Archive for October, 2012

I did some infimetric play for shoulders and arms mid-week with Ed Garbe.  I waited until Sunday and did the following WOW (Chest/Back).

Pulldown SS Systems- Jreps 1/3rds

Nautilus Pullover with SS retrofits

MedX Chest Press-included rest-pause after failure

MedX Compound Row with SS cam

Wendy did here every 14th day WOW that was as follows:

MedX Chest Press

SS Systems Pulldown

MedX Overhead Press

MedX Leg Press (followed by TSC abduction/adduction)

This was a fantastic workout and, for whatever reason, the pump was off the chain.  I followed up with a very busy 3-11pm shift.  Today, I am sore, but not systemically fatigued.

This week I received an email from Sid Morris and Bo Railey of Exercise, Inc. in Indianapolis about one of their clients.  I am posting it now in hopes of getting us focused on the stuff that matters most.  Here is the email, followed by a study that supports the role of exercise in improving CHF.  This was something that until very recently was thought to be irreversible.  We in the HIT field had tons of anecdotal experience of this sort of improvement over the years, but once again science is catching up to us.  THIS, ladies and gentleman, is what we are about.

My client, Jim Schliebner, has had three heart attacks and is a war vet.  3 years ago they measured his left ventricle stroke output for his heart (left ventricle ejection fraction)
and it measured at 44.  Which he tells me is low.  Average is 50-55 and above average and looking great is between 60-65.  He has been training with me for exactly two years.
Three months ago the doctors measured his left ventricle output and it measured at 61.  He is very excited about this and credits the strength training for his progress.  He took
a testimonial sheet home today and will bring it back next week.  I thought his story would be a good one for the web site.

Sid Morris

Exercise Inc.
11145 N. Michigan Rd
Zionsville, IN 46077

(317) 873-5700

Exercise training in patients with advanced chronic heart failure (NYHA IIIb) promotes restoration of peripheral vasomotor function, induction of endogenous regeneration, and improvement of left ventricular function.


Department of Internal Medicine/Cardiology, University of Leipzig-Heart Center, Leipzig, Germany.



Attenuated peripheral perfusion in patients with advanced chronic heart failure (CHF) is partially the result of endothelial dysfunction. This has been causally linked to an impaired endogenous regenerative capacity of circulating progenitor cells (CPC). The aim of this study was to elucidate whether exercise training (ET) affects exercise intolerance and left ventricular (LV) performance in patients with advancedCHF (New York Heart Association class IIIb) and whether this is associated with correction of peripheral vasomotion and induction of endogenous regeneration.


Thirty-seven patients with CHF (LV ejection fraction 24+/-2%) were randomly assigned to 12 weeks of ET or sedentary lifestyle (control). At the beginning of the study and after 12 weeks, maximal oxygen consumption (Vo(2)max) and LV ejection fraction were determined; the number of CD34(+)/KDR(+) CPCs was quantified by flow cytometry and CPC functional capacity was determined by migration assay. Flow-mediated dilation was assessed by ultrasound. Capillary density was measured in skeletal muscle tissue samples. In advanced CHF, ET improved Vo(2)max by +2.7+/-2.2 versus -0.8+/-3.1 mL/min/kg in control (P=0.009) and LV ejection fraction by +9.4+/-6.1 versus -0.8+/-5.2% in control (P<0.001). Flow-mediated dilation improved by +7.43+/-2.28 versus +0.09+/-2.18% in control (P<0.001). ET increased the number of CPC by +83+/-60 versus -6+/-109 cells/mL in control (P=0.014) and their migratory capacity by +224+/-263 versus -12+/-159 CPC/1000 plated CPC in control (P=0.03). Skeletal muscle capillary density increased by +0.22+/-0.10 versus -0.02+/-0.16 capillaries per fiber in control (P<0.001).


Twelve weeks of ET in patients with advanced CHF is associated with augmented regenerative capacity of CPCs, enhanced flow-mediated dilation suggestive of improvement in endothelial function, skeletal muscle neovascularization, and improved LV function. Clinical Trial Registration- Unique Identifier: NCT00176384.

Imagine if this study could be repeated using a truly meaningful exercise protocol.

Post your WOW’s and your thoughts.

I did the following WOW late Friday afternoon (after UE had cleared out).

