Nov
5
2012

Addendum to: Arthur’s Misadventures with Acceleration on the Human Knee

124 comments written by Joshua Trentine

Addendum to:

Arthur’s Misadventures with Acceleration on the Human Knee

By Joshua Trentine
November 5, 2012

DuoSquat

Arthur’s Misadventures with Acceleration on the Human Knee was pulled from our archives because someone in cyber world suggested that the RenEx team wasn’t up to speed on the biomechanics of the knee, what muscle and joint function meant, and the considerations that determine exercise equipment design. These challenges stem from ignorance as Ken Hutchins has written extensively on the knee, which you can read about in the article, Shear Forces or Sheer Nonsense, and in his articles on equipment design principles.

I was fortunate enough to come across Ken’s articles on this subject in the 90s when I was still working in orthopedic outpatient rehabilitation. His writing molded much of what I did in that practice, and of course, what I do now with Overload Fitness and RenEx.

Today, thousands of people have benefited from Ken’s writing on this subject and the use of his protocol for knee rehabilitation. I have had many clients come in for pre-habilitation who subsequently cancelled their knee replacement surgery due to the successful results of Ken’s protocol.

Personally, I have benefited immensely. I had a knee reconstructed in 1990 after a catastrophic injury while playing college football. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I would not be able to do what I can do today without Ken’s machines and protocol.

Another really cool thing is our stream of breakthroughs that further enhance our ability to rehabilitate the knee. Some of these include: “The knee lubrication protocol,” the i-Leg Curl, the i-Leg Extension, and the improvements seen in the RenEx Leg Press—most notably the feedback system that optimizes TSC Leg Press… and more. With these options and a strategic organization of the exercise sequence, I believe that we can handle any knee condition and rehabilitate it to its full potential.

Getting back on subject: I do consider the DuoSquat to be one of the most interesting pieces Nautilus ever made. I’ve learned from it, and it may provide better muscular stimulation than the Barbell Squat for some, and certainly better than most commercial Leg Press and Hack Squat apparatus; however, this machine comes with a catastrophic consequence if the subject makes the slightest error with movement or recruitment.

Furthermore, the DuoSquat encourages behavioral issues, as its type of loading remains completely unnecessary for us to achieve the desirables of exercise, minus the risk. Remember: Equipment can dictate the protocol or expression of that protocol to a great extent!

The DuoSquat was designed to replace the barbell squat. In some ways it was an improvement as it allowed better range, less discomfort (compressive on the spine and at the knees), and it removed some of the risks of getting trapped under a heavy barbell.

My knock against the DuoSquat is that though there are fewer potential risks, the one that does exist may be even more catastrophic than the worst of the barbell squat injuries—and for what purpose, to what end?!

The barbell squat can be performed in a relatively safer manner when using SuperSlow protocol.

Josh Performing Barbell Squat Using SuperSlow Protocol

Beyond this, I intend to demonstrate that all of this harsh mechanical loading—via the negative cam in the DuoSquat,—only takes us further from the ideal; it’s counterproductive and completely unnecessary.

I remind everyone that though my rant is directed toward the DuoSquat, I believe the far more offensive dumpers (focused on harsh mechanical loading) only create more risk, more faulty recruitment patterns, and provide feedback that elicit the wrong behaviors.

We do not need 40% more on the negative. We don’t need 1,174 lbs at “lockout.” We don’t need motors dragging us through the workout. And we don’t need technology that provides less than a significant advantage over the barbell.

What we do need is apparatus that gets out of our way. The barbell and our bodyweight can be reasonably effective for these purposes and with much less risk and more reward than some of these revved-up, super-charged “solutions.”

Additionally and extremely important: you must participate intellectually in the exercise. No amount of technology of any kind will make this optional.

By the way, we are developing products to help instruct how to get more from conventional equipment.

About a week ago, Ken and I were discussing re-releasing his article Arthur’s Misadventures with Acceleration on the Human Knee. I reminded him that I still have the chrome DuoSquat in storage. We agreed that it might be interesting to pull this machine out for photos and demonstrate its intended use.

Josh Performing DuoSquat

You can see from the video that what started out as a casual demonstration evolved into a strength feat. I did a few “feeler sets,” working my way up in 100-lb increments.

After four sets I found myself with the entire stack of 510 lbs. I performed a few reps and stopped, as it felt pretty easy.

With a long loading pin, I hung an extra 45 lbs from the weight stack. This brought the total up to 555 lbs. And with the negative cam and my leg nearly straight the load was something closer to 1,300 lbs.

I was able to perform 12 reps with each leg, and I performed these well shy of momentary muscular failure. I suppose if Arthur Jones was standing by with pistol in hand I could have managed 20 reps with each leg. I backed off as I realize there is far too much risk of sacroiliac injury as fatigue settles into a mechanics change.

I’m posting this video for several reasons:

1)      To compare and contrast behavior and mechanics between what was recommend at Nautilus and what we do now.

2)      To demonstrate that once you learn to communicate with the muscle you can access this to demonstrate superhuman capabilities in an activity in which you are skilled? or in one that requires little skill.

3)      To impress upon you that you don’t need negative cams, hyper-loading machines or motors trying to trash-compact you to actualize your strength potential. They can even be counterproductive.

4)      There must be meaningful load, but placing excessive forces on your body is neither necessary nor desirable.

In this demonstration I was exposed to loads of nearly 1,300 lbs, and it still “felt” easy. I normally work on our Leg Press with 420 to 500 lbs (depending where it falls in the workout), using no cam, incorporating a large weight-stack travel (stroke), and with my legs never nearing straight (15-20-degree knee flexion at the upper turnaround. Experientially, it’s a million times harder and seemingly far more productive.

Did I mention the safety factor?

