277 comments written by Joshua Trentine


By Joshua Trentine

With Commentaries by Ken Hutchins and Al Coleman

[Editor’s note: Consistent with the convention applied in The Renaissance of Exercise—Volume I, exercise names are written in lowercase and machine names are in uppercase.]

The trapezius musculature is named for its shape as it is shaped trapezoidally. In other words, it is diamond-shaped.

We refer to the trapezius as a “musculature” as the word, “muscle,” seems to imply a singular gross direction of fiber orientation. However, the trapezius possesses three major groupings of fibers possessing different orientations. They are the upper (superior), middle, and lower (inferior) groupings.

The upper grouping functions to elevate the shoulder girdle. The trapezius is the major shoulder elevator.

The middle grouping functions to draw the scapulae together, thus retracting the shoulders.

The lower grouping functions to depress the shoulders. Shoulder depression by the lower trapezius is powerfully assisted by the latissimus dorsi as well as by the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor.

The upper and lower trapezius fibers work in tandem with the serratus anterior to upwardly rotate the scapulae, such as during an overhead press. When activating together, the upper and lower fibers also assist the middle fibers (along with other muscles such as the rhomboids) with scapular retraction/adduction.

I will first present exercises that involve the trapezius in some manner and then discuss strategies to involve the entirety of the trapezius musculature in synergy with the entirety of the back musculature. First off I will discuss the so-called king of them all, the deadlift.

I have always been fascinated by the deadlift. I’m not sure where the root of this fascination began. It may be just the fact that it is such an eye-catching, macho demonstration. Perhaps it’s because I’ve always been very good at moving very heavy weight on this exercise.

I tend to think the biggest influence that provoked my fascination with this exercise is my reading of Mike Mentzer’s Heavy Duty II around 1994.

The deadlift is the most stressful exercise of the program-for it involves the most muscles. The considerable stresses involved make the deadlift the most productive exercise of all. –Mike Mentzer-

At the time I was certainly convinced this was the most complete and practical exercise on which I could focus my efforts. I believed that this exercise was going to be the best stimulus of not only the growth mechanism for the entire body but also for development of the entire upper back. More specifically, this included the latissimus dorsi and, most noticeably, the trapezius, both of which were weak points in my early bodybuilding days.

This belief led me to seek ways to maximize this exercise in the early to mid-90s. I followed Mike’s advice with regard to progressing loads and added days of recovery. I tried many different types of apparatus to allow me to do the best bio-mechanical version of the deadlift. At that time it was the Gerard Trap Bar.

Generally, I would say that focusing on the deadlift was a good approach for me at that time in my life as I think I gained some muscularity. Relative to the equipment I had available to me at that time, this may have been the best way to go, although I came to find out this was not a sustainable plan.

Perhaps the most notable change during that time was the visual appearance of my upper trapezius. Today, I’m not sure if I would attribute this to the performance of the full deadlift or if it was the result of suspending such massive loads through my shoulder girdle. More on this to come…

I am certain that, in spite of my fascination and willingness to perform the deadlift, I have never been able to sustain the use of the deadlift for any consistent period of time. Also, I could not see the type of physical changes that I expected from “progressing” so well with this exercise. Over time, I either had back issues that were exacerbated by the exercise or the sessions were just beating me up for too long. Eventually, it seemed necessary to wait a whole month after performing a heavy set of deadlifts to failure.

Mentzer’s suggestion for dealing with this was periodically inserting shrug in place of deadlift.

Mike Mentzer’s Consolidated Routines:

Mentzer consolidated Workout Routine #1:

  1. Squats or leg press.
  2. Close-grip, palms-up pulldown.
  3. Dip.

Mentzer consolidated Workout Routine #2:

  1. Deadlift (alternated periodically with shrugs).
  2. Press behind the neck.
  3. Standing heel raise.

Translated to RenEx, which by the way, is the best way to make long-term gains on an abbreviated program:

Mentzer-inspired RenEx Workout Routine #1 (exercise machines used):

  1. RenEx Leg Press (with feedback) or RenEx TSC Leg Press (with feedback).
  2. RenEx Pulldown or TSC Pulldown (with feedback).
  3. RenEx Overhead Press or TSC Overhead Press (with feedback).

Mentzer-inspired RenEx Workout Routine #2:

  1. Heel raise on RenEx Leg Press.
  2. RenEx Trunk Extension.
  3. SuperSlow Systems Neck & Shoulder.
  4. RenEx Ventral Torso or push-up.

The sequence above is the one that I recommend for the Overload Fitness staff if they believe it will be a suitable program for their clients. We reference a helpful flow-chart to make these determinations.

Note the RenEx workout above is my interpretation of what I consider the most complete version of a Mentzer-type consolidated workout, and, to this day, these are my favorite routines to run for my own personal workouts. My interpretation is slightly different than Mentzer’s, and I will explain more while simultaneously answering a submitted question about the trapezius. It relates to deadlift, shrug (Neck & Shoulder) and Overhead Press.

Let’s begin with the question and see if the answer gives any clue to why the workout organization might change slightly.

In the RenEx text (page 302), you make mention of the Nautilus Neck & Shoulder machine, and are looking towards revamping this machine. I am very interested to hear your take on the training of the trapezius. Is this a muscle that requires direct stimulation? What is the proper training for the muscle?… Scapula elevation as in traditional shrug?… or more of a retraction, as per DeSimone’s recommendations? Does the trapezius receive enough stimulation if a proper horizontal row or horizontal TSC is employed?

Al Coleman’s response:

My take is that the trapezius may benefit most from TSC as would other skeletal muscles. This doesn’t mean that they would not benefit from dynamic movement as well. If you look at the structure and function of the traps in most human movement, they are statically activated much of the time to support the scapula.

Retraction work alone is inadequate. To limit the trapezius to retraction exercises makes no sense when looking at what the traps do for the scapulae.

I hate to add a bit of bro science in here, but I’d be willing to bet that a physique athlete who ignores elevation won’t end up with the same trapezius development around his yolk as he would if he added elevation.

I’m someone who suffers from poor trap development. Anytime I regularly include the Neck and Shoulder machine in my routine, I experience some semblance of neck-region trap development. No amount of horizontal rowing does that. Again, I know that might not suffice the Internet biomechanics experts, but muscle is muscle. It’s there or it’s not.

It is also worth mentioning that the elevation of the scapulae is the only way to get at certain tension-related neck issues.

Ken Hutchins’ response:

The major purpose of the trapezius muscle is to prevent the entire shoulder girdle from falling to the ground. It suspends the shoulder girdle off the back of the upper spine and head as not much else does. It also opposes the depressive force, tonically and actively, of the powerful latissimus dorsi and lower trapezius fibers.

Yes, the trapezius has a host of functions.

Yes, it is the most powerful extrinsic upper spine (cervical) extensor.

Note that there are intrinsics for extending the spine but none for flexing the spine. Some might insist that the psoas is intrinsic, but it inserts off, not on, the spine. Therefore, it is extrinsic.

Yes, the trapezius has lower fibers that function in shoulder retraction.

Note the word, “girdle” as in “shoulder girdle” and “pelvic girdle.”

“Girdle” is an intended descriptor. And just what is a “girdle?” It is something that girds, binds, encircles, surrounds.

Note that the torso is—more or less—a fuselage likened to that of an airplane. To correctly envision the fuselage, we remove the arms and legs and head and neck. The shoulder girdle encircles the top of the fuselage and the pelvic girdle encircles the bottom of the fuselage.

Note that the upper fuselage tapers toward the top. This is not apparent unless we remove the shoulder girdle from the fuselage—as though the shoulder girdle is not integral to the torso—and observe that the circumference of the ribcage becomes smaller as we measure it progressively superiorly.

Now replace the shoulder girdle atop the fuselage. What holds it there?

To answer this question we might need to answer another. Just what comprises the shoulder girdle?

We are quick to assign the scapulae and clavicles to the composite we call the “shoulder girdle.” But effectively, we must not stop here, because our composite forms an incomplete encircling.

To completely encircle the superior fuselage we must somehow fasten the clavicles together in the front and fasten the scapulas together in the rear. One might liken this to a bra that hooks in the front as well as in the back.

If we bridge across the gap between the clavicles through the sternum and bridge across the gap between the scapulas through the rhomboids, middle trapezius and the thoracic spine, then we get a complete girdle—aha!

Now again, what holds the shoulder girdle in place?

If we imagine the shoulder girdle to be shaped like a lamp shade that is the hollow section of a cone, then its inside taper just fits on the outside taper of the upper fuselage. These tapers keep the shoulder girdle aloft.

In fact, my study skeleton—since it lacks the rhomboids and middle trapezius—has metal screws holding each of its scapulas to posterior ribs. Without this, its shoulder girdle would fall down and around to the front of the ribcage where it would hang off the clavicular attachments to the sternum.

Nevertheless, the outside taper of the ribs supports the inside taper of the shoulder girdle. But this is barely enough vertical support for bearing the forces required by the actions of the arms.

There is one remaining and ultimate vertical support for the shoulder girdle: the upper trapezius!

There are scapular retractors other than the middle trapezius. There are other more-powerful shoulder depressors than the lower trapezius. But the major role and need of the trapezius is found in its superior fibers in the function of supporting and raising the shoulder girdle.

It is amazing to me that this is not blatantly obvious to anyone who has ever paid the slightest attention to the human skeleton!

And this function imparts major implications for the health of homo sapiens. Whether homo sapiens cradles a baby to nurse, types with the arms and hands held forward, plays a piano, or deadlifts a barbell, the vertical support for the object held, the hands, the arms and the shoulder girdle is largely through the trapezius suspended off the occipital and upper cervical vertebrae. Should we be surprised by the tension and irritation experienced in this area of the body?

Yes, the levator scapula muscle helps to support the shoulder girdle via its scapular attachment, but it is dwarfed by the immensity of the trapezius’ size and its surface area of both clavicular and scapular attachments!

I also somewhat disagree with sources that emphasize the levator scapulae as a “scapular elevator” as its name suggests. Assuming that the lateral end of the scapula is fixed at the acromial-clavicular joint, the levator scapulae is more a scapular rotator than an elevator. Its contraction causes a counter-clockwise rotation of the right scapula and the opposite of the left. Perhaps its name should be appropriately renamed “rotator scapulae?”

If you’re trying to grossly strengthen your trapezius by restricting your exercise to shoulder retraction exercises, you’re probably also doing something similarly inane such as performing wrist curls to strengthen your biceps.

This revolutionary analysis of the trapezius is included in much more detail in my Renaissance of Exercise—Volume II. It is due to be released next summer.

I would like to add a bit to Ken and Al’s excellent explanations.

Ken and I were recently discussing what happens on the Neck & Shoulder exercise when the cam varies enough to allow us to elevate our shoulder girdle adequately to congest against ourselves in the exercise. We agreed that if you are allowed to get that far into the exercise and inroad effectively, and recruit deeply enough, you will not only call upon the muscles that elevate the shoulder girdle, but also the ones that retract it.

Experientially there is something really cool about this exercise. When RenEx protocol is used and when cam effect allows utilizing the entire available range of motion, this exercise is felt all the way from the back of the skull to the tailbone and deep into the musculature… so much so that it is momentarily difficult to even stand up straight for about 30 seconds after the exercise.

SuperSlow Systems Neck & Shoulder 340# x 4 Reps

In my opinion this effect makes this particular exercise a homerun for Mentzer-type consolidation programs. It acts like a compound movement in the way that it stimulates the entire back musculature. This machine still requires some tweaking, but we believe it will eventually be just as much of a staple in our programs as a leg press or pulldown, especially when following the Mentzer template.

In the year 2013 and over the age of 40, I will not be performing many deadlifts, but with the sequence above we have a far better solution… a more complete solution… a safer solution.

The other amazing aspect of this program is that I’ve had all of these machines in a little 11’x13’ room attached to our main studio. With little overhead and a very reasonable investment the ambitious trainer may open a RenEx studio specializing in Mentzer-inspired consolidated routines.

This leads me to another related question that may further explain why I slightly reorganized Mentzer’s sequence. Before I do I would like to explain that, from my experience, the effect of using our machines for this type program is far more complete than what could ever be imagined with a barbell-type program and must be felt to be believed. The barbell program still acts too much like a quasi-isolation program not to mention the mechanical speed bumps that exist when dealing with free weights.

Q: Al recently made a comment about the possible need for specific elevation exercise in order to maximize the development of the trapezius. This made me think about the overhead press exercise. Some experts teach their clients to deliberately shrug during the overhead press exercise. Mark Ripptoe wrote the following in Starting Strength regarding the press:

Once the bar is over your head correctly, lock your elbows and shrug up your shoulders to support the bar… The combination of locking out the elbows and shrugging the traps up at lockout, with the bar directly over the ears, produces a very firm, stable position at the top that involves all of the shoulder girdle muscles and prevents shoulder impingement. To learn this [lockout] position, you might find it helpful to feel a gentle upward and inward squeeze on the humerus from either side, along with hearing a reminder to “shrug” the bar up.

Is scapulae elevation intended at the upper turnaround on the RenEx Overhead Press? To Al’s point, if this action is included in the exercise, would an isolated shrug exercise be necessary?

A: While the shoulder girdle must elevate some during the overhead press and while the trapezius is certainly heavily involved in this movement pattern, the idea of shrugging the shoulders is not part of the exercise, nor is it encouraged. Furthermore I believe doing so could even lead to faulty recruitment patterns and shoulder impingement syndrome.

The Neck & Shoulder exercise will provide a more-complete stimulus for the entirety of the trapezius (upper, middle and lower) as well as providing a compound-like effect to the entire back. This is why I do not like placing Neck & Shoulder in the same workout as either overhead press or deadlift.

I do think that our Neck & Shoulder has a tremendous synergy with our Ventral Torso. I also believe that our Simple Row is a great feeder exercise for getting the most from Ventral Torso or push-up or even chest press, but that is for a different article.


What if I don’t have one of the rare SuperSlow Systems Neck & Shoulder machines?

Shoulder Shrug Performed on the OME at The Strength Room in Toronto, Ontario

I hope this article gives you an idea of how to get trapped by RenEx!

{ 277 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Joshua Trentine November 30, 2012 at 2:40 pm
avatar Ed M. November 30, 2012 at 2:40 pm


Outstanding explanation.

Question: Is the cervical spine compressed ( particularly c 4-7) on the SS Neck and Shoulder routine?

I can’t do overhead pressing due to the fabled “old football injury”.




avatar Joshua Trentine November 30, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Hi Ed,


No, this would be a concern with exercises that are axially loading.

As a matter of fact this particular exercise is the only way I’ve got relief with certain neck conditions.



avatar Ed M. December 1, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Had my WOW alone today since my wife was dealing with bad news for a family member. Great workout since incorporating leg extension as pre=exhaust for leg press.

Until I tried to replicate the movement of your musculature in the video. Not one of my most successful efforts. Akin to a gremlin recapitulating a ferrari.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 1, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Hey Ed,

Glad you had a great W.O.W….

What you say here is the reason we have SO many machines at Beachwood…..if you want to serve all populations and all pathology you have to be able to find more than one way to skin a cat.

…DYING laughing @ “Akin to a gremlin recapitulating a Ferrari”.


avatar Ed M. December 1, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Not so funny if you are the Gremlin.

Look forward to my next learning opportunity.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 1, 2012 at 11:00 pm


Ur killin’ me.Lol

avatar Joshua Trentine December 1, 2012 at 11:02 pm

We have some really great articles coming out in the next few months….

avatar Joshua Trentine November 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm

I’ve withdrawn from all of the public internet forums, except my own of course.

They were just getting too toxic, although I hear and see that things are just as bad, if not worse, out there.

To that I say:

Great minds discuss ideas
Average minds discuss events
Small minds discuss people


avatar Ben Tucker November 30, 2012 at 9:25 pm

I think that’s why I’ve naturally gravitated to this site. There seems to be an actual interchange of ideas. I direct my clients here as trusted source.

I mean, I understand people being adamant in their beliefs concerning HIT, but when they come off being so infallible and dogmatic (parroting Arthur’s attitude) I stop listening.

Arthur was Arthur but the copycats are just embarrassing.
I should know. When I was introduced to HIT, I thought I could look down on mere mortals, too.
Glad I outgrew that.


avatar Joshua Trentine November 30, 2012 at 10:00 pm


We are really working hard on putting out good material, it’s a ton of work a with little reward most times.

It’s comments like this that motivate us to sit down at night and write after training clients for 10 or 12 hours.

Thank you again,


(ps: we have some really great articles coming up)


avatar Ben Tucker December 3, 2012 at 11:50 pm

You are most welcome.

The passion of the team, it’s writers and contributors, is most apparent.

It can be like swimming upstream. I can’t imagine what it’s like for RenEx!
You say “little reward” now, but you know it pays dividends later.
Right is right.
I for one appreciate you guys “kicking against the goads.”

(ps: always checking for those really great articles)

A little off topic, but I have to get this out while it’s on my mind:

On average, I’ve been noticing that my female clients tend to work harder than men. They reach failure more consistently, inroad further, and more or less… don’t wuss out as much as their male counterparts.

I recently had the opportunity to train a naturally muscular fellow (very long muscle bellies) to failure on a Big 5 session. He couldn’t (or wouldn’t) get to that “come to Jesus moment.”
He’s always wanting to do feats of strength Single leg Romanian Deadlift ,etc. and I explained to him that this is exercise and that there is a difference… and one must check their ego at the door.

I asked him how he felt afterwards and he claimed he didn’t feel much. I explained that it’s because he never reached a level of hard work on most exercises.

I told him I want at least 12 weeks just to see progression.
My wife and I have a running bet that he won’t make it past week 4. He’s already canceled his 2nd session.

If I can quote Drew Baye, I’m finding that “most people aren’t willing to work hard.”

Anyway, has anyone on the team noticed this Men vs. Women work ethic with women generally working harder?



avatar Joshua Trentine December 4, 2012 at 12:32 am


I’ve noticed the same thing…my best subjects are female.

I want to answer this more thoroughly, but I will need more time.

avatar Ben Tucker December 4, 2012 at 10:05 am

YES! I knew I couldn’t be the only one observing this.

Women seem to listen to direction more readily, work through the discomfort and truly reach failure, let the breathing take place, etc.
And when they come to terms with the 90/10 rule of diet and proper exercise, the rest is gravy.

I know this is a topic for another time. So Josh, I look forward to your take when you get around to it.


avatar John K January 18, 2013 at 11:21 am

First post here but I am also very appreciative of what you guys do! I have a deep passion for this stuff.
Fast approaching 48 yrs and I am ever amazed at how damned good I feel almost every single day.
Brief, intense and infrequent training coupled with REAL food and its as close to the fountain of youth as we have at this time.
I realize this is an older article, but I just loved your blurb about ideas, events and people! So very true!!


avatar Thomas November 30, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Thanks, great article!

