A Totally New Concept in Exercise and Equipment
by Arthur Jones
From IronMan November 1970, Volume 30 Number 1, visit www.ironmanmagazine.com
Exactly how do such exercises work? Well, a detailed explanation
would require a lengthy book -- but I can rather briefly describe
the working of one or two of these exercises; and this explanation,
together with the pictures forming a part of this article, should
make the involved principles understandable.
Illustration number one shows a subject seated in a "pullover type"
lat machine, in the fully extended starting position of the
exercise; individual hand grips and a cross bar are provided
for possible use; but if the exercise is performed properly then
the resistance is moved by the elbows, NOT BY THE ARM MUSCLES.
Obviously, since the arms are moved by the lats, the arms must move
during the exercise; but if the exercise is performed properly, the
muscles of the arms are not involved in the movement at all. In
effect, you are lifting weights (moving the resistance) with your
elbows, not with your hands. Effort is expended by pressing
against the elbow pads with the backs of the upper arms; what you
do with your hands and forearms is of no concern.
In the starting position shown, the elbows are forced back well
behind the head, and in this extended position the lats are quite
weak; if heavy resistance is employed in this position, then
it would be impossible to start the movement. Thus the resistance
must be variable; it must be light in this position, and heavier in
other positions. In order to effect this variation of resistance,
we have employed what we term the "Nautilus System" of spiral
pulleys; the large, spiral shaped pulleys located on each side of
In this starting position, the radius of the pulley is quite small,
and thus the resistance is low. Later in the movement the radius
of the pulley is greater and the resistance is increased in
proportion. At the finishing position of the movement, as shown in
the second illustration, the radius of the pulley is at its
greatest and the resistance has reached its highest point as well.
Or, at least this is true in general terms, although, in fact,
while it is constantly changing, the radius of the
pulleys (and thus the resistance) does not always increase; in some
cases, the resistance increases up to a certain point and then
decreases, as it must in order to remain in balance with changing
strength levels produced by changes in involved body parts
While it is perfectly true that the strength of a muscle constantly
increases as the body parts move from an extended to a flexed
position, it does not follow that this increase takes form in a
straight-line fashion; that is to say, the increase in strength is
not constant at a given rate of increase.
Second, changing positions bring about greater and lesser degrees
of involvement of other muscular structures, and thus "total"
strength may be decreasing while the strength of a particular
muscle is increasing; for example, in the exercise illustrated,
most of the effort is provided by the latissimus muscles,
but the movement is assisted during part of the range of movement
by the pectorals, the abdominals, and the trapezoids, as well as
by several smaller muscular structures. Thus, while the strength
of the latissimus muscles increases during the entire movement,
"total" strength for the movement (the strength total provided by
all of the involved muscles) actually decreases near the end of the
So, in order to remain in balance with this total strength level,
the resistance must increase up to a point, and then decrease
slightly, and this variation in resistance is exactly provided by
the variation in the curve of the spiral pulleys.
It should be noted that the subject is seated in such a position
that his "axis of rotation" of the shoulders is located exactly in
line with the center of rotation of the spiral pulleys; and only in
this position is directness of resistance possible. In this
position, the resistance is always provided in a direction directly
opposite to the direction of movement of the involved body parts;
when the elbows are moving forward and slightly upwards at the
start of the exercise, the resistance is provided backwards and
slightly downwards -- later, as the elbows are moving directly
downwards, the resistance is provided in a directly upwards
direction. And in all other positions the resistance is always
directly opposite to the direction of movement.
In any form of pullover with a barbell or a normal pulley device
the resistance is one directional, and thus directly opposes the
movement only during a brief, infinitely small range of movement
while the elbows are moving in a direction directly opposite to the
direction of resistance; but in this machine, resistance is
Insofar as "feel" of the exercise is concerned, the resistance
feels exactly the same in all positions, it is hard at the start of
the movement, and remains hard throughout the movement; but it is
no harder, and no easier, at one point than it is at any other
point. Or, at least, it will feel this way to a man with a
perfectly balanced development; which, in effect, means that it
will not feel even to a man that has been training by conventional
methods; at least not at first. Because such a trainee will not
have a balanced development, in some areas, ne will have little or
no strength; and in those areas the weight will feel very heavy
to him at first.
But within a matter of a few weeks at most, the areas of his
development that have previously been neglected will
quickly catch up in strength with the other areas and from that
point onwards, the resistance will feel even to him throughout the
By totally removing the working of the arm muscles from the
performance of this exercise, the resistance has been applied
directly to the major torso muscles primarily to the lats -- and
thus the previously existing limitations imposed by the strength of
the arms have been removed; it is now possible to work the lats
directly and to work them to the limit of their own strength. As
a result the lats will grow as much within six months as they
previously would in an equal number of years.
