W.O.W. … I may have voided my warranty

65 comments written by Joshua Trentine

There has been an overwhelming response to the RENAISSANCE EXERCISE movement thus far. To date our day to day operations have revolved around supervising the workout sessions in our facilities. This is what pays our bills and this will always be the cornerstone of our business, the end user, the trainee, although we must allocate more and more of our time toward education and product development.

The expansions of this philosophy and the web site have already led to many new developments and interests. Just in the past week we have finalized a number of new design concepts in the new REN EX line of equipment. Concepts that we have wanted to incorporate for years have finally come to fruition in working prototypes.

We have been using the basic platform and movement patterns well over ten years, but we have been able to improve these designs in such a way that will make it easier for the user to work harder and systems that will provide better feedback and allow the trainer to control more variables.

I cannot wait to unveil the new machines; our anticipated date is June 2011.

In the meantime the show must go on.

There is more demand than ever to educate both the trainers and trainees.

This week alone we have had communications with interested parties from the USA, India, Qatar, Canada and Australia. And we were fortunate enough to be able to do a workshop for students here in Cleveland this weekend, one of our students coming all the way from Australia.

The reality is that the RENAISSANCE movement is gaining momentum and in many ways has gotten ahead of itself. We have yet to release neither our technical manual, nor one piece of equipment.

That being said there are still many interested parties familiar with the teachings of Ken Hutchins. Our headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio has full lines of the original SuperSlow Systems machines (built by Ken Hutchins), MedX Machines, DAVID machines, and various generations of retrofit Nautilus. This set up has allowed us to take students who do not have our technology and teach them to get the most out of their equipment. When the equipment line is complete those who purchase the equipment will be required to enroll in the Renaissance Exercise Academy in order to best represent this technology.  

A big part of the educational process revolves around the articles that we write for this site and the chapters in our manual.

The other medium by which we introduce people to the protocol is video demonstration.

Whether it is instructional DVDs or the videos posted on the site. The most common request that we get is to post MORE video support. I think people require social proof and one video may be worth more to some than any numbers of articles we can write…assuming they know what they are looking for, which leads me to the original intent of this Blog post. 

A number of people have asked me, personally, to produce a video during an actual workout. I’ve been somewhat hesitant to do so for a number of reasons:

1. The vast majority of my workouts are done on REN EX equipment which is not ready to be released just yet.

2. It is quite a distraction and interruption of the workout to put together video that is decent. A regular workout can take 15 minutes.  Placing cameras, considering angles and organizing the whole production of getting every exercise on film could take 45 minutes or more, pretty much killing the workout continuity. When you only workout between 4 and 8 times per month and when you only repeat an exact workout maybe 12 times or less per year you hate to lose even one session.

3. We have a number of real time demonstrations with Al Coleman training that are already posted.

 4. No matter what the videos are there is going to be criticism.

While the overwhelming majority of comments are positive I received critiques on camera angles, equipment choices, I have been told the weights are too light, that TUL’s are too high or too low, that the trainee’s clothes look shabby, I’ve been told that we are showing off like proud peacocks and worst of all I’ve been told that the subject doesn’t appear to be working hard. My point…unless you read the protocol and the articles and have experienced Ren Ex you might not know exactly what you are looking at.

Gus writes about the Al Coleman video:

“This is why so many of us are unable to communicate these ideas. You can’t really see what we’re saying.

You can’t see that what Al is demonstrating is the best performance of the protocol that exists so far in ANY video.

You can’t see that Al isn’t just parroting past performances of slow movement, but instead working at the highest level possible for the purpose of stimulating muscular growth without wasting precious resources.

You can’t see that the machine is delivering the resistance with no more friction than can be practically detected and that the resistance is so plentiful that most reasonably strong men would not remotely be able to replicate Al’s performance.

You can’t see that every rep that he performs requires his maximal concentration and effort. And you can’t see that the moment the rep commences, the machine delivers a magnitude of resistance to equal his greater strength in that position. Or that he has to perform “rate changes” to match the timing of the machine’s decrease of resistance as his muscles weaken along the range.

You can’t see that as he approaches the end of the range of motion the device is opening the gate to a level of muscular congestion that affords maximal input to his physiology without the need for output nor that such input affects his muscular capacity dramatically thus setting him up for yet harder work at the moment he continues the exercise. 