For a moment, let’s suppose that the negative cam and the dumpers are required. Let’s pretend that we are trying to expose the body to the highest-possible loads. If this is what we’re trying to do, then where does it end?! Do I need 2000 lbs? Where do we stop? Do we just continue to build more creative apparatus to put more strain against us?

Answer: “No,”… because there is no amount of load that makes you more effective at communicating with your muscles. Contracting your muscles is an intellectual process that you must actively participate in.

(See http://www.renaissanceexercise.com/voluntarily/)

You cannot just place more load against yourself to break a plateau; you must get better at contracting; you have to improve at inroading; you must improve communication to your muscles:

  • ONLY then can you become POWERFUL!
  • ONLY then can you predictably apply the type of stimulation that will result in adaptation.
  • ONLY then will you be able to demonstrate your true strength potential and at a moment’s notice.
  • ONLY then will you be able to behave as an advanced subject does, regardless of the equipment being used.

5)      To post the video is simply because I enjoy the nostalgic aspect of Nautilus. It really was a great time, and we would not be here without it. I don’t believe that we should stay stuck in the past, but we do need to know our history to move forward.

I intend to post another video using the old Nautilus OME (Omni Multi-Exercise) and show a case where it can be used for a close approximation for something we’re doing.

{ 124 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Joshua Trentine November 5, 2012 at 6:06 pm

In weeks to come there will be a few more parts reflecting on the article: Arthur’s Misadventures with Acceleration on the Human Knee .

Then a productive exercise on the vintage Nautilus OME.

Followed by another piece written by Ken Hutchins called: “More on the human knee”.

Exciting times….

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avatar Russ November 5, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Great info Josh! I used to use the Duo Squat and because favorable levers and strong back I could use an impressive amount of weight to the casual on looker.
I was about 35 if I remember right. Many clients of my gym really had unfortunate outcomes with the use of the Duo Squat. (They didn’t have my short levers and good combination other factors. If we only knew then what you propose now. Thanks

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 5, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Russ,

I wouldn’t train any person on the Duo Squat even if it was the only piece I had…too much liability.

Joshua

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avatar Joe A November 5, 2012 at 7:02 pm

@ 4)

One of the most important things for a trainee to learn…wish I had learned sooner. Everything is about making that connection and then improving that communication. No amount of load and no number in lights on a HUD indicates or determines whether the subject is well connected or behaving productively. It’s funny, because the quicker the subject lays focus on the real instead of assumed objective and begins directing his behavior accordingly, the sooner he can actualize his force production capability, if he chooses.

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 5, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Yes…Yes…Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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avatar Thomas November 5, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Great article! These ideas are a real leap forward and very foreign to most who currently” lift weights”; for most it’s about strength demonstration and to hell with the joints and other structures involved, they’ll pay for that later. I can’t wait to hear your ideas on the lumbar spine (and cervical btw) as well. Thanks.

PS: who could that cyber critic possibly be :)

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 5, 2012 at 8:56 pm
avatar Joshua Trentine November 5, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Thomas,

You are correct….. many of our explanations will sound nebulous when there is not the experience coupled with it.

Joshua

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avatar Doug McGuff, MD November 5, 2012 at 7:51 pm

For someone who has never used that machine, it is almost impossible to explain what an incredible feat of strength Josh just showed. In all the times and places I have been able to see the Duo Squat, I never saw anyone use the entire stack (or even budge it for that matter)….and that was with a 410lb weight stack. 555lbs on this machine is unbelievable. One slip or buckle of the knee with a negative cam and a 555lb stack and Josh would have been sporting Dick Butkus knees.

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 5, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Doug,

I’ll post some more info to provide some context.

Joshua

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avatar Roget November 5, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Why is the speed of movement so fast in the Duo Squat demo? 2 sec. pos/ 2 sec. neg. Is that what AJ had in mind with this machine?
thanks,

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 5, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Roget,

I think that’s about the best you can get on that machine….the cam ramps up 3 times as it unwinds….if you look at my demo compared to that of Boyer Coe or Ray Mentzer I think you’ll see that I demonstrate about as good control as possible.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWmSHrhZkUM

Remember what I said: “To a great extent equipment dictates protocol and expression of…”

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avatar John Tatore November 6, 2012 at 7:28 am

If Boyer would of just made that first inch of movement a little slower and avoid that lockout … wouldn’t been that bad. Through the middle range he moved at a good speed. That slamming into lockout was making my knees hurt to watch it.
John

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 6, 2012 at 1:39 pm

True…

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avatar Michael Petrella November 5, 2012 at 11:12 pm

To the people out there who have never had a chance to utilize a Nautilus Duo-Squat, let me be perfectly clear. That is an unreal display of strength.

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 5, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Thanks for adding that Mike….tough machine to appreciate if you haven’t been on it or set-up properly in it…I can’t remember, does STG have one?

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avatar Jason November 6, 2012 at 9:29 am

Doug, Mike,

NOT an unreal display of strength. Josh had the machine set up incorrectly. He did not push the seat in far enough to have the movement arms abut the end stops and fully unwind the cam. BIG difference between what he did and doing it the correct way. Just like when people don’t set up the MedX LP correctly.

Let’s see another video with the correct set up Josh. Let’s see the movement arms abut the end stops, cam fully unwound, and knee still slightly bent.

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 6, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Jason,

The cam was fully unwound in extension and the calf was approximating the hamstring in flexion….There is no where else to go relative to proportions…could the seat be squeezed one notch further?…well, maybe…but in that case the cam effect does not accommodate to me as well.

And no, there isn’t any comparison to not gapping the MedX LP properly….my set up is as intended by Nautilus…I think you insult Mike and Doug’s intelligence with your criticisms…they are both aware of the mechanics of that machine and that there is no way to “trick the weight up” like one can do on MedX.

The only way to get any comparison between two subjects is to measure weight stack travel… in my demonstration there is significant travel…I do not believe we will see this demonstration matched…..that being said it wasn’t really the purpose.

