Reflections on The Definition of “Exercise”

65 comments written by Gus Diamantopoulos

Reflections on The Definition of “Exercise”

By Gus Diamantopoulos

“Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize
till you have tried to make it precise.”

– Bertrand Russell

Recently, there has been considerable interest and discussion on some internet forums regarding Ken Hutchins’ Definition of Exercise. Although many supporters have championed The Definition, numerous diatribes have been written that question its validity. Some have tried to make a case as to whether or not it qualifies as a definition by isolating each individual component and questioning its logic, while others have asked: Why bother to redefine exercise at all?

We are sincerely heartened by the active-minded interest of our critics to rigorously challenge our assertions and we believe that the further we delve into such matters the more likely we all are to arrive at deeper understandings about the nature of human physical improvement.

Everyone is free to accept or reject the concepts within our philosophy but we believe that The Definition has aptly helped to narrow the focus within the chaos that is commonly called fitness and rehabilitation. The idea of The Definition has illuminated and provided a foundation for technological innovations within Renaissance Exercise. It is by way of The Definition that we have been able to create an uncompromising system that includes a dedicated protocol, an educational program and sophisticated equipment all within a comprehensive philosophy.

Defining Terms

A definition by and large explains the meaning of something. One of the definitions of the word “definition” is: “An exact statement or description of the nature, scope, or meaning of something.”

Defining terms is a key step in establishing any new premise. Definitions help us when we want to discuss or debate a topic and they can help us to theorize and even apply practical behaviors. With a good definition, we can communicate more effectively and we can learn more about the world around us. A bad definition, on the other hand can impede understanding and create communication problems. Often, a bad definition is one that is too vague or ambiguous or diluted and, therefore, impotent. Regardless of if they are good or bad however, definitions are not always cut and dried.

For example, the word “bolt” can mean to jump away or to secure: The horse will bolt from the stable unless you bolt him to the stable. The word “overlook” can mean to inspect or to neglect: The window overlooks a garden, which is pleasant if you overlook the dead plants. These auto-antonyms are just the most basic examples of how definitions of highly accepted terms can be anything but concrete. In fact, common words like “set,” “run,” “go,” “take,” “stand,” “get,” and “put” can have literally hundreds of acceptable meanings.

Definition Types


Fortunately there are different types of definitions to help with the task of formulating and clarifying word meanings. Lexical definitions (the kind we’re most familiar with) explain how words are used in practical terms. These are dictionary definitions and are most often stated very simply. They describe the genuine use of a word. However, lexical definitions can be vague or ambiguous and even some of the most basic words can have multiple meanings.

When entire philosophies are contained in the definition of a word, such as “capitalism” or “love,” basic lexical definitions can often fall short of providing the kind of depth that is required to establish true meaning. We believe the word “exercise” falls into this category. Here is a common lexical definition of exercise: “Activity requiring physical effort carried out, especially to sustain or improve physical fitness.”

This is a vague definition that, in essence, has democratized a myriad of human physical activities as exercise. Today, almost anything can be confidently termed “exercise” from basic human locomotion, to playing a video game, to sex, to board games and beyond, including climbing Mount Everest.


At the other end of the spectrum are stipulative definitions where meanings are readily applied to new or existing terms within a specific context, like an argument or the presentation of an idea. Such definitions are usually designed to differentiate the nature of terms from their original meaning.


When vagueness in terms is unacceptable, we can combine lexical and stipulative definitions to make terms more precise. Such precising definitions can narrow the focus and reduce vagueness by adding more information but still containing the essential lexical meaning. Such definitions are what you might encounter in legal circles where focused, unambiguous meanings are critical.


If, however, we want push the boundaries of ideas to greater limits and have more descriptive leeway, there is yet another class of definitions. Theoretical definitions attempt to establish the use of the original term within the paradigm of a much broader philosophical or intellectual framework. In the proper context, such definitions can impart information that can help clarify concepts by revealing more abstract philosophies and truths about words, ideas, and even behaviors.

Theoretical definitions may make use of lexical definitions, but they also tend to have a specific purpose to fulfill. Like stipulative definitions, because they aspire to the new understanding of a concept/theory, theoretical definitions cannot truly be judged as correct or incorrect though they may be deemed useful or not. As hypothetical constructs, theoretical definitions attempt to comprehend a concept in a completely novel way.

[Note that theoretical definitions are not persuasive definitions that tend to attach emotional meaning to the use of a term and thus distort the term for some ulterior motive or agenda. Such definitions are extremely vague and ambiguous and have no legitimate use anywhere except, perhaps, in propaganda.]