You can’t see that each moment that passes alters the feeling of each rep in such totality that none is his reps feel the same as any other. You can’t see that his only resource to combat this ever changing resistance delivery is to release more and more effort thus signaling the ultimate intensity necessary to challenge the final moments.

You can’t see that Al is genuinely dealing with the final moments of the incomplete rep by literally, not figuratively, demonstrating the primary objective; that he’s actually IMPROVING his form at precisely that moment at which every fiber of his being is screaming to break loose and just finish the rep. You can’t see that this attention to the primary objective of attending to his physiology annihilates the assumed objective of finding a way to move more, or greater, or longer.You also can’t see that Al does all of this while fighting a biting inner turmoil, masking it with a serene countenance. You can’t see that as the set proceeds, the rate of fatigue requires Al to deftly manipulate his perceived output to unleash all of his remaining strength to complete the last bits of range of motion despite the ever escalating difficulty in those formerly easier positions. 

You can’t see that performing in this way obviates the need to do additional work, to add variables, to “mix it up”, to extend the set. And you can’t see that such performance, outside of helping achieve the desired consequences and adaptations, actually FEELS so good in his physiology that it’s almost beyond description and certainly beyond that which is possible on any other equipment that we know of thus far.

Most of all you can’t see that it took Al months–no–YEARS to learn to do this at such a high level. You can’t see that one can’t just go home and “try it” any more than you can go home and play guitar like VanHalen because you saw Eddie play up close once.

Of course you can’t see these things. 

What can we say of demonstrations anyway? If they properly highlight intensity of effort, it’s at the expense of the cold, calm aggression needed to focus deeply. Intensity is usually indicated with grimaces, grunting, groaning, and representations of pain that all make for great photos and video but are really nothing more than histrionic nonsense….Intensity without purpose and without inroad. Or, and this could be worse, the more recent “huff and puff” demos of people simply hyperventilating and wasting energy by over-breathing too early and with grossly insufficient resistance.

There’s a reason why Hutchins was (from the beginning) against demonstrations: if they’re doing wrong, the observer subconsciously learns the bad habits. If they’re done right, the observer doesn’t even know what he’s seeing. 

It’s not anyone’s fault. This is the PROBLEM with this philosophy and protocol. It’s tough to get right. And no one is to blame. We aren’t indicting people’s intentions, ability, intelligence or ego. We’re saying that a very rigid system must be in place to help people experience what we are calling Renaissance Exercise.

There’s a time and place for a live demonstration. It’s when someone had an opportunity to try it our way under our supervision. This has been my experience, whenever someone who has had some background with all this comes to train with me: without fail they all say: “well, none of my workouts have ever felt like this before”.  And then i must ask “why? What have you been doing?”…. Invariably an answer is not necessary and everyone comes to this profound and resigned “get it” moment because everything just fits.

We understand there’s some frustration…. “you gotta have this that and the other to get it right”…or, “you did it, but  you didn’t quite get it right”….and, “you need a cold room, fans, machines with freaky cams, gotta be stoic, slow, squeeze, fast-but-slow, get the rep but then don’t”….it’s all just too much, i know. But then, if you DO get it just right, well it’s magic. And there ain’t a study on earth that’s necessary to prove that. 

Have you ever had a good tailor? i mean a really good “blow-your-fucking-mind-detail-oriented-tailor” ? If you have, then you know that such an artisan is rarer than rocking horse droppings. This kind of tailor can do things with fabric to merge with your body that few will ever replicate. Why? Most tailors learn the same basic things. So why is it that only very few can truly create the kind of garment that fits you truly well and consistently meet your expectations? As Al said, it’s all about the details…details that many others would find ridiculous and laughable. Yet for the discerning aficionado, such details are the mark of true excellence…

We get that most people don’t care that much about the details of a workout. (Most people don’t care that much about anything). We get that to go this far is “hair-splitting”. But we love this stuff….”

So, here I am contemplating posting another exercise demonstration.

