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