Very interesting form in that last video. I can see how you can train almost the entirety of the traps that way (especially.the middle and upper trap.), in addition to the rhomboids. I will give that a try.


avatar Joshua Trentine November 30, 2012 at 5:50 pm


You are welcome, I’m glad you enjoyed it.



avatar Greg Roseman November 30, 2012 at 6:38 pm


great article. How often do you recommend frequency of the rennex consolidation routine?




avatar Joshua Trentine November 30, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Hey Greg,

Repeating every 4th to 7th day…



avatar Joe A November 30, 2012 at 8:19 pm

The “shrug” as an exercise is interesting, in that the need for its inclusion seems circumstantial. If primarily training with free weights, I’ve rarely seen need for it…this function is challenged by such a range of exercises that simply require you to suspend loads through the shoulder girdle. Adding a specific “shrug” becomes redundant, if not counterproductive.

However, I have migrated to a much more machine-dominant program or unloaded free body movements and have noticed the upper region of the traps rarely feels stimulated or fatigued during any of my various routines…this article served as a great reminder for me. Thanks for that. It seems highly relevant to the RenEx (or RenEx-inspired) approach and that is a sweet machine you guys are working on!

Having never seen the Neck and Shoulder machine in action, or ever seeing a SS version of the shrug…I was surprised to see them being performed in the video exactly as I have come to, somewhat intuitively, address this exercise…albeit rarely.

Nice article, Josh!


avatar Joshua Trentine November 30, 2012 at 8:41 pm


Thank you…I have to agree with you. The shrug ,as it is usually performed, in conventional barbell training(short range elevation of the shoulders) may not offer any advantage over say just a regular deadlift.

Now the Neck & Shoulder exercise we are performing becomes a whole different kind of beast, almost like a quasi-compound movement.

I would liken our Neck & Shoulder Exercise to a deadlift EXPLODED(for the entire back) minus contribution from the low extremity, the hips or the weak link of the low back. It really is a totally different beast.


(I think this all would make Mike Mentzer proud)


avatar Joe A November 30, 2012 at 8:34 pm


The article broached the topic of OHP, so it seems as good a time as any for a question about it…no OHP machine on the market allows one to behave like the RenEx version…making its inclusion difficult for those who don’t have frequent access to your studio(s). Frankly, the Nitro version and others available to me are risky business and have fallen out of my routine rotations as of late. I’m considering a set-up that would allow for a TSC OHP…what are your thoughts on addressing this exercise isometrically? Also, where would the ideal static take place in the ROM, near lockout?



avatar Joshua Trentine November 30, 2012 at 8:48 pm


I want Al to address this question. He as tremendous insight as he has been performing TSC OHP more than anyone and almost exclusively for this movement pattern.

Al was a baseball pitcher all the way up into the minor league system of pro ball…needless to say this activity has all but destroyed Al’s shoulder. Which is a blessing when prototyping equipment because if we can keep his shoulder quite we should be able to do the same for most anyone else.

He has made some very interesting observations about this exercise from his own personal use, but also observations from a large number of people who have significant shoulder problems that he is currently training.



avatar John Tatore December 1, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Josh … is Al doing the TSC OP with feedback?


avatar Joshua Trentine December 1, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Oh yes for sure….I’ve have got good effects from “TSC blind” ie; Arm-Cross, Hip Add, HipABd….but there may me special benefit for having the feedback in some TSC exercises and this seems especially true in the compounds….maybe things just “run-off” too much otherwise


avatar Joshua Trentine November 30, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Joel Waldman….if ur out there I think this will make you laugh. I was doing research for this article and I came across this picture of a horse and the anatomy of the equine trapezius.

So I showed it to Ken and his immediate response was: “Looks like Joel Walman!”

for those of you who don’t know Joe is a H.I.T guy that goes way back and is known for his Super-Sized neck and trapezius.



avatar Al Coleman December 1, 2012 at 12:04 am


The OHP seems to be uniquely suited to TSC protocol. I’m at the point in my experience where I’m seeing many cases where the TSC version of this exercise trumps its dynamic counterpart. I trained a subject the other day whom I personally supervise sparsely, comment after I introduced him to this version of the exercise, “That is the most intense thing I’ve ever done here”. He’s been a client for years.

I wish I knew the reasons TSC OHP works so well, but I don’t. What I do know is that for some folks with shoulder issues, it’s the only pressing pattern they can do pain free. Switch them to the dynamic version and they encounter pain. In addition, folks seem to “get” the concept better with this version of the exercise than most other exercises. It is now one of the first things I introduce to new folks. The sensation in the targeted structures is unreal. It is totally different from any OHP movement you’ll ever perform.

I have found that the ideal position is (if looking at the elbow) about 100 degrees. Lower and not all of the involved structures are loaded, higher and too much force is possible.

Hope this helps,



avatar Joshua Trentine December 1, 2012 at 9:26 am

I don’t have the experience that Al has here yet….

I suppose at the moment I’m just very pleased with what I have been doing, but Al has taken me through the exercise, it must be felt to be believed and is a savior for many subjects

…again of course our interpretation of OHP is very different than other forms….posterior pelvic tilt….opposition of movement arm non-congruent to the humerus , but rather congruent to the sum of the body’s flexion synergy patter, etc.


avatar Joe A December 1, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Thanks, Al!

As far as the position for TSC OHP, how does minute 1:32 on your OHP look?


avatar Joshua Trentine December 2, 2012 at 12:49 am


I’ll point Al to this and see what he has to say about it.


avatar Craig December 2, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I’m sure that you (RenEx collectively) gave a lot of thought to the issue of shoulder impingement when the overhead press was designed. If someone didn’t have any particular shoulder problems, and still wanted to do a dynamic overhead pressing movement, what kind of precautions, positioning, and movement pattern should be used (assuming RenEx machines are not available)?


avatar Joshua Trentine December 2, 2012 at 12:34 pm


I’ll let Al field this one…..he’s our resident shoulder expert.



avatar ad ligtvoet December 1, 2012 at 5:55 am

Johua and the renx team,
Very good article. I see that you bent foreward during the OME shrugg but not during the neck/shoulder(brings the plates down to rest??).Could you describe what you excactly do during the OME shrugg? Is the start sort of retraction movement of the traps? I also see that(in my opinion) your neck flexes more foreward than keeping it in line with the thorical spine.Is this for a specific reason or do I misinterprate the situation?I do the shrugg also on the OME but with a straight bar(not ideal).Could you post a picture of the bar you use eventual with measurements?You describe that when the machine (neck/shoulder)allows for a high elevation the retraction movement will be involved too.When I do shruggs I keep the retraction during the movement.
I can tell that the stabelizing function of the muscles concerning the scapula are very important for proper body posture.I mean look around in our text sending/reading age.My have could avoid surgery of the shoulder by using the med-x neck/ shoulder and row .Done for keeping the shoulder blades more stable during dailt activity and also to pull the humerus a bit down because of stronger latissimus.Living proof ,but what do many others do when explained to them the value of proper exercise?They do a shrugg,to shrugg off that idea and went for a walk on the treadmill head down while looking for texting.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 1, 2012 at 9:27 am

Hi Ad,

Thanks for the question…..longer answer so I will try to get to it later tonight when I have more time.



avatar Brian F December 1, 2012 at 7:18 am


Another great article. Incisive RenEx investigation of a long standing unchanged movement re-engineered for maximum effectiveness.

The time you guy’s dedicate to your articles is much appreciated

I guess trying to do the movement with dumbells would be challenging due to handle / friction issues, have you used the TSC protocol?


avatar Joshua Trentine December 1, 2012 at 9:28 am


Thank you! It may actually sound kind of funny, but with the actual jotting down of ideas, filming, writing and proofing drafts, editing and formatting this article took well over 2 weeks to prepare. The reason I point this out is because most of the blogs are answers to questions that could not be done in short form. I want to encourage people to ask questions and we will always attempt to answer them as thoroughly as possible.In busy times it may be months before a detailed answer is complete.

BTW, I love this! I might steal it 🙂 “….a long standing unchanged movement re-engineered for maximum effectiveness.”

As far as the dumbbell shrug I also consider that a different exercise with a slightly different type of performance and when you change the exercise, not only do you change performance objectives, but you also change what other exercises are used in synergy with this exercise in your program….of course even different Volume and maybe even frequency consideration come into play.

We believe TSC could be very effective for this type of exercise, but we are still conducting experiments. I have MUCH more to say on this, but there is more I need to see before I do.



avatar John Tatore December 1, 2012 at 8:42 am

Josh … great article … I think I have to read it again to digest it all.

During the last workshop ken talked about doing a TSC Shoulder Shrug on the Leg press . Can you go into a little more detail on this?



avatar Joshua Trentine December 1, 2012 at 9:44 am



And for me I find this to be true about ANY article worth reading…heck I’ve always had to read Ken’s stuff 3 or more times.

I’ll have to expand more on TSC application for this movement in a different article, thank you for the question.



avatar bobby December 1, 2012 at 8:58 am

I’m also starting to like this site. I really appreciate the videos along with the explanations. Not all of us reading these sites are trainers or experienced,and sometimes I can’t even makes sense of the shortform abbreviations,and the extra info is very helpful. Too bad egos get in the way on some forums. All we really want is to be as strong and healthy as possible,even when we’re close to 50. Keep up the good work.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 1, 2012 at 10:59 am


I’m very pleased to hear this. The videos come at the request of our viewers….we do listen to people :-). That being said, with the type of training we do it can be very difficult to fully appreciate on video. Ken happens to be generally opposed to use of these video demos for a variety of good reason.

We will try to include more video whenever applicable. Thank You for that feedback.

As far as the egos on the other forums, I don’t get it either….we’re talking about exercise here….that’s it….apparently a highly dysfunctional crowd is attracted to the H.I.T community. This is all the more reason to separate ourselves from this association.

I’ll add to your comment and you are right, the only real purpose of all of this is to be the best we can right up until they put us in that box. And that is ALL we care about. The other nonsense will not be tolerated here



avatar Joshua Trentine December 1, 2012 at 11:44 am

On a similar and related note I’ve read a few times on one of the H.I.T forums that some people may not want to post here because I might censor their comments. Someone was also asking if this is true that I would do that.

The answer is….HELL YA I WILL…..but if you read here you will see many occasions where someone disagrees with us or is contrary to us. Of course we let those posts run. WE INVITE THAT! What do you think much of our content is based on? We want criticism! it makes us stronger, it makes us REALLY think about our position and defend it proper.

Now, I will delete posts that have ad hominem attacks, generally rude comments or disrespectful behavior, subjects way off topic, and ALL “hateriation”.

Two more things I want to say about this:

1) The forum where these questions are being posted have banned ALL POSTS made by me or any RenEx staff. I’m also hearing from some of our viewers that this same forum is censoring supportive discussion of RenEx or anything about this current blog, but allows the disparaging remarks to continue. I suppose they believe they are suppressing RenEx info….well they are not, and in fact they are only weakening their venue especially when they have never policed their site, allowing the most vile things to run then turning around to censor RenEx.

2) Every forum has the right and should censor comments! The reality is that a forum should have an agenda and it shouldn’t be sidetracked. I’ve seen a huge dip in quality of posts and input from some of the best minds that ever came out of the H.I.T community all because the trolls are aloud to run free or even rewarded when they continuously insult a subject to the point where moderation takes a good subject right off the board just because 4 trolls didn’t like it.

A big part of why the RenEx forum even exists is because I lost interest in my favorite forums to follow, I first lost interest when most of the really sharp posters started to leave, I lost more interest when the trolls began running wild
and of course I cannot be interested in any forum that would ban thoughtful essays yet continue to run pure hate.

If you allow this on your forum very few of any intelligence will continue to follow and you those credibility.

So will I censor comments here? Heck ya I will ! this will always be a moderated site…..but keep it on the up and up and engage in a honest, and focused, intellectual debate on the subject matter presented or the current blog and all of it will run and all of it will be welcomed and answered to the best of our ability.

Guys time to rise above!



avatar Ben Tucker December 4, 2012 at 10:24 am

This is spot on.
It’s so toxic out there with certain sites, you’d think that the creator(s) would do a little damage control.

It’s as if the forums are put on autopilot and you’re watching it melt down while all credibility goes out the window.
It’s cringe worthy.


avatar Trace Johnston December 1, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Josh, Ken, Al,

I appreciate your assistance in my continuing education. Even after several years I still feel stupid when it comes movement analysis and mechanics. I look forward to Renaissance vol.2.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 1, 2012 at 5:38 pm


Thank you for the kind words…I too cannot wait for VOL.2 🙂

We only make it look easy because we have such vast reference resource. What’s the saying?

“If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants.”-Issac Newton-


avatar Joe A December 1, 2012 at 6:38 pm


In your response to my previous question, you mentioned that the RenEx Neck and Shoulder exercise is a whole different kind of beast than a conventional short range elevation of the shoulders. I came across a video that gives a good visual of the difference:

I’m curious if what we are seeing is simply a difference in behavior, or are the machines that much different?


avatar Joshua Trentine December 1, 2012 at 7:29 pm


Everything is wrong with this demonstration! This is the “why” for the people who say Ken’s stuff doesn’t work.

This is the same machine and likely has a very similar or the same cam, although the machines are only as good as the user/instructor.

The interesting thing about aggressively accommodating cam profiles is that they can provide for far superior stimuli if used properly, if 10/10 is actually used, if the user understands what the machine is for, if he applies Squeeze Technique, if he is in tune with the real objective, if he can differentiate between this type of equipment and that used in a more conventional setting.

Let’s say the subject or instructor isn’t in tune with the real objective or let’s say he does not have the discipline to adhere to proper use of the machine (ie:the youtube link above) then the machine will provide little stimuli, even less than conventional equipment or barbells.

If the subject has the assumed objective in mind (take the heaviest weight you can and make it move) then the aggressive cams are next to useless…..any other training will do better.

You’ll see behavior where the subject will wiggle, squirm, ValSalva, and speed-up in order to “jump the bump” to get over maximum moment arm then only to fall-through at the upper turnaround with no attempt to squeeze or control at the best part of the exercise….the part that was only allowed to you him with this camming.

I think I’ll do a detailed critique on this later, but as for now I believe this behavior is the reason many people never got much from SuperSlow and is for sure the reason people say “Ken’s cams ‘fall-off’ too much”……YOU HAVE TO USE THE MACHINE RIGHT!…..This is a shining examples of how NOT to use this equipment.

The funny thing is that at the end of the video a caption comes up that says “weight was too light”….I can only assume this is because the user looked at a clock and his set exceeded 45 seconds therefore he must pile on “MORE WEIGHT” THIS SUBJECT DOES NOT EVEN COME CLOSE TO PERFORMING EVEN ONE QUALIFIABLE REP!

If this person were under my supervision I would cut his weight by half and look for some qualitative advancement before adding one pound. This subject would get WAAAAY more out of this if he used less weight and something resembling Ken’s protocol.

This video is the everything that people knock SuperSlow for and why they fall away from it after sometime when having custom equipment doesn’t produce some extra-ordinary effect.

If you are going to grunt, ValSalva ,squirm and fall-though like this, don’t buy custom equipment ….stick to multi-set barbell training…. the accumulative effect may actually result in enough tension and enough time to actually provide some sufficient stimuli.

The protocols we discuss here require extreme discipline, comprehension, the right environment, specially equip machines, and an instructor with a keen eye and sharp cues….if you don’t have these things and the exercise deteriorates to what you see above than you may be wasting your time.

Also if you behave like this you’re gonna get a nasty EIH…….



avatar Joshua Trentine December 1, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Comparing my Neck & Shoulder to this one above is actually a GREAT teaching tool for new instructors.


avatar Ben Tucker December 4, 2012 at 10:40 am


I actually trained my dad (70), yesterday, with as much as I could glean from your video. I had to watch it twice to comprehend just how much of the Traps you were recruiting.

A few more sessions and he might have it down. He said he felt it in his lower back. I thought that was good to hear, being that it is kind of a “quasi-compound movement.” Btw, this was performed on a pulley system of a so-so piece of equipment.

Your thoughts?


avatar Patrick December 1, 2012 at 10:07 pm

It’s machine powerlifting with the worst possible gear for that style of training, as mentioned by JT. All that quality gear going to waste.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 1, 2012 at 10:46 pm


That’s just it….if you just want to “lift” then grab a barbell and hammer away at it or maybe a machine with a backwards resistance curve to accommodate for the momentum.

You are really robbing yourself this way when you’re on a machine that will make the right behavior really right and the wrong behavior really wrong



avatar Nathan Block December 1, 2012 at 10:16 pm

This is a beauty Josh,a real beauty…couldn’t say it better.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 1, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Thanks for making note Nathan 🙂

Your support is GREATLY appreciated.



avatar Fred Hahn December 4, 2012 at 8:14 am

Never have gotten an EIH. Only have gotten stronger and larger.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 4, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Fatter and more skilled


avatar John Parr December 2, 2012 at 12:30 am

OMG! Just read the trapped article and the comments and watched the video demos.

So many great points and good material put out here that it’s difficult to summarize or add to it! I’m inspired to train my neck and traps again. Given my history of injury and surgery to this area, I had all but given up on the possibility of building up this historically weak area of my physique.

I can sure sympathize with Ed on this. At 45 heavy deadlifts and barbell or machine shrugs don’t appeal to me anymore.

Thanks Al, for pointing out how important elevation is for developing this area.

Ken, thank you for once again educating me on the purpose of the trapezius and your unique perspective and for developing a Neck and Shoulder with a proper cam effect to make effective exercise possible. Ken, Joel Waldman has the most impressive neck/trap development, I’m sure he doesn’t wear a shirt and tie very often.

Joe A raises a good point, I too, considered specific trap training redundant. I’ve changed my mind because of this new information (compound effect).

Josh, as a former long-time student of Mentzer’s, I totally agree with you. The problem I had with the consolidation routines is that they were too much of a quasi-isolation program that left too much out with free weight and other machine based exercises. With RenEx Equipment, protocol (TSC,posterior pelvic tilt…body’s flexion synergy pattern,etc.), the abbreviated Mentzer inspired RenEx workouts get at all of the body’s musculature without compression of the spine.

I can honestly say that Mike Mentzer would be very excited about this. He lived with many injuries due to the heavy poundages he used on some of those exercises. It’s nice to see more of his followers like Ad Ligtvoet and more and more people drawn to this forum instead of those other ones. They are experiencing all of the things that separates you guys from most of the rest of the HIT community.

What the hell is Fred doing? He should learn how to behave.

I’ve been using TSC blind on many exercises just last week a prominent potential client was blown away by its application on Overhead Press, thanks Al.

One last point, I am glad to hear that you are letting go of all of the other crap that goes on with those other HIT forums. Rise above it and leave those trolls and hypocrites discuss things among themselves.