No matter what we produce people will always find something to complain about.

Josh

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 6, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Jason,

In case you want to see the “intended use” of the machine, go back and watch the Boyer Coe video….do you believe Arthur would release this to the public if this wasn’t how the machine was intended to be used and how he timed the cam?

The difference between my demo and those back at Nautilus is that I never extended my knee as far as they do to provide respite on the quads and hip extensors.

So it’s actually harder….

Joshua

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 6, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Jason,

One more factor that you are likely not considering is that with that kind of load or even as much as 410 where you set the seat relative to your leg length is not where you end up…..that load greatly increases shoulder pad compression(spinal compression) and with every rep you end up further up the seat and with the movement arms further from the end-stops…this is why on some of the reps you actually hear the weight stack ding….

This is just another issue with this machine….with the negative cam and resistance beyond a critical point you only get shoved up the seat further…where you start on your first rep is not where you end up even after a few reps.

This would be hard to know without the experience of using such loads.

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avatar Blain November 6, 2012 at 10:06 am

Josh,

Where in the world did you find that link to Mr. beach muscles? That is hilarious

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 6, 2012 at 1:25 pm

I know….right?

Google :-)

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avatar Scott Springston November 6, 2012 at 12:59 pm

==Scott==
Good article. What machine do you say improves over the duo squat?

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 6, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Scott,

I’ve only used RenEx or SuperSlow Systems Leg Press for many years now, in the last year we’ve also been using TSC RenEx Leg Press as well …I can demonstrate as much lifting ability as I would ever want with conventional equipment.

The best way to build the strength is to move in a controlled fashion and to inroad the muscles as thoroughly as possible….good equipment makes this more likely.

Once you have developed the ability to contract and sustain, then moving heavy objects is gravy… assuming you posses some skill in your application or the apparatus reduces the need for skill.(developing a threshold for discomfort, or we can say- tolerance to lactic acid threshold is also a variable.)

Joshua

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 6, 2012 at 1:38 pm

“developing a threshold for discomfort, or we can say- tolerance to lactic acid threshold is also a variable.”

btw, I think this “variable” is best overcome with our protocol too….

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 6, 2012 at 1:47 pm

oh… and thank you for the compliment, I’m glad you enjoyed the article…more good ones to come.

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avatar Jonas November 6, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Excellent as always. You guys really in your own leauge for the moment. I think Arthurs IRACS is going on against you though.

Q: do you have any “recommended” degres of angle for various TSC exercises?

//Jonas

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 6, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Jonas,

We are definitely in the “R” & “A” stage here…..it will pass….

Mid range-ish is best with some adjustment made on certain exercises depending on position and type of apparatus.

Joshua

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avatar Jason November 6, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Put the seat so the movement arms abut the end stop bolts on the frame when your knees are extended but not quite straight/not locked out. If the movement arms do not hit the end stop bolts you are not setup correctly, and will be able to lift more weight than otherwise possible.

I am aware of the pad compression issue, but you can bias the seat a notch too close at first, and then once you compress into the pads you will be just right. The proper seat setting is determined with regard to your “under load” condition with your training weight load..

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 6, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Jason you are mostly right here but if you have this kind of load on the machine the forces push you so far up that your compensation for start position would have to be too close to be able to engage. Trust me we’re talking a inch of seat position and it would make little difference….with every rep your whole body is shrinking.

Now all of the being said…this was NOT Arthur’s intention of how the machine would be used, he insisted on straightening the knee and then some. If I straighten my knee the bolts will abut the movement arm.(Ken made the suggestion not to straighten the knee, not the inventor of the machine.)

Furthermore pushing the seat closer only increases shoulder pressure and the result of that is mentioned here by Boyer Coe:

“Josh had e-mailed me awhile back regarding my opinion of the machine. Honestly it was so painful that I could never really focus on the exercise. I believe I mentioned once that my entire right shoulder region went numb for about three months, probably due to a pinched nerve caused by the compression.

One last thing that I forgot to mention to Josh, the only person I ever saw use the entire weight stack was Ray Mentzer. One thing that was interesting is that they measured Ray’s height before entering the machine. Right after he finished his set and was able to stand erect, they re-measured his height again. He had been compressed one inch, in the course of about two minutes or so. The measurement was taken by Dr. Michael Fulton.”-Boyer Coe

=============================================================================================================

Joshua

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 6, 2012 at 5:54 pm

The final practical positioning will be the sum of body proportions, load, spinal and pad compression.

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 6, 2012 at 5:56 pm

btw:I can set the seat one inch closer and re-shoot the whole thing if it matters to anyone. I think I could even do more reps if I really try.

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avatar Joe A November 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Yes, re-shoot it. None of your points in the article are lucid or valid without it. :-)

You gotta stop distracting readers with videos of shiny machines and clangin’ weights…

avatar Joshua Trentine November 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Joe A,

Ya… it appears the point of the article was lost by some of the readers.

Ken has always warned me about using video demos.

Joshua

avatar Bradley Warlow November 10, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Is this compression the reason you’ve lost height since you were younger you reckon Joshua?
Oh and btw i think Jason must realise that you didn’t even go to failure in the duo squat video, so im quite sure you could get at least the same number of reps to failure if you put the seat an inch further forward too :) Just backing you up man lol

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 10, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Bradly,

I don’t have any question that regular use of that machine will make you shorter.

Correct….I likely could have done 20 and the most I can squeeze that seat up is one more inch, which will still change during the set when you have close to 1300 lbs coming back at you. 1 seat notch makes little difference and for me the cam was timed most appropriate for my proportions.

As for the people who say it’s easy or what have you I would not be holding my breath waiting for video of anything similar.

Joshua

avatar Michael Petrella November 6, 2012 at 11:09 pm

I don’t care if Josh was back a notch. He may even have been back two for all I know or care. Regardless most strong lifters couldn’t budge that weight for 1. Anyone who has tried that machine knows what he just accomplished with that set.

