Mar
5
2012

Voluntarily

15 comments written by Joshua Trentine

Voluntarily

by Travis Weigand

Last year my colleague, Al Coleman, shared something with me that I’ve been unable to get out of my head since. He explained that one of his more advanced subjects completed the last exercise of a session and then appeared troubled with something. The session was not performed to the standard that Al had come to expect from her, so he inquired as to what the problem was.

She replied, “Something about that workout just didn’t feel voluntary.” Al shared this with me, because it was something that no subject had ever articulated to him before. Her comment implied that her performance was inhibited by something internal that she was unable to overcome. Perhaps more important, the comment implied that she had acquired an ability to consciously improve the quality of an exercise in any given moment. Her temporary loss of that ability and the insight she provided proved to be a valuable lesson for me.

I have since used that word, voluntary, to help subjects understand how they must behave during each session in which they participate.

A strategy I’ve also adopted from Al is ensuring I place as much onus as possible on the subject. This creates a more mutually-beneficial relationship.

The subject understands that I have a job, but also that they have a job too. It is my job to instruct the subject regarding the proper performance of each exercise. It is also my job to interject when I know a subject’s instincts are taking control of a set of exercise. Recent entries in this blog discuss cheating, inroad, and the assumed vs. real objective in exercise. I must explain these topics to subjects so that I can better guide their thought process and intentions during an exercise. After a subject has been educated, he must apply this new found knowledge and voluntarily give himself over to the exercise. That phrasing may sound nebulous, but it is exactly as I intend it.

What is a set of Renaissance Exercise intended to do? Inroad.

If a subject is to voluntarily give himself over to an exercise, he allows the exercise to do exactly what it was intended to do. Subjects should (orthopedic or motor control issues notwithstanding) attempt to perform the exercise with the exact form I designate as appropriate.

Accompanying that proper form is the ultimate goal of inroading the involved musculature as deeply and efficiently as possible. Every time a subject reaches within their consciousness and uses their free will to perform an action that will lead to a quicker or greater degree of inroad, I identify them as behaving voluntarily. In practice however, the requirement to perform voluntarily is easier said than done. The extreme physical effort that accompanies Renaissance Exercise seemingly taunts this requirement. I find solace in the details, though.

Al Coleman has often stated that inroading is a skill. If we extrapolate that idea, then we can conclude that every action taken to elicit inroad is a skill in and of itself.

A subject who fixates on continually improving and refining said skills is one who does not dread the physical representation of inroad (i.e., the increased rate of respiration, the increased heart rate, and the tremendous degree of burning felt in the involved musculature). From a psychological perspective, most subjects find the increased level of self-awareness and discipline required to voluntarily perform an exercise to be empowering.

The way I see it, as of February 2012, the RenEx team has gone to tremendous lengths to remove mechanical, environmental, and instructional constraints that stand in the way of inroad. What does that leave us with? The subject. I contend the subject remains his own biggest roadblock. Let him know what it means to perform an exercise voluntarily and begin the process of removing that roadblock.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Joshua Trentine March 5, 2012 at 1:14 pm

I just wanted to share this note i received on another forum…I thought it was worth repeating.

“I have a rare form of whole-body arthritis and have used SS/RenEx protocol (on my own) to very good effect. At 26, which was three years into the course of the disease, I had substantial muscle atrophy as a result of inactivity and was in real trouble physically; now at 29, after a little more than two years of training, I’m stronger than I was before I had arthritis and have regained confidence in my joints. I’m sure the patients at John Hopkins will benefit tremendously from the use of this protocol. It’s sad what currently passes for PT/rehabilitative medicine. ”

This is the WHY we do, what we do and it’s nice to know that this gentleman or the participants at the Johns Hopkins study will be able to enjoy the same exercise effect I get as a healthy person.

RenEx…no compromise.

Joshua

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avatar Parker March 5, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Joshua,

- Is information on the Johns Hopkins study available on the web? There’s a board that questions the value of SuperSlow, including medical rehab, and I’d like to share this information with them.

Thanks -

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avatar Joshua Trentine March 5, 2012 at 7:58 pm

Parker,

The study has not begun yet, they are just getting the funding and training…of course we will keep everyone posted on the progress.

Joshua

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avatar Mario. Di Leonardo, MD March 5, 2012 at 8:22 pm

I agree entirely that PT/rehab medicine including therapists and physicians is, as a rule, shockingly ignorant about exercise principles, the concept of inroad/growth stimulus and basically stuck in the Dark Ages with most of training philosophy.