Thank you guys,Keep up the great work! Great job again.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 2, 2012 at 12:45 am


I really appreciate you providing such a thorough commentary.

Myself and the team thank you for the kind words and your continued support.

I can tell you really took your time reading through this carefully. I bet your clients at Mainline Health & Fitness really value your great attention to detail.



avatar Joshua Trentine December 2, 2012 at 1:02 am

Just fyi …for those of you looking at my Neck & Shoulder demonstration the first movement of me in the machine and the associated weight stack travel is NOT a rep nor is it intended to be.

It is me simply me going from the slouched position needed to get my arms into the couple, then sitting up straight to load the machine. Our ‘simple’ movements are to be loaded in the Mid-R.O.M and the set commences with a conservative stretch and then controlled initiation of the positive.

The “anatomy of a rep” deserves a entire blog all of its own, but for now just realize that the demonstration was 340# x 4…..not 5 reps……. Two different people asked me about this.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 2, 2012 at 1:12 am

Another FYI , my rep guide for this exercise is 4 to 6, I obviously do not need more resistance at this time as I remain on the low end of the guide still. (note the difference in my set compared to the other youtube video posted. In my case I have a clear definition for when and where to increase load[of which I clearly don’t qualify for yet]. In the other video there is no qualification for such a decision, I suppose the only reason for doing so is to satisfy the ego)

Once I can do at least 5 and most likely 6 perfect reps of this exact same standard then I will remove a few more 10# plates and replace them with 25 pound plates so I have a few extra gradations above the current stack.

There must always be a qualitative standard with each rep and load is NEVER increased if there is a compromise of this standard or if we aren’t far enough into the rep guide to consider a increased load.

Additionally I usually want to replicate a performance at the high end of the rep guide more than once before I make a load increase.

If we do not play careful attention to these standards we’ll end up with slop as loads are increased and ultimately the exercise will deteriorate into a lifting event rather than an inroading experience.

The “tell” is when you advance your subject’s load significantly and you note LESS Oxygen debt, the subject appears somewhat unaffected from the exercise…..their own bio-feedback is revealing as they notice less burn, fatigue and “pump” at the higher loads….

The objective way to ensure that there is a predictable and reproducible effect from the exercise is to ensure rep standard between 8 & 12 seconds, maintain uniformity throughout the R.O.M….AVOID lunge, heave,wiggle, speed up- or ValSalva.



avatar Craig December 3, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Thanks for the clarification about the initial movement. However, even with that, I’m having a hard time understanding what kind of movement you are doing from that video, perhaps because the head isn’t visible, and even the neck can be barely seen at times. I wonder of you have any other video shot from different perspectives?


avatar Chris December 2, 2012 at 6:23 am

Josh/Ren x Team,

Awesome site, awesome articles.

Learning a lot, and i’m sure i don’t only speak for myself when i say its appreciated.

However i live in the UK, no access to quality machines or instruction that i know of, exercise in my garage {barbells/dbs, – basic power rack and a couple of plate loaded machines}.
So i would like to see the best interpretation of these machine moves with free weights {dynamic- ss, or TSC or basic static hold}.

Is that possible.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 2, 2012 at 12:33 pm



Yes we do have to do more of that and we will….the next few months of blogs are all related to our technology and our protocol.

So yes of course adaptations are possible it’s just hard to focus on when striving toward ideal conditions….more to come…..



avatar Fred Hahn December 2, 2012 at 8:06 am

Josh you said:

“If this person were under my supervision I would cut his weight by half and look for some qualitative advancement before adding one pound. This subject would get WAAAAY more out of this if he used less weight and something resembling Ken’s protocol.”

Actually when I was using Ken’s inroad protocol for this exercise (as well as for all the others many moons ago), I got virtually nothing in the way of added muscle.

Muscles don’t grow because form is Super Slow perfect. In fact, they don’t grow much this way at all. As soon as I realized that a slow rep speed should be dictated by the load and not the user and began to add weight so that my sets lasted between 30 and 70 seconds tops, I began to add muscle.

If you were to cut my weights in half in order to get me to perform what you consider “perfect” reps, I’d lose strength and size in my traps.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 2, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Hey Fred,

It’s not about how much weight you can lift….heck it’s not even about “perfect reps”.

It’s about getting down to your physiology….it’s about tension and electrochemical signal…the muscle has to be loaded long enough, with enough tension in order for the cascade of biological events that can result in hypertrophy… IF nutrition, rest, hormones …all allow for. (I cover all of this in my “Bodybuilding” talk from the Future of exercise conf, I think you would benefit from it.)

The whole purpose of using precisely cammed equipment is to match Resistance Curve and Force Curve as closely as possible…..the result of getting this right…..keeping the muscles effectively loaded, chasing inroad (efficiently fatiguing your musculature) and cam will always RESULT in perfect reps!

You see the goal is not to make “perfect reps” …..these reps are the result of the marriage between your effort, intent and the technology.

The confusion that most of you guys have is that you like to blend paradigms….you say “Well such and such bodybuilder built huge muscle while never completing anything resembling RenEx.”

To this I say: ABSOLUTELY TRUE !! These guys behave the way they do to overcome sticking points in the R.O.M and with the accumulative effect they get from all of their sets they might just approach the T.U.L that RenEx gets …..YOU CANNOT GET IN A MACHINE AND USE BODY LANGUAGE AND MOMENTUM TO “MAKE IT GO” WHEN IT’S ALREADY BEEN CAMMED FOR REMOVAL OF MECHANICAL SPEED BUMPS!!!!!

Fred it’s simple, you are using the machine REALLY wrong….you are just powerlifting on machines….if you can’t see this you are not worth talking to….you should take all of those videos down they are an embarrassment to all of us who use special technology to serve a wider spectrum of the population while providing a consistent,efficient, and sustainable workout.

Now IF you think your “traps are going to shrink” LOL …..this is only because if you supervise yourself then you will use the exact same behaviors with the lighter load…..the problem is not load….strength takes care of it’s self….it behavior. You are not qualified to evaluate your own workout and It does not appear that you are getting any of the benefits of specially cammed machines.

The problem is there is no progression in what you are doing when you just try to ‘beat the machine’…



avatar Joshua Trentine December 2, 2012 at 12:30 pm

This is all about feel guys….and when you are actually getting to the muscle you know it….to a great extent equipment dictates protocol, volume and frequency…… you will really cheat yourself if you try to blend the “body language” of conventional exercise with our technology.


avatar Fred Hahn December 4, 2012 at 8:16 am

Wrong according to YOU. And who are you exactly? I am progressing and am getting stronger here and there. After 20 years of training you don’t get much stronger anymore.

Load matters at a certain point. Not counting a rep as legit because I flared my nostrils and moved my knee is just plain ridiculous.


avatar Al Coleman December 2, 2012 at 3:20 pm


That’s just it. I think there is a misunderstanding as to what we are defining as “load”. Your statement seems to imply that for you load is purely a noun. In other words the parameters by which your behavior is dictated is ruled by an inanimate object. This is clear from all the videos I have seen of your training.

I would see load as more of a process or a verb. “Loading” is more appropriate. The load is then determined by all of the variables of the process. Quantifying these things is possible. In your case you are absolutely correct! Lowering the load on the machine would NOT help YOU. Your behavior in the machine lowers the load as we would define it.
This isn’t about “perfect form” (whatever that means). It IS about optimizing your BEHAVIOR so that the intended musculature receives optimal loading. Behavior is primarily volitional and cognitive. Feedback can help improve behavior.

I suppose a better way to approach all of this would be to pose the question as such: Does squirming, fidgeting, and readjusting yourself in the middle of an exercise add anything to your set? What do you think a concerted effort to subtract those behaviors would do to the load on the machine that you use? Don’t think in terms of lowering the weight to improve form. Work it the other way around. Subtract those behaviors and change your intent with the same weight load and then SHOW me what happens.



avatar Joshua Trentine December 2, 2012 at 3:34 pm


Good time to let it go.


avatar Nathan Block December 2, 2012 at 3:52 pm

People who are readjusting themselves in the middle of an exercise are trying to either impress themselves or are trying to convince themselves that they are working VERY hard.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 2, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Will be curious to see any other explanation….


avatar Joshua Trentine December 3, 2012 at 11:59 am


He took the videos down, I suppose that says it all.


avatar Fred Hahn December 3, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Al –

You are forgetting that legions of people have used form that you all would consider horrific and they have built impressive physiques. It works Al so long as you work hard.

And yes, it”s important to start carefully and slowly. But you guys take it to unnecessary levels. But hey – do what you like. But to suggest that I am doing something horribly wrong is nonsense. And yes, sometimes a squirm or a fidget does indeed help especially on machines that have a crappy design like the shrug I have that crushes my elbows and causes my ribs great discomfort. By adjusting, I can alleviate this discomfort from time to time and keep working hard.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 3, 2012 at 6:05 pm


I covered this already in my first post to you, but I’ll give you a drop more.

Good form,proper form, acceptable form are all relative to the method being used….to a great extent equipment dictates behavior. Your behavior sucks for your chosen equipment…point blank…

Unacceptable “form” with radically cammed equipment maybe be passable else where, the thing you fail to understand is the concept of maintaining tension on the musculature.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 4, 2012 at 12:38 am

This is super funny:

“sometimes a squirm or a fidget does indeed help especially on machines that have a crappy design”


avatar Ben Tucker December 4, 2012 at 1:10 am

“And yes, it”s important to start carefully and slowly. But you guys take it to unnecessary levels.”

Kinda’ reminds me of Drew Baye’s conversation with Arthur:

‘I spoke with Arthur about this and the contradiction with his criticism of SuperSlow on a few occasions and his response was always something to the effect of, ‘ “Yes, you should move slowly during exercise but Hutchins has taken it too f**king far.” ‘

Oh and,
Ahem… spot me 30k for a years worth of gear, and unlike the “legions”, I’ll look like a cartoon, too… in 300% less time. Heck, Alex Ross will be using me for a point of reference in his next graphic novel.

But hey, I haven’t published any books as of yet so I don’t have license to be a pompous ass. What do I know?

ps- Have to agree with the guys; Once I’ve entered that zone and it’s “go time”, I’m pushing as hard and as fast as I possible can.
Did I mention, since going slow, I don’t feel it in my joints anymore?


avatar Joshua Trentine December 3, 2012 at 11:57 am


I congratulate you for taking these videos down….this is a big step forward.

Some of the others were even worse than this one.



avatar Fred Hahn December 3, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Try a little harder Josh not to be so, shall we say, dull.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 3, 2012 at 12:19 pm

lol…put them back up and I’ll be real interesting…

I almost thought you were going to come here and defend them, good move on your part to kill them off.


avatar Ben Tucker December 4, 2012 at 12:23 am

Hey Fred,

When I first started out, I used “The New HIT” protocol by Darden, Ph.D. and by necessity I had to cut most of my HVT working weight in half and that was on a 2-4 sec cadence.

So in retrospect, I was dicking around doing a set of HVT legpress close to 500lbs, knees wrapped, Val salva, sputtering, spitting, momentum, etc.
Now it’s 10 up, 10 down (no knee wraps, btw) at 480 lbs.

Sooooo uhhh… What did I miss?


avatar Joshua Trentine December 4, 2012 at 12:31 am

I noticed the exact same thing Ben… took sometime, but eventually my loads exceeded what I could do with a looser application…..finding that low gear builds real strength….also allows me to get away with very little exercise.


avatar Ben Tucker December 4, 2012 at 1:30 am

Yes sir… It took me some time, too.
I would get some major gains on lifts one week and the following week be down in reps or TUL’s. It would be demoralizing.

I recall Gus saying in another post that it reverts back to a numbers game, if you let it. And I let.
I’m so past that now. I’m always trying to eliminate the hiding spots in the movement, allowing no respite and just focus on working hard. Always refining, trying to lift harder and smarter.
Honestly, what’s left after trying to squeeze for that extra 5-10 seconds?

It took humility for me to come to this realization.

Low gear.


avatar John Tatore December 2, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Hi Fred

I could be wrong here but what I think Josh means by cutting the weight is to get a client to start with a weight that they are maybe moving deliberately slow on the first 2 or 3 reps but then starting with the 4th rep they have to move faster by contracting harder to even keep up with the 1o second count … by using that stronger contraction they will not slow down to much and have friction show it’s ugly face causing start and stops to move the weight. Over time by learning the proper way to do it they can hopefully get to a point that on the 1st or maybe 2nd rep they have to start contracting as hard as they can … almost like like moving faster .. actually they would be moving faster because if they don’t contract harder the weight will go to slow. At this point the weight becomes very heavy. I feel this is the big difference between the old SuperSlow way we all did it back than to what RenX teaches now. It’s very hard to keep acceleration out of the movement … constant continuous force … at the 10 second rep speed … with a heavier weight is more important ans something that isn’t easy to teach people. Again just my opinion.



avatar Joshua Trentine December 2, 2012 at 12:44 pm


YES…Well mostly…you say:

“starting with the 4th rep they have to move faster” -John-

This should be “with each succeeding rep you have to exert harder” -Josh-


avatar John Tatore December 2, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I wrote my reply before reading Josh’s reply …. again it’s probably not the only way for some to build muscle but it is the safest way in my opinion for most.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 2, 2012 at 12:52 pm

yes we were writing at the same time 🙂

thank you for the input!


avatar Craig December 3, 2012 at 4:12 pm

I am curious about the “disillusioned” SS Masters of old, the ones who now disavow the protocol saying it didn’t work for them (like Fred). Is it the case that they just didn’t get it right, despite being certified. Or has something about the method been tweaked such that the RenEx update of SS is now more reliable, more readily taught, or simply more effective for more people.

I understand this is a hot button issue for many of those involved, but as a relative newcomer to this kind of training, this heated infighting has me puzzled.


avatar Fred Hahn December 3, 2012 at 5:46 pm

I see some of the SS/Renx guys who’s don’t look a darn bit different after all the supposed perfect training methods. Where’s the beef gentlemen?


avatar Joshua Trentine December 3, 2012 at 5:58 pm

I see a lot of guys that don’t train in much better shape than you….If I were you i would shed some…you might appear passable them….you are without question a product of what i see in those videos….sloppy…

I’m happy to put my employees physiques up against yours(or anyone else’s) any day of the week.

Keep inventing weird little challenges……


avatar Fred Hahn December 4, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Once again more rude and childish statements from Josh. And you STILL have not answered any of my questions RE: Pushups. I think I know why…

avatar Joshua Trentine December 2, 2012 at 12:42 pm

I want to repeat this point:

“You see the goal is not to make “perfect reps” …..these reps are the result of the marriage between your effort, intent and the technology. “


avatar Brian F December 2, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Josh and Al

I can’t think of any reason why Fred Hahn wouldn’t accept the criticism professionally. It is fair and above all honest. Hell, I thought after 20 years training I was clued in, however due to what I’ve learned from your articles and detailed posts I simply had to change almost everything I was doing and build a whole new neural network!


avatar Joshua Trentine December 2, 2012 at 9:12 pm

It’s a lot of work and takes a big person to start over…

This is a craft


avatar Ben Tucker December 4, 2012 at 1:54 am

Well said. It is a craft.
Nothing Willy-Nilly about it.

After using primarily free weights and sub par machines for years, I always find my self asking, “How can these machines/ free weights get out of the way of the user?”


avatar Joshua Trentine December 2, 2012 at 11:23 pm

My question to the viewers: Has the entire H.I.T community completely melted down??????

Can anyone explain this post to me? It was written by Bill DeSimmone on facebook and it is in regard to the article “Trapped”……can anyone clue me in on what his panties are in a bunch about?

Congruent Exercise
6 hours ago
“It’s been brought to my attention that my name popped up on the Renaissance Exercise website, in their usual, snarky manner. This aside, I have major problems with most of their approach, but I’ve chosen not to spend much time reviewing or criticizing them in print or online. Apparently they claim that I know “only basic biomechanics” and that they somehow have far more sophisticated knowledge. May be, but I know enough that when some new approach comes along that contradicts “basic biomechanics”, it’s probably not the basics that are wrong. “I used to be disgusted, now I’m just amused”.” -Bill DeSimmone-

People are steady loosin their minds every time we put something out. SMH

Is this stuff that scary? what gives? this is a non-polarizing fun little article with a nice anatomy review….

How people continue to see these things as a personal attack is way beyond me…


avatar Ben Tucker December 4, 2012 at 2:07 am

“Is this stuff that scary? what gives?”

You guys keep sticking your necks out and people will keep swinging the axe.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 2, 2012 at 11:33 pm

and I’m dying to see what we do that “contradicts conventional biomechanics”

but we’ll never ever see it……


avatar Jonas December 3, 2012 at 4:13 am

I belive Al:s comment: when you doing it right, it will transform to a perfect rep, is one of the most important thing to understand. It probably should have been in ROE, close to the “real vs the assumed”. (Or maybe it is, dont remember it though).

This took me more time to understand then I want to admit but changed everything how I nowdays train.

Cant be said and repeated to many times IMHO.

Its a real pleasure to read your work and more or less the only intresting stuff to read at all about training.



avatar Joshua Trentine December 3, 2012 at 11:54 am


I agree! The Real vs Assumed requires constant review….i even make this evaluation mid-rep or mid-set.

Thank You for the support and feedback.


avatar Fred Hahn December 3, 2012 at 12:12 pm

I made the videos private – I actually never meant them to be public in fact. I had no idea that they were all public. But if someone is interested in seeing them email me and I’d be happy to show them.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 3, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I see a number of them have come down…BRAVO!


avatar Fred Hahn December 3, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Josh – try a little harder to behave like an adult.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 3, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Adults take responsibility …children turn tail and run.

The mature thing would be to discuss the subject. We’re open and up for debate here….I’m even happy to critique ANY of your videos and you are more than welcome to do the same of mine or anyone’s I post.

All of this can only help people grasp a better understanding.


avatar Fred Hahn December 3, 2012 at 12:55 pm

I was discussing the subject. And then you starting acting like a child saying things like:

“I see a number of them have come down…BRAVO!”

“I congratulate you for taking these videos down….this is a big step forward. Some of the others were even worse than this one.”

So grow up. Rather than making fun of people’s work like a spoiled 4 year old, follow your own advice and discuss the issue.

avatar Joshua Trentine December 3, 2012 at 12:43 pm

All of the videos were public because Fred has referred to them on his blog and even as recent as 11/7 he wrote a knee extension blog and linked his video…if you go to that blog now he has made it private. So, the video he’s telling people watch is no longer available for his viewers to see.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 3, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Damage control…..this one is back up:

This is even worse than the Neck&Shoulder video that is down:

Slow Burn fred Hahn leg ext june 08

This may be much better to dissect and explain the “why” many people dropped out of SupersSlow…and it’s not just SuperSlow –every gym has the guy who we see week in and week out performing exercises poorly and never makes a drop of progress…..exercise takes discipline….floppin around and just movin’ weights is a failure in any method.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 3, 2012 at 2:57 pm

The fact of the matter is it’s even easier to cheat when you have radical cams (see above)…there is no point in having high end equipment and behaving like this.