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 7, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Mike,

It appears that the point of the article was lost, but if this is going to be the focus then what you say sums it up.

thanks,
Joshua

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avatar Scott Springston November 7, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Michael Petrella November 6, 2012 at 11:09 pm

I don’t care if Josh was back a notch. He may even have been back two for all I know or care. Regardless most strong lifters couldn’t budge that weight for 1. Anyone who has tried that machine knows what he just accomplished with that set.

== Scott==
Yes, you may not agree with Joshua or REN-EX but give credit where credit is due, it was an amazing demonstration of strength.

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 7, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Scott,

Thank You.

This stuff works man….”built by RenEx!”

Joshua

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avatar Tom Kalbfleisch November 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm

“Contracting your muscles is an intellectual process that you must actively participate in”.

Interestingly, I think that I better understood this and focused on it back when I was performing conventional volume workouts with traditional equipment (which I gave up some years ago due to family and professional commitments). Having returned to the world of exercise using an abbreviated training approach, I rather blindly figured that as long as TUL was going up, I was moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, despite apparent increases in strength, I have not been able to achieve the same level of muscular development that I achieved using a traditional approach.

Having re-adjusted my mindset over the last month (since hearing Josh speak firsthand about this concept at the FOE, and performing a set under the instruction of a RenEx trainer) has resulted in some really great workouts (by great, I mean the feel and the pump is much different recently). I’m excited to see where this leads me in my training, and look forward to sharing my results with the community.

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 7, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Tom,

Great Stuff!

I want to write more on this subject…the theme is the most important regardless of protocol or equipment used.

Joshua

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avatar Ed M. November 7, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Am I being acted upon by the force of the weight or am I the actor directing my own force and willing my approach to the activity?

For years I would have been confused by the question but no longer.

I welcome your comments on the role of volition-or lack thereof. It has made a big difference for me.

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 7, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Ed,

You hit the nail on the head.

Joshua

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avatar Jason November 7, 2012 at 7:51 pm

“Built by RenEx”?! Are you serious? You’ve been bodybuilding for what, over 25 years using all kinds of different methods and equipment, built virtually all of your muscle and were even a professional bodybuilder long before RenEx even existed — yet you want to claim “built by RenEx”?! What a crock!

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 7, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Jason,

BUILT BY RENEX…..

40 something Josh crushes 30 something Josh and 20 something Josh…. and it keeps gettin’ better.

Something I’ll never understand is if you believe something is a crock then why would you follow it? I can promise you I’m not on the Crossfit forums calling that stuff a crock….

Joshua

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avatar Patrick November 8, 2012 at 9:04 am

There is still much resistance from certain quarters to training in a manner that stresses the mind-muscle connection, despite the science being pretty clear that building muscle is not tied to training within a narrow range of one’s 1 rep max.

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 8, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Patrick,

Maybe it requires too much intellectual work and a attention span.

Joshua

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avatar Bradley Warlow November 9, 2012 at 8:35 am

Hey Josh, I noticed that your TUL on the squat was 90seconds before your muscles started to spasm! The magic number!

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 9, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Bradley,

Interesting where that started huh?

Joshua

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avatar Bradley Warlow November 10, 2012 at 7:23 am

Yeah man, I was wondering though,im confused with the whole ‘signature TUL’ thing and if its still valid, I noticed that you only chose to use one plate in the video, seems quite arbitrary,could you have used more weight in that lift and still failed at 90 seconds? If so, would this have given you more muscle stimulation that what your leg muscles had in that video.
I’m provoked by the statement made years ago by Doug McGuff in regards to the fact that he dropped his weight by 20lbs in the chest press and still was stuck at 6reps no matter how hard he tried. Would a second set have allowed him to get passed that problem?

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 10, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Hey Bradley,

I will answer this in detail later, but yes the weight was arbitrary. I don’t perform Squats so I wouldn’t have the weights dialed in.

There were 4 x 45 lbs on the bar and that is a custom squat bar made by Randy Roach that weighs 70 lbs.

So the working weight was 250 lbs and the set was done NTF.

I will respond to more later. Thank You for the questions.

Joshua

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avatar Bradley Warlow November 10, 2012 at 2:00 pm

LOL i misjudged that one slightly, keep forgetting how strong you are! i did infact mean one plate ‘ a side’, but was still off. quite right it was NTF, but im sure you would have failed on a further repetition, so around 90seconds i think.

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

Correct….I wasn’t willing to find out, I don’t believe the barbell squat can be taken to complete failure.

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

….for the intended musculature.

avatar John W November 9, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Found this site by way of some of the recent ‘discussons’ on BBS.
I’m interested in using some of your insights to make my barbell training safer.
It was very useful to be able to see someone of experience perform a superslow squat. Would you be kind enough to give your perspective on appropriate depth. I’m currently going below parallel but as a consequence speeding up as the set progresses. Something like a 10/10 to 6/6 cadence. I assume you feel that stopping a little higher is better but am keen to know why.
Also, is it, in your opinion reasonable to perform a TSC squat against a racked barbell.
Thank you for your time.

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 10, 2012 at 12:01 am

John W,

I’m glad you found us!

I don’t see any purpose in taking the Squats much, if any, deeper than I do in the video. I can think of a couple of reasons for this, the explanation requires a bit more time than what I have at the moment, some of these things require their own blog.

That being said I believe there are a number of better ways to perform the Squat than with a barbell. In all of the cases I would recommend 10/10. Again this requires some time and video to explain. Ken, myself and the RenEx team will be working on a manual to describe much of this in 2013.

I would NOT to TSC Squat against a loaded barbell. Drew Baye describes a much better way here:

http://baye.com/diy-timed-static-contraction-hip-belt-squats/

Joshua

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avatar John W November 10, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Thanks for your reply, Joshua.
Look forward to reading the manual

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm

You’re welcome! I hope to find time tonight.