Most people have been asking for more video of exercise done in real time. I’ve been wanting to, for a long time, contribute a real time workout to Doug McGuff’s Workout of the Week (W.O.W). Doug has been a huge influence for me and I can say that OVERLOAD FITNESS and RENAISSANCE EXERCISE may not exist if he doesn’t write the book ULTIMATE EXERCISE. It is for this reason that I would like to pay tribute with my own W.O.W, but I go into this demonstration with much hesitation.

I constantly have Ken Hutchins voice echoing in my head “If they’re done wrong, the observer subconsciously learns the bad habits. If they’re done right, the observer doesn’t even know what he’s seeing.”  I hear Gus’s voice with his comments above how it’s damn near impossible to get people to REALLY see what’s going on. Not to mention the fact that Gus worked in film production and his quality of video I can never produce.

I can already hear the plateheads and gym rats exclaiming that we’re not working hard in the videos and the weights are too light.

I can hear all of the members of the former SuperSlow Guild becoming enraged as I play to the orthodox exercise crowd.

And last but not least it doesn’t make sense to film my W.O.W  on  Ren EX  equipment because it doesn’t yet exist in the field and I’m not quite ready yet to fill any more orders for it than what we’re currently doing.

Perhaps I’m completely nuts for trying to take in so many considerations, but I did when filming my W.O.W.   

The intent was to maintain the standards set forth by Ken Hutchins.

It was to provide an example of how this would be done on readily available equipment.

It was to show that people who train this way can become VERY SRTONG, stronger than with any other method and it was done to give the impression that the absolute load moving up and down requires tremendous effort even though my appearance is not a tell that I’m producing such efforts.

Stoic, blank, expressionless look on my face.

Now in the process of doing this I may have voided the warranty on all of the equipment in use. I strongly recommend against doing this to your own machines. MedX machines have enough inherent weight stack problems and friction issues without piling weight horns and weights on top of their already defective weight stacks.

 My Workout of the Week (W.O.W) is as follows:

  1. Nautilus XP LOAD Deadlift starting weight 960#x4  (done more as a strength feat, not usually part of the workout and NOT recommended)
  2. MedX retrofit  Compound Row 650#x4
  3. MedX Chest Press 745#x3
  4. MedX Leg Press 1305#x6

Watch Below Now! 

{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Bert Vila March 29, 2011 at 1:20 pm

I hate to be so critical;but why is a plate loaded dead lift exercise being performed? Which muscle group is being most directly targeted?The distance from the fulcrum to where the resistance is at is creating a very long moment arm & is putting unusually high levels of stress on the back;creating a mechanically disadvantages position for that muscle group.I don’t see an isometric contraction in the contracted position.This might be because this is essentially “like a free weight movement” & there is not much tension directly on the targeted muscle in the fully contracted position.I also saw unloading between successive repetitions.Would enjoy in future seeing a Lep Press video as this is “the grandaddy of all exercises”.


avatar Joshua Trentine March 29, 2011 at 1:32 pm

calm down Bert… just playin’ to the orthodox strength crowd a bit.

note in the article :” Nautilus XP LOAD Deadlift starting weight 960#x4 (done more as a strength feat, not usually part of the workout and NOT recommended)”

I promise it won’t happen again 🙂



avatar Paul Marsland March 30, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Josh performed the deadlift after I offered a deadlift challenge to all the naysayers on a certain high intensity forum, that if training with slow reps didn’t build strength how was I able to perform deadlifts on a similar machine to Josh’s using 720lbs, Josh responded with a mighty 960lbs, due to an injured tendon in my left thumb I was unable to compete any further in this challenge, but I think we both proved a point to certain indivuals who shall remain nameless..




avatar Joshua Trentine March 30, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Fun challenge, but I was using it more as an excuse to antagonize the plateheads 🙂


avatar Paul Marsland March 31, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Twas indeed and you ain’t off the hook yet Mr Trentine… the immortal words of a certain T1……….”I’ll be back”……



avatar Joshua Trentine March 31, 2011 at 11:50 pm

oh…i know you will 🙂

avatar Scott Springston March 29, 2011 at 1:42 pm

So I’ve read this about 2 times and frankly all I’m seeing is loads of excuses for not making a video of you in an actual workout?? By the end of this I can’t tell if you are still going to post some video’s of you or not?? You keep talking about those who criticize your video’s. To hell with them. If Mentzer could put video’s up of himself there would be just as many detractors. I’ve posted at least 20 video’s of my own workouts for various reasons. People tear them apart but I have enough self confidence in myself so I don’t care. Making these video’s didn’t ruin my training. You want us to believe in your system yet you seem to be saying that your workouts are to valuable a time to be spent making videos? The lost workout would be to detrimental? How hard is it to have someone stand there running a video camera while you workout?? Come on even..You worry to damn much about the people who give you crap. Start focusing more on those of us who want to learn, who want to believe in you !!!