Well there is NEVER any point in behaving like this, but if you do at least save your $….Regular old conventional barbell training is much better than this example….the old 3 sets of 1o and body part splits would be far and away better.


avatar Fred Hahn December 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm

The interesting thing here as I see it is this – none of you here at RenX have any research to indicate that your alleged perfect form for the shrug exercise (or any other exercise for that matter) produces better outcomes. None. So it’s all just talk.

If you lift and lower a weight load with great effort, there is no cheating.

I see no one took me up on my push ups challenge.

avatar Joshua Trentine December 3, 2012 at 3:01 pm

We could discuss the posted blog…the exercises…..we could compare and contrast your behaviors and mine?

What ya got?


avatar Fred Hahn December 3, 2012 at 3:09 pm

When a weight load is truly heavy, you cannot generate enough momentum to unload the muscles. That is a SS myth. Muscles lift and lower weights, not momentum. Whatever momentum is generated is done so by the force of the muscles. The only way to generate enough momentum (when strength training to build muscle mass) to unload the muscles is if you use a very light weight.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 3, 2012 at 3:18 pm


You know what I’m going to let the viewers disassemble you here….


avatar Joshua Trentine December 3, 2012 at 3:19 pm

and who trains with “Light Weight” anyway?


avatar Fred Hahn December 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm

“Disassemble?” Please. Begin.

Most SS people train with light weight loads in order to achieve, as you all call it, a deep level of “inroad.” A completely false and useless concept.

avatar Ben Tucker December 4, 2012 at 2:28 am

If there’s no BS, no posturing or momentum on my part, I feel I lift fairly decent and feel honest with myself.

Now factor in the aforementioned and I can lift even heavier… aaaand beat my chest, high fives for my bros, “dude” this and “dude” that…
Wait a sec… Am I lifting under my own strength? Who cares, I look good doin’ it!
Slap a couple dimes on, dude.

avatar Al Coleman December 3, 2012 at 3:48 pm


No, you can’t generate enough momentum to have the load move at a certain rate, but you most certainly can unload the muscles and disperse the stress elsewhere. Yes, whatever force is generated is done by the force of the muscles, but which one’s? Again, for some bizarre reason you seem to keep referring to light weight loads. That is a relative concept.

How could you possibly say otherwise? What type of feedback devices are you using to make such a statement? Even the most rudimentary load cell would show you how wrong that statement is. Force isn’t the end all be all and in dynamic exercise it isn’t the only game in town. Given that however, the force generated to move a load can come from different areas. That IS the sport of Powerlifitng. That is the whole point to that sport. Get the weight from A to B with efficient body mechanics and disperse the load globally so that fatigue is minimized. In addition, the objective is to total greater weights WITHOUT gaining body weight. If you do you’ll have to produce higher totals to accommodate.

I’m not sure what push up challenge you were talking about, but what about the questions I posed to you? Again, take the weight loads you currently use, get rid of all of your histrionics, and then report back what the result is. You should be taking any weight load you use and attempting to put an end to yourself as quickly as possible with it. The only way you have the time to squirm around is if you are trying to avoid fatigue. The load SHOULD be heavy BUT if it is past a certain magnitude relative to a subjects current strength for that area, it will go from A to B via a full body wresting match. Unfortunately your videos are proof positive of this.

Research is important, no question. However I know of only one person who can probably lay claim to real research. I don’t however need research to tell me that squirming around during an exercise detracts from the quality of muscular loading. That’s physics.



avatar Ed M. December 3, 2012 at 4:40 pm

“Most SS people train with light weight loads in order to achieve, as you all call it, a deep level of “inroad.” A completely false and useless concept.”


I am trying to understand your perspective, and your quote. Both my wife and I are well into our 60’s and of course we train with very different weight loads. But both of us train with the heaviest weight we can move for 90 seconds without bracing or cheating. Our concept of inroad is the difference between what we are able to move at the begining vs. what we are able to move at the end.

How does this fit with your understanding?

Bear in mind, we are civilians in this battle.


avatar Fred Hahn December 3, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Ed – Sounds like you and your wife are doing the right thing. You don’t have to stick to 90 seconds however before you raise the weight. Don’t worry about “inroading” as the SS concept of it is false. Just focus on working hard and not suddenly loading and/or unloading.

I have been training clients successfully for two decades and no one has ever gotten hurt. As for Josh’s idea that bad form causes headaches, I have seem people get very bad exercise induced headaches using perfect SS form with light weights.

avatar Scott Springston December 4, 2012 at 9:04 am

I’d like to see them Fred.


avatar Jonas December 3, 2012 at 12:14 pm

“i even make this evaluation mid-rep or mid-set.”

Thats is very cool and helpful information.

Will put this into my “intellectual approach manifested into physical activity”- training style. Still, this is SO VERY close to the works of, for an example, Vince Gironda if you carefully read what he said and promoted, in many, many ways.

Not sure everybody/anybody would agree, but to me it really is.



avatar Joshua Trentine December 3, 2012 at 12:16 pm

I really enjoy Gironda’s work…I mentioned him a bit in my “bodybuilding” lecture at the F.O.E event.


avatar Joe A December 3, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Fred Hahn said:

“If you lift and lower a weight load with great effort, there is no cheating. ”

Do you allow your clients to behave under load, the way you’ve demonstrated in your videos? Are you saying, that so long as you give them a heavy enough weight, further instruction is not needed? You just load them up and count reps??

I doubt it…


avatar Joe A December 3, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Fred Hahn siad:

“When a weight load is truly heavy, you cannot generate enough momentum to unload the muscles. That is a SS myth. Muscles lift and lower weights, not momentum.”

Who’s talking about momentum? Wasn’t just momentum unloading the exercise, your squirming was; your wiggling was; your val salva sync was, etc. Fred, are you saying that all of these things: the squirming, adjusting, breath holding, face making actually improves the loading of the intended structures?


avatar Joe A December 3, 2012 at 3:56 pm


You seem to think an external loads DICTATES your volitional effort, the way you engage it. No amount of load can supercede your responsibility to direct your effort as efficiently as possible toward the intended objective for the intended structures. The whole process is, and always will be, driven by a purposeful, intellectual intent. It is a cop out to relinquish blame/credit to any load, “heavy” or “light”, as they are not the key variable- the end user is.


avatar Thomas December 3, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Such an interesting thread!

I tried to mimic the shrug as performed in video 2 and, without a doubt, it was a huge improvement in the “heave ho” stuff I was performing (what I thought was a controlled movement) before. I’m still quite sure any of you guys at RenEx could still pick it apart, but wow! what a great feel!

I know I’ve happened upon something great when doing it the old way is no longer an option/seems like taking a total step down. I’m getting that consistently now with you guys, so please keep up the great work.


Any estimate on when the bodybuilding lecture will be available on DVD?


avatar Patrick December 3, 2012 at 4:59 pm

That was a terrible set of leg extensions compared to the Al Coleman vid on this site. I would say without the belt, Fred was well on his way to this.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 4, 2012 at 12:40 am

I haven’t see worse, the fast pumping thing people do in regular gyms would be way better.


avatar Ben Tucker December 4, 2012 at 2:52 am

I had that very video in mind when I commented about high fives to go around! Jeez. I don’t think Master Chief could tea-bag that extension machine any better.

But seriously, respect the Golden Eagle. He got those legs by… only… lifting hard and heavy.


avatar Donnie Hunt December 3, 2012 at 8:48 pm

This a great article and has also turned into a great comments discussion! My idea of “proper form” has certainly evolved from material like this.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 3, 2012 at 8:52 pm


Thank you for the kind words!

This discussion is getting tedious, but we’ll keep tryin to real it back in….if you read between the sidetracked comments there is some good info in there.


avatar Donnie Hunt December 3, 2012 at 9:33 pm

You are welcome, Joshua. I’ve went back and read some of the older comments on this site. Some of that stuff makes sense to me now that didn’t upon first reading. Some of it I hadn’t read until recently. LOTS of good stuff!

When you are able to focus and control every inch of movement it really, really changes things.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 3, 2012 at 9:39 pm

you just hit on one of the keys for a successful bodybuilder…


avatar John Parr December 3, 2012 at 10:30 pm

You say that none of your clients have never been injured while behaving in the manner you suggest. Well, maybe not acutely, but over a long period of time they would be injured chronically. Perhaps they don’t equate it with this behavior, or they don’t stick around long enough. IDK but I can tell you from personal experience that anyone who follows your advice is ignorant. Furthermore ,if the load were the key element, then weight lifters would dwarf bodybuilders.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 3, 2012 at 11:13 pm


There is no question in my mind that faulty movement pattern (ie; shrugging the shoulders through a Pull Down) can cause a person to develop chronic neck and shoulder pain and will also increase the incidence of EIH.

BTW I really like this…simple and to the point:

“if the load were the key element, then weight lifters would dwarf bodybuilders.”


avatar ad ligtvoet December 4, 2012 at 5:08 am

Hi Josh,
Could you describe the way you execute the OME shrugg with my questions of december 1 in mind(ofcourse if time permits). I can so wrap my mind around it and try it next time I do the shrugg exercise.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 4, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Yes, I’ve been meaning to get to this….sorry…..

I got sidetracked and now I’m a bit too busy to take the time, I will get to it.

Again my apologies for the delay.


avatar Jason December 4, 2012 at 10:31 am


Since every single one of the original group of SuperSlow Masters has found fault with SS, and has now to various degrees abandoned SS and moved on to methods they have found to be more result producing than SS, do you expect us believe that not a single SS Master was able to properly understand and apply the protocol? You want us to believe that these individuals — all personally trained and educated in the method by Ken Hutchins himself and bestowed with his seal of approval — simply didn’t “get it” and didn’t properly apply the protocol?

Also, why is it that virtually every other weight training system under the sun using virtully any form of weight resistance known to man, with the subject using any kind of crappy form imaginable, can result in larger stronger muscles, yet with SS/RenEx, the protocol only works if every last miniscule nuance is properly applied and adhered to and every last detail of “environment, protocol, and equipment” is implemented correctly?

Lastly, despite all your lofty rhetoric and mental masturbation SS/RenEx has yet to produce one shred of evidence or one shred of data that anything you claim is true. All you guys do is talk and make assertions.

And by the way Josh, simply making a declaration that “there is nothing more to say and no argument to be had” is the height of false logic and fallacy. You think you can simply declare yourself the victors and have it be so simply because you say so? You have not even offered a valid, sound argument in defense of your claims.

All you guys continually do it committ the “questiuon begging” fallacy — which is to say you make assertions, and then rather than provide evidence and a defensible argument to prove your asssertions, you merely assume the assertion is true based upon the original assertion.


avatar Chris December 4, 2012 at 12:13 pm

i’m not defending Josh and the Ren X team here, but clearly you are missing the point.


avatar Ben Tucker December 4, 2012 at 12:37 pm


I still don’t get this line of logic???
I use as close to a SS technique as I can and I get better results in a fraction of the time when previously using “crappy form.”

I honestly don’t like working this hard. It’s hell. But I’d rather work hard than long.

In the beginning, I would whine and try to convince myself to revert back to higher volume and crappy form, because I knew it was easier.
Well I didn’t cave and what do you know? I look better using strict form, more intensity and in less time.

It’s all about streamlining. Why spend 3 hours a week if it can be done in 15-30 minutes a week.

And that last paragraph of yours is just dizzying.


avatar gus diamantopoulos December 4, 2012 at 4:49 pm


Not every single master found fault as you suggest. This is an inaccuracy. But many of us did recognize that there missing links in the chain of understanding. Like much of science and even art, the bridges to ideas are different people in different generations with varying backgrounds who can give rise to new ways of seeing things.

You keep asking for evidence. Every person that does this thing we’re saying feels an unmistakable effect. Every person. Do you want stats? Do you need studies? We have none. Yet. Do you want pics? we’ve published countless photos. My evidence is the results of my clients, my wife, my sister, my brother, friends, colleagues, and a myriad of people who have experienced what we’re talking about. And of course, my own physique development. n=1

In end, if this is all mental masturbation, as you put it, then we know where your predilections lie.



avatar Al Coleman December 4, 2012 at 6:05 pm


No, I don’t expect you to believe that EVERY master found fault in the protocol. Many went their own way for reasons not having to do with the protocol. There are a good number of early practitioners who really are amongst the best around. One whom I owe a great deal to.

Many who claim to have found a more efficacious route have no better backing for their claims than we do. As Gus mentioned most are of the n=1 ilk.



avatar Ben Tucker December 4, 2012 at 12:07 pm


I don’t know if you will be putting a nail in this subject soon but it’s been very stimulating.

I wouldn’t be surprised if 3/4 of my posts don’t get posted.
Needless to say, some comments got me rather flapped up. Like my integrity was in question.

This is a GREAT blog.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 4, 2012 at 1:20 pm


I’m on the road for 5 days…will respond where I can….please keep going with the comments and I’ll get them when I return….hopefully the guys will jump in too.

I owe a number of people a response and Ad is first on my list.

Off to florida now 🙂 !!!!!


avatar ad ligtvoet December 4, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Thanks, and enjoy florida.
This is indeed a great exchange of ideas going on.Regarding results with sloppy form I wonder how many users of sloppy form regrett it’s use now because of a destroyed skelleton. Sloppy form isn’t the factor for stimulating muscle growth,so why not distil the known factor and concentrate on this only?


avatar gus diamantopoulos December 4, 2012 at 1:59 pm


One man’s minutae is another man’s fundamentals.

What you see as trivial we consider essential. Our overkill is to us barely enough. Safety is not just important, it is elementary step one and we do not progress until step one is satisfied. Primum non nocere. You don’t have to subscribe to this. You’re welcome to do as you have done and to be satisfied with the existing crop of equipment etc. Perfectly fine and good.

The real question is that since you don’t have time or care for such incidental musings, why occupy your time with a comments section like this? What is so distasteful about us making claims one way or another? I can’t imagine that it sticks in your craw so much that we are saying that this is the better way, does it?

The thing is, we’ve done it your way. We have gone through the superannuated HIT protocols and what we are presenting is genuinely novel. It is certainly finessed and subtle and it requires a fresh mind to discern the–as you put it–minutiae, but it is an artful expression of this general philosophy. But in the end, we have done yours, have you ever experienced OURS?

if and when you do, i suppose we can trade intellectual blows.

i’ve written many times that all this academic talk fails miserably to communicate the effect of what we are saying. With this being said, everything we are arguing is pie in the sky.

if in all of the articles, the carefully written and scrupulously edited works that we’ve presented on this site all you see as our message is “our way is better than yours” then one of two things is true: you can’t read or you have not read. i am sure the latter applies.

I am without a doubt more muscular than i have ever been at any stage of my life. And of course i likely could have done it using any other system. I like that i havent injured myself in years and that i have achieved my development with 4 workouts a month within about 5-6 exercises.

what else is there to say?



avatar JoshuaTrentine December 4, 2012 at 10:09 pm

You got me……I thought we closed the book after your last post.


avatar Steven Turner December 4, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Hi Josh,

I have great respect for all HIT trainers and I really appreciate all the information that they provide on exercise. After reading many of your articles I went back and reduced my loads restarted my exercises and really focused on eliminating all the movements, jab, bracing etc,. I feel now that I have a better cognitive/muscle contraction experience.

Also, could I share a another story with you guys, I have had a caravan for a number of years, self taught myself to reverse the caravan my reversing is often hit and miss. Recently I paid a driving instructor to help me with reversing the caravan. The driving instructor helped me witha few simple adjustments of positioning myself in the car seat, where to put my hands on the steering wheel, how to use my mirrors etc, etc,. It is amazing the difference this has made to my reversing the caravan I now have a plan when I reverse the caravan, I go through a step by step process. Reversing the caravan has now become an enjoyable experience and not a stressful event.

I have exercised HIT for many years what I learnt from the RenX team has made my exercise training a better experience.
Keep up the good work.


avatar Al Coleman December 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm


Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m happy to educate.



avatar Jason December 4, 2012 at 7:29 pm

@Ben Tucker

You said: “And that last paragraph of yours is just dizzying”

If you can understand my point, then it’s clear you do not understand basic principles of logic and formal logical fallacies (errors). Do a Google search for “question begging fallacy” and read up.


avatar Jason December 4, 2012 at 7:46 pm


I happen to have spoken to all of the first 10 original SS Masters at various intervals over the past several years and I can tell you with complete certainty that ALL of them have found fault with SS protocol and currently ALL of them have rejected it and now use a different approach. They still train with HIT principles and still incorporate slower movements, but they have made significant changes and rejected much of Hutchins’ claims. In fact several of them have told me they are embarrased aw naive’ they once were and that they ever fell for the nonsense.

Furthermore, they are also aware of RenEx and the alleged improvements and refinements you guys claim to have made, but it’s interesting that NONE of them are the least bit impressed and none have been swayed to revert back.

You also failed to answer my question, so here it is again … why is it that virtually every other weight training system under the sun using virtully any form of weight resistance known to man, with the subject using any kind of crappy form imaginable, can result in larger stronger muscles, yet with SS/RenEx, the protocol only works if every last miniscule nuance is properly applied and adhered to and every last detail of “environment, protocol, and equipment” is implemented correctly?


avatar Gus Diamantopoulos December 5, 2012 at 12:16 am


As i’ve said many times before, you can choose to do innumerable activities for the purpose of improving your physique. No one ever said that ours is the only way. Our claim is that our method promotes a level of efficiency and effectiveness and safety as well as a bridge between the most capable and most feeble subjects. It is a method that permits excellent instruction for the novice and also vast possibilities for the advanced subject. We remain steadfast in claiming that it is a better way to exercise and we have produced countless dissertations as to why we feel this way.

We require all that we do in RenEx because the stakes are higher and the parameters are stretched further and further as we seek to answer the question of how little exercise we can get away with.

To do the least for the most, to really absorb that statement and take it to its limits requires a honing in of all the principles. The less you intend to do and the less you intend to do it, the greater the stakes to get it right. I do one workout a week and have done so for years and years and it would not be possible to maintain my physique or strength without the details and nuances of the protocol. This is not necessary for all subjects, nor is it necessarily desirable but it is at least possible. My workouts are robust, visceral and charged with tremendous intensity and passion. And I have no need or desire to do more.

I am aware of the frustration of the old masters and I have no interest in them at all. I respect their decision to abandon this and move laterally or otherwise. Kudos and good luck to all. Without a shred of malice I wish them all the best. We are here for anyone who is interested in our redux of all of this and intend to make the best go of it that we can. We all have been so elated with our machine designs, with our TSC concept and how this has all worked so far that the musings of those who remain sour over the past seem just pointless. They were once masters, now they’re not. What difference does it make and who cares?