I would love to hear your review after you finish the manual.

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avatar Thomas November 10, 2012 at 9:34 am

Josh,

The video demos are very helpful to those who aren’t specifically looking for strength demonstration (although that is impressive). I for one appreciate the videos. Please do more if you have time.

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 10, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Thomas,

Thank you!

I do have some more videos lined up.

Joshua

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avatar Thomas November 10, 2012 at 10:58 am

@Josh

When it comes to intent and an internalized, volitional approach to training, how do make that mind muscle link while doing compound exercises? For example, when doing a leg press, I want to work the glutes, quads, hams and calves. Getting a high quality, volitional contraction of these muscles at the same time almost feels like texting and driving. If I’m trying to isolate one muscle group (ex. quads with the leg press) over another, wouldn’t this require doing more total exercises to work all the muscles? Thoughts?

Also, when in the bottom position of the barbell squat, what are you thinking/trying to do during that pause?

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 10, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Thomas,

Good question, I will answer it later tonight.

Thanks,
Joshua

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 10, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Thomas,

The best way to get the desired effect on compound movements is to produce the absolute best turn-arounds you can possibly make…especially focused on the lower turn. This and constancy of effort through the body of the positive and the body of the negative will yield the best effects…ie: muscular sensation, pump, fatigue and oxygen debt…..avoid letting your body change in any way outside of the ideal path. I don’t think you can think to any one muscle during compound exercise, it’s best to focus on movement pattern and constancy of effort, speed, body mechanics and gradual escalation of your respiration.

Certain exercises actually require a dead stop on the lower turn, this is done in cases where there is too much contribution of non-muscular body torque and stored energy.

In the bottom of the squat I was trying to kill any and all stored energy and avoid converting it into kinetic energy as I ascend. I’m mentally going through a number of checks when I hit that position in order to avoid changing my body attitude to initiate the next positive. I’m allowing my respiration to ramp up as my effort goes higher and higher while I attempt to produce the most uniform lower- turn, devoid of stored energy.

This all incredibly difficult to pull together on a barbell squat.

We also use this turn-around technique on Calf Exercise, Rotary Torso, Posterior Neck exercise and also Neck and Shoulder.

Joshua

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 10, 2012 at 1:15 pm

I continue to receive private emails about these videos. Joe A sarcastically said it best when he asked me “not to distract the viewers with these demonstrations”.

My writing apparently can’t overcome the videos(or maybe people just skipped the writing), but the point of the article was missed by many.

Although, to all of the people who say this feat is “EASILY” replicated…..I await the videos.

Built by RenEx……

ps:I stand by the fact that the performance of this exercise was better than the recorded performances that came straight out of Nautilus.

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avatar Thomas November 10, 2012 at 7:12 pm

That’s great info. Thanks Josh.

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 10, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Thomas,

You are welcome.

Joshua

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 11, 2012 at 9:00 pm

The saga continues……

To those out there in cyber world the Duo Squat in the video is stock, there was no modification of the cams. Like I said I can easily drag the machine back out of storage and re-shoot.

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avatar Robert Nickerson November 14, 2012 at 3:23 am

Joshua
One important lesson a viewer can learn from watching your two videos is that you end up breathing very hard. It is almost beyond memory the last time I heard anybody but myself, at any gym where I have trained, breathe hard. Most people have no clue about the level of intensity that is required to get the body to respond maximally. Most trainees strap on their ipods, put in their earbuds and proceed to do their exercises while trying their best to avoid any meaningful engagement in their activity, or any interaction with anyone around them. Occasionally someone will worriedly ask if I am “alright”, for I am 69 years old, and my rapid respiration must appear alarming to them. I always assure them that I’m fine and that I’m merely breathing hard. What I always am tempted to say, but never do, is “You’re working out. Why aren’t you breathing hard too?”
In 55 years of training I have seen some strange styles of training, most of them ineffective, time-wasting, and dangerous. I first read Arthur Jones in 1970 and after trying out his first published workout: the leg pre-exhaustion routine, I never looked back. Yet in all those years, not in commercial, military, or university gyms, have I ever seen anyone else systematically and purposefully
use pre-exhaustion,training to failure,partial reps, negatives, super-slow , or static contractions, either singly or in combination. These techniques, which I have considered to be key, and the heavy breathing which they engender, I have only observed in the videos on this website and that of Body by Science.
Thanks for that.
Thomas
To isolate or emphasize the effect of a local muscle group in a compound exercise I suggest pre-exhausting the local group immediately (Arthur mandated no more than three seconds for the transition) before the compound movement. One set is enough, which will be obvious when you have finished.
If your compound movement is leg press and you wish to emphasize the quads; pre-exhaust them with leg extension ( I prefer max-contraction in fully extended position with a weight that causes static failure in one to two minutes), or Vince Gironda sissy squats with the burlesque bump. For glutes try pre-ex with the glute bridge (again I would suggest max contraction static.)
Pad the barbell over your hip joints so your groin area is safe. For calves the pre-ex should be obvious. Don’t do all these in one workout! Even one leg pre-ex set may make walking downstairs problematic for the rest of the day.
Enjoy!
Bob Nickerson: The Jock-ular Juggler

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Robert,

When I get a moment I want to discuss this more tonight…Thank You for your comment!

Joshua

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 19, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Robert,

my apologies…..working my way through these questions i missed…..will try again to get to yours tonight…..i’m dying to as you make such a good point.

Joshua

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 20, 2012 at 12:48 am

Bob,

No doubt about it O2 Debt is a great way to make assessments about what might be going on….you can’t “fake” oxygen debt……when comparing an exercise or method against itself it can be very valuable.

Now of course you could create big O2 debt without much inroading so oxygen debt evaluation can only be qualified in cases where profound inroad is occurring.