avatar Joshua Trentine March 29, 2011 at 1:51 pm

The videos posted in this blog are from an actual workout.

i have no idea what the complaint is .


avatar Scott Springston March 30, 2011 at 7:50 am

Joshua, I know somewhere you said the video’s of you were not from an actual workout!!


avatar Joshua Trentine March 30, 2011 at 11:07 pm

same sweatshirt, different video, look again.


avatar Joshua Trentine March 29, 2011 at 1:58 pm

LOL…..The very first 2 posts.

Exactly why i hesitate, exactly what this blog is about.


avatar Joshua Trentine March 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Getting back to business… note that in the Chest Press I have to ‘reach’ for the upper turnaround.

I’m glad I made this video because I need to pull the seat forward 1″ and bring the handles forward 1″.

That amount of weight compresses the upholstery and soft tissue, as you go up in load positioning on this machine becomes a moving target.


avatar Ed Miner March 29, 2011 at 2:31 pm


We look forward to our visit on Saturday.
As two “older” amateurs whose sole agenda is to get stronger (and to learn how), we both find videos limiting. Save for a bit of context and to be impressed by the effort expended we wouldn’t think or dare to try to apply change from videos alone. Anymore than we would want to take your gall bladder out after a video session of surgery. We are humble about our lack of knowledge which is where you, and the laying on of hands, comes in.
Love the site, videos or no.

Ed & Kristin


avatar Joshua Trentine March 29, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Ed & Kristin,

Even more so i think the video creates assumptions and causes people to gloss over the content in the articles.

I’m willing to do it both ways, but I’m still not sure it’s a good idea…


avatar Joshua Trentine March 30, 2011 at 11:08 pm

yes! confirmed for Saturday, I’m looking forward to meeting you guys


avatar Joshua Trentine March 31, 2011 at 11:52 pm

I made these adjustments in my most recent work out, the improved position allowed for a much better feel and greater load tolerance.


avatar Skyler Tanner March 29, 2011 at 3:02 pm

I watch the video and understand exactly what is going on but also understand that I could show a client of mine your video and they’ll go “what’s the big deal?”

Perhaps this is how Arthur was when he was on the pullover and the guy jumped in his face before Arthur flew off the machine and ripped into the guy…you just don’t know unless you know. Additionally you have to add words to describe what you are feeling and doing. Without gross visual descriptors people miss the point.

I describe it as an active meditation on technique refinement, on pure muscular contraction for a given exercise, an attempt to drop all that is worthless to increase the intensity to the specific muscles, an attempt to realize that the weight rising is merely an external cue for an internal event, not the event itself…you’ll talk yourself in circles and people miss the point.

You’re down to ~5 personal clients now, from what Tim Phillips tells me. They must all get it.



avatar Joshua Trentine March 30, 2011 at 11:13 pm

“you have to add words to describe what you are feeling and doing”

yes the video alone is worthless

“weight rising is merely an external cue for an internal event, not the event itself”

piece of cake to get people to comprehend, right? LOL.


avatar Manny Metauten March 29, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Mr. Trentine,

I for one thank you for posting this, if for no other reason than lighting a fire under my ass.

I think the ultimate solution will have to be a book, along with a companion DVD. Consider this my advance pre-order.

Calm, cold aggression.


avatar Joshua Trentine March 30, 2011 at 11:16 pm

“Calm, cold aggression”

I’m going to get that tatooed on my neck 🙂

Book is coimg SOON! video products need to be done at a high quality, will do in time


avatar Travis Weigand March 29, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Unfortunately, the best way to begin to understand this protocol is to experience it for yourself. Having Josh or one of his trainers take you through a session on the right equipment in the right environment will completely change your preconceived notions about what Ren Ex really is. The accompanying articles on this site make much more sense when one has this perspective.

