Nautilus Leverage Machines
Continued from the previous issue
Many trainees who had grown up using
barbell or conventional weight-training
machinery were not psychologically
comfortable with these new training
devices. Some remained resistant to any
and all machine-based exercise. Others
were resistant, but saw the advantages
offered by the machines.
Their bias at what they felt were erroneous exercise
principles, fueled by the muscle-building
media, allowed the acceptance of some
machines, but not Nautilus, which they
felt were somehow different, and not
result producing. Others tried and
accepted Nautilus and other machines,
because they felt the difference in their
strength levels, and saw increases in their
Somewhere in the middle stood the
overwhelming majority of athletes, strength
coaches and fitness enthusiasts, wanting to
believe whatever seemed to be true about
Nautilus or other machines, but not really
in a position to know with certainty, despite
their degrees, despite the books and
journals they had read, and despite what
they were told by all of the pseudo experts
that fill the field of physical exercise.
The development of the Nautilus
leverage machines is, I believe, another
"great leap forward," another step in the
exercise revolution. The leverage
machines are aptly named, designed so
that the leverage factors of the machines
themselves provide productive and
efficient exercise. Exercise movement
feels right, feels balanced, and feels as if
the muscles are being forced to work at maximum levels of effort. They don't
utilize cams, sprockets, chains, cables,
hydraulics or water-based resistance. They
are, in the truest sense of the term,
The original Nautilus designs were an
attempt to produce "perfect" exercise
machines, and some of them came very
close to doing so. The Nautilus leverage
machines have been designed to provide
efficient, comfortable and productive
exercise. They are not "perfect," but the
alterations in resistance as one moves
through a complete range of motion cause
the exertion of maximal efforts. Even diehard
barbell men have stated, "These feel
good, I like it!" after an all-out set on the
Leverage Leg Press.
They are designed to be orthopedically
advantageous. I've always been leery of
those manufacturers who proclaimed that
their equipment was "orthopedically
correct." My immediate response was,
"Correct for whom?" Leg press machines
that exposed the patella tendon to
excessive shearing forces and the lumbar
spine to compression; pressing machines
that caused compression on the lumbar
and thoracic spine while causing
impingement at the shoulder joints;
biceps and triceps machines which
caused discomfort and extreme torquing
forces upon the vulnerable elbow joint
have all been touted as "the next step" in
The Nautilus leverage machines do in fact provide
many orthopedic/structural advantages
that are not presently available in other
pieces of equipment.
The leverage machines are tools that
can, if used properly, provide a degree of
exercise intensity that can't be equalled by a barbell or dumbbell. Most of the leverage
machines provide a type of exercise that
can't be provided by other forms of
exercise machinery. The orthopedic
advantages and safety features relative to
free-weights, and the variation in exercise
that's provided by these advantages-such
as scapulae movements and synergistic
contractions-make the leverage machines
the perfect choice for heavy-duty gyms,
high school and university settings, and the
home fitness market.
As always, the proviso in reaping the
potential benefits from this relatively new
form of exercise methodology, is the
application of "proper" training
techniques. The Nautilus leverage
machines can lead the dedicated trainee to
levels of training intensity heretofore
unattainable, and for that reason only, we
use them in our facility, like the results
that our patients and clients receive from
their use, and have no hesitation in singing
their praises in our newsletter.
Jamie LaBelle is a young man with a
sterling athletic background, and an
innovative mind. He has made a number of
important contributions to our training
facility, and is constantly experimenting and
attempting to improve specific exercises in
an attempt to increase their productivity.
Recently, Jamie suggested that we use
a shotput (a heavy metal ball), or different sized shotputs, to
increase the intensity of our forearm
workouts. As a "finishing touch" to our
forearm or biceps work, the shotput will
be held in a reverse curl position, with a
pronated or palm-facing-down grip. The
elbow is tucked tightly into the side, and
the shotput is then curled in a slow and
strict manner. The negative or eccentric
contraction is done more slowly and
controlled than the positive movement.
In addition to working the brachioradialis
and other forearm flexors, the intrinsic
muscles of the hand and the finger flexors are placed under a high level of
contraction. Doing each arm separately
allows a high degree of concentration.
The effects of this movement have
been terrific and immediate! As a finishing
touch to the major arm or forearm
exercises, the shotput curl provides a
higher degree of muscle stimulating work.