For example a leg press with high O2 debt may be a meaningful marker….hammering a tire with a sledgehammer…..not too much.

But when comparing exercises that track muscle & joint function and looking at you compared to you oxygen debt is telling.

One criticism I got about the Duo Squat was that it must be fake because my breathing was so labored afterword yet I made the exercise look ‘easy’ during.

duh…..this is exactly what is supposed to happen…..the tidal wave oxygen debt comes after the exercise….I’ve heard Doug McGuff explain this really well.

That is like a chicken or the egg comment, because the second you start gripping , grimacing and carrying on in the exercise(make it look hard) its like putting a potato in the exhaust….you are just going to shut yourself down…..I actually think i could have remained even more stoic and got even more out of that particular exercise set, but whatever I am it is a product of the extreme concentration gained from Ken’s protocol.

The best cues I’m aware of for evaluating exercise performance are feel- fatigue, burn, pump and Oxygen debt…..the best sets of exercise result in profound appearance of all of the above.

There is one “knock-off” SuperSlow guy who can make exercises look REALLY, REALLY hard and if you know who he is you can see he is going the opposite direction we are.

The best sets of exercise should appear almost effortless…..which is just one more reason Ken has advised me not to do these demos…..most people just don’t know what they are looking at where behavior is correct.

Joshua

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avatar Brandon Schultz, DC November 14, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Hi Joshua,

Love the videos! I think they are incredibly informative!

Could you comment on the new approach to developing strength with mind-muscle connection with TSC and RenEx training through thorough muscular inroad could be applied to max strength demonstrations, say, powerlifting?

I see the “old” techniques developing max strength through being exceptional at the skill of “bracing”. Is your way different and if so, without divulging anything proprietary obviously, state how your training could lead to more effective and more safely trained max strength athletes?

Thanks!

In health,
Brandon

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 19, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Hi Brandon,

Our ‘approach’…whether it be TSC or Dynamic is geared toward magnification of muscular contraction….continuous tension for enough time without( or minimizing) muscular respite.

Our methods for doing so concentrate on intensity defined as inroad/time. This is done with the lowest exercise skill level possible…..we often call inroading a skill, but what i’m referring too is movement patterns and coupling, and equipment that takes the coordination factor in our strength exercise down to as little as possible or as practical….this is most noticeable with TSC .

The result….people get better at contracting….they get better at getting down to their physiology. We attempt to prohibit their ability to just get better at moving weights and instruct them in such a manner where they encounter the path of greatest resistance for the intended musculature &/or intended movement pattern.

These methods are exactly opposite to what is applied to the SKILL of Power-lifting, Olympic Lifting, or Strongman demonstrations. In these sports you are trying to use your levers in-order to find the most efficient path….the one of least resistance.

There is upside and downside to this approach for so called strength-sports. The upside is while you are gaining some conditioning effect from lifting heavy things you are also gaining practice and it takes thousands of repetitions to reach optimal efficiency in a lift.(the upside)

In my opinion, if my goal were to simply lift the heaviest object possible I would do both. I would do concentrated strength exercise 1 to 2x/week and I would practice the lift that I wanted to get good at much more often…obviously strength exercise prescription will start to vary the more you practice .

As you can see it is possible to get incredibly strong doing this type of concentrated strength exercise even as little as 1x/week, but to “move” maximum poundage you need to practice doing so in the desired lift or event.(btw if i got some ‘practice’ on the Duo Squat I would likely do much more, great way to get hurt though)

The combination of the two can be lethal, you can get sooooo strong and so skilled that you could possibly rip yourself from limb to limb.(the down side).

So unless someone is paying you lots of money to do so I see no purpose in continually subjecting your body to high loads or high forces when you can get as strong as you ever need to be with high intensity/low force exercise.

Joshua
Joshua

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avatar Bradley warlow November 20, 2012 at 8:54 am

Hey Josh,
I remember reading of one old school powerlifter who broke the world record for deadlift for his bodyweight in the 80′s, he practiced with a 100kg barbell, 3 sets 0f 20 reps 3 times a week and only maxed out once a month, and that allowed him to get up to something like 750lb DEADLIFT weighing in at around 180lb! just thought i’d add that in.

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avatar John Tatore November 14, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Great job RenX team on the call last night. I have two questions to ask.

1) If one decides that once a week workout is their choice would it be best doing a Big Five every week or doing some type of A/B or A/B/C rotation. Does going out to three weeks on some individual exercises become to long of time in between that exercise? If your recovery allows for the Big Five is that the way to go?

2) Regarding the Posterior pelvic tilt while doing the leg press … I know when you employ the Posterior pelvic tilt the upper back comes off the back pad and you guys have the shoulder pads come down and the traps seem to rest on them keeping the flexed curve position in the whole spine. With some smaller clients when they rest their upper shoulders on the pads it seems to push them into too much of a flexed position which causes abdominal congestion if they have excess body fat around the middle. Do you really need the shoulder pads at all when you employ the Posterior pelvic tilt during Leg press?

Thanks .. and I look forward to the next workshop and phone question answering sessions.

John

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avatar Brian Liebler November 15, 2012 at 5:35 am

John.
Great question about rotation and frequency. I was going to ask the same.

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 19, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Brian,

Those rotations were just generic templates for a more advanced subject who is training two times per week……we uncover this topic(1 vs 2x/week) more in a recent teleconference…..if I can get the audio I’ll convert it to a blog post.

Joshua

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 19, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Shoulder pads are only required in the “Squat Position”….they are used as markers for standardization on the other versions.

I you see any rise into the shoulder pads when the subject loads, shut them down right there and start over, its not going to be a good set of exercise.

Josh

ps: sorry for the delays….been super busy….

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 19, 2012 at 6:13 pm

John,

You are welcome! we need to do more teleconferences.

