The Arthur Jones Collection
The Nautilus Principles
To begin with, why the name "Nautilus"?
Well, according to Webster's, the Nautilus is a type of shell fish with a "smooth, spiral, chambered shell", and
since this is almost an exact description of the spiral pulleys (or cams) that we developed for the purpose of
regulating the required variations of resistance provided by the new exercise machines, I thought the name was
1. Anybody who has ever used a barbell is aware that the exercises provided by the use of such a piece of
equipment are not "full range" movements; at some points in most barbell exercises, there is no resistance at all
– at the start of a curl, at the end of most forms of curling, at the top position in a squat or a press of any kind. If
you can "lock out" under the weight in any position, then you do not have full range resistance; in such a case
you are providing exercise for only part of the muscles that you are trying to work.
Full range resistance can be provided ONLY by a machine which rotates on a common axis with the body-part
that is moved by the muscles being worked; a "rotational" form of resistance must be provided – and it must
rotate on the proper plane. When this requirement is met, then it becomes possible to provide a type of exercise
that is "full range" for anybody, and that actually exceeds the range-of-movement that is possible for most
2. Barbells and other conventional types of training equipment provide resistance in one direction only –
unidirectional resistance; but since the involved body-parts rotate, it is thus impossible to provide more than a
literally infinitely small range of direct resistance – and in many conventional exercises, there is no direct
resistance at all.
Since the "direction of movement" of the involved body-parts is constantly changing, the "direction of
resistance" must change in exact accord, automatically, simultaneously, instantly; again, this requirement can
only be provided by a rotary form of resistance.
When the bodily "axis of rotation" that is involved in the exercise is rotating exactly in line with the axis of the
rotary resistance, then omnidirectional resistance is provided – literally "all directional" resistance. If your hand,
for example, is moving straight "up" – then the resistance is straight "down"; if your hand if moving directly
towards the east – then the resistance is exerting its force directly towards the west. The resistance is always
exactly 180 degrees out-of-phase with your direction of movement; the resistance is always trying to do exactly
the opposite of what you are trying to do.
And while the importance of such "direct" resistance may not be immediately obvious to people unversed in at
least basic physics, I think that the following example will make this point quite clear. Your car may weigh
4,000 pounds – and you may be able to push it forwards on level ground; but that does not mean that you are
capable of "lifting" such a weight. With omnidirectional resistance, you are ALWAYS lifting the weight –
regardless of the direction in which you may be exerting force. If your hands are going "up" – the weight is also
going up; if your hands are going "down" – the weight is still going up; if your hands are going in a horizontal
direction – the weight is being moved up; no matter what you do, so long as you are producing power for the
purpose of causing a body-part movement from a position of extension in the direction of a position of
contraction – then you are raising the weight.
The Arthur Jones Collection
Nautilus Bulletin #1
The only conventional forms of exercise equipment that come anywhere close to providing this "direct"
resistance are thigh-extension machines, thigh-curl machines, so-called "butterfly" machines, and the curling
machines built by a man named Clark in San Diego, California; if there are any other types of equipment
available that provide this feature, then I am simply not aware of them.
From the above, it should be clear that incorporating a "rotary" form of resistance into an exercise machine
provides quite a number of valuable characteristics – full range resistance, direct resistance, and omnidirectional
3. Barbells do not provide variation of resistance – although, because of certain basic laws of physics, some
effective variation of resistance will be encountered in most barbell exercises; for example, in a curl with a
barbell, there is literally no resistance at the start of the movement, because the moment-arm of the weight is
zero in that position – but after the first 90 degrees of movement, the moment-arm has reached its maximum
point, and the resistance will feel (and will be) as high as it becomes during that exercise – then, later, as the
movement is completed, the moment-arm returns to zero, and again there is no effective resistance.
In that sense, barbells do provide variation of resistance – but such variation is random and does far more to
downgrade the exercises than to improve them.
Because of such random variation, you encounter such things as so-called "sticking points" – places where the
weight seems far heavier than it does in other places; and you also encounter places where there is no effective
resistance at all.
Human muscles are stronger in some positions than they are in other positions – in general, muscles are
strongest in their positions of full contraction; and because of the way in which they function, the position of
full contraction is the only position in which it is possible to involve all of the fibers of any muscle. Yet, in
almost all conventional exercises, there is literally NO resistance in the position of full contraction – in the only
position where it is even possible to involve ALL of a muscle, there is no resistance available to require the
involvement of the then available fibers; as an unavoidable result in conventional exercises, muscles are worked
only in their weakest positions – and are worked not at all in their strongest positions.
There are a few relatively unimportant exceptions to that general rule –but none of very great significance; these
are (1) thigh extensions, (2) leg curls, (3) wrist curls with the forearms on a declined surface, so that the wrists
are below the elbows, (4) shoulder shrugs, (5) stiff-legged deadlifts (a very, very good conventional exercise,
but one which most bodybuilders avoid entirely), (6) side raises with dumbbells, (7) front raises with any sort of
resistance, (8) one-legged calf raises, (9) sit-ups on a decline board, and leg-raises on an incline board, (10) side
bends with one dumbbell, and a few others.