I can do a workout with paint cans full of sand, with barbells, with faulty machines, or with my bodyweight and i can adapt it to be all i need it to be and get a darn good workout but none of that is RenEx as we have defined it. This is a fact within the construct of this philosophy. Because a workout is not RenEx protocol doesnt mean it is a bad or lesser workout. RenEx is an equalizing protocol that simply permits a wider margin of people to engage in strength exercise. I have said this literally countless times.

There is nothing simple or easy about RenEx. It is complex, it is somewhat tedious, and it challenges so much accepted wisdom that I am amazed that so many outsiders have expressed such interest. But i suppose all of the apparent negatives that i’ve listed above pale in comparison to the positive aspects: The phenomenal physical feeling of the workout, the inspiring effect of our environment, the sheer joy of using the machines, the elation we all get after a workout knowing how much more we are becoming than we were; how powerful you can feel by simply contracting your muscles.

I remain dumbfounded that there is such animosity merely because of our “claims”. TV ads and billboards bombard us with crap about who has the best this or the newest that. Big deal. To get upset the way some people have about our articles, blogs, and claims points–by way of basic psychology–to sour grapes syndrome. To me, the only reason ANYONE would care so much to disparage us is envy. I suppose another possible reason is fear of competition but this would be absurd given the fringe element at this stage. In the end, your gripe surely must not be intellectual because there is no argument.

What’s that you say? you disagree with us? You want to boo-hoo because i didn’t credit your rep because your form sucks? You don’t like that you have to EARN your graduation from one load to the next? Great!!! Truly great. There’s a local gym waiting for you to grimace, growl, twist, squirm, writhe,thrust, lunge, throw, grunt, wiggle, and unload till you’re blue in the face.




avatar Al Coleman December 4, 2012 at 8:32 pm


There is no “question begging fallacy”. I’m well aware of the rules of logic and that fallacy doesn’t apply here.

All of our assertions are based on principles that we have interpreted in a particular manner and have tested for ourselves. In other words I and the people I have trained over the years have more muscle as a result of our practices.This doesn’t prove there universal truth, but it is what empirical evidence shows us until evidence is presented to the contrary. Unfortunately opposition and claims of inferiority based on what practice has shown me may possibly be misinterpretations, don’t count as evidence.

The minutia argument that keeps being presented is a perfect example. I already explained this.


avatar Al Coleman December 4, 2012 at 8:46 pm


I consider myself taught by one of these original masters. He is probably the only one doing original work as well.

I’m not sure how them disagreeing with us invalidates anything.

With regards to your last question….for billionth time, no one ever said throwing weights around doesn’t produce great physiques. That is a ridiculous thing to say. We do however feel that there is an approach that goes down the road of refinement in order to study closer WHAT is going on and what we might be able to do away with. Our beef with the HIT community and some of those that hate our guts, is that they entered into that project and to some degree are still involved with it whilst accusing us of the same crime they commit. The details of the two cases may be different, but we are being told we’re wrong for reasons that I don’t think are fully understood.

I approved this because message because I feel the question was fair, but no more after this. If you have a question pertaining to the above article, fine.


avatar Al Coleman December 4, 2012 at 8:52 pm

The second sentence in the first paragraph was supposed to read ,” The only one of them doing original work”.

There are those doing interesting things with equipment, but this wasn’t what I was addressing.


avatar Al Coleman December 4, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Also, I’d welcome any intellectual and theoretical ideas and possible groundbreaking improvements from those that don’t agree with our stance.

I don’t however consider throwing a ton of load on the machine to slow the subject down an improvement. That isn’t addressing anything that could improve the cognitive aspects of the subjects ability to learn to contract. That is where our interest is currently.

Thank you.


avatar JoshuaTrentine December 4, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Is there any endeavor where doing something poorer produces the same product?


avatar Gus Diamantopoulos December 5, 2012 at 1:05 am

This is for anyone who has trouble with our attention to the details, subtleties, and minutiae (Fred, Jason, etc..)

“–the unexamined life is not worth living–”

Socrates said these words at his trial in 399BC for for encouraging his students to think for themselves and to challenge society’s accepted beliefs.

Examination of anything in life and discussing how to make anything better is the main point of living. Examination requires depth of study and attention to details. We will never be able to explain everything and even strength exercise seems to be a challenge for us. But those of us who choose to examine and artfully explore where they are within a philosophy and all of its constituent parts are on a path to doing some good and being fully actualized…happy even.

Examination of anything is what helps us make goals and strive for better. Detailed examination, care and consideration of minutiae is what helps us uncover the myriad of possible paths we can take in seeking to solve a challenge. Exploring details gives us a better sense of self and also the ability to be creative. In the end, examination can help make us more than we were and it gives us freedom.

But none of this comes without a cost. It takes energy, effort, will and eternal vigilance to remain fresh-minded about examining one’s life. It takes courage to respect the most minute, the most seemingly insignificant detail because it is often the subtleties that lead to the greatest discoveries.

We asked all of our audience way back in the very beginning of RenEx to “look closer”. This has been our motto since day one and we continue to strive to uncover all we can about the mystery of human strength by looking closer.

For those who scoff at our attempts to examine the nuances of strength exercise, I invite you yet again to “look closer”.

In my life, I have found (countless times) that my once deeply held beliefs or understanding of certain things is brought into scrutiny because a simple moment of revisiting. A behaviour or fact that I had held for so long to be unassailably true often becomes a whole new learning experience after just a simple pause and some deeper examination. Thinking about any matter again, freshly and with restrained ego has proven to uncover remarkable new insights in everything from relationship dynamics to how to grip a pull down handle to discerning the ideal method of doing up a button fly…

The sad fact is that most people avoid living examined lives, not because they are limited in doing so in some external way but because they actively abdicate their responsibility to do so.



avatar Mark December 5, 2012 at 1:19 am

Muscles don’t “know” how much weight they’re lifting, but joints -do-. Thus, if a lighter weight induces failure within a longer, but still muscle-building time frame, lighter’s the way to go for a lifetime of strength & ‘fitness’. Does anyone really have problem with that? BUT REALLY, isn’t consistent performance the issue? Forget the -particular- speed for a moment: Monitoring/Standardizing speed, breathing, anatomical positioning, & effort, (ie, to failure), per exercise, from session to session, is the only way surely know that improved times &/or heavier weights used are truly indicative of progress. Grunting, squirming, etc, is tough to standardize.


avatar Travis Weigand December 5, 2012 at 6:33 am

I’ve read through every last comment and after all the interesting discussion that has taken place, I’d like to return to the original subject.

I’ve incorporated the exact neck and shoulder Josh is using in his video in my own workouts, it works phenomenally. Neck and shoulder in conjunction with RenEx Overhead Press are the two most important exercises I’ve ever implemented to affect my trapezius development.

I’d like to point out that the word development can be more encompassing then most might anticipate. Not only could development mean a larger muscle or a stronger muscle, but development also plays into how well the musculature is able to support surrounding structures or influence ones posture/gait.

I attribute the two exercises in mention and subsequent development of my traps to an increased ability to control my posture.

In everyone’s search for bigger muscles, remember there are other reasons these exercises can be so valuable. Posture is just one example, there are ALOT of other reasons.


avatar Terry C December 5, 2012 at 7:54 am

Thanks to the RenEx Team for taking exercise to a new level which is sustainable for a 60 year old.
I was a member of the SSEG back in the nineties because I thought it was a logical extension of HIT. I have used the protocol along with others for the last (almost) twenty years. Now, I’m back to using it exclusively – thanks to the “team”. Since the onset of RenEx , I am (and still learning) using the mind muscle connection more efficiently. There is a new found “Zen” in my training.
Thank you for your forum and all the info you provide.
PS – I have had my RenEx Manual for 8 months and still learning!
Be Well


avatar Joshua Trentine December 5, 2012 at 12:05 pm


You are very welcome.

Thank You for sharing your experience.

I’m really pleased to see some of the SuperSlow guys moving into the Renaissance of Exercise…this is really great.



avatar Gus Diamantopoulos December 5, 2012 at 11:29 am

Fred, can you consider that what you’ve settled on in terms of form and protocol is in many ways a by product of your equipment?

What we are saying about protocol can’t really be practiced on conventional gear. It would be like trying to shift gears manually in an automatic transmission.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 5, 2012 at 12:18 pm

True…just can’t be done at this level on ‘gym equipment’.


avatar Ed M. December 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm


When at Overload, we apply the protocol.

At home, we apply the principles.

Perfect/optimal? No. Functional? Yep.



avatar Gus Diamantopoulos December 5, 2012 at 10:42 pm

good point well made, ed


avatar Donnie Hunt December 5, 2012 at 11:49 am

Guys I gotta tell ya, this stuff is all very interesting to me. I don’t know anybody in person that cares about all this. I remember talking to some of my buddies years ago about some of Arthur’s stuff and Mentzer’s stuff and not really getting much of a response, lol. Nice being able to read about and discuss exercise on here 🙂

I feel like the discussions going on here currently is really getting into the meat and potatoes of what it’s all about. I’m really enjoying the dialogue with Fred. All of you guys have me think in new directions.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 5, 2012 at 12:14 pm


I agree the confrontation is really bringing some great stuff out of our guys, I’m seeing bunches of blog posts in here….looking forward to digging deeper.

Thank you for taking the time to comment.



avatar Donnie Hunt December 5, 2012 at 11:52 am

In TROE books, is there alot of writing pertaining to freeweight and conventional equipment usage?


avatar Joshua Trentine December 5, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I wouldn’t say “alot” but there is discussion of.


avatar Brian F December 5, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Wow! So much invaluable information in this thread. The recent posts from Gus and Al are simply outstanding examples of what can be excavated by intelligent minds.

I love this from Al and will mentally engrave it;

“Subject begins to learn how to increase their effort with EVERY NANO SECOND in order to prevent force from escaping, all of the so called “minutia” goes away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

And Gus , re The unexamined Life;

We frequently see this concept in the world of “medicine” I could give many personal examples, but just one;

3 or four years ago I developed medial epicondylitis or golfers elbow in both limbs ( I believe caused by faulty bench press behaviour) I sought treatment from a UK sports injury clinic . I was advised light high rep d/b wrist curls, stretching and regularly received acupuncture at the clinic. After 3 months no improvement in this painful condition. In frustration I decided to do what I had been expressly told not to do…chins. They were painful…after 3 months of once per week execution…. Both elbows pain free. I questioned my physio about this as his previous advice was that engaging in anything challenging involving the elbow flexors would exacerbate the condition. His advice was based on long held beliefs that he had held since study and training in his chosen profession
His response was that my successful self treatment was very interesting and that “current thinking” (by motivated individuals looking for a better mousetrap) was beginning to support a protocol more aligned with what I had done. I think this example has synergy with the evolution of resistance training that we see before our eyes on this site. I am reminded of the adage “The One Constant in Life is Change.” I welcome it…


avatar Joshua Trentine December 5, 2012 at 3:47 pm


We really are getting some gems from these guys, I’m all ready organizing them into another article.



avatar Fred Hahn December 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm

“Rep cadence does not dictate muscular effort, nor does it indicate muscular effort.”

That’s right – BUT if the load is the same, the speed at which you lift the weight dictates the level of effort. If you lift 100 pounds quickly as opposed to slowly, you put forth more effort to move it quickly. Otherwise it wouldn’t have moved quickly. The weight load doesn’t move on it’s own. Muscles move weight.

With a light weight, it is possible to put so much more effort/force into the load that it does indeed unload the muscles. But not with a heavy weight WHEN strength training to build muscle. I am not talking about Olympic lifting where you purposefully are trying to use skill and leverage to duck under a load to perform the skill.


avatar Ben Tucker December 6, 2012 at 8:36 pm


“If you lift 100 pounds quickly as opposed to slowly, you put forth more effort to move it quickly. Otherwise it wouldn’t have moved quickly. The weight load doesn’t move on it’s own. Muscles move weight.”

I’ve got a rather simple illustration that I share with my clients concerning muscular tension and momentum.
I take a 5lb plate and hook it to a bungee cord and lift it slowly. The taught cord could be likened to muscular tension. When the weight is slowly moved up and down, the tension stays high. Now as soon as I lift it in a traditional, let’s say an alternating bicep curl fashion, the cord goes slack and then bounces. Muscular tension goes slack in that same manor and the “bounce” unnecessarily tugs and pulls at the connective anchor points.

So Fred, you mean to tell me that when I grab 50lb dumbbells and sling them up in a 1/1 or 2/2 cadence, that I’m working harder than when I slow to a 10/10 or even a 5/5?
I can tell you for a fact that it gets exponentially HARDER when I slow it down. After all, just as with the bungee cord example, as soon as I introduce momentum, there goes any meaningful loading of the muscle.
Note: As a rule of thumb, I don’t work unilaterally. Lifting the dumbbells together or even a straight bar is much more effective. I chose alternating dumbbell curls as an example of poor choice in exercise for all the resting/unloading it involves.

“With a light weight, it is possible to put so much more effort/force into the load that it does indeed unload the muscles. But not with a heavy weight WHEN strength training to build muscle. I am not talking about Olympic lifting where you purposefully are trying to use skill and leverage to duck under a load to perform the skill.”

What you’re talking about sounds exactly like Olympic weight lifting.

To further add to the above bungee cord example, I ask my clients if they’ve ever seen cranes on high rise buildings lift or move anything fast. They generally say no. If cranes were to quickly move or bounce their payloads, wouldn’t that exponentially and unnecessarily put undo stress on the connective points, and in worst case scenarios cause them to break? How’s this any different than ligature or connective tissue?

So just like the bungee, I use this to illustrate slow movements which allow for high tension on musculature and low impact on joints and ligatures.


avatar Al Coleman December 5, 2012 at 1:56 pm


With contextual provisions.



avatar Joshua Trentine December 5, 2012 at 4:34 pm

To everyone,

I apologize, this thread has become almost impossible to follow, we’ve never had these many comments and I can’t even get my replies to come up under the right posts.

I have received some good suggestions…at this volume the site will have to be reformatted.



avatar Fred Hahn December 5, 2012 at 5:24 pm

And you will require my permission to use anything I have said here.


avatar Bill S. December 5, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Standards of excellence should increase with the evolution of a protocol.

Anyone seeking better trap development needs to read this article!


avatar Bill S. December 5, 2012 at 7:24 pm

IMO the Mentzer-inspired RenEx Workout Routine 1 and 2 would be perfect for high school and college athletes.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 5, 2012 at 7:42 pm


No question about it and likely the only way to keep getting stronger in-season.



avatar Gus Diamantopoulos December 5, 2012 at 7:53 pm


Do you recognize that our quest for stoicism, just as our quest for good form, and good breathing, and good turnarounds, and reaching muscle failure, are all aspects of the workout that will always be elusive to the working subject?

Does it not register that making faces and grimacing and grunting and showing signs of pain are all natural reactions that we TRY to contain for the greater purpose of sustaining our effort and looking to a higher goal?

No matter how much we indicate these subtleties as hallmark characteristics of our protocol, we are fully aware that the challenge to battle each discrepancy will always be there. We all will struggle to keep calm, we’ll need reminders to breathe, we’ll need assistance from an instructor to not let the pain get in the way. And the more advanced our workouts become the greater the envelope is pushed which means the harder it is to contract with the correct behaviors. I will always try to do the right thing but I may not succeed and in fact, I may fail every few seconds in a set to keep my face as calm as i should be. That’s what good instruction is all about.

Do you think we all just swipe our hands down our faces and get stone-faced and do the robot-workout? Cripes, half the time we’re on the verge of psycho-facial combustion and it’s all held in check by a thread of thinking and instruction.

It must be that the harder we work out, the harder it is to be disciplined enough to do the right things during the workout and this is what makes RenEx an intellectually charged event and not a guttural, instinctive one. We choose to remind ourselves that all of the signals our body is giving us that the set is dangerous, or hurtful, or painful are well-meaning but inappropriate because we are in a safe environment and with little chance of hurting ourselves.This permits us to exert with our minds active so that we can release as much of our primal capacity as possible and still seek the real objective of exercise.

Am I reading you correctly that you cannot see that a calm-faced sprinter whose effort and intent, pushed to the limit of all pain, difficulty and purpose mirrors the effort and force production of subject performing a hard set in strength exercise? You actually see no comparison there? My god, of all of the comparisons to any sport out there a sprint is, in my mind, the ONLY possible activity that may compare enough to get the message across.

In tennis or weight lifting the athlete is producing momentary bursts of effort that is constantly interrupted. This type of effort is punctuated by careful use of valsalva. Valsalva, grunting, breath-holding and aggressive facial expression all serve the athlete. They SHOULD be engaged in those behaviours. Their activity requires it to best perform their sport.

But in strength exercise, the activity is an expanding event over much more time with uninterrupted effort and loading, and most importantly, with gradual buildup. It is a flow rather than a staccato burst. There is no relationship in this respect between strength exercise and the activities that you mention, which means also that there is no way you should be expressing yourself the same way when you contract against resistance.

Your comparison to these activities simply reveals a total and unmistakable (fundamental) lack of understanding of what it is that we do, why we are doing it, and how it is different from what you are doing.

This was all covered in a most elementary way in my first articles when the RenEx blog was established.



avatar Fred Hahn December 6, 2012 at 10:31 am

Gus I understand EXACTLY what you all are doing. Please spare me the pseudo-intellectual, moral high ground talk. I love ya pal, but you know full well I know what you all are talking about. As the saying goes “You can’t see the forest for the trees.”

Joshua was the one who first brought up the sprinters face. Many athletes stay calm, others scream, some grimace, some don’t. This has nothing to do with how one produces a high degree of effort.

In many instances, you RenX people are just making stuff up (like inroad) and talking among yourselves using verbiage that has no basis in actual science.

In fact, there is some very good research to indicate that strong muscular efforts are enhanced by facial grimacing. I’ll see if I can dig up the papers.

And please stop creating strawman arguments. It’s maddening!


avatar Joshua Trentine December 6, 2012 at 11:13 am


“ELITE”….The one’s who carry on as you suggest are putting a potato in the exhaust pipe.



avatar Gus Diamantopoulos December 6, 2012 at 12:09 pm

With all due respect, Fred, you haven’t got a clue about what we are doing.

If you did, you wouldn’t be using terms like heavy and light with respect to weight. You would understand that heavy and light can only be qualified by the subject’s capacity for contraction and muscular work.

And how we stay calm has everything to with how we contract. I already acknowledged that athletes use many styles of training and performance.

And we know full well that grimacing is natural. It’s that in our protocol it is considered a discrepncy. Why are you not able to comprehend what I’ve already written?

Since we practice inroading as a strength exercise technique and you practice moving “heavy” weights, why bother with any of this rhetoric?