Joshua

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 19, 2012 at 6:14 pm

BTW Al is currently writing on the ‘pelvic tilt’ issue so I’ll save some of that.

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 20, 2012 at 12:17 am

John,

I’ve never seen a advanced subject that could consistently do the “Big 5″ on our gear.

Joshua

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avatar Thomas November 14, 2012 at 11:39 pm

@Robert and Josh,

I treat a lot of people with muscluloskeletal symptoms, many of which come from sedentary repetitive and postural activities such as being seated all day and “mousing”. Many of these people claim to do yoga, Pilates, jog and lift weights. It has become apparent to me that many, if not all, of these people have never really significantly challenged and trained their musculature, despite their “exercise” activities. Even for those who lift weights, a deconditioned musculature is more the norm. I think most people inherently avoid real stimulation (they run from it) while working out. While I know this is common knowledge to those familiar with RenEx, I think this apparent fact provides a tremendous opportunity for this kind of training (RenEx/BBS) for prehab and rehab. As Robert has indicated, nobody is doing it, and this needs to change.

Regarding the posterior pelvic tilt; I’ve injured my lower back doing an involuntary posterior pelvic tilt while trying to get the leg press (too heavy) moving out of the bottom half of the rep. This was admittedly a break in form, and my lower turnaround should have been slower and smoother. But a sudden posterior pelvic tilt resulting in lumbar “rounding” (flexion) results in tremendous shear force that is difficult to stabilize.

I wish I could have heard the aforementioned call, but does the RenEx team recommend a voluntary static PPT while doing the leg press? I have always used a lumbar support to involuntarily increase anterior pelvic tilt (lumbar lordosis) to help reduce this low back rounding and shear. Is this not recommended?

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 14, 2012 at 11:55 pm

No time to answer yet , but we are opposed to the use of a lumbar pad to increase anterior pelvic tilt.

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 15, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Thomas,

Al is working on some pics to help explain this, in the meantime realize that much of our instruction is geared toward maintaining neutrality of the pelvis…..no, we aren’t turning the pelvis the way we do in other exercises. The instruction is based on maintaining neutrality, force couples, force vectors and uniform loading…..we may have to write a whole blog to describe this……

What I can say for sure here is the the building up of pads or the use of lumbar supports to increase anterior pelvic tilt is a mistake and any reason for doing so is likely borrowed from barbell exercise(or machine) paradigms where we are axially loading the spine.

more to come.

Joshua

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avatar Al Coleman November 20, 2012 at 8:20 am

Thomas et al,

I’m working on a couple of drawings to help describe what it is we are talking about with regard to the PPT in the Leg Press. I was going to try and post pics, but I couldn’t find any I liked, so I’m drawing them instead.

Al

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 20, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Thanks Al!

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avatar John Tatore November 20, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Al

Looking forward to your drawings and explanation.

John

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avatar John Tatore November 21, 2012 at 11:20 am

Josh & Al
Are there any exercises that you employ the APT besides Lumbar extension? Leg Curl? Hip ABductor? Leg Extension? Or do we PPT on those? Or stay neutral? Do we PPT on Calf Raise done on Leg press?

Thanks
John

avatar Joshua Trentine November 15, 2012 at 2:25 pm

If any of you are following the chatter in cyber world the Duo Squat I keep in storage has never been modified in any way…..this can be seen easily in the pictures that were taken just before the demonstration. The video does not show the cams because I’m using the flip camera and it doesn’t pan out well.

Why would anyone modify a Duo Squat? What’s the purpose? That machine is exactly how it left the factory in the early 1980′s……no the weights aren’t styrofoam, no the cams aren’t cut and no the machine isn’t modified in ANY manner……look at the pics…..the performance “looks easy” because I don’t carry on when I train, it’s all focused.

Josh

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avatar John Tatore November 15, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Josh

What about this question below. From experience at your studios what have you guys found to work best with 1X per week clients?
Thanks
John

1) If one decides that once a week workout is their choice would it be best doing a Big Five every week or doing some type of A/B or A/B/C rotation. Does going out to three weeks on some individual exercises become to long of time in between that exercise? If your recovery allows for the Big Five is that the way to go?

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avatar Ed M. November 16, 2012 at 6:42 pm

John Tatore

As a current RenEx client I can only share my experience. We train one week in Beachwood, the off week at home. During that off week I have done the Big 5 (6 actually since I added the leg ext.) in many combinations due to time available and travel plans. Conclusion: it doesn’t seem to matter. Only when the medx lumbar is postponed by more than 4 weeks-due to the weather issues betwen my NY home and Cleveland-do I note the recurrance of symptoms. Presumably evidence of detraining.

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 19, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Hi Ed,

I actually only train Lumbar about once a month….it is likely that as you become stronger you may do best with such reduced frequency….this seems to be unique to the low back though.

Joshua

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avatar Ed M. November 19, 2012 at 8:52 pm

There is a certain element of randomness at work. We get there 4 weeks in a row, miss a month and then do biweekly for a long time. Al has reinforced what you stated but given where I was, and where I am, I’ll risk overtraining that body part.

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 19, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Ed,

Yes, those cycles aren’t the worst thing and I’m sure you are far from over-trained…..some people will benefit from the protracted recovery periods others need the exercise weekly.

Josh

avatar Joshua Trentine November 19, 2012 at 6:08 pm

John,

It depends on the subject, but as a general rule one-time- a- weekers only rotate “A & B” workouts at most and usually it’s just “A”….or perhaps a second version of “A”.

Remeber at OVERLOAD we train many subjects @ 2x/week.