Theoretical definitions seek to extinguish vagueness and ambiguity by specifying how and when the particular term should be applied. This is why theoretical definitions prevail in science and philosophy. Having said this, theoretical definitions rarely merely describe a term. They most often present an opinion about it as well.

RenEx: Theoretical / Stipulative

It is within this broader context of trying to achieve a new and greater understanding that the Renaissance Exercise Definition exists. Technically, it is a theoretical, stipulative definition.

Ken Hutchins chose to appropriate the word “exercise” and to redirect its meaning precisely to shake things up and challenge the establishment. (He deliberately chose not to create a new term.) The purpose was to elevate the word “exercise” to a new standard so that it could represent the RenEx protocol and philosophy as a guide to successful human action in physical conditioning and rehabilitation. There is nothing tacit or self-effacing about The Definition. It is not meant to fit in as one of the many formal or informal definitions of “exercise,” lexical or otherwise. It is designed to reconstitute the entire premise of the word, “exercise.”

Perhaps this idea is too preposterous for our detractors to abide, and this is why there has been such fallout since The Definition was coined. Maybe there is fear or anxiety that the new Definition may actually have staying power and that it may usher a new era of understanding, not only for the layperson but also for the medical community and for future research.

Definition Detractors

The Definition has been rejected on grounds that it is not really a definition but rather merely a description of the way we’d prefer things to be. But we have already established that a theoretical definition can quite legally do exactly that. If our critics wish to falsify The Definition, then the theory that it supports (Renaissance Exercise protocol and philosophy) must first be invalidated.

Our critics have tried to do this with opprobrious line-by-line breakdowns of The Definition. Each section of The Definition has been tactically segmented in an attempt to reveal inconsistencies, circular opinions, and redundancies. Here are some examples:

  • Why must exercise be of a “demanding nature”?… Activity that is not demanding can produce results, too.
  • Why say “in accordance with muscle and joint function”?… Every human physical act is in such accordance.
  • A “clinically-controlled environment” is not necessary for exercise.


Since each the above statements/conditions are necessary parts of the theory of Renaissance Exercise (protocol), they must be considered true and so the theory is not falsified. That is, each of The Definition’s defiens* fully supports the theory of Renaissance Exercise upon which The Definition is based. The Definition may be deemed not useful or it may be rejected, but it is not false. As such, these objections to The Definition remain obtuse.

[*Definitions are made up of two parts, the definiendum and the definiens. The definiendum is the word being defined. The defiens are the words used to do the defining.]

IF the Renaissance Exercise protocol produces the effects that we claim, in the manner that we suggest, and IF this pattern of events (protocol) consistently produces these effects in human physiology, THEN we have established the protocol’s validity. The theoretical Definition merely describes and standardizes the premises and concepts of the protocol. In other words, within this context, this is what we now stipulate as “exercise” and anything that is not this, is NOT exercise by our standards.

By redefining the word exercise, Hutchins has drawn a line in the sand. Some have said that this is pretentious but this is how professional fields build paradigms of agreed-upon theoretical definitions. (Creating a new word might truly have been pretentious.)


The Definition was not created in an intellectual vacuum. It exists within the context of Hutchins’ robust and thought-provoking Exercise vs. Recreation argument. When we can clearly distinguish exercise from recreation we can narrow the focus of what constitutes exercise and also recognize the physiological significance of non-exercise activities.

We acknowledge that recreational activity is at least as important as exercise (only for different reasons) but exercise stands alone from recreation, regardless of characteristics that they may share. Exercise is good; recreation is good. Renaissance Exercise protocol is “exercise” and everything else is not. Do not confuse the two. Use exercise to improve your body so that you may better perform and enjoy any recreational activity that you desire.

The Definition remains as the most valued edict within our philosophy. We stand by it. We staunchly believe that any activity outside of The Definition is NOT exercise. Further, if The Definition is accepted amongst researchers and the medical community, there may finally be hope in creating the kind of studies that can validate or perhaps refute the claims we have made about the nature of inroad, strength building, recovery ability, and every other aspect of human physiology that can be affected by exercise. In fact, we submit that without acceptance of The Definition, any hope for performing truly meaningful tests and research will remain lost to the miasmic mess that has, up to now, been called “exercise.”