I repeat: by your own words you indicate that you have no understanding of what is being discussed.



avatar Fred Hahn December 6, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Gus – to say to me that “I haven’t got a clue” is a clear indication that you are exaggerating to make a point. Of course I have “a clue” and you know deep down that I understand EXACTLY what you mean. It’s not rocket science. And I probably read more scientific papers in a week than most of you RenX guys read in a year. Yes, puffing my 46 inch chest out a bit there I know.

The bottom line here is this – are you putting more muscle on your subjects now with all of the incomprehensible (to me at least) RenX methodology or not? If you are, great. Can you quantify this for me? Can you give me an example?

People don’t train with a trainer to learn how to perform perfect reps or the idea of perfect reps. They train to get results.


avatar Al Coleman December 6, 2012 at 1:36 pm


How long was peak torque sustained? It doesn’t say. It also doesn’t indicate the ratio of distribution across the musculature read by the EMG. There is a lot more they could have done with this study. I’ve read this one and many others like it. It’s conclusions are indeed useful for a number of applications.

Again, I’m telling you what has been seen with feedback. I’ve tested out numerous times what you are suggesting and I’m telling you peak torque lasts for a second when the RVC technique is employed. No one is arguing that it shouldn’t be employed in a multitude of situations, just not the during what we are describing as strength exercise.

Also, the rate of torque development is only relevant for comparison and for reaching peak torque. The faster the rate of torque development, the higher the peak and the shorter peak is sustained. The musculature involved in the RVC method would also be activated to a higher degree.

Bizarrely, an effort that is applied more gradually will take longer to reach peak torque, BUT that peak torque will be higher and will be able to be sustained for longer thus increasing the degree of metabolic work. In addition the involvement of extraneous muscular contraction will be lower thus displacing more of the torque production upon the targeted structures by default. This is what I’ve seen with feedback.


avatar gus diamantopoulos December 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm

I don’t mind if you puff your chest. If you got it, flaunt it.

But I do have an issue when in one breath you say that you understand EXACTLY what we are doing and in the other you call our methodology incomprehensible. If it’s incomprehensible then how can you understand it…and EXACTLY, even?

I wasn’t being insulting when I said you don’t have a clue. I was being literal. I admit that my tone was caustic but this whole debate has had a sour note lingering dissonantly in the background so its hard not to get caught up.

But at this point, you’ve already dropped the bomb: You said that this is incomprehensible to you. I agree. It is. This fully explains why we are arguing. I think that if you put us all in a room and you had the ability to not only hear the words but experience the effects so that you could for yourself see the differences between what you are doing, what you had done in the past under the auspices of SS, and what we are doing today, there would be far less arguing.

You asked about our clients’ results. I would submit that that question is best answered by the state of our businesses. I don’t believe that any of us give anything less than our best to our clients and engage in this work that we do with all the zeal we can muster to deliver the best results that we can. You, Josh, Al, Ken and everyone who offers services of exercise instruction at this level is deeply committed to his business and his clientele.

But we at RenEx have taken a path that is less travelled with respect to language sophistication, to instructional fundamentals, to theoretical possibilities, and finally to praxis.

We are not trainers, we are instructors. And putting muscle on bodies and making them stronger is our work.


avatar Ben Tucker December 6, 2012 at 10:22 pm


Ellington Darden, who’s sitting next to you in your profile pic, used the term inroad in his book, “The New High Intensity.”
If you’d like, I can quote paragraphs and page numbers.

Are you discrediting him, too?

And these “strawman arguments” you mention are a 1000 times more thought provoking and educational (to me, an outside observer) than the adversarial stances you are taking.
I’m sorry if you take offense, but you’re coming off in the manner of gym talk or bro science.


avatar Fred Hahn December 7, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Ellington Darden, who’s sitting next to you in your profile pic, used the term inroad in his book, “The New High Intensity.” If you’d like, I can quote paragraphs and page numbers. Are you discrediting him, too?

****I am not discrediting any individual. Those are your words and your strawman argument. What I am saying is the concept of thorough inroad is false. Using the word “inroad” to describe muscle fatigue or MU recruitment I have no problem with. Call it whatever you want. But to suggest, without any scientific evidence, that RenX protocols recruit more MU’s is speculation at best.

“And these “strawman arguments” you mention are a 1000 times more thought provoking and educational (to me, an outside observer) than the adversarial stances you are taking. I’m sorry if you take offense, but you’re coming off in the manner of gym talk or bro science.”

****Why would I take offense? Take a look at Josh’s comments to me and then see who is truly being adversarial.


avatar enlite December 5, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Excellent exchange going on here. I’ll just quickly add here that i know for a fact, that there is a vast difference between lifting and contracting. My experience and observations have led to the conclusion that load is not the primary factor. Intense muscular contractions carried to failure is without a doubt the primary objective. Argumentation is a valuable tool that can be utilized to cut through the fog in order to reach the destination. Arguments can be made without the use of ad hominem and slander, just something to keep in mind. More comments to come!


avatar Joshua Trentine December 6, 2012 at 9:27 am

Hi enlite,

Thank You for joining us…I couldn’t agree more with you regarding your conclusions about load:

“My experience and observations have led to the conclusion that load is not the primary factor. Intense muscular contractions carried to failure is without a doubt the primary objective”

There is more than enough empirical evidence to support that load is only as good as the intent to use the load in a meaningful way.



avatar AC December 6, 2012 at 9:39 am

I thought that the Trapped post was good but the discussion afterward has been even better.

Fred seems to be a fine example of someone who is very good at outroading.

There is a big difference between moving as fast as possible using nothing but the target muscles which are already heavily fatigued, and moving as fast as possible using any and every muscle available to heave, brace, shove, throw, fling and shift the weight from A to B.

Remember, this is bodybuilding, not simply weight lifting. The two are subtly different and yet at the same time they are very different.

With one, you’re trying to make certain muscles do everything, targeting, precision, stimulating, dose-response and all that.

With the other, you might as well be shifting furniture or throwing rocks.

Drew Baye has some good articles that go over the basics of this.

One thing that I would like to mention is quality of equipment etc.

Many times I have read posts from various people saying that you can’t perform the RenEx protocol without the RenEx equipment and instruction.

Maybe you can’t, but you can sure as hell aim to do it. Even if you fall short, it’s still going to benefit you.

I train in a commercial gym with very standard machines manufactured by Life Fitness and Bodysolid. There’s a 45 degree sled leg press, a variety of cable pulldowns, parallel bar, a chinup bar and loads of free weights.

Thanks to the articles both here and on Drew’s site and all the comments sections like this one, I have been able to learn where I have been going wrong in the past and start making big internal changes to the way I train – focusing on muscles not numbers.

The effects even with crappy equipment have been very pleasing. I’m really lean already but have lost 8 pounds in about 6 weeks and my thighs and shoulders are definitely bigger than they have been in a long time, perhaps bigger than ever.

I would like to thank the RenEx team and all the contributors to threads like this one as you have all allowed me learn much more than I thought possible and improve my training immensely.

It may seem like we’re discussing the minutiae of training, but once you’ve been doing HIT a while, this is the stuff that you should be focusing on, not just “slow your reps down”.

I can already see that becoming really good at inroading requires time. You have to build up a tolerance to the latic acid and the weakening of the target muscles and also learn the skill of mentally focusing on the target muscles and the precision of where you are in a given rep, rather than the outside world.

Exercises, movement and external load, I can see now, are nothing more than tools to allow you to get to the end result – bugger, stronger muscles.

Exercises, movement and external load are not the goals. Not unless you’re a powerlifter, strongman or Olympic lifter.

Well done RenEx, keep up the good work.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 6, 2012 at 9:50 am


You are very welcome and thank you for this thoughtful post.

Thanks for contributing, I hope we see more of you.



avatar Donnie Hunt December 6, 2012 at 8:31 pm

This is how I see it.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 6, 2012 at 9:47 am

Posting for Gus….formatting is getting really screwed up on this thread.

No Fred, muscle and gain and fat loss are results that occur by engaging in two separate and unrelated human behaviors.

Fat Loss occurs almost exclusively as a result of how and what you choose to eat.

Muscle is built most efficiently using strength exercise, although we recognize that there are other ways to do it.

The goal of strength exercise is to stimulate muscle to grow stronger and larger. The best way to do that is to recognize the primary objective of exercise, not to obliterate anything.

Inroading is one of the most important means to achieving the goal of muscular stimulation but it is not the only intention of a strength exercise workout.

We exercise to move the body, to track muscle and joint function, to provide healthful alignment and realignment of the spine, to internally massage the structures and promote fluid movement, to hydrate and transport lymph, to relieve tension, to release stress, to experience a high, to enhance flexibility and to promote a myriad of other benefits.

In fact, the benefits go on and on with as many unsuspected ones as those we are consciously aware of.

We perform compound movements because they are easy to do. They are easy to teach. They mimic basic movement patterns of the joints and limbs. They recruit more structures. They affect more muscle mass overall and have a greater metabolic effect and consequence.

We also recognize that inroading as a process is not necessarily an accurate description of the biological effect of what a workout does to a human system but more appropriately a suitably intellectual canvas upon which we can hang our premises so that we can produce and reproduce the subtle and detailed behaviors that permit us to achieve the level of effort that the must precipitate muscular stimulation.

Further, while we do focus on compound exercises, we don’t limit ourselves to them and in fact encourage and endorse a large number of focused simple exercises both in dynamic rotary form movements as well as TSC exercises that may or may not more deeply inroad structures but can help the subject achieve a more profound overall effect within a number of different combinations.

Our overriding concern is with the overall effect of the workout. We seek reduced transition times, continual ventilation and producing an effect where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

To suggest that fat loss and muscle gain is the goal is short sighted, and represents our “short cut” culture. Worst of all, such thinking excludes over half of our clientele as there are people who couldn’t care less about either fat loss or muscle gain. They are signed up because they want to just move freely again or to not be in constant pain.



avatar Scott Springston December 6, 2012 at 11:41 am

Where can I find these video’s of Fred working out?



avatar Fred Hahn December 6, 2012 at 11:47 am

Here is one of sever papers that discuss the effect of remote voluntary contractions (gripping, facial grimacing, val salva, etc.) on force output, peak torque, power output, you know, all the things that strong muscular contractions cause.

Now I know what you’ll all say…I’ve heard all the arguments before like a gazillion times. But I will say that for ME and for several people I know, the results of this study and others like it ring true.

Don’t get too caught up in your SS paradigm paralysis my friends.


avatar Al Coleman December 6, 2012 at 12:09 pm


How long was peak torque sustained? It doesn’t say. It also doesn’t indicate the ratio of distribution across the musculature read by the EMG. There is a lot more they could have done with this study. I’ve read this one and many others like it. It’s conclusions are indeed useful for a number of applications.

Again, I’m telling you what has been seen with feedback. I’ve tested out numerous times what you are suggesting and I’m telling you peak torque lasts for a second when the RVC technique is employed. No one is arguing that it shouldn’t be employed in a multitude of situations, just not the during what we are describing as strength exercise.



avatar Al Coleman December 6, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Also, the rate of torque development is only relevant for comparison and for reaching peak torque. The faster the rate of torque development, the higher the peak and the shorter peak is sustained. The musculature involved in the RVC method would also be activated to a higher degree.

Bizarrely, an effort that is applied more gradually will take longer to reach peak torque, BUT that peak torque will be higher and will be able to be sustained for longer thus increasing the degree of metabolic work. In addition the involvement of extraneous muscular contraction will be lower thus displacing more of the torque production upon the targeted structures by default. This is what I’ve seen with feedback.


avatar Gus Diamantopoulos December 6, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Who cares about peak torque?

Does anyone need a study to prove this? Hulk mad=hulk smash.

Not how we roll.

We are contracting muscles over time with uninterrupted loading.

Peak EFFORT is what we seek and we do so after much fatigue has already taken place.


avatar Ed M. December 6, 2012 at 12:49 pm


Thanks for your response to my question the other day. I have two ways of responding to the study. First is the limitations of the study protocol which isolates a few variables and declares an effect: “CONCLUSIONS: RVC increased the performance of several outcome variables assessed, which coincides with the concomitant increase in EMG of the prime movers.”

None of which has any relationship with strength building but is highly correlated with junior faculty making a case for tenure.

All that is needed for the second is observation. Go to any YMCA and check out the 17 year old guys squeezing out one more rep at 155. Of course RVC’s increase peak torque. My personal experience-I was a slow learner at that age-suggests they also increase injury without a concomitant increase in strength.


avatar Al Coleman December 6, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Thank you Ed.


avatar Gus Diamantopoulos December 6, 2012 at 1:43 pm


Now THERE’S a job that requires some sustained effort AND grimacing…


avatar Gus Diamantopoulos December 6, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Heavy and light are relative terms. Their definitions within the protocol are based on the ability of the subject to contract for a period of time or repetitions.

For me, light weight is characterized by the subject’s ability to perform in excess of 8 repetitions. I generally consider a moderate weight to reflect repetition count somewhere in the 6 range. Moderately heavy weight is when around 4 or 5 reps are possible and heavy is weight that which does not permit the subject to perform a 3rd repetition. A VERY heavy weight is when even a 2nd repetition is not possible and use of this resistance constitutes malpractice in my mind.

With this extremely general scheme in mind, I aim generally for weights that allow for 4 or 5 repetitions with the 5th being generally impossible to complete.

I have worked with heavier weights than this and the result is always excessive strain on unintended structures and fatigue that comes on extremely oppressively.

I will occasionally use heavy weight as per my scheme above with certain superset preexhaust patterns but only occasionally and with trusted, advanced subjects.

TSC has taught us the true distinctions between force and effort. It has also revealed for us that producing either too much force or too much force too quickly results in too deep an inroad or a kind of short circuiting of the nervous system whereby the effect of the workout shifts to being more dangerous as well as significantly more unpleasant. I am referring to an unpleasantness relating to distraction and not of commonly complained about muscular discomfort, which is completely different.

In other words, Fred, the idea that you work with arbitrarily “heavy” weight (whatever the hell that means) is sophomoric. It leads the subject to perform all of the inappropriate behaviours we caution against. You would be aware of this if you could experience feedback based TSC exercise which instantly and effectively communicates all of these ideas.

We haven’t created these ideas out of thin air. The sophistication of the feedback systems we possess have not only corroborated some suspicions that we all have had about this stuff, they have presented us with entirely new elements for observation and study. Moreover, they have helped us to bridge the gap of understanding the differences between heavy-light, hard-easy, effort-force, loading-weight, volume-time, contraction-lifting and a host of other seemingly interchangeable terms that are the source of so much confusion.

Your obtuse preoccupation with the fact that we are refining the strength exercise vocabulary and helping to evolve the language we use reveals the limited scope of your vision.

Your so-called accepted wisdom of what is supposed to be considered exercise science has failed all of us since its inception . Exercise science is inept, inert, and inexcusably lacking in promoting anything favourable or salient to the general public.

And one more thing: Muscles don’t move weights. Muscle contract. Failure to see this distinction forms the foundation for every erroneous concept that we have fought to correct.



avatar Trace Johnston December 6, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Without doubt this has been the most interesting and entertaining post in recent memory. I’m especially grateful for Mr. Hahn’s participation because it excited some exceptional contributions and commentary. I became so engrossed that I cancelled an appointment and took lots of notes. I think it’s an historical exchange that needs to be preserved for posterity.

Where I work I constantly have to endure the typical performances of the “legions” who carry on mindlessly. If I went insane as an instructor I might want to push these people to even greater heights of self-inflicted brutality – kind of like the Tom Platz leg extension demonstration. Then they’d get everything they deserve and more! (Not really.) I’m also thankful for Mr. Hahn’s 2003 book because it was my first exposure to SS, which led me to Ken Hutchins and RenEx – where I struck gold. I think I liked Mr. Hahn more in his idealistic days.

My current and on-going experiences with the RenEx protocol has been nothing short of amazing. Most of my clients will back me up despite the lackluster responses of friends and relatives. I say “most” because what Mr. Coleman said is what I’ve found to be true as well: “There are some folks that due to reasons outside their control won’t ‘get it'”. Maybe those who should know better are not able to access their intellectual volitional ability and must stoop to what seems to them to be more comprehensible. That is, to just heave like an animal against a heavy load and see what happens – safety be damned! It occurred to me the other day that the clients who are increasingly drawn to the slow/static protocols are generally more intelligent and/or more venturesome than the average population. In any case they are more interested in testing the idea and see where it can take them.

I’d really like to see the studies which conclude that grimacing necessarily enhances the objective we seek. There might be confusion here about real muscle contraction or engagement as opposed to scrunching up your face and tensing your neck. By the way, some people are just plain lucky that they don’t get an EIH by doing this. I’ve found that neck disengagement – to the extent that it is possible – is crucial if you don’t want to see a client run away in fear. Also, TSC neck exercises do appear to avert this kind of disaster. Whenever a client presents any cervical issue – no matter how slight – I automatically make them mandatory with every workout. Maybe that’s too conservative but I don’t care – so far it’s worked.

As far as off-loading is concerned, anyone who has experienced the i systems real time feedback will know what that’s all about. I discovered at the conference that any distraction or momentary loss of concentration will do the same.

Thanks once again for the insightful output that appears to be the hallmark of RenEx.


avatar Joe A December 6, 2012 at 5:00 pm


Would you agree that a common or instinctual response to vigorous muscular effort is to val salva, grimmace, shift, adjust, clinch jaw, etc??

Do you think these instinctual responses occur in order to improve the rate of fatigue in the involved musculature?


Do you think these instinctual responses occur to relieve stress on the involved musculature and help disperse the effort to surrounding structures, in order to sustain or improve the facilitation of an intended action?

The answer should be obvious…and helps explain which behaviors belong in an exercise activity, or more better put, are the expression of the real objective.


avatar Patrick December 6, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Fred, here is Kai’s take on load, the mind muscle connection, and yes inroad.


avatar Craig December 6, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Back to the topic at hand – working the traps: It seems that a trap exercise is similar to a calf raise in that (1) the range of movement is small; (2) the leverage or moment arm doesn’t change much; and (3) it isn’t that hard to load the movement. So what is the justification for building an expensive cam machine to do this?


avatar Joe A December 7, 2012 at 10:44 am


Here’s the sticking point in the argument (all YOUR words):

“… Of course I have “a clue” and you know deep down that I understand EXACTLY what you mean. It’s not rocket science”

“The bottom line here is this – are you putting more muscle on your subjects now with all of the INCOMPREHENSIBLE (to me at least) RenX methodology or not?”

“don’t pretend that you know better – or accuse people like me of “not getting it.”

If RenEx is “incomprehensible” to you (by your own admission), how then can you suggest you know “exactly” what Gus, Josh and Al are saying…how can you get bothered by them pointing out that you aren’t “getting it”??