What is happening internally to a person during a set is what really needs to be experienced. Film and words can only go so far in describing these events. So for those who have the time and resources to visit Josh, Ken, or Gus, I highly suggest you do. You’ll leave with an entirely new perspective.


avatar Joshua Trentine March 30, 2011 at 11:17 pm

i haven’t even figured out how to articulate all of this, at some point you have to experience it


avatar Brian Liebler March 29, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Josh, Why did you use the leg press at the end of your workout? I also would like to see the leg press video. Also, do you usually perform more reps in the leg press and if so, is there a reason for this?
Great work, thanks for this great site, Brian


avatar Joshua Trentine March 30, 2011 at 11:21 pm

New clients almost always start with it or have it early in the seesion, I prefer it this way and I have some programs written that way for me.

On this occasion I wanted to do that Deadlift demo too, that changed things.


avatar JOHN O'ROURKE March 30, 2011 at 8:49 am

Hi Josh.
Thank you for posting that.
Many people think that accelerating a heavy load goes straight to the larger muscle fibers, rather than saving them for the final reps.
Do you think that the constant tension and occlusion produced by this slow protocol shuts down the smaller fibers during the set leaving the larger fast twitch fibers to handle the load on their own thus causing a severe overload in a safe and efficient manner?
I posted a question regarding inroad and training on archaic equipment over on the Darden forum (johnbhoy), you haven’t forgotten have you?
As for the 960 pound deadlift I reckon I’d get about a third of that for those reps and people who know me think I am pretty strong. Kind of puts things in perspective.


avatar Joshua Trentine April 1, 2011 at 12:34 am

Hi John,

Motor units are generally recruited in order of smallest to largest (fewest fibers to most fibers) as contraction increases. These relationships have to do with effort and fatigue.

If the load is significant the fibers are recruited in a fixed order: slowest,slow, fast, fastest. These terms relate to rates of fatigue not speed of motion. So… yes, if load provides ‘constant tension’ then we are more likely to cycle through available fibers rather than recycling the small, slow-twitch oxidative (SO) muscle fibers.

Fatigue in the small slow-twitch muscle fibers in a low-oxygen environment causes increased motor unit recruitment, as well as inhibiting muscular contraction in those fibers due to lactic acid buildup. As fatigue sets in, the body is forced to recruit larger muscle fibers to maintain force output.

Mechanical Occlusion also effects chemical/hormonal environments.

I do believe that this protocol and the inroading of muscle results in optimization of the stimuli with regard to the mechanical, neurological, and chemical/hormonal. I can’t think of a safer or more efficient way to get these effects.


avatar Joshua Trentine April 1, 2011 at 12:37 am

No, I have not forgot about your other question.

I was actually thinking of writing a blog post on it, I will answer in short form here soon.


avatar Ed Hovanik March 30, 2011 at 9:43 am

Hi Josh

Really great article! I do understand and appreciate your reluctance to post a live workout video. And, as Skyler mentioned, some might look at it and say “What’s the big deal?”
Was the workshop for students last Saturday or is it this Saturday? I hadn’t heard anything about it until just now.
I think the Renaissance movement is poised to really explode upon the exercise scene and I think you guys are going about it correctly–slowly and methodically. The real key is in educating a brainwashed public. In order for you to fill their cup with knowledge of what proper exercise is and should be, you must first get them to (as Bruce Lee said) empty their own cup of the useless and unnecessary notions they are carrying. You guys are on the right path.

Ed H


avatar Joshua Trentine April 1, 2011 at 12:44 am


Thank you for the kind words, I do believe we’re on the right path, one that has been forged for many, many years. We have a team that can take this to the next level now.

Workshops were this past Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday again (the day before yesterday). We didn’t advertise it, this was a private environment for students who signed up for education.

I really like the Bruce Lee quote.