{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Justin Smith March 19, 2012 at 11:54 am

For those that dislike Hutchins’ definition of exercise, compare it to CrossFit’s definition of fitness:

Hutchins’ is well-defined while CrossFit’s is all over the place.



avatar Joshua Trentine March 20, 2012 at 12:25 am



avatar Jonas Olofsson March 19, 2012 at 1:22 pm

In my experience, to be able to define words is the foundation, from where true knowledge can be found, especially when you try to improve something.

I would never be able to continue to train the salespersons I do, without defining words as “selling”, “competence”, “objection” just to name a few. Words do have a meaning and without the same understanding, no real communication will happen.

Your definition might be right or not, but what you are doing is clearly to the raise the standard. Good enough is never good enough and I, personally, learned from your definition. I belive you should define even more words.

Anyway, very intresting!



avatar Joshua Trentine March 20, 2012 at 12:27 am

Thanks for sharing your experience Jonas, again many parallels.


avatar Steve Scott March 19, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Interesting article in NY times today “Is Sitting a Lethal Activity”


avatar Karl March 19, 2012 at 4:57 pm

The RenEx definition of exercise is very narrow, focusing only on purposeful activity to produce inroad for the purpose of building muscle.

As pointed out by the NY Time article, physical activity that is insufficiently intense to stimulate muscle building may still be useful or even essential to preserving healthy metabolic function.

So my opinion is that your definition of exercise is not very useful because its narrowness excludes purposeful physical activities which are useful for maintaining healthy metabolic function.


avatar Joshua Trentine March 20, 2012 at 12:35 am

“We acknowledge that recreational activity is at least as important as exercise (only for different reasons) but exercise stands alone from recreation, regardless of characteristics that they may share. Exercise is good; recreation is good. Renaissance Exercise protocol is “exercise” and everything else is not. Do not confuse the two. Use exercise to improve your body so that you may better perform and enjoy any recreational activity that you desire.”


avatar Karl March 30, 2012 at 8:06 pm

I don’t think you really addressed my concern. You focus on activities of a demanding nature that produce a particular type of beneficial metabolic adaptation – strengthening of bone and muscle. My point was that activities which are not intense enough to strengthen bone and muscle may still produce beneficial metabolic adaptations, e.g., improved glucose metabolism, more stable blood sugar control, more appropriate function of the liver and pancreas. If I were a doctor seeking to classify/identify activities that produce beneficial metabolic adaptions that might improve the health of my patients, I would not want use your definition, because it excludes (and devalues) too many things that are of health value.


avatar mark April 6, 2012 at 11:08 am

Karl, My understanding is that if sets fully inroad muscles within an appropriate time, with virtually no rest between sets, adding up to an appropriate total time, the other exercise benefits you’ve mentioned are also gained. If so, to not fully inroad would be be less than complete exercise. Exercise as defined here must be missing no aspect of exercise, just as it must not include any aspect of recreation.

avatar Steve Scott March 19, 2012 at 2:52 pm

From the Times article: “NEAT, which stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. In the world of NEAT, even the littlest stuff matters.” So do we have the other end of the intensity spectrum defined now? The question is, where do health and fitness overlap? Certainly the loss of lean tissue is a major heath threat and nothing comes close to RenEx for addressing this. But how much does squeezing the last bit of “Genetic Potential” out of an individual matter to overall health? If “moderate” activity can proffer such benefits, at what point does one have to consider it exercise? Is there exercise for health as opposed to ultimate fitness? I think what we need is a definition of fitness. Then we could determine how much exercise is ideal to maintain that while allow as much health benefit to be realized from other activity without undermining the effects of a RenEx session. So many people start doing other stuff when they start getting into better shape and it seems like the thought was to discourage this. This article may explain why there is such a tendency and that it may be more worthwhile.


avatar Joshua Trentine March 20, 2012 at 12:38 am

“So many people start doing other stuff when they start getting into better shape and it seems like the thought was to discourage this”

We have no problem with people doing “stuff” nor do we discourage it.


avatar Steve Scott March 20, 2012 at 10:13 am

The “other stuff” is often activities that people think is exercise though. Debating with people interested enough to read posts like this is one thing. To what extent do your clients understand the definition. A friend I trained for a few months, that seemed to really get it, surprised me when she became “heated” because I would not agree that surfing was exercise. I feel it important to go over a few things (besides the prelims) with new subjects, time permitting. The real objective, “the harder it seems” (safety) and the chart showing inroad vs. outroad, that’s a lot. My job is not to get people to agree philosophically, it’s to get them to come back. I want to much to teach people intellectually, it seems like trying to put out a forest fire with a squirt gun, it’s futile. I usually don’t quote the definition, people can be very sensitive about their beliefs (cardio). Just seems that when people are really starting to make progress they get all energetic and go off the deep end which can undermine recovery.. just wondering where and how to help people “draw the line”.