IMO, patients get better DESPITE the archaic methods used.
- Fact is ANY MOVEMENT is better than nothing…, except for dangerous sloppy protocols that can lead to injury.

All the best and keep up the great work, gentlemen.
Mario

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avatar Joshua Trentine March 5, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Mario,

I agree and thank you for the continued support.

Joshua

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avatar Luke O'Rourke March 23, 2012 at 12:22 am

This article has been bumping around in my subconscious for weeks now. I couldn’t quite make sense of it, and that bothered me because everything should make sense, and certainly everything from RenEx should.

Then it occurred to me what my misunderstanding may be. The use of the word involuntary is confusing to me. Was someone forcing the subject to exercise? Or did she mean that she was at once more concerned about her performance in regard to someone elses approval and not her own?

I am constantly plagued by doubts of my own performance, well, at least for a while following an exercise session. The word I use is ‘honest’. I’m constantly wondering whether I reached failure honestly, or if I really ‘wimped out’. Was there something I did that caused premature failure, like a grimmace or a gripping of handles? Mostly this is never the case. I guess I just wonder how I really know when I’ve really, truly and honestly come upon failure.

When the burning starts I focus on it, I chase the pain so to speak, and I don’t avoid it. Unfortunately for me, it never evaporates like the mirage.

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avatar Bradley Warlow November 10, 2012 at 1:11 pm

I bet we will be able to measure progression by reducing TUL, for example, by 5 seconds every session, instead of adding 5lbs every session. Then when a trainee has reduced his or her TUL from, say, 90seconds to 60 seconds, and cant seem to reduce the TUL anymore, or voluntarily improve their ability to inroad , only then do they add weight to the exercise and go back up to 90 seconds TUL again ; suffering a slight form degradation similar to what they would previously experienced and going through the whole process of reducing the TUL again. I think this will be a much more safer alternative, AS FORM WILL ALWAYS GET GRADUALLY POORER IF YOU ATTEMPT TO INCREASE THE LOAD EVERY SESSION

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 10, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Bradley,

In passing I ran this by Al Coleman today, this is what he said:

“Interesting… I’ve thought of this before, but I don’t think it will ever move along as sequentially as he writes. Your ability to inroad will probably improve to the point where a load increase won’t destroy your set to the point of adding 30 seconds.”-Al Coleman-

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avatar Bradley Warlow November 11, 2012 at 4:46 am

Excellent Josh! Thank you AL ! Maybe a 30second decrease is too much but I was relating it to the kind of progression you would see in conventional bodybuilding, i.e. choose a weight that allows you to get 8 reps, when you can get to 12 reps increase by 5% each time, it was just arbitrary, maybe the concentration will have to be so immense to drop it by that many seconds, it may not be worth the hassle . But I will try it out , I cant really imagine it being recorded accurately without the Renex imachines and the feedback though, and possibly you can even track it sequentially doing it this way? Thought it maybe a little too ambitious to assume the TUL would reduce by exactly 5 seconds, but I was just hypothesizing based on the fact that when I train I can literally add 5lbs every time on upper-body movements, and also get exactly the same repetitions as previously, as if that were my signature overload increase. Artur Jones also mentions tat he increased his weights by 5lbs each session, i think this is the average weight increase for individuals hence the smallest plates you would usually find in a commercial gym is 2.5lbs, it may just be a coincidence. this is where I derived the idea of having a sequential decrease in TUL. So maybe we all have a signature TUL decrease also?

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avatar Bradley Warlow November 11, 2012 at 5:06 am

After what Al said, it probably wouldn’t be any greater than 10 seconds before a weight increase was required. But this article certainly changed the way I think about progression, try getting a lower TUL than a higher TUL. makes sense if your improving your ability to inroad, why would your set be longer?

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 11, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Yes, the goal should be to inroad as deeply and as quickly as possible.

avatar Joshua Trentine November 11, 2012 at 7:20 pm

I think we will glean more about the concept of signature T.U.L with TSC exercise.

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avatar Bradley Warlow November 10, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Open to anyone’s opinion on this please?

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avatar Joshua Trentine November 10, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Bradley,

Very interesting, I will get the team to chime in on this.

Joshua

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avatar Bradley Warlow November 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Thanks man! I’ll probably give it a try, i may a bit reckless saying this, but i reckon TUL decrease will be the exact number of seconds reduced every session as well.

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