With the Nautilus machines, the required variations in resistance are properly provided; the resistance changes
throughout the movements – in general, resistance is lowest at the start of an exercise, increases as the
movement progresses, and decreases slightly near the end of an exercise. The actual rate of increase varies –
depending on a number of factors. But in all cases, the resistance is exactly what it should be in all positions
throughout the movements; when a set of an exercise is performed on such a machine, and when the set is
carried to a point of momentary failure, then almost literally 100% of the individual muscle fibers contained in
the muscles being worked are involved in the exercise – as opposed to less than 18% of the total number of
available muscle fibers which are involved in most forms of conventional exercise, and as few as two or three
percent of the total number of fibers in some conventional exercises.
4. Balanced resistance occurs in only one position in most conventional exercises; for example, in a barbell curl
the resistance is balanced (exactly right) only in the so-called "sticking point" that is encountered about halfway
through the movement – if the resistance is higher than the amount that can be handled at the sticking-point,
then it is impossible to pass that point in the performance of a repetition using good form, but once the sticking-
point has been passed, then the resistance is too low, and before reaching the sticking-point, the resistance is
also too low. Thus, in fact, the resistance is "right" – can only be right – at one point throughout the movement.
The Arthur Jones Collection
Nautilus Bulletin #1
The Nautilus machines provide perfectly balanced resistance – it is never too high and never too low; there are
no sticking-points and no points of little or no resistance – when you might fail in such an exercise, you may fail
at any point, instead of always failing at or before the sticking-point, as usually happens in conventional
exercises. To a new trainee, however, the "resistance curve" of such a machine might not –probably would not –
feel perfectly smooth; while there would be no real sticking-points, it is probable that the resistance would feel
heavier towards the end of a repetition than it did at the start – but this is to be expected, because the "resistance
curve" is balanced to exactly match the "strength curve" of an individual with balanced development, perfectly
proportionate development, and since a man that has been training with conventional equipment has been
training only part of his muscular structures (and the weakest part, at that) it is only natural that he would not be
as strong as he should be in all areas.
Eventually, however, after the machine has been used properly for a reasonable period of time, the movements
will start to feel perfectly smooth – the resistance will feel exactly the same in all positions. While in fact, the
resistance will be constantly changing – in many cases more than doubling as the movement progresses from a
starting position of full extension to a finishing position of full contraction.
5. "Total" exercise cannot be provided by conventional exercise equipment for reasons which should now
(following the above explanation) be obvious; conventional exercises involve only a small part of the total
number of available muscle fibers – Nautilus machines involve almost all of the available fibers.
6. Rotary resistance is not provided by conventional exercise equipment –since such equipment offers resistance
that is reciprocal in nature, moving back and forth, usually up and down but in almost all cases confined to a
single direction of movement. But body-parts rotate and it is obvious that a reciprocal form of resistance cannot
provide constant resistance against a rotary form of movement.
Nautilus equipment provides the required rotary form of resistance – and again, this requirement should now be
clearly understood from the above description.
7. "Directness of resistance" is not provided by conventional forms of exercise; in this sense, the term "direct"
refers to the point of application of the resistance – in most conventional exercises, the resistance is imposed
against several muscular structures simultaneously, which would be a decided advantage if all of these involved
muscles were of equal strength. But in many cases, it happens that some relatively small and weak muscles
become involved in the exercises as "weak links" – and it is then literally impossible to work the larger, stronger
muscles as heavily as they must be worked for the production of best-possible results.
Several such examples have been mentioned in preceding chapters, so I will limit my examples to only one; in
conventional exercises intended for the development of the latissimus muscles, the weak link is provided by the
arms – a point-of-failure is reached when the arms are exhausted, long before much of anything in the way of
growth stimulation has been provided for the latissimus muscles.
Nautilus equipment overcomes this obvious shortcoming of conventional exercises by directing the resistance
against the "prime" body part –rather than attempting to filter the resistance through a weaker, related body-part
structure. For example, the latissimus muscles are attached to –and move – the upper arms; what happens to the
hands and forearms is of no importance – the resistance is provided against the upper arms, at the elbows, as it
must be in order to directly oppose movements powered by the latissimus muscles.
When a point of failure is reached in such exercises, it will be because the latissimus muscles are exhausted –
not because the arms were too weak to continue.
The above points should serve as a basic primer of the features incorporated into the new Nautilus training
equipment; at a later date, detailed brochures of several types of such equipment will be mailed to each
purchaser of this bulletin – these brochures will contain pictures, drawings, charts, diagrams and other types of
illustrations that will clearly explain the basic principles involved.
Properly used, such equipment is valuable primarily because it enormously reduces previous requirements in
the way of training time, both overall training time and weekly training time; and to an as yet unknown degree,
it makes greater degrees of final results possible.
Troy Huggett's Fitness Pros
395 South Shore Drive
Battle Creek, MI 49014