avatar Mark May 29, 2012 at 6:32 pm

This use of “other stuff” depends on the type, and level, of one’s goals. I read an enlightening interview with Olympic Decathlon winner Bruce Jenner. His description of training, boiled down: Work as hard as possible at training & avoid every possible effort outside of training.


avatar Trace March 20, 2012 at 6:38 pm

My definition of fitness is “strength.” Muscle mass is the criterion for longevity.


avatar donnie hunt March 19, 2012 at 7:44 pm

The RenEx definition of exercise has made me think about the way I exercise and look at the activities some people do for exercise. Food for thought and to integrate into my own workouts.


avatar Joshua Trentine March 20, 2012 at 12:38 am

As was it’s intent Donnie.


avatar Ed Hovanik March 20, 2012 at 8:38 am

@ Steve Scott

You mentioned finding out the ideal amount of exercise to maintain fitness. But I feel exercise should be used to improve and enhance fitness. With regard to defining fitness, Dr. McGuff defined it as physiological head room, i.e., creating as great a difference as possible between the most you can do and the least you can do. In order for this to occur, the work in exercise must be of a demanding nature to force the body to adapt; anything less would merely be a suggestion.

Ed H


avatar Joshua Trentine March 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Nicely done Ed


avatar Steve Scott March 21, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Yes, that is a very good point Ed, thank you. And that is a very interesting definition. Eventually, approaching the upper limits of potential, it seems to me that how little exercise is necessary as opposed to how much is tolerable becomes a more narrow range.


avatar Gus Diamantopoulos March 20, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Hi Steve,

A good way to get clients to understand is to approach it as education rather than by persuasion. I make it a hypothetical situation, “pretend that what you just did in this workout is “exercise”. Pretend that only this is exercise. Anything else you choose to do may be just as good for you but let’s call this exercise and devote yourself to this with your greatest vigor”.

In the end, arguments are best avoided with clients. They should respond to the instruction of the workout. The client’s understanding of The Definition must be (at the very least) visceral but its cognitive meaning doesn’t require the kind of comprehension that an instructor must have, nor a researcher, or therapist.


avatar Steve Scott March 26, 2012 at 9:34 am

Good point also, experience is the best teacher, for both the subject and myself


avatar Gus Diamantopoulos March 20, 2012 at 7:42 pm


Thanks for your comment. Consider that with The Defintion as our guide, we have been able to work with an almost infinitely broad scope of subjects and yet attend to each person’s individual needs in a very tailored way. It is precisely because of the tenets of The Defintition that we are able to include so many in what appears at a glance to be a narrow definition/protocol. With renex, the net we can cast is wide, not narrow.

Conversely, think of how many people must be excluded from so many other so-called exercise disciplines. Upon examination, a great many of the trendy activities that are passed as exercise can only include a very narrow cohort of potential subjects.



avatar Travis Weigand March 22, 2012 at 12:24 pm

As an instructor, this couldn’t be more true. I train countless subjects every single day that were shunned from other exercise paradigms.


avatar Steven Turner March 20, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Hi Josh,

The more I reflect on Ken’s definition of exercise the more I understand what he exactly means, you only need to look at it from the other side.

Many years ago I undertook university studies in recreation and leisure I remember back that in one of the units we spent the whole unit studying various definitions of recreation and leisure. The definitions of recreations and leisure clearly distinguish between recreation, leisure, play and for that matter exercise.

Under the definition of recreation and leisure most of todays fitness centre’s would more appropiately be called recreation and leisure centre’s, as this is the services they provide.


avatar Joshua Trentine March 31, 2012 at 2:31 pm

“Under the definition of recreation and leisure most of todays fitness centre’s would more appropiately be called recreation and leisure centre’s, as this is the services they provide.”


I agree.


avatar Luke O'Rourke March 21, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Any chance we could get a chapter listing for Vol. 2 of RenEx? I’ll need something before 1st quarter of 2013, or I might harm myself.

In my current occupation as a machinist I spend most of my day ‘first doing no harm’ to myself, and secondly making parts. A small part is about 500lbs and the big are 2,000lbs or more. Lifting injuries aren’t a problem as there are plenty of jib and gantry cranes, but it’s all manual chucking work, lots of standing and twisting and turning and stepping up and down.