You are so busy trying fervently to defend your position, that you fail to notice how foolish you sound (and appear). Might be time to take a step back…


avatar Joshua Trentine December 7, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Parting words from Gus:

Fred: at this point, we should end our banter. We have expressed our position and we do not agree.



avatar Bobby Coleman December 9, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Outside of your RenEx line this neck and shoulder machine is one of my favorites at Overload.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 9, 2012 at 12:52 pm

No question! and get this Bobby….we know how to make it waaaaaaaaaay better 🙂


avatar Blain December 10, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Why continue to banter with the overweight Chuck Norris? Just thought this thread needed a laugh. Keep up the good work sir.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 10, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Hey Blain,

I hear ya, I just want to get onto the next article.


avatar Paul Marsland December 10, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Interesting article and very thought provoking as usual …let me just state this in regards to the renex philosophy…which I’m only now beginning to fully understand its direction..!

“You cannot stop and idea which time has come..”

Think it says it all really..



avatar Joshua Trentine December 10, 2012 at 9:20 pm


Thanks for the support!

I’m curious to hear more about your training.

…and you are right there is no stopping this info…..


avatar Joshua Trentine December 4, 2012 at 9:51 pm

What is the push-up question?


avatar Fred Hahn December 5, 2012 at 9:20 am

Set your timer. Do a set of what you consider to be perfect slow push ups. When you reach failure, stop the timer. Record the time.

Rest for however long you need to to feel recovered.

Set your timer. Now do a set of fast push ups – 1/1 or so. When you reach failure, stop the timer and record the time.

Which set lasted longer? You betcha – the slow set – by a long shot.

Now, if the fast reps were unloading the muscles how come failure was reached sooner? If the fast push ups were easier, less difficult, an inferior stimulus, etc., the fast set should have taken LONGER than the slow set.

In order to do a faster push up, you have to work the muscles HARDER – more intensely than doing a slow push up.

The reason why some people can’t do a slow push up but CAN do a fast one is because they are forcing their muscles to contract HARDER.

There you go. Now, apply this to your training.


avatar Joe A December 5, 2012 at 11:00 am


This example doesn’t indicate what you suggest. Rep cadence does not dictate muscular effort, nor does it indicate muscular effort. As an example, using your right arm, fully extended and unloaded. Flex the elbow fully, taking 10 seconds to do so, using only the amount of effort needed to facilitate the action. Return the limb to the fully extended position and *this time* begin by contracting your biceps as fully as possible in the extended position and maintain the fullest possible contraction of the biceps throught the entirety of the ROM as you flex the elbow in the same ten seconds.

Note the difference. Both actions would appear identical externally (as the limb reduced the angle at the elbow within an equal amount of time)…however, the muscular effort during the action was vastly different. Effort is volitional…a person can contract as hard (or not) as they choose, independent of cadence. You example goes back to your misunderstanding…you can’t attenpt to replicate an expression and cause the intent. Its backwards. Rather, you attempt to replicate intent and the expression is caused. Your focus on the 10/10, the “form” the facial expressions, etc. reveal your comprehension of the matter.

Going back to your push up challenge…extend it further. After each scenario, wait 30 seconds and attempt to repeat the performance. If the attempts were honest, I bet you can just about repeat the same amount of reps as the first fast set…but probably don’t even get one rep on the second slow…wonder why?


avatar Nathan Block December 5, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Fred Hahn wrote,
“The reason why some people can’t do a slow push up but CAN do a fast one is because they are forcing their muscles to contract HARDER. ”

The reason is that they are way too weak to perform a slow push-up.


avatar Al Coleman December 5, 2012 at 11:31 am


Good point.

I’ve done this experiment Fred. It’s been put out there before. I only have to contract harder with the faster reps once fatigue sets in and I’m trying to prevent the rate from slowing down. I get to this point quicker if I volition-ally contract harder from the get go and as a result it slows rep down. Not the intention, but it happens anyway.

As Joe suggested, every time I’ve done this experiment there is still gas left in the tank after the faster set.



avatar Joshua Trentine December 3, 2012 at 3:14 pm


“If you lift and lower a weight load with great effort, there is no cheating.”,

This is TOTAL nonsense…..depends where you direct the effort, how you couple, how you get-set, and how gradually you upload….well, and how you breath and how well you stay couple locked and how well you comprehend the “Real Objective”

How do you run a specialty shop and charge high-dollar for regular gym crap?

LOL..AND AHHHHHHHH…..What Push-Up challenge is that? Whatever it is you need to quit before this gets any worse


avatar Joshua Trentine December 3, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Research SMH….Any viewer….. trainer or not can tell you which is better, please put that Neck& shld video next to mine…..i can show you all day where you take the easy way out and let the muscle recover….and how your compromise ANY opportunity to progress….

My other question: If all of this stuff doesn’t matter then what does!!!!


avatar Fred Hahn December 3, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Just answer the question. Try and stay calm and collected. Why is what I said nonsense?

What I said was, none of you at RenX have any research to indicate that your system produces superior outcomes ITO muscular growth.

I find it interesting and somewhat amusing that you seem blind to the fact that legions of people have built enormous amounts of muscle using methods and techniques you claim are worthless.


avatar Fred Hahn December 5, 2012 at 1:05 pm

“How do you run a specialty shop and charge high-dollar for regular gym crap?”

See Josh? You just can’t be civil.

But to answer: We don’t do regular gym crap. We also don’t subtract a repetition or halve their weight because a client held her breath for a second and/or raised her cheek bones up an inch in a grimace while working really hard.


avatar Al Coleman December 3, 2012 at 6:13 pm

What question?

I asked you if you actually think that using equipment that is designed to enhance loading improves an exercise if you resort to behaviors that are somewhat necessary on conventional equipment?

Again, does your exercise BENEFIT from your inter-set behavior?


avatar Gus Diamantopoulos December 3, 2012 at 10:57 pm


Have you ever had the experience of looking intently for something and never finding it only to be surprised when a someone else quickly and easily finds what you were looking for? The object was always there but you were just not seeing it. It could be because you weren’t focusing on the task, or that you were distracted, or it could be that you didn’t quite sensitize yourself to the scope of vision necessary to properly attend to the task.

Within the parameters of RenEx and SS, many people were looking but never quite found what they were hoping for. What we have been saying with our articles and blogs is that there were layered nuances to the protocol that were never properly distinguished nor adequately investigated and that this led to false conclusions.

Yes, as hard as it may be to believe, the levels of complexity with RenEx belie it’s apparent straightforwardness. The terms ‘slow’, ‘load’, ‘time’, ‘reps’, and in fact all of what comprises the lexicon of our community have never been properly articulated. Until now.

And in case it still has not been made clear after countless dissertations and articles: RenEx can only exist when you have three elements present: environment, protocol, and equipment.

We are obviously not daft nor are we unaware of the fact that the rest of the world exercises using every cockamamie technique imaginable and that many astounding physiques have been built on what many would call horrific form.

The point is that we are attempting to continually improve the answer to the question “how little exercise do i require?” With this in mind, most of what we have seen performed under the auspices of SuperSlow has been sorely lacking and inconsistent with our understanding.

You asked about results? Josh has entered his whole staff in bodybuilding competitions with excellent results …this from people who had never engaged the sport before.

But this too is academic because exercise isn’t just about physique aesthetics but also health and living a pain-free life. More clients care about that than anything else.

While you can weight train six ways to sunday using any method you desire for making a hot body, RenEx simply has more refinements, effects, and requirements.

While all this hair-splitting may seem inordinately fastidious, the payoff is a level of feeling, progression, and response to exercise that we (all at RenEx) are convinced is worth it.

If an alien beamed down into the average woman’s shoe department it would be hell bent to discern the difference between the multitudes of footwear available. But ask any woman the difference between a Christian Louboutin pump and a sensible walking shoe and you’ll get the picture really quickly that a shoe is not just a shoe, at all.

We choose to not only see the differences in what we are doing but to deepen our understanding and continually seek the subtleties.



avatar Chris December 4, 2012 at 12:18 pm


Ive not read everything here in great depth, but i still cannot recall Josh or any member of Ren X, actually saying other methods were worthless.
They may state there protocol is more efficient, safer, will give longevity , and ultimately more result producing, but they have not dis-missed other methods. How could they. Criticized yes, dis-missed, – no


avatar Joshua Trentine December 3, 2012 at 11:08 pm

I do not have the words to explain how proud I am to say this man is a member of RenEx and a close friend…..just brilliant.

There nothing more to be said and no argument to be had.


avatar Ben Tucker December 4, 2012 at 12:01 pm

“We are obviously not daft nor are we unaware of the fact that the rest of the world exercises using every cockamamie technique imaginable and that many astounding physiques have been built on what many would call horrific form.”

Thank you for weighing in, and especially on this point.

Josh is right… That’s a wrap.


avatar Fred Hahn December 4, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Understood Gus. But it is the WAY Josh and others present the information, often ridiculing others personally, that is the main issue.

What you seem to be unaware of is that you RenX folks have created your own fake exercise language – like Vulcan. It isn’t a real language, just made up sounds that sound like a language. And that’s fine. But don’t pretend that you know better – or accuse people like me of “not getting it.” That’s absurd.

If pictures could be posted here I’d show you the difference between my strict SS build and the build I have now. Big difference. All at 51 years old.


avatar Craig December 6, 2012 at 8:26 am

“RenEx can only exist when you have three elements present: environment, protocol, and equipment.”

So for most people, exercising the RenEx way is sort of a utopian fantasy, owing to the fact that there are so few places that actually have the gear…

I suppose that the best most of us can do is to take the principles being offered, and try to adapt them to ones own circumstances. It then becomes another N=1 experiment, and each can judge for themself how well it works.

I suppose it may also be the case that the guidelines that were developed for RenEx machines (e.g., the 10-10 cadence) might not be the best choice for other circumstances? After all, you at RenEx have focused your efforts on optimizing the package you offer, and certainly haven’t put as much effort into optimizing protocols for any other kind of equipment.

At this point, though, I wonder if the window of acceptable exercise behavior and performance for RenEx style exercise isn’t so narrow that the approach is almost certain to yield disappointing results for anyone not having all three elements present?


avatar Joshua Trentine December 4, 2012 at 12:56 pm


No response…


avatar Joshua Trentine December 4, 2012 at 1:21 pm


You just ignored the post from Gus? and question from Al? You get no more attention until you respect their time.



avatar gus diamantopoulos December 4, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Again, Fred, this is the crux of this whole debate.

What you were doing would never produce results because it was not results-producing. It is why Josh and I joined forces because we were doing things that other instructors were never doing and we couldn’t understand why. We stumbled on to certain details in our instruction and understanding of protocol that has culminated in what is now being called RenEx. It is but one degree away from the original SS and this is why 99% of the original manual remains intact.

Of course we are creating a new language! this is our prime directive; to re-define exercise and its fundamental and derivative aspects. It’s not a race to claim superiority nor are we saying that it’s been a one-man show. The point is not to obfuscate the fact that this has been a process of tremendous networking through history and people.

But we are describing something different than what was interpreted in the late 90s. And we are creating language.

What would Benjamin Franklin have thought of the words “computer” or “radio”….How would Darwin have interpreted the word “genome”, a term not coined until 30 or 40 years after his death?

Language evolves to re-define concepts and ideas by those who attempt to change things. In fact, everything evolves; music, art, science, and dare I say, exercise.

We do know better: We know our philosophy better, we know our purpose better, we build machines better, and we work out better than ever before.



avatar Joshua Trentine December 6, 2012 at 11:15 am

Posting for Gus


Alas, you are correct. At this stage of the development of RenEx, principles are the best we can offer to most people. I personally believe that the principles may be all that are minimally needed for results but our hope is to progressively broaden our reach with actual protocol as more studios become furnished with our equipment.

There are so many conveniences and technologies in recent history that were originally available to a select few but later grew to become available to many.

Realize that even the ubiquitous Internet originated as a clandestine communication strategy for military purposes. It began as a tool that could only be accessed by a select few only to eventually become the everyday juggernaut that it is today….

In my mind, Renex technology is to strength exercise what the word processor was to typing. A typewriter is a fine instrument for creating written text and since its invention in the 1860s typewriters were the indispensable choice for writers and for writing. However, the typewriter is clearly an antiquated device in comparison to any computer.

Note that the features of the typewriter and the elements of typing remain consistent on modern physical as well as virtual keyboards (on computers, handhelds, and tablets). We still have keys or characters that we type and the keyboard layout is the same but the computer offers a greater level of efficiency and effectiveness, with fewer resources wasted and with more control available to the writer.

RenEx too retains the elements and lexicon of strength exercise (resistance, sets, reps, etc) but offers similar improvements in efficiency and effectiveness. Good ole push-ups and chin-ups are perfectly fine for general purpose strength exercise; we just have a technology with Renex that offers some greater controls and the ability to do more (better inroading, safer etc).

We just have to get more strength enthusiasts off the ole typewriter and onto a Renex ventral torso!



avatar Ed M. December 6, 2012 at 1:06 pm


“I suppose that the best most of us can do is to take the principles being offered, and try to adapt them to ones own circumstances. It then becomes another N=1 experiment, and each can judge for themself how well it works.”
What you have said is correct for us. And accepting that is neither futile nor depressing. Our experience at RenEx is exciting despite the distance traveled. The we get back home and for a week or two we accept the crappy equipment but still have great workouts and we progress. I don’t quite know how we would have done this without the actual experience.

The second part of your comment, re: N=1 is also true. The demands for proof we read here and elsewhere-actually they are more like threats -can only be satisfied in non-experimental ways. So single subject design repeated thousands of times by people paying careful attention is the best we are going to have.

We have asked for and received substantial advice from the RenEx crew on how to adapt to vastly inferior equipment.


avatar Nathan Block December 6, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Gus should be the Prime Minister of Greece!


avatar Joshua Trentine December 7, 2012 at 4:54 pm


Gus has my vote 🙂


avatar Joshua Trentine December 5, 2012 at 3:53 pm


So just curious, I’m sure you charge high dollar….what is it for? What is important?


avatar Fred Hahn December 5, 2012 at 5:22 pm

I charge the going rate in NYC for personal training. I don’t understand “high dollar.”

What is important is results. Fat loss is 99% of people’s goal. This is best achieved via a low carb/sugar, high fat, adequate protein eating plan. Strength training provides the benefits it provides which you know already.

Why do you ask? Do you not know this?


avatar Joshua Trentine December 5, 2012 at 7:49 pm


Just so I’m clear are you asking me what I know about fat loss?

Your statement about it above is not accurate BTW.



avatar Joshua Trentine December 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Trust me they’ll get to you…..but do you really want to talk about “heavy loads”?….just FYI it’s the form that allows you to progress to them.

I’m so shocked you know zilch about this stuff.

Layman can easily recognize all of this….


avatar Joshua Trentine December 4, 2012 at 12:39 am

I have no question that you cannot identify “perfect SS form”.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 4, 2012 at 12:45 am

Bad advice with no basis….3 reps is a minute to 1:10 four reps is 1:20 to 1:30….for most people under 4 reps is not going to cut it on many levels. I rarely have performed any set under 4 reps….guide on most exercises 4 to 6.

Fred you have no standard for “raising the weight”…you are just pulling people away from the real objective.


avatar Fred Hahn December 4, 2012 at 7:31 am

Josh once again you shift the goal posts away from the main point which is, what you consider “perfect” reps is in no way required in order to produce excellent results in minimum time within the confines of safety. You and others like you piddle around with minutiae that in my view, may keep people from the results they desire.

Way back when we were all using and praising that sloppy, laughable Nautilus protocol, (which produced some pretty damn good results as I recall), set times lasted between 48 and 70 seconds. 2/4 X 8-12 reps.

4 reps cuts the mustard just fine. Sometimes I will only get 2-3 reps. And amazingly, I keep getting stronger here and there. The total # of reps does not matter. What matters is a high level of effort. “Perfect form,” whatever that is really, hasn’t a thing to do with results. And you know it. Take a look at any number of YT videos and you can see (like in the Tom Platz leg extension video) that crappy form produces results. Not that I wouldn’t slow Platz down and say a few other things of course.

Criticism is fine. But the petty way some of you ridicule others, such as myself, is petty – and telling.


avatar Nathan Block December 4, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Why the hell are some people drawn to terrible form?Why are they constantly pointing at forms of some total freaks who would have built great bodies regardless of the method used?Why are they stuck on Mike Mentzer when there already is a better way available?Why the hell they can NOT make the next logical step towards RenX?Do we need Zigmund Freud to answer those questions?


avatar Joshua Trentine December 4, 2012 at 1:17 pm


Blending paradigms again….I covered this in my very first response to you.

Like I said regular HVT type training is way better than what you are doing. What you are doing with single set training and off loading with little to no inroad will never cut it….bottom line, your application doesn’t match your equipment or even your bastard version of Ken’s protocol.

The problem with some of the old SuperSlow guys is they didn’t know how to train before Superslow, they never learned the fundamentals of barbells and cables….these people who won’t vocationally connect with their muscles won’t get anything from any method.(we have a nice article on this coming out)

The same people who say SuperSlow doesn’t work also found that nothing else worked…I’ve made gains with many styles of training as discussed in my bodybuilding talk, but the RenEx approach is most efficient and sustainable for me.

Any method revolves around how well you communicate with your muscles.


avatar Ben Tucker December 4, 2012 at 2:23 pm


Yeahhhh… Seems like Platz’ “crappy form” produced some great results. Even sustainable ones like in this vid: Tom & Lee

Platz is 57 and Dr. Doug McGuff is 50 something and McGuff looks so much better by remaining natural.


avatar Fred Hahn December 4, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Why is RenX better? Where are the case studies of better results from using RenX? I’d like to see these. All I’ve seen/read thus far from some RenX folks is “My way is better than your way.” Well, is it? How are you judging this? Because you won’t count a rep if a clients makes a face when exercising? Because you’ll subtract a rep or halve their weight load because they fidgeted? This make your system better?

Are you building more muscle on the client in the same or less time? If you are, then I’d agree your way is better. If not, then it’s not. Safety concerns are very important but some of the things you fellows adhere to is serious overkill. Anyhow, do what you want of course.


avatar Ben Tucker December 4, 2012 at 2:32 pm

It’s obvious. People always resist change or the possibility of a better mouse trap. It shakes their faith.

Aeronautical engineers never stop refining or developing better jets, why should exercise be any different?


avatar Al Coleman December 4, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Ok guys,

This is nonsense and I will make the last statement that I will make on this. Any productive comments in relation to the article will be approved. Anything that clearly states that you aren’t understanding the message will not. Only questions will be answered. Josh, Gus, and myself train people for a living and are concerned with informing others of the details of this protocol. The videos that are currently in question are supposed to be an example of how we feel our message has been misinterpreted. No more personal comments. This blog won’t turn into a cesspool like the rest of the forums out there.

