Basic Nautilus Training Principles

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Basic Nautilus Training Principles

Post  Fitness Scientist on Sat May 08, 2010 12:48 pm

Basic Nautilus Training Principles

By Joe Mullen
Fitness Scientist

Following is an article I wrote back in the time that Nautilus equipment and original protocols were not well known quite yet.
Although I'm talking about Nautilus, the advice should be used with any High Tech machines, since in a way the advice applies to anatomy, physiology, exercise science and the laws of physics.
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Basic Nautilus training principles have been well established. Arthur Jones wrote many detailed articles during the 1970's about his ideas of improving exercise. He also wrote and published two books: Nautilus Training Principles-- Bulletin #1 and Nautilus Training Principles--Bulletin #2; the information presented in his books formed the cornerstone for future books by Ellington Darden, PhD, Director of Research for Nautilus Sports/Medical Industries.

Dr. Darden's best selling book, "The Nautilus Book" expanded on Arthur's basic concepts and made them available to the mass market. Every Nautilus equipped club that I have been in, follow the advice set forth by The Nautilus Book--without deviation--it's as if applying common sense beyond the basic recommendations is blasphemy.

The thirst for knowledge, related to Nautilus protocols, is so great, that I recommend trainees should follow only the rational advice offered by people really connected with Nautilus without question.

Don't follow anyone with your eyes closed or your mind in the "off" position. Always attempt to improve your knowledge or beliefs. There is no substitute for a rational mind and rational actions.

Following are some of the recommendations for basic Nautilus training principles:

1. When using a machine that requires a seat position or body position that aligns with a rotational axis of a cam--be sure that the joint of the body part that is moving is in line with the cam's axis rotation.

2. When properly aligned, stay in that position; avoid twisting, shifting, turning, or arching when performing a movement.

3. Maintain a loose, comfortable grip on all hand grips.

4. Lift the resistance to a count of two, and lower the resistance to a count of four. Control the lifting and lowering smoothly.

5. Your range-of-motion should be as great as possible, but short of any painful positions, to insure full-range strength and flexibility.
Eventually, your range-of-motion will greatly improve.

6 Breathe normally; do not hold your breath when training, unless you are trying to blow the top of your head off (joke).

7.For the upper body, perform repetitions of a minimum of 8 reps and use 12 reps as the amount to focus on as your max reps; however, in the first workout where you approach the number 12, do not stop at the 12 th rep if, on that day, you can squeeze out a few more. Then, increase the resistance (slightly) for your next workout.

(Author's note: Some literature has suggested 8 to 12 reps on upper and lower body. One day, I asked Arthur Jones. face-to-face which reps he preferred for the lower body and he told me 15 minimum, working towards 20 reps. Then, when a person hit 12 (or more reps in a workout, Arthur recommended increasing the resistance for the next workout).

Initially, it was recommended that the increase should be 5% more for the next workout. I didn't agree with that at the time and still don't. Because a 5% increase is sometimes too much. As an example, using bench presses as the exercise example: 5% of of 150 lbs. is 7.5lbs. to ad before the next workout. When a person is using 200 lbs for curls and increases the resistance by 5%. it is an increase of it is a jump of about 10 lbs, bring the weight for the next workout up to 210 lbs. Typically, it was difficult to make a minimum of 8 reps for may people.

Back then, what I decided to do with clients was to add smaller increases than the 5% would ask for. I had finally figured that in order to improve, a person had to match or exceed his or her previous Performance Code. So, as an example if the person had bench pressed 200 lbs for 12 reps, multiplying 200 x 12 reps = 2,400 Units of Performance.

So, if they increased the resistance to 210 lbs. and performed only 8 reps, that Performance was 210 lbs. x 8 reps = 1,600 Units of Performance. Isn't it clear that less work to the muscles, means that it cannot be called an improvement in Performance, therefore the stress on the muscles fibers was less than the previous workout? If the work is less, how can the muscles be taxed harder than last time. I believe it is a "wasted workout." OK, moving onward . .. . .

8. For best cardio-respiratory conditioning, it was said that one should move quickly from machine to machine!
(Author's note: There was considerable debate about this recommendation. ) That can be the kiss of death (literally), when the trainer is not aware of the persons actual fitness level and the trainer pushes the person too much to soon).

9. When possible, follow the workout sequence on your workout card, if the next machine you are going to do is used, move ahead to another machine -- then return to the machine that was in use.

10. All compound machines and double machines were designed to make use of the pre-exhaust principle; therefore, it is important to move very quickly (less than three seconds) from the primary exercise (single joint movement) to the secondary exercise (compound movement--more than one joint involved).

11. Your training program should include a maximum of 4 to 6 exercises for the lower body; 6 to 8 exercises should be used for the upper body. Do not exceed 12 total exercises and count all exercises--compound machines should be counted as 2 exercises.

12. Start with the larger muscle groups and proceed to the smaller muscle groups: as an example hips, thighs, back, shoulders, chest, arms and neck.

13. Workout time should be about 20 to 30 minutes.

14. Rest at least 48 hours and not more than 96 hours between exercise sessions.(Authors note: Although, in the beginning, I followed this principle. Eventually, research I did established that an average person could rest for 3-4 days between workouts and dramatically improve.)

There you have it, some of the initial, basic Nautilus training recommendations.


Joe Mullen
Fitness Scientist
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