RenEx as defined as exercise is ideal for me. It gives me the most protection for my job without exposing me to further injury that would prevent either work, exercise or recreation.

By the by, recreation doesn’t necessitate physical activity, whereas it’s an absolute requirement for exercise. I like to read for recreation and save my joints, or walk as it gives me a chance to survey my neighborhood, and I find walking to be be very lubricative to thought and conversation.

I guess if your income has you sat at a desk all day you might have a yearning to go running around and jumping and crashing and swinging. To each their own.

A million ways to recreate, one way to exercise(depending on debility). A million ways to eat, one way to medicate(depending on condition).


avatar Joshua Trentine March 31, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Intelligent post sir.

Let me talk to Ken about this chapter list.



avatar Dr Baumann March 21, 2012 at 5:25 pm

In all due respect to anyone questioning Kens definition there is a great deal to be learned out there in the wellness fitness fields. I have been practicing applied Kinesiology for 15 years and continue to unfold new findings about human physical function. I have read the questions about Ken’s definition, but sense a lack of TRUE understanding. Renaissance Exercise has put in place a qualified standard of exercise with room for growth that lets all try and achieve greater heights in our knowledge. We have a responsibility to the thousands that we serve.


avatar Joshua Trentine March 31, 2012 at 2:33 pm

We do!


avatar Joshua Trentine March 26, 2012 at 12:09 am

During the mid-1980s Nautilus hosted Seminars five times each year at the Lake Helen, Florida headquarters. Brenda and I were regular speakers at these.

Just after one of my first presentations of “Exercise vs. Recreation,” Dick Wall gave me some feedback on the presentation. Dick was a long- time Nautilus salesperson who was sitting in the audience with a man who owned many martial arts studios in Atlanta.

According to Dick, his guest said, “Hutchins’ presentation made me angry. However, he is correct!”
-Ken Hutchins-


avatar Scott Springston March 26, 2012 at 12:12 pm

I just had this” interesting” discussion on another forum , gee I wonder which one that was, about recovering from workouts. My notion was that it’s no problem to dig deep inroads into the muscle. The problem is recovering from workouts where you kill yourself to get that inroad. I think this is an area where REN-EX may have an advantage over conventional methods in that one can possibly dig deeper inroads without getting into a state that takes 10 or more days to recover from under ideal conditions much less when one is dead tired etc. My life is very busy at times and it’s no problem to actually work my muscles during a workout until they are so sore my arm wants to fall off, the problem is having energy enough to recover from said workout after a stressful week at the office or home or both. I think this is an area where a REN-EX type short but intense workouts might be the one thing that could be easier to recover from if one is stressed or already exhausted from daily life.


avatar Joshua Trentine March 31, 2012 at 2:36 pm


Without question the stress response you get from this workout is different. I believe we get a greater “metabolic experience” with less of the deleterious side effects.



avatar Scott Springston April 3, 2012 at 8:48 am

I think the ability to get at a deeper inroad with out draining the system as is done in more standard methods may be what is best about REN-EX? I can easily dig great inroads into my muscles regardless of the machines or barbell I use but it usually takes ages to recover from such workouts. It’s that long recovery time that gets annoying, especially for someone like me who wants to workout more often than less often. Again as someone said on another forum, one can’t really tell about the benefits of REN-EX untill one has actually experienced it for them selves and unfortunately most of us don’t have that luxury. It’s like arguing what we think is on the dark side of the moon. We won’t really know until we get there and experience it so why bother with all the arguing.


avatar Steven Turner March 28, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Hi Josh,

The legislation in Australia regarding Negligence and Duty of Care says that, Joing a gym and beginning an exercise program are considered part of ‘recreational or sporting activities’, recreational and sporting activities have an ‘obvious risk’. This tells me that joining the gym is considered the same risk level as some of the more extreme high risk recreation and sporting pursuits.

How can an industry that espouses improving ones health be considered the same as other high risk sporting and recreation activities, where there is an “obvious risk”? It appears that many others in the fitness industry do not want to elevate “exercise” to the same standards as Ken and you other guys, one can only hope.


avatar Scott Springston March 30, 2012 at 10:33 am

Now days with all the lawyers suing for just about anything I’m surprised it’s not considered a risk to walk into a Wallmart to shop. People get hurt in gyms regardless of how safe the methods are. Do you think for a minute that one couldn’t possibly get hurt at a REN-EX facility?Even with the best of machines or instructors a person could stand up and bang their head on a frame member of a machine and run for their lawyer.Are you insulating that makers of Nautilus or other machines care not for safety?


avatar Joshua Trentine March 31, 2012 at 2:37 pm


Great point!



avatar mark March 30, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Elemental exercise: Exercise, and nothing but exercise. This seems to be what some people don’t understand about what purpose the definition serves.


avatar Joshua Trentine March 31, 2012 at 2:37 pm

That’s it.


avatar Craig March 30, 2012 at 10:47 pm

I continued to be amazed at the amount of time and energy you guys expend on these rhetorical exercises.

