big 5 lacks the finished look and contains too many compounds for 2x/wk frequency. When I follow the traditional A & B routine I can train on a 3 to 5 day frequency and by including the islolation movements, I get the more finished look. I do at times cycle back to the Big 5 for a few wks because I like the conditioning effects of 5 compounds. It’s like a body cleansing . Perhaps you can explain a little more about the frequency difference between the Manual and what your team is implying.


avatar Steven Turner January 21, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Hi Joe A and Travis,

Travis your post on exercise tolerance made think more about the exercise process, great article of a real life experience.

I read on BBS Joe A’s quote, “Focus on the process not the prescription…get that right and doing so becomes clearer”. I will say that I lift a lot more weight than most people even though I am 57 years old. One day at the gym I walked past a few people when they were doing their exercise and I noticed that they were lifting the “assumed objective” but their lifting weight was about half as much as I was lifting, I was focusing on the “real objective”.

In Australia at the moment we have the Australian tennis open interviews with Roger Federer (words to the effect) “I focus on the process…by that he means getting his feet in the right spot, before he swings his racket etc,. Roger doesn’t focus on the tennis match/event, he focuses on the required skills process, the tennis event/results look after themselves, thats why he is so great. I think that is what RenX is stressing focus on the process.

The problem with much of the fitness industry is they focus on the prescription.


avatar Steven Turner January 22, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Hi Mark,

Thanks for your reply and I know that my comments could have been misleading my thoughts were difficult to explain. Recently I have tried to improve on focusing on the “real objective” I think to some extent I have got better but I was unsure of when I should increase the weight. Your post has made that decision more clearer for me – apprecaite your comments – thanks.


avatar mark January 27, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Change topic from exercise tolerance to improved -work- tolerance as a benefit. Breath-holding in typical weight training can lead to a similar style of ‘real’ work: Brace, grunt, lift, take a break, start over; very inefficient. After acquiring the habit of breathing freely while exerting high tension over a relatively long time-frame, the ‘heavy’ lifting at my job has become a steady-state activity, a major advantage acquired due to proper exercise.


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