In order to really “get” this you have to let go of your other exercise paradigms, I just think of this as a different animal. You gotta empty the cup coming in.


avatar Scott Springston March 30, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Ok Joshua, maybe I was a little hasty in my negative judgment of these video’s? They appeared at first to be the same ones that you showed us earlier that I thought were more of a demonstration on form rather than an actual workout? If that is the case I apologize! I can see in these video’s that you are pushing it very hard. Don’t let my stupidity halt your production of more video’s, these are very helpfull!


avatar Joshua Trentine April 1, 2011 at 12:52 am

yup, like i said straight from a workout.

they don’t tell the whole story yet, but for the exercises i did select i gave my best effort.

in time i hope to shown better production quality and better equipment, for now I wanted to put something up to appease.


avatar Scott Springston April 1, 2011 at 6:27 am

Thanks man! I am really having trouble with this breathing thing. Even when I am just doing my rotar cuff high rep band stretches I find myself gritting my teeth and clenching my jaw if I don’t focus on my breathing and then my form falls to pieces?? Imagine what I’m doing when I use heavy weight?


avatar Joshua Trentine April 2, 2011 at 1:36 am

try to over breath where you are tempted to clench.

it might be harder if you’re not engaged in focused work.

explosive movements and free breathing don’t go together.

maybe listening to the most recent videos will help.

learning on free body moves might come in handy too.


avatar Karthik March 30, 2011 at 10:51 pm

The philosophy and putting it to practice are two completely different realms. In fact, I read and wanted to put the breathing technique as illustrated by Al in the recent article and found myself shortchanged. I was not prepared for what was gonna happen. I usually keep forcing out small breaths through my mouth and this time, i promised that i would just concentrate on breathing normally and squeeze at the weight stack rather than even attempt a remote valsalva to start the movement. Where I usually get 4 reps, i failed miserably on the second or third in most movements. Its looks easy and people could comment whats the big deal, but putting these finer points to practice not only makes the exercise harder, but more productive.

Further, distractions are some sort of an external factor that could hamper a proper workout. The last time, I tried to video my workout and to that another external factor in the way of a gym member commenting on my slow movements, did distract me and could have been the reason for a premature failure. The cons of working out in a commercial gym.


avatar Joshua Trentine April 1, 2011 at 12:59 am



i think people will enjoy your video.

I really like you on PULLDOWN as compared to Row, have you considered replacing that Row with Pulldown? so you can get your more effective exercise while fresh.


avatar Jonas Olofsson March 31, 2011 at 5:41 am

Joshua, fantastic! Your explanations combined with the videos really makes a difference to me. Beeing “a bit” perfectionist I can see why Ren-Ex training style is so attractive to me. Always strive for excellence, never stop with “good enough”.

Training havent been this fun for years after switching to more Ren-Ex like training.


avatar Joshua Trentine April 1, 2011 at 1:15 am


perfectionism we can relate to, i HATE when someone says “it should be good enough”

if you are aware of constraints why settle?

I’m thrilled that what we’ve done here is having an impact on your training. That makes my day !!! or my night… 2:15am here…better get some sleep…


avatar Dylan Y. April 1, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Is the raw diet allowing you to get less sleep? Something Aajonus mentionied once healthy and on raw.


avatar Joshua Trentine April 1, 2011 at 7:15 pm

No. I have not experienced a decrease in sleep requirements yet.


avatar Travis Weigand April 2, 2011 at 8:24 pm

I can second what Josh just said. I do feel more energetic during the day though, there is no denying that.

avatar Al Coleman March 31, 2011 at 6:44 am

Hey Karthik,

Thanks for putting up your video. You maintain excellent composure during your session.

Let me add this; try increasing your rate of speed slightly. It looks to me as though you are moving so slowly that there is a good deal of segmentation. Shoot for about an inch per second and force yourself to chase this rate as you begin to fatigue and bog down. MAKE sure to keep your turnarounds at the same rate of speed as the rest of the movement. The biggest mistake folks make with this protocol is providing a slight mechanical assist during the turns THEN slowing down. This is backwards. The turns should be controlled thus forcing you to push or pull harder during the body of the rep. Do this and you’ll soon realize that the breathing isn’t a technique, its a requirement.



avatar Al Coleman March 31, 2011 at 6:50 am


One more comment. I noticed that during most of your sets you were taking slightly longer during the negative than during the positive. This is quite natural, but a mistake as it will cause to rest and regain strengh as opposed to depleating it rapidly. Once again, focus on keeping your rate of speed consistent and that will iron itself out.