The central question for most of your potential customers is this: Are the machines and protocol any damn good?

To be more specific: Can you demonstrate that training on your machines with your protocol consistently and reproducibly gives better results for most trainees than alternative machines and training protocols?

If you can demonstrate the above, you will have a successful business. If you can’t, your future may not be quite so bright, and it won’t matter how clever or precise your definition of exercise is. It will also not matter that you have made a fine distinction between exercise and recreation. And it will also not matter that you have declared that your machines and protocol are the finest implementation of inroad theory that have ever been developed.

A while back, you posted something about the Wright Brothers, Flying, and Theory. I will point out that the Wright brothers did not become famous for writing wonderful articles about Aviation Theory. They did not become famous for developing a precise definition of ‘manned flight’. They did not become famous by declaring that there aircraft were the finest implemention of Aerodynamic Theory ever developed. They got famous by building and flying airplanes. They demonstrated, in the air, that they knew what they were doing. Maybe you should take a lesson from them, and spend your time and energy demonstrating, in the gym and on the training floor, that you know what you are doing.


avatar Joshua Trentine March 31, 2012 at 2:07 pm

“Maybe you should take a lesson from them, and spend your time and energy demonstrating, in the gym and on the training floor, that you know what you are doing.”


Our immediate studios do this to the tune of over 1000 sessions per week.

Anyone who has taken the time to visit our facilities or our machine and prototype shop can see that writing is the smallest part of what we do.

You are welcome to visit any time.



avatar Joe A March 31, 2012 at 2:23 pm


You do realize that the RenEx team operates extremely successful training businesses…as a matter of fact, their success in this business (because of the reproducibility of the protocol, etc.) is probably the major draw to potential customers…not just the ‘machines’. They have proven exactly what you suggest and are making available their “system” to others.

And while many seem distraught over their cerebral approach, they fail to realize the necessity of it toward the advancement of exercise…someone has to be asking these questions…someone has to sit up all night thinking of solutions…someone has to critically address the stupidity rampant within the industry…

I realize that everyone won’t “get it” and many have no interest in the minutia…and that is OK. The protocol/equipment can be great for any trainee…even if the blog topics aren’t.


avatar Steven Turner April 1, 2012 at 11:04 pm


If you look at the Wright Brothers website you will see all these complicated, technical diagrams with numbers and letters most people would not take much interest. From my understanding the Wright Brothers did not invent flying, aeroplanes or flying machines they invented “controls” to be able to safely fly planes. Back in the Wright brothers day it appeared that not many people were interested in flying until they invented “controls”. I don’t think that Renaissance say that they have invented exercise or exercise machines but like the Wright Brothers have inveneted their own “controls”.

Which brings me to the next point regardless of what the fitness industry say not that many people are interested in going to the so-called fitness centre’s of today. Not when you look at the population percentages, I live in an area of 500,000 people the biggest fitness centre in the area claims 3,000 members. Literally hundreds of thousands of everyday people don’t go like going to fitness centres, don’t like them and don’t like what they stand for.

I think that Renaissance exercise has made exercise available for everyone, made exercise simple (if you don’t mind me saying), sit in a machine and pull on the levers until it feels hard. But behind the simplicity is hard learnt, “knowledge and experience”.

To me it is others who want to make exercise complicated and some form of mystic, out of reach of the everyday person. Here balance on a swiss ball with two weights in outstretched hands or some form of gymnastic move in a park (I think his name is hannibal), but it will take you a life time to learn.