Lumbar Extension on the SS Systems Pulldown

Squat Position MedX Leg Press (clean turn-arounds, no end stop)

Nautilus Pullover with SS retrofits

MedX Chest Press

MedX Compound Row with SS cam

All sets were done to simple failure.  No end-stop techniques were used.  I think I am going to drop any end-stop technique on pushing movements were the squeeze is done near infinite moment arm.  My recent experience with the iStatic machines, along with recent experiments of infimetrics have convinced me this technique may not be worth the risks.  The statics with feedback have domonstrated how high you can generate force with gradual uploading and how holding a plateau well below this level (with a large margin of safety) actually results in an almost identical fatigue curve as you would experience with the bell-shaped curve of maximal upload.  For an explanation, see the graphics in Gus Diamontopolous’ Future of Exercise article at the RenEx site.  Based on his explanation, I think the inroading with a dynamic set would probably be quite similar with just clean turnarounds as it would be with an end-stop squeeze technique (EST).  The EST might accelerate the rate of inroad, but the ultimate depth or quality is the same.  I suspect the increased rate of inroad may not be worth the potential increased force or the vascular risk if val-salva happens to creep in.

My experience with infimetrics has made me wonder about the requirement for an unrestricted speed of motion in dynamic exercise.  When performing infimetrics, I have found that in order to maintain maximal tension, cadence needs to vary (generally becoming faster as fatigue accumulates), and range of motion tends to be truncated as well.  I believe this is likely due to accumulated pump and congestion making muscular insufficiency at the extremes of range of motion more problematic.  For instance, when doing lateral raise or chest fly, at the extremes of ROM one limb will be experiencing active insufficiency while the other experiences passive insufficiency.  Now, I do not think this means that with dynamic, load-based exercise that speed must vary, but I think it is important that it CAN vary.  Once you have a situation where speed cannot vary due to any sort of hard constraint, then I suspect neural input and recruitment may be messed up or even inhibited. If one were to wrestle an overwhelming opponent, then the most adaptive option would be inhibition of recruitment and escape (as opposed to increased recruitment if a potential yield were sensed).  Appropriate cams and biomechanics can obviate the need to speed up or truncate ROM, but if speed is constrained artificially then recruitment may be inhibited.  Because there is no movement, this does not appear to be an issue with statics as feedback shows that you can maintain very stable force output until fatigue occurs.  In a dynamic movement, if cadence is controlled, force output can be equally stable.  If you are using a motor-based resistance that restricts speed, maximal effort will produce more force variation and may befuddle recruitment.  Now, I don’t want to slam motor based equipment, as I believe it has applications just as other versions of equipment do.  However when using speed-restraining equipment, I think it is important to use sub-maximal effort  and try to maintain a stable force output until fatigue catches you and results in “failure”.  I believe performing “hyper” training (as seen on my CZT youtube clip) may not be the best use of this machinery.  Despite its intensity, it may actually result in neural feedback that inhibits optimal recruitment and fatigue.  Likewise, I wonder if the same concerns may not be present with the use of a hard end-stop squeeze (particularly in extension on pressing movements).  Again, I want to make certain it is understood that I am not stating any of the above as fact.  These are just musings I have had based on my recent experiments with statics and infimetrics.  Things that make you go hmmm.

Post your WOW’s and your thoughts.

I am reluctant to post this week’s WOW because I don’t want to stop the incredible thread generated by the RenEx conference.  Please feel free to continue your discussions and debates on this week’s WOW.

MedX Overhead Press

Ghetto infimetric lateral raise

TSC simple row (using yoga blocks laying on floor)

Nautilus Plateload bicep

Nautilus Plateload tricep

Formulator flex/ext

Calf Exercise

I made a “ghetto” infimetric device out of a 30 inch threaded plumbing pipe with 2 90-degree connectors on either end and 8 inch handles attached to the connectors.  With this you can do lateral raise, rear delts, biceps and triceps (over the head), chest fly and wrist flex/extension.  I also figured out that I can use yoga blocks against the lower portion of the MedX leg press’s 4-bar linkage to perform TSC leg extension.  Unfortunately, you cannot do leg curl because the seat carriage will pull forward.  It is amazing how being on the RenEX iMachines opens your eyes to creative possibilities.  I am also amazed at how TSC with feedback has improved my ability to feel my way through infimetric sets.  Use of TSC and infimetrics have proved very useful as a stand-alone as well as a pre-exhaust for dynamic work.  The pre-exhaust allows me to use a lighter weight on some of the MedX equipment and get around the sticking point issues that are problematic at heavier weights.  Also, for reasons that I cannot quite articulate, infimetrics seems to highlight the potential of TSC and vice-versa.

It is truly impressive how playing around on very expensive and sophisticated RenEx equipment has taught me how to get so much out of 25 bucks worth of yoga blocks and plumbing pipe.

Post your WOW’s and your thoughts.

I did the following WOW at the RenEx convention.  The workout was predominantly done on their static equipment with visual feedback.