avatar Scott Springston March 31, 2011 at 8:00 am

i haven’t even figured out how to articulate all of this, at some point you have to experience it…

I appreciate the frankness of this statement. I’d much rather hear you say that you are finding REN-EX hard to explain over the internet than statements like it’s easy to gauge the difference between force exerted with the valsalva and that with out it. Non of this is easy. At least not for most of us. If it was we’d all pick it up pretty fast. I’m beginning to see that there is more to this Renaissance stuff that I just am not going to be able to understand from these internet conversations. I wish it were otherwise but I’m beginning to believe that if I’m ever going to understand this stuff I’m going to have to be there with you to even start to understand what you are trying to teach us.


avatar Joshua Trentine April 1, 2011 at 11:39 am

that’s how i learned this stuff.

i got in the car drove and to “the guy” with an empty cup.


avatar Paul Marsland March 31, 2011 at 1:27 pm

I videoed myself using my cell phone doing Nautilus Press with 220lbs for 3 slow reps and upon watching it back, it does indeed look no big deal, no huge weights hanging of the bar, no real grimacing or grunting (well maybe just a tiny bit..)…but let me tell you it was hard, bloody hard, the saying goes the camera doesn’t lie, well in the case of Ren-Ex…it does and then some!



avatar Joshua Trentine April 1, 2011 at 11:42 am

I ‘ve had about zero video response UNTIL people hear plates clang or see them hanging off the selectorized stack.

“Oh you must be working hard, you have to use olympic plates”

LOL…people are simple.


avatar Karthik March 31, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Thanks Al. Trying to keep the negative almost same during the beginning of the exercise will ensure a thorough inroad. I will put it to practice. The noise in the gym was unbearable. I am gonna request to mute the music for my 5-6 mins. Anyways there is little crowd on a Sunday and most of them are glued to the TV screens “burning fat” on the various high tech treadmills, ellipses and cycles.


avatar Joshua Trentine April 1, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Cadence from your partner may help

by the end of the set you’ll be doing everything you can to keep up with that count….as hard and as fast as you can…devoid of ValSalva will result in a rather slow movement by this point…perhaps even no movement… keep chasing that count though.


avatar Skyler Tanner March 31, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Hey Al,

Could you elaborate on the squeeze technique for me? I seem to remember it being explained in the superslow manual but I haven’t had one at my disposal in 7+ years. If I remember correctly, it would be forcefully contracting the musculature during peak contraction on pulling movements and, using some sort of movement restraining apparatus, pressing near the extension of a pushing movement. Is this about right?


avatar Alex April 1, 2011 at 7:05 am

What’s the minimum SAT score for admittance into the Renaissance Exercise Academy?


avatar Joshua Trentine April 1, 2011 at 11:33 am

Renaissance Academy

•Critical Reading: 690 – 780
•Mathematics: 690 – 790
•Writing: 690 – 780

now this is only if you are coming right out of high school, we can bend these numbers with some life experience 🙂


avatar Andy April 3, 2011 at 8:22 am

do you train most of the time once a week using three compound exercises, as your WOW indicates?
Are you using an A/B workout structure, so that each exercise is trained once every two weeks?
If so, could you please post your second workout!



avatar Joshua Trentine April 5, 2011 at 10:09 pm

I usually train around every 4th or 5th day. My “A” workout is usually based on.

Renaissance Leg Press
Renaissance Pulldown
Renaissance Ventral Torso

This is just the foundation, sometimes i might do Linear Spine Flexion or Hip and back before Leg Press or I might perform select single joint exercises after Ventral Torso on my “A” Workout.

The “B” Workout is made up of single joint exercises. I rotate them from week to week.

Often i get behind with my “B” workout, 6 or 7 days pass I’ll repeat one of my “A” Workouts again.


avatar Andy April 6, 2011 at 3:02 am


thank you very much!


avatar Joshua Trentine April 7, 2011 at 5:33 pm


You are very welcome.


avatar Jonas Olofsson April 4, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Joshua & Al,

Something totally different: do you think creatine is a useful supplement for the natural trainer and if “yes”, what protocol for loading and then using it would you recommend?