The Wright brothers made flying available for everyone and Renaissance has made exercise available for everyone.


avatar Scott Springston April 3, 2012 at 9:12 am

I think that Renaissance exercise has made exercise available for everyone, made exercise simple (if

Really?? Made it simple?? As I see it REN-EX is not a form of exercise that one just plunks into a machine and does with out thought or care. It is a very cerebral form of exercise that requires great effort to follow strict guideline procedures etc that don’t come close to the term simple. Now that doesn’t make it a bad system but it’s not an easy way to train as you suggest. In fact using one’s noggen is a good thing but simple it ain’t. I don’t understand your position that REN-EX has made exercise available for anyone? Like exercise hasn’t hasn’t been available up till now for everyone?? The Wright Brothers demonstrated by actually flying in the air that their plane would work. Now it’s time for REN-EX to demonstrate with actual photographic evidence that REN-EX is not only good for the average bloke who wants to get fit but is actually a good a method to build big muscles as the methods bodybuilders have used for ages or even better. So far it sounds good in theory but I haven’t seen any evidence to back up the contention that it builds big muscles any better than any other method.


avatar Joshua Trentine April 1, 2012 at 11:59 pm

Steven, I enjoyed this post.



avatar Steven Turner April 4, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Hi Scott,

Sorry if the term said by me “simple” was taken out of context I apologise for that . The word simple was used in comparison to some other complex methods of training that are currently taught in many fitness centre’s. For example, I see many trainers teaching people highly complex weight lifting movements with the aim of improving one’s “everyday” functional ability. At no time did I mean that there was not a lot of complex thought required when doing Renaissannce exercise. I hope I clear that up for you and again sorry for the misunderstanding.

On your point that about building big muscles I am in a fitness teaching position where I conduct body composition measurements on hundreds of students every year. Many of these young people are in the primes of their lives are weight training using varied systems of weight lifting. Most tell me that they are also taking the best protien powders available and some are even using steroids. I hope you can believe me on this next point, after six months most make no gains in muscle size actually some get a lot fatter and many actually lose size. I do a full body composition test on them and I am extremely accurate.

I have found that people who train using HIT systems are more likely to lose body fat and increase muscle size or maintain existing levels. Are the increases in muscle size huge by comparison to some of the famous body builders answer NO.

If Renaisasance doesn’t prove to grow big muscles than there are a lot of other weight lifting systems out there also failing, Scott I can prove this with actual evidence taken by me.


avatar Scott Springston April 6, 2012 at 9:08 am

I have no doubt that many out there exercise and take protein powders and steroids and the like who after 6 months or so don’t make gains. Almost anyone starting out will make good gains on any reasonable program for 6 months or so. I guess my question is, will REN-EX machines and methods actually improve upon the results had by typical HIT routines? Even though I’ve never used them I think I like the REN-EX machines and protocol but as yet I have not seen any real evidence that the REN-EX system produces any better results in the way of muscle building than standard HIT procedures. I’ve seen the likes of McGuff workout on the machines and give the workout a thumbs up but that doesn’t prove they produce superior or even adequate results in terms of actually building muscle size and or strength.


avatar Joshua Trentine April 6, 2012 at 6:44 pm


I saw your comments on the other site about RenEx.

….nothing to do with “tail between the legs”, apparently we’re too big of a threat, that’s all.



avatar Scott Springston April 9, 2012 at 7:45 am

How does being too big of a threat equate with you abandoning your own threads on that site? If your system is as good as you claim it is certainly it deserves to be defended regardless of what is said about it. You do have to admit though that your guys have come down unnecessarily hard on the X-Force system especially since they haven’t said one word of negative comments on REN-EX as far as I have seen?


avatar mark April 8, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Evidence? Multi-million dollar double-blind lab experiment; large sample of identical twins, monitored: same diet, rest, recreation, & work; one does RenEx, the other does “standard HIT procedure”? Instead, time for you to try the “machines and methods”


avatar Scott Springston April 9, 2012 at 7:47 am

Yes, I do need to try their machines and Protocol!!


avatar Matt Spriggs April 6, 2012 at 7:43 pm

For the last several months, I have observed people poke fun at RenEx and disperage their exercise philosophy along with personal attacks. By the way, I’m in NO WAY affiliated with RenEx in any respect. I wanted to certify with them and decided not to, but they (Ken Hutchins) have defined exercise in explicit terms – just try doing so if you think it’s so easy. If you disagree with the definition – fine, but the onus is on you to prove them wrong. I encourage their research and look forward to future developments.


avatar Donnie Hunt April 13, 2012 at 10:02 pm

If I’m understanding correctly the RenEx machines are designed to go along with the fact that a trainee gets weaker as the exercise goes along?


avatar Joshua Trentine April 15, 2012 at 11:24 pm

Hi Donnie,

I’m not sure if I understand the exact question, but yes the trainee certainly gets weaker as the set progresses and the cam profile is geared toward the very difficult to impossible repetitions.