What exactly is it that we are claiming that others aren’t getting? This: Stoic behavior is NOT the point! Concentrating on minutia in order to achieve some idyllic utopia of “perfect form” is NOT the point! Those objectives are ridiculous and are misguided. Of course that would hold back someones effort.

Rather look at it like this; those things that are being described as minutia are external manifestations of HOW one is directing their effort. There are degrees and variances of effort. To think otherwise is deluded. To state it differently, your external expression during an exercise is a feedback tool(and a crude one at that).

Our assertion is that if you are TRULY producing a maximal and appropriately guided effort then the “minutia” will minimize itself. You won’t have to control it as your neurology won’t see a reason to go there. Stoicism is a by-product, not an intention. Minor discrepancies are clues that the load is somehow sprawling. Again, this is a reflective view rather than a directive view.

Here is a scenario: a subject chooses a given load and moves it a certain speed for certain number of excursions. Let’s say that the perception of effort of this bout was really high for this subject’s current capacity, yet involved all sorts of bracing and wrestling in order to complete. The subject is told that they were doing this and then realized that instead of trying to fatigue themselves and make the effort as great as it could be for the intended structures, they were externally focused on moving a heavy load assuming that the load would do much of the work for them.

During their next bout they instead TRY to use the resistance source to fatigue themselves as rapidly. In order to do this they realize that they MUST contract harder with the TARGETED musculature. As a result the intended structures produce a greater amount of effort because to share the responsibility by bracing and manhandling the weight would reduce the contractile intensity of the targeted structures and allow for enough respite of those structures that completion of the rep becomes more likely. This would work in the opposite direction of keeping the effort high and fatiguing themselves rapidly, so the brain ops not to share the work.

The difference in these two scenarios is cognitive. I think everyone would agree that the later scenario would result in a greater level of effort. Correct? But why was the second scenario higher in effort? Because it was more directed and the subject made appropriate use of the feedback available to them. As a result there was less of a negative behavioral manifestation.

Understand that this example is truncated and assumes a lot on the educational side of things.

So why might one misinterpret our message as caring only about the seemingly meaningless things? Simple, its patchwork. We must start from somewhere with the novice and we must point out the things that are reflective of a misdirected cognitive effort. That’s called education. The instructor is a feedback device. Once the problem is pointed out, the subject will then artificially restrain that behavior so that they can see how it is impacting their efforts. They “fake ’till you make” for a short period. Once they learn to streamline their intention they won’t need to focus on the little things as they won’t have the opportunity to arise.

Improved feedback tools will reduce the need for including patchwork. With appropriate feedback a subject has a clearer mirror of their effort and the right thing will do itself. There are different sources of feedback. Equipment is one. Load is one. The instruction is another. The list can go on, but the message is that as feedback improves the reliance upon cruder forms of it will fade into the background and with it so will the need to focus on “minutia”.

A perfect example of this is TSC protocol with feedback. I understand that some of you may bring into question the utility and efficacy of this protocol, but lets put that aside for a moment so that I may clarify my point.

What feedback during a TSC set shows us is that there is an inverse relationship at some point between effort and force. With every passing second in an exercise fatigue threatens the ability to keep force at a certain level. The effort required to prevent a drop in force increases the entire duration of the set if the load chosen is correctly. Ironically this increase in effort speeds up fatigue and threatens force production yet more. Effort is highest in the set as the subject is exerting as hard as possible while force is rapidly dropping. What a load cell shows us is that behaviors that are expressed in “trying to move a weight at all cost” will create a great variance in force and thus will thwart fatigue. I’ve seen subjects produce incredibly high degrees of force without enough consistency in force production to efficiently fatigue the subject. They are producing what they perceive as a high degree of effort yet can some how avoid a true level of fatigue. Instead the just give up when they get tired. In essence what they are doing is avoiding fatigue. These are subjects who look similar dynamically to what Fred’s videos look like. This isn’t meant to be an insult, its meant to be instructive.

Now here’s the important point; when we get the target force correct and the subject begins to learn how to increase their effort with EVERY NANO SECOND in order to prevent force from escaping, all of the so called “minutia” goes away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why is this? We aren’t even instructing away discrepancies. They CAN’T squirm. They CAN”T brace. They CAN’T hold their breath. Not if they are going to prevent force from escaping they can’t. It’s one or the other. You can’t have it both ways. Stoic behavior becomes the default mechanism. when the feedback is correct. This isn’t my opinion.

What we are trying to relay here is that those criticisms of the SuperSlow protocol from former practitioners SEEM to be accusing it on the basis of being primarily concerned with the artificial constraining of the minutia. This isn’t the case(as described in the example above). Again, the small things are simply reflective in the long run just as the metrics are. The metrics aren’t the point, they are a GUIDE. The details of the protocol are forms of feedback but they aren’t THE point.

This is my current stance and I’m willing to change it in the face of contrary evidence. Do understand that we are championing progress based on high levels of effort. Apparently the disagreement here is that we are NOT advocating that. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m not advocating minor details at the expense of effort, rather minor details tell me how clean that effort is and where the subject is on the cognitive scale. Its my job to meet the subject where they are. If you seriously want to argue evidence, then what you are arguing is that to some degree effort is irrelevant. My understanding of the scientific literature is that effort is extremely relevant.

From here on out I will only answer QUESTIONS relevant to the article.




avatar John Tatore December 4, 2012 at 4:28 pm


One last question on what you said …. do you find there are clients you train or started training (still in the early stages) that don’t get it or will not get it. It being … enough consistency in force production to efficiently fatigue the subject.

Because if you get get everybody to understand and employ this … it’s the biggest thing to come out of all of this.



avatar ad ligtvoet December 6, 2012 at 10:58 am

Hi Al,
After my todays workout I did,as always the last months,give me a lesson in behaviour.That is TSC with the purpose to experience how I behave at failure.This has given me clues that I could do better.Today ,after finally understanding the whole, I concentrated just on the effort the complete duration and I experienced indeed what you describe above.The exercise was a bicepscurl midrange position with the bar of a smithmachine hooked.The effort was buil up gradually over 40 seconds and then full out.The decrease in force began fast and I experienced that breathing ,relaxed expression etc. indeed without thinking about it.The only disturbance was that my legs started to shake and my calves muscles contracted hard(I guess because of doing the exercise standing and not as a try to brace gor more force).I fatigued to the point that my hands turned to a pronated position and the flexion reduced to about 45 dgr.From there I (conciously)hold my breath to see what effect this had.Well I tensed my whole upper body in a attempt to move the bar up ,but not by the force of the biceps.This was a real eye opener.I hung to long in the ‘fake till you make fase’ and this has lead to me excerting more effort to late in a set.Despite reaching failure and at that point keep exerting maximal,somehow it felt as something was still in the tank(except with the legpress).Positive point is that I have now a good feel for all my machines so I know how to keep tension on the muscles. So from now I focus on just that and let the rest be what it is ,probably what it should be.The difficulty is ofcourse that I have no one competent supervising me so there has always be the tendency to self control and that is disturbing.Will work on it.Thanks for the discription above.


avatar Al Coleman December 4, 2012 at 4:39 pm


Yes and no. The gap is much closer now. What I have seen is that seemingly “impossible” subjects who never appeared to “get it” before, now do. Those who don’t won’t because they don’t want to. I don’t feel I have anyone who doesn’t understand, just those who go, “I’m happy with how hard I’m working and I refuse to work harder.” When they do choose to work harder it shows. When they don’t it shows.



avatar Al Coleman December 4, 2012 at 5:21 pm


I should add that I was speaking in averages. There obviously are some folks that due to reasons outside their control won’t “get it”.

It is incredible though what people are capable of. I have one client who has severe neurological issues(tourettes) and claustrophobia. He would twitch uncontrollably some days during most of his dynamic exercise and would come nowhere close to fatiguing deeply. When I began to incorporate TSC he was incredibly resistant and he initially twitched more (imagine striking a steel wall with an aluminum baseball bat, the wall doesn’t move and the reverb down through the implement and the striker is severe). This is a person who had been training for two years prior mind you. Within a month or so he was able to steady out his force production and he now perceptibly exhausts himself with little to no twitching during the exercise. He just got back from Paris where he pulled around heavy camera equipment and commented that for the first time in years he wasn’t exhausted. I don’t think he would have gotten to that place without feedback.



avatar JoshuaTrentine December 4, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Good question…


avatar Joe A December 4, 2012 at 2:31 pm


The points you bring up here are critical to the discussion. I truly believe that the disconnect may not an intellectual one (at least it doesn’t start that way). I think many, many people who are simply unable to physically express the information they accumulate on the subject of exercise.

I, honestly, don’t believe the problems in Fred’s videos are unpercievable to anyone’s eye…I don’t even believe that Fred really approves of his own behavior. Intellectually, I think he understands the ramifications of his behavior. The problem may simply be, he is unable to correct it…not for a lack of trying though.

Many people simply lack the ability to physically express their intellectual intentions. Example: I want to sing, I know the tune, I hear it in my head…I am simply unable to translate the intention audibly. Exercise is no different. Some people are simply unable to control their bodies and direct their intentions appropriately. As an instructor, the thought is to reduce the load, but 9 times out of 10 it doesn’t change anything. There is interference in the required line of communication between mind and muscle. Most people who train independently attempt to correct this problem with more load. They pile on weight until they feel the effects of exercise (strain) and call it working hard…it is not. They come to believe that ‘load’ is the key to the stimulus…it is not. They rationalize their results as genetic limitations…they are not. They are led to making comical conclusions, such as looking at the LBM of the legions of people exercising haphazardly to justify the non-need for discipline (mentally and physically).

The ironic thing about this discussion is all the minutia, all the solutions (whether in equipment, feedback, protocol) are FOR THESE PEOPLE…in order to allow for an exercise experience that rivals someone like yourself (who could achieve an exercise effect on any equipment, in the absence of a strict protocol). It is all about facilitating a process of physical expression that most likely would never occur in the absence of the attention to these very details.

The unfortunate thing is one’s experience can cloud their judgement…do something wrong long enough and you can no longer discern that which is right. Compound the problem by attaching one’s livlihhod to their experience and they create a position from which it is hard to waver. Intelligent people adamantly defending the indefensible…


avatar Ben Tucker December 4, 2012 at 2:40 pm

“The same people who say SuperSlow doesn’t work also found that nothing else worked…I’ve made gains with many styles of training as discussed in my bodybuilding talk, but the RenEx approach is most efficient and sustainable for me.”

I have to second this. I’ve had good gains and development on conventional equipment implementing SS and I’m left thinking, “How much better could it be if the equipment just got out of my way?”


avatar JoshuaTrentine December 4, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Great post!


avatar Fred Hahn December 4, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Untrue – we ALL thought Nautilus worked and worked well. We were hoping for something better in SS. But it did not deliver. Lowering my weights by 30-40% and keeping my face from grimacing did NOT build me any muscle.


avatar Al Coleman December 4, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Again-keeping your face relaxed is a by product of appropriately directed effort. Your face tensing means you are reserving effort somehow.


avatar Fred Hahn December 5, 2012 at 9:14 am

“Again-keeping your face relaxed is a by product of appropriately directed effort. Your face tensing means you are reserving effort somehow.”

Al I whole heartily disagree. Tensing your face, in many instances, actually HELPS contract the target muscles to a greater degree. This keep your face relaxed hypothesis is easily knocked to the pavement by getting in an exercise machine and training. In trying to keep your face totally relaxed and calm, it sends the same signals to the working muscles. I have observed this MANY times with clients. They are approaching failure. There face begins to tense. I tell them to please relax their jaw, let their cheeks hang heavy and other such Super Slow sayings and the rep stops cold. When I shut my trap and let them work hard, they finish that rep and more. Forget the SS dogma and WATCH and FEEL the difference between the two. Get out of your SS head for a single training session and try it.


avatar Al Coleman December 5, 2012 at 10:31 am


I wholeheartedly disagree, but not for the reason you mention. I do train in machines. I DON’T try to keep my face relaxed. It relaxes because it gets in the way of contracting harder.

I still think you aren’t quite understanding WHAT is contracting harder. I don’t consider this SS dogma. It’s experience. I promise you that if you pushed isometrically into an insurmountable load that is giving an lbf reading and brace your body and tense your face on purpose, you’ll be able to spike force pretty high BUT it will plummet IMMEDIATELY. If instead you build force gradually you’ll be able to get the level of force even higher( it will take much longer) but at some point extraneous tension and val salva will need to get out of the way or else your level of force will plummet again. In other words IF you are going to be able to sustain a given level of force production past about 10 seconds the bracing will get in your way. This is neurology and I’ve observed it more times than I can count. To borrow a friends saying, “flying under the radar” is required to prevent your neurology from shutting things down. There is a reason this response kicks in when trying to move a maximal load once. Your brain gets the message to move the load at all cost. If the message sent is instead “contract the target muscles HARDER to induce more fatigue”, then this response is less likely to kick in.

I promise you that if I set you up against feedback and asked you to bear down and “gut it out” what we’d both see is a precipitous drop in force BEFORE you could increase it again. The drop disengages you briefly and as a result you get enough respite to kick in the other structures to help spike force again, BUT it will drop immediately after peaking because the structures responsible for sustaining force production were NOT the only ones responsible for spiking force. If force is kept relatively steady, you disallow any drop in force, and THEN try to increase your effort I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that your breathing will speed up on its own, your face will not tense past what it was previously, and you’ll feel an increase in swelling and contraction intensity in the targeted structures. This isn’t to say that you’ll be completely stoic, but you certainly won’t start looking worse.

The same goes for dynamic movement, it is just more difficult to observe this phenomenon because you are dealing with more variables. A different measurement is needed, but you’d still see a wider level of variance by intentionally tensing everything in order to contract harder. If speed is slowing down and you are attempting to prevent it from slowing down with even so much as a nano second of lapse you will not be able to perform the behaviors associated with a ValSalva. Its just like sprinting.

I’ll agree to disagree with you.



avatar Gus Diamantopoulos December 5, 2012 at 11:00 am

Finishing the rep is not the objective. Finishing the musculature is.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 5, 2012 at 12:01 pm


This could not be more untrue….watch an elite 100m sprinter run….especially if you catch a video in slow-motion….his face, neck, and jaw remain completely relaxed, this allows him to keep from washing over neural input to the intended area.

Doug McGuff covers this all very nicely in Ultimate Exercise Bulltein #1 (which btw, we will be re-releasing in the new year.)

I’m shocked you’re not up on any of this stuff. You look like the homunculus when you train.



avatar Al Coleman December 5, 2012 at 11:27 am

Exactly Gus. When attempting to finish the musculature it behooves the subject not to extend the finish line by allowing effort to escape.


avatar Fred Hahn December 5, 2012 at 1:06 pm

By attempting to finish the rep, you work the muscles harder.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 5, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Nope…..not if you change the movement pattern in attempt to do so. Which you do on every rep….you mine as well just do a rep on one machine, get off and go start on another exercise.


avatar Gus Diamantopoulos December 5, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Fred: no no no no no no no no no!

by attempting to finish the rep you actively, purposefully and with all abandon obliterate the primary real objective and replace it with the assumed objective.

Do you want to know what really happens with you try to finish the rep? You succeed. You succeed because in the attempt to finish the rep, your whole lifeforce mobilizes to do exactly that…which in turn is exactly the OPPOSITE of what is required to fatigue the musculature. (of course there is some slight crossover but ultimately, the concepts divide and separate. At their purest expression and most advanced performance, they must separate). When you try to get the rep, your physiology with find the best way to continue to move the joints, the limbs, the weight, and the movement arm which is almost always in the least productive way to continue fatiguing the musculature.

TSC has shown us that this is verifiable and obvious.

Your failure to see the collision of these two philosophical premises in strength exercise is the reason we are at odds. It’s that simple.

At the end of my sets, I IMPROVE MY FORM.I get better at all the lessons of our protocol to do the rep with the highest level of attention which NECESSARILY ensures that i WILL NOT get the rep. I will however (in so doing) ensure that i maximally work my structures to the limit I desire as per the real objective of exercise.

This is pretty much unassailable. The better workout for the purpose of improving your body is the workout that follows the real objective. The better workout for getting more reps is workout that does what you describe.



avatar Fred Hahn December 5, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Gus – My good friend – you are stuck in the SS paradigm paralysis.

At the end of the day, assuming no one is getting hurt (and no one is at my gym), muscle gain and fat loss is the goal. The goal is NOT some deep inroad or the complete obliteration of your starting strength. If that were true, why would any of you perform compound movements?


avatar Donnie Hunt December 5, 2012 at 6:53 pm

This hits the nail on the head, Gus.


avatar Fred Hahn December 5, 2012 at 3:02 pm

What has elite sprinting to do with facial tension and weight lifting? Watch some elite tennis players serve and you will see and hear some serious anti-RenX behavior. I could give many other examples like this weak guy Dimas who grimaces and holds his breath:


avatar Fred Hahn December 5, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Or this guy who grimaces, holds his breath and initiates fast reps?


avatar Joshua Trentine December 5, 2012 at 3:45 pm


First off the sport of Weightlifting has little or nothing to do with sprinting.

You must be a little slow burnt…..ValSalva is great for trying to store up as much potential energy as possible and convert it to kinetic energy efficiently and effectively… a’la a tennis serve.

Sprinting has to do with building up to and expressing your highest effort then sustaining.

I’m shocked how little you know about this stuff….you should stop exposing yourself. This is really too easy, I’ve got better fights from layman.



avatar Joshua Trentine December 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Re:”Or this guy who grimaces, holds his breath and initiates fast reps?

Well this is different….he was tryin’ to get him a “goodie”.


avatar Fred Hahn December 5, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Josh – you just keep talkin’ – that’s what your good at.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 5, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Thank You! I’m forced to do a fair bit of talking, but you’ll note it’s all backed up by doing….


avatar Al Coleman December 6, 2012 at 1:45 pm

And as Gus said, we don’t consider peak torque a desirable outcome. It is interesting to look at for education on what not to do.


avatar Joshua Trentine December 7, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Parting words from Gus:

Fred: at this point, we should end our banter. We have expressed our position and we do not agree.




avatar Joshua Trentine December 7, 2012 at 5:23 pm


I’m going to close down this thread. I’m not sure if we exceeded capacity for this format , but the comments are going everywhere, except where they are supposed to. I’m thinking of reformatting the page.

Besides that I have a really good article that I want to release on Monday that we need to get to. Everyone is welcome to continue discussion on the next thread, but it must stay on topic.

As for Fred it doesn’t seem that he’ll be able to do that and his last post claims that he knows everything we’re doing with our “incomprehensible protocol”.

So which is it? He knows it all or he can’t understand it?….anyway, we need to move forward and I cannot consume anymore of these guy’s time responding. We have other writing we’re doing and of course training and the equipment manufacturing and prototyping.

I hope everyone enjoyed the fireworks….

Onward and upward….

Joshua Trentine


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