Im extremly conservative with everything called supplements, but are playing with the idea to try something extra for a while, therefore the question about creatine.

Since I have learned so much from you in such a short time Im curious about your position regarding creatine (or perhaps supplements in general).

If you have time I would appreciate your response.



avatar Joshua Trentine April 5, 2011 at 10:19 pm


I’ve made myself a lab rat… over the years I’ve dumped more crap in my body, stuff that NO ONE can predict the consequences of, I’ve always had a anti-steroid position, but who’s to say what toll the supplements take, at least steroids work . I’ve tried every kind of Creatine and everything else. Occasionally you might see some minor short term change, but I’ve never seen any magic until i quit using supplements. I gave up all supplements over 2 years ago. During this time I’ve made, by far, the most radical changes in my body and I’m no spring chicken.

These changes have come from whole foods. A radical change in my diet and food supply has produced far more than any supplement without wasting resources, without side effects.



avatar Jonas Olofsson April 6, 2011 at 12:39 am

Thanks for your reply, thats basicly my feelings with “supplements” also also even if I started to take BCAA before and after my training since I train in fasted state.

Nothing beats whole food IMHO and reading food labels on processed actually scares me nowdays.



avatar Joshua Trentine April 7, 2011 at 5:58 pm


I agree. It seems like common sense to me. Unfortunately people are searching for that magic pill.


avatar Admin April 7, 2011 at 5:41 pm

johnbhoy wrote:
If you were stranded on a desert island with only barbells, a power rack and in your case lots of plates, how would you train? What sort of exercises, volume and rep speed would you use?
hey John, my workout would be built around;

Body Squats (per Ken Hutchins protocol)
Chin-Up (per Ken Hutchins protocol)
Push-Up (per Ken Hutchins protocol)

Joshua Trentine


avatar Travis Weigand April 7, 2011 at 5:48 pm

That routine is the exact same routine I perform within the confines of the door to my bedroom. Even though the exercises are extraordinarily difficult to perform correctly (and I don’t claim to be able to perform them correctly…. YET), they allow for FAR better inroad then dealing with terrible friction laden equipment.

With the terrible equipment and environment I could opt to utilize in my training, I found it much more productive to drop both. I abandoned equipment in favor of body weight movements and I left behind all the issues associated with working out in a conventional setting by working out in my apartment. There I have control of all the variables that could prove distracting or potentially hinder my workout.

Great article on the Renaissance site discussing this in greater detail.


avatar Joshua Trentine April 7, 2011 at 5:55 pm


Sometimes the equipment only gets in your way. Exercise equipment should be built to remove exercise constraints, not add them.

RenEx equipment allows for synergistic movement, the compound movements aren’t just focused on movement about one or two joints, but rather complex innate movement synergy pattern.

I’ve thought about an article “More functional than Functional Training” to describe these effects.

You literally feel like you are one with the machine.


avatar Greg Roseman April 8, 2011 at 4:34 pm


thanks for taking time out of your day to explain in great detail on how to perform proper exercise. I can truly say that you are one of the nicest and pateint people in the HIT community. Most “hit experts” are caustic, arrogant and egotistical. Thanks again for your help and I hope to visit your facility shortly.




avatar Joshua Trentine April 9, 2011 at 2:30 pm


I’ll second that, Al has to be the most patient person I’ve met.


avatar John Hingson July 21, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Hi Mr. Trentine and others,

Let me begin by saying that I greatly appreciate what Doug McGuff, you, the others at RenX, and much of the remaining HIT community do, and that I am usually excited when something new comes up on this website. Al Coleman’s demonstration videos especially (and countenance) are legendary in my book.

I am training near Portland, Oregon, which is somewhat of a HIT/BBS desert (though not a desert climatically). The best facility I could find for many miles has a Nautilus Nitro Plus leg press, which seems to have a decent force profile, but it only goes up to 495 # on the stack and I and many others who train there need much more resistance than that. I have communicated with the maintenance staff and they are happy to add an attachment, as the machines are not under warranty. Can you or another at RenX recommend an attachment (such as a certain type and/or brand) that might work for this? I am seeking to maximize my ability to utilize existing equipment to stimulate the adaptive response (though it may not be as ideal as other equipment).

Thank you for your help!




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