Static Pullover followed immediately by Static Pulldown (their iPO/PD machine)

Dynamic RenEx Overhead Press (no end-stop technique, just perfect/continuous turnarounds)

Static Compound Row

Static Leg Press

I have been incorporating some static work in my workouts at UE and have been impressed with their effect.  The addition of visual feedback really takes this to another level.  The technique involves a very slow upload of force to a target window of force (as opposed to a steady climb to maximal output).  You then hold that steady window until your force output begins to drop (i.e. failure).  Once your force begins to drop, it essentially falls into an abyss of inroad.  Interestingly force and effort seem to track on a one-to-one basis up until this point.  Once force begins its rapid drop, your perceived effort becomes its reciprocal.  In other words, as your force falls through the floor, your effort seems to go through the ceiling…the harder you try, the more your force output seems to plummet.  With my very limited experience with their equipment, I am not certain whether the static machines are going to supplant regular dynamic equipment or if they are the key to using dynamic equipment properly.  Here are some of my observations:

-Exposure to the static iMachines has finally taught me how I should behave at the moment of failure.  Rather than summoning all effort to attempt to complete the rep, you should summon all effort to produce this dissociation between effort and force.

-A very gradual upload of force is the key to an effective static set and is also the key to a perfectly performed and effective dynamic set.  Once you can see this with visual feedback you will really understand and be able to apply this on any equipment (0r no equipment).

-With visual feedback you can see that a gradual upload of force is permissive for producing the most output of force.  When you do “fail” and begin to see the drop-off in your level of force, the drop-off will essentially be a mirror image of your upload.  It seems as if your are sequentially plugging in motor units in the upload and then you are unplugging them in reverse order during the drop-off.  This is very strange, because you realize that you probably could never reproduce this offload deliberately in a non-fatigued state, but in the throws of blinding effort and pain, the curve could essentially be folded over on itself and it would match as if you had traced it.

-While doing statics with visual feedback, you come to understand how many opportunities there are to “hide” and seek respite during a dynamic movement.  The static provides a benchmark of discipline during dynamic exercise that will be very hard (if not impossible) to match.

-I went in doubting that work without movement would not produce much of a muscular pump.  The exact opposite was true.  The pump was skin-popping and severe.  I don’t remember having such a severe pump with any dynamic protocol.

-The metabolic effect of the workout was every bit as severe as a dynamic workout.  However, the systemic effect on recovery the next day seemed significantly less.

The weekend itself was incredibly enjoyable.  The RenEx team got some criticism on the internet about the 50 attendee limit (implying this is all they could ever hope to attract).  There  were actually 57 paid attendees and 15 guests, and this actually seemed to be about the limit that could be handled.  The size kept the event very intimate.  Everyone got to talk with everyone, and the RenEx staff was able to give each attendee the individual attention that they deserved.  For me the most interesting part of the weekend was Josh Trentine’s talk on the use of RenEx protocol in training the competitive natural bodybuilder.  Josh had a 48 year old trainee that happened to be competing on the same Saturday as our meeting.  This individual (sorry, I forget his name) was kind enough to drop by between the pre-judging and the evening show to do a brief guest-pose for the RenEx conference.  All in attendance were impressed.  I was amazed at the visual impact and illusion of this gentleman’s condition…he seemed to gain 40lbs of mass when he took off his sweat pants and T-shirt.  Anyone that has any doubts that HIT or the RenEx protocol can produce a competitive physique can rest assured that it is indeed possible.  Josh also showed numerous before-and-after photos of his pupils.  The RenEx team has been reluctant to draw much attention to their bodybuilding success because they  are trying to avoid the image of “Bro Science” that seems to be attached to bodybuilding.  I expressed to them that I think this is an unfounded fear.  Even the most sophisticated researchers in this area are likely closet bodybuilders and would love to see this kind of results.  The overall opinion was that the effectiveness of the protocol is probably best demonstrated in the “fat-tails” of the training population….the 1.25% on either end of the bell curve…the very debilitated and the competitive bodybuilder can really show what can be done better than those “in the middle”.  For those that are curious, here are the routines used by Josh’s pupils who are competitive physique athletes.

Workout A- Calf Exercise, Leg Press (dynamic or static), Pulldown (dynamic or static), Ventral Torso

Workout B- Bicep (dynamic or static), Pulldown (dynamic or static), Triceps (dynamic or static), Ventral Torso, Compound Row (dynamic or static), Pushup, Squat Position Leg Press

Workout C- Leg Curl (dynamic or static), Leg Extension (dynamic or static), Simple Row-aka rowing torso or reverse fly (dynamic or static), Compound Row (dynamic or static), Overhead Press.

The workouts are done on a rotating basis, and most trainees do them 2 days a week.

Post your WOW’s and your thoughts