Joshua

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avatar Patrick November 19, 2012 at 5:55 pm

“Ray handled the entire weight stack, 500 pounds, on the Nautilus duo-squat machine with ease. I never witnessed anyone else get a single rep with the entire stack – and there were a lot of big, strong athletes who tried”

Dr.Darden

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 19, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Hi Patrick,

Boyer Coe who was also actually there sent me this:

Josh:

You are correct. I witnessed Ray Mentzer do the full stack on the Nautilus Duo Squat. This was back in 1983, if I recall correctly he did about 12 reps. The negative cam was a bitch, The stack was 400 lbs., but I was told with the negative cam, once you reached full extension the resistance was near 800 lbs.

I don’t recall what I used, but it was not the stack. I personally did not like the machine. Once they cranked you into the machine it was actually painful. One session, my complete trap, upper back area went numb and was like that for about two months. Also a lot of torque on the spine, and hip as you alternate legs.

If the Nautilus Duo Squat was great, Nautilus would still be trying to sell it, it was just too dangerous.

I hope everything is going well for you.

Boyer

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avatar Donnie Hunt November 19, 2012 at 10:27 pm

I was thinking about the inroading process today. After reading about TSC’s and imposed load static contractions I thought more about the potential to outroad with dynamic contractions vs. imposed load static contractions. I understand how the bracing and outroading happens with imposed load static contractions. How does this not happen with dynamic contractions?

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 19, 2012 at 10:33 pm

“How does this not happen with dynamic contractions?”

Donnie,

It does and it’s is more pronounced when loads are too heavy.

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avatar Donnie Hunt November 19, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Thanks Joshua.

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 20, 2012 at 12:14 am

You are welcome Donnie

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avatar Brian Liebler November 21, 2012 at 7:31 am

Josh:
In ROE Ken seems to lean towards a very advanced subj. to train with only a few compounds 1x per wk.
I consider you & Al as very advanced, however, you seem to be training much more volume and frequency.
The Human Body is a pretty adaptive mechanism( I remember the old Nautilus circuit 2/3 times wk) Should we strive to adapt to a more frequency and volume?

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avatar Brandon Schultz November 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Josh,

Thank you very much for the response. It was informative and thought-provoking. Your time and knowledge are appreciated.

Brandon

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 26, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Brandon,

You are very welcome.

Joshua

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avatar Brandon Schultz November 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm

“informative” – sorry.

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avatar Craig November 27, 2012 at 8:34 pm

I have a question about the TSC protocol. I recently tried this with an isometric pec fly. I did 3 segments at 20 sec per segment: 50%, almost 100%, and then max effort. On the final segment I had to let up because I felt like I was about to get a muscle cramp or spasm in the pecs. Is this a common problem? Does it indicate a problem with how I dd the exercise?

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 28, 2012 at 11:14 am

Hi Craig,

A cramp during exercise is a result of your volitional effort being applied. This is not like a traditional cramp that seems to occur spontaneously without intended effort. If loading is gradual during exercise, a sense of cramping will often ease up as u continue performing the exercise.

Also it’s not almost 100%. It’s almost as hard as you dare or 75%.

The three stages are 50% or moderate effort, 75% or almost as hard as you dare, and 100% or as hard as you dare…and should be attempted at 30 sec each.

I’ve been badly injured ramping too quick.

JOSH

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avatar Nathan Block November 28, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Ken Hutchins I would like to know what kind of routine you are using these days and how often?Are you still improving? thanks

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 28, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Nathan,

Good question….I’ll get this to Ken.

I’ve watched Ken train a number of times and the last few workouts I saw were Calf Exercise, Trunk Ext, Leg Press, Pull Down and push-up.

Ken is a big fan of push-up in this sequence.

He is very strong, he rivals me in some exercises and is 20 yrs older than me.

I will see what his current program is like.

Joshua

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 28, 2012 at 1:49 pm

I believe he trains once a week

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avatar John Tatore November 28, 2012 at 9:53 pm

I tried push ups (with handles and a yoga block under my chest) right after the SSS Triceps Extension machine … my training partner had to remind me to keep my body straight at all times. I just thought of pushing my naval up toward the ceiling while I pushed up …. great way to finish the triceps off and get some chest and abdominal work while doing it.

Josh … Did Ken ever write up a sub-protocol on the push up exercise?

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 28, 2012 at 9:59 pm

We’re working on a project that will have all of the free-body stuff and the variations….i don’t think it will be out soon though.

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avatar Nathan Block November 29, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Super slow push-ups are very very hard to perform.

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 29, 2012 at 5:07 pm
avatar Joshua Trentine November 29, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Push-Ups are very technical…

avatar Paulo Maggio November 29, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Mr.Trentine about 10 years ago I had a stomach ulcer and since then I have been having problems with intensity of training and gaining additional weight.Do you or did you as a long time instructor(thousands of clients on your resume) have a case with a subject with similar condition?If yes,how do or did you proceed with him?

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 29, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Paulo,

As I’m sure you know ulcers are sores on the mucous membranes or skin that have opened up. I have been told some people don’t have the enzymatic capacity for eating certain cooked and processed foods and in some cases intolerance to red fruits and and digestive issues with vegetables.

Of course diet must be changed to avoid certain things.

Josh

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avatar Dan Hunter November 10, 2013 at 9:17 am

Mr Trentine,

Sorry I am posting this very late.

I am considering trading a squat rack and a Nautilus 70 degree shoulder for a duo-squat.
I have a lot of trouble with knee and back pain doing regular barbell squats.

Does the duo-squat machine afford some back and knee relief when building quads?

Thank you
Dan

danphunter1@aol.com

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 6, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Joe A,

Ya… it appears the point of the article was lost by some of the readers.

Ken has always warned me about using video demos.

Joshua

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 10, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Correct….I wasn’t willing to find out, I don’t believe the barbell squat can be taken to complete failure.

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 26, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Hey John,

Al is writing on this subject.

Josh

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avatar John Tatore November 26, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Thanks Josh … could be a separate blog entry by it self
John

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 26, 2012 at 4:44 pm

oh…for sure…..no shortage of things to write on :-)

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