I suggest that one begin with a women's
shotput, weighing 4 kilos, or 8.98 pounds,
and gradually work up to the men's fullsized,
16-pound shot. The small-sized shot
is perfect for those with relatively small
hands or short fingers, while the 16-
pounder will serve the Tim Krumries of
the world adequately. The 12-pound men's
high school shotput is an intermediate size
that can be used exclusively as the forearm
workout of the day.
If one does reverse shotput curls to a
point of momentary muscular failure or
fatigue, and then holds the shot with the
hand pronated and the forearm flexed at
approximately 45 degrees until that
position can no longer be maintained, or
the shotput falls from the hand, this can
serve as a very adequate muscle stimulator
for that day.
The interest that's sparked by the use of
easily available implements can be a boon
to any program, especially when those
implements are easy to integrate into the
existing program, and produce very
Volume 2, No. 1 of The Steel Tip
An article entitled "Ergogenic aids," briefly
mentioned the proliferation of
carbohydrate drinks. These supplemental
products, according to the advertising
material, are "ready to drink complexcarbohydrate
energy quenchers," "the
perfect source for fueling muscles before
and during strenuous exercise, and
refueling after your hardest, most vigorous
workouts." Further, we learn that at least
one product is "extracted from grain for accelerated absorption" so that "as fast as
your body depletes glycogen stores... it
The ultimate source of fuel for muscle
movement is glucose, or simple sugar.
Glucose is best derived from carbohydrate
foods, although the body has the capacity to
convert proteins and fats to glucose also.
So-called complex carbohydrates, longchained
sugar molecules, tend to enter the
bloodstream at a slower "more sustained"
rate than those foods designated as simple
sugars, i.e., the short-chained molecules.
The body will store a certain amount
of glucose in the muscles and the liver, in
the form of glycogen, for use during
activity, and will then deliver more to the
bloodstream, and ultimately to the cells,
as the need demands. Obviously, high intensity
strength training demands a
certain amount of blood sugar or glucose.
If glucose or glycogen stores are low or
depleted, levels of what we usually
define or refer to as "energy" will be
depressed, and muscular contraction will
be less than optimal.
One of the most overlooked and
important facts regarding carbohydrate
metabolism, is that the ultimate source of
the glucose is unimportant. As the Realities Of Nutrition by Roland Deutsch states, "... the origin of the various sugars matters no more to the organs and cells which will use them
than do the origins of oxygen matter to
the lungs. Glucose is glucose." Virtually
all of the single sugars which are not
glucose are converted to glucose by the
liver, because glucose is the only
carbohydrate that most body cells use for
If this is the case, it should be
obvious that one can eat fruit,
vegetables, grains or other carbohydrate
foods, all of which will undoubtedly be
less expensive than any "specially
formulated" carbohydrate-energy drink.
Foods which are high in refined sugar
such as candies and pastries may cause a rapid rise and subsequent fall in blood
sugar levels, which would have a
detrimental effect on one's workout.
However, if one eats sensibly, making sure
to eat a relatively high proportion of the
daily caloric intake in the form of
carbohydrates, getting these from various
sources, then one's available sugar levels
will not be an inhibiting factor during
training. If one feels the need for additional
carbohydrates and/or calories due to the
increased nutritional demands of intensive
training, high-quality carbohydrate-bearing
foods are easily obtainable. One or two
pieces of fruit an hour or so prior to training
will supply all of the "workout fuel"
necessary for training.
If one is concerned that his or her
carbohydrate stores are depleted at the
conclusion of a training session, then figs,
raisins, dates, a sweet potato or tomato
juice will quickly replenish those stores.
Advertisers can talk about a product's
"unique complex carbohydrate," but to the
body this will soon be glucose, and as
mentioned previously, glucose is glucose.
There's no molecule of glucose that's
superior to another glucose molecule. The
energy drinks are advertising genius at its
best because it preys on the insecurities of
a group of individuals who are often
fastidious or compulsive about all aspects
of their training.
Propagating the belief that one is
"missing something" that will affect their
training sessions, especially if this magic
ingredient is easily obtained from
commonly found foodstuffs, makes this
author wonder about the honesty of some
manufacturers and distributors. But when
this is compounded by the efforts to sell a
product that's vastly overpriced relative
to the other foods that can supply the
same glucose molecules, I no longer
wonder; I know.
Reprinted with permission from Vol. 2, No.
9, September 1986 issue of The Steel Tip.
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