avatar Donnie Hunt April 16, 2012 at 12:15 am

Hey Joshua,

If I’m understanding correctly: The RenEx machines are designed in such a way that the resistance will “feel heavy” from the get go? Though the trainee is pushing hard/attempting to move fast, fast movement isn’t going to happen? As far as the “getting weaker as the set progresses”, The article on Dr. Darden’s site talked about the row machine having resistance fall off. Talked about how the design of the machine accomodates the trainee weakening into the set. Just wanted to see if I’m understanding this stuff?


avatar Joshua Trentine April 16, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Hi Donnie,

Our Compound Row was not at the event in question on that site.



avatar Brian Liebler April 16, 2012 at 6:03 am

In liew of RenEx equipment, would it be benificial after reaching a sticking point, to immediately reduce the weight(drop set)and continue untill failure with the reduced weight. By reducing the weight you can get over the speed bump or mechanical sticking point and inroad deeper.
Another way may be a TSC prior to a compound. I have tried it both ways and found that a TSC followed by body weight squats produced a deep inroad to a point that I can hardly walk accross the gym floor.


avatar Joshua Trentine April 16, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Hi Brian,

Additional sets, drops or otherwise may be required with conventional equipment.

I have had similar experiences with TSC single joint exercise to Compound movements.



avatar Scott Springston April 16, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Someone mentioned that the camming of the REN-EX machines is such that resistance seems non existent in the contracted position. Just so I can have an idea of how a rep feels on a REN-EX machine with out actually being able to get on one how would you describe the feeling of the first rep or two in the contracted position and how it feels in the contracted position near sets end.


avatar Joshua Trentine April 16, 2012 at 10:58 pm


Our machines were not on display, the mention of them is by a person who never used them. Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.

The cams have a perfectly balanced resistance curve that can be timed to the user. I’m happy to show how they work on video.



avatar Joshua Trentine April 17, 2012 at 12:31 pm

posting for Ken Hutchins @

Scott Springston April 9, 2012 at 7:45 am
“You do have to admit though that your guys have come down unnecessarily hard on the X-Force system especially since they haven’t said one word of negative comments on REN-EX as far as I have seen?”

“…unnecessarily hard…” Correction: “…necessarily hard…”

–Ken Hutchins.


avatar Scott Springston April 18, 2012 at 9:25 am

Why is it necessary to come down hard on X-Force?


avatar Mark April 18, 2012 at 9:55 am

Another side of this issue: I believe a party’s credibility is enhanced if they’re: 1/ Willing to change their mind in the presence of new evidence, & not conveniently sweep their old opinion under the rug as if it never existed. 2/ Willing to “call out” those whom they disagree with, & “let the chips fall where they may”. Mr Hutchins is a strong example of these traits. Sorry to those whose sensitivities find him too blunt. If X-Force has something negative to say about RenEx, they SHOULD say it….all part of the learning experience.


avatar Brian May 25, 2012 at 10:11 am

Here’s the problem with the definition of exercise and the view. Yes, the view exactly. We have been fed false information on what exercise should be. Gyms need to sell supplements and memberships. So, my definition is… Exercise is any activity that’s edu dantnand involves physical and mental exertion. Yes when you are holding that kettlebell over your head and performing a windmill. That’s physical and even more mental exertion and concentration. I believe this is why most give up. They don’t have the mental capacity to fathom their term of exercise. I also can say from my experience with people over exertion is a negative thing. George Jowett said it best “a strain causes the body to rupture”. A rupture in the body can cause a rupture in the mind. Think about it… So by definition exercise is something that trains physical processes in the body. Wether it be a fat loss or wellness. The fat loss will come in a healthy body. People have a warped view on it. Just train and stay consistent. It’s so stupid easy! The payoff is optimal health and there’s no price that can be put on that:)


avatar mark May 27, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Complete, (improving strength, flexibility, endurance…). Sustainable,(safe, precisely measurable & progressive in all aspects of load, speed, and proper form). Universal,(adaptable to all strength levels, no special attributes required). Exclusive, (no recreational or competitive aspect, required skill acquisition kept to a minimum). This is what I “get” from the definition. Anyone familiar with kettlebell training knows that it fails at many of these aspects.


avatar Bobbo May 18, 2016 at 8:26 am

Je vous lève mon chapeau M. Cazes! Merci d&orous;avqir partager avec nous tous ces nombreux billets et ce qu’ils ont pu soulever comme passion.Merci milles fois! Denis


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