Starting from scratch, with a sixteen year old, previously
untrained boy, we built his lats to an unbelievable size in a
period of less than eight weeks. With another subject, a man that
had been in hard, constant training with weights for seventeen
years, we increased his chest size by over three inches in a period
of less than a month.
Boyer Coe performed one fairly light set on one of the pullover
type lat machines and was extremely sore in the lats for several
days as a result; and one set on one of our new curling machines
pumped his arms to a greater size than they had ever reached
In the third illustration the starting position of the "behind
neck" type lat machine is shown. In this case it should be obvious
that all of the work is being done by moving the resistance with
the elbows; since no hand-grips or cross bar are provided. Nor are
In the previously described and illustrated "pullover type" lat
machine, hand grips and a cross bar are provided only because it
was found that without something to grip it was extremely difficult
for most trainees to maintain proper elbow position. There was
a tendency for the elbows to slip off the elbow pads. But in the
"behind neck" type lat machine, because of the difference in
positioning of the elbows, and due to the shape of the elbow pads,
it was not necessary to employ hand grips; and because of the
nature of the movement, it was impossible to use a cross bar
linking the two opposite turning spiral pulleys.
In the fourth illustration, the finishing position of the "behind
neck" type lat machine exercise is shown; by comparing
illustrations numbers three and four, the involved range of
movement will be obvious, and it should also be obvious that the
entire movement is performed by the torso muscles, without the
involvement of the arm muscles.
In the fifth illustration the starting position of the "rowing
type" lat machine is shown, and in the sixth illustration, the
finishing position of the same exercise is shown, and again it
should be obvious that the work is confined to the torso muscles.
These first three machines provide perfectly direct,
omni-directional, rotary movement, variable, balanced
resistance to the torso muscles, primarily to the latissimus
muscles; insofar as the latissimus muscles are concerned no other
exercises are required for maximum development in a minimum of
training time with a minimum of work. However, for "total"
development, in order to link the major torso muscles properly with
the arm muscles, three other exercises (indirect exercises) are
required. These are illustrated in the next six
The first of these, performed on the "chinning machine" is the
behind the neck type chin with a vertical (or parallel) hand grip;
the starting position of this exercise is illustrated in photograph
number seven, and the finishing position in photo number eight.
By using a vertical grip arrangement, instead of the normally
employed pronated (or "palmsdown") grip, the arms are placed in the
position of greatest strength -- thus, while the ability to work
the torso muscles will still be limited by the strength of the
arms, this limitation will be reduced as much as possible.
And, second, if this exercise is performed in proper sequence, the
arms will temporarily be stronger than the torso muscles, and thus
the limitation normally imposed by the strength of the arm muscles
will be entirely eliminated.
Except for the vertical-grip hand position, this exercise is
performed in the normal manner but with variable resistance
provided by the employment of the spiral pulley arrangement. At
the start the movement the resistance is low, and later in the
movement it is high; always in perfect balance with the changing
level of strength.
In illustrations numbers nine and ten, the starting and finishing
positions of the "rowing type" machine are shown; this movement
also involves the strength of the arms, but again, if performed in
proper sequence with the other exercises, the limitations will be
of little, if any, concern. Because at that point in the exercise
cycle, the arms will temporarily be stronger than the torso
muscles, thus you are able to work the torso muscles to a point
where they fail because of their own momentary state of exhaustion
rather than as a result of the failure of arm strength.
The final exercise in the torso muscle cycle or "lat cycle," if you
like, is performed on the chinning machine, but this time instead
of doing behind the neck type chins, regular grip chinning
movements are employed.
Thus, in each cycle, six exercises are performed:
- Pullover type lat machine movements.
- Behind neck type lat machine movements.
- Rowing type lat machine movements.
- Behind neck type chinning movements.
- 45 degree pulley type rowing machine movements.
- Regular grip type chinning movements.
The exercises should be performed in that order, and with no rest
between sets; one set should immediately follow the preceding set.
The entire cycle should be completed as quickly as possible, but
each set should be carried to the point of total failure of the
involved muscles in that position. Thus, properly performed, one
cycle of the above six exercises will work the major torso muscles
(and especially the lats) to a point of total, if momentary,
failure; and not more than two such cycles should be performed in
any one workout; nor should such workouts be performed more than
three times weekly.
For best possible results, each such cycle should be immediately
preceded with a set of at least fifteen reps of fast, heavy squats,
carried to the point of staggering under the weight, to the point
of extreme breathlessness.
And when I say "immediately," I mean just that; you should
literally stagger (since, if you have done the squats properly you
won't even be able to walk properly, let alone run) directly from
the squat rack to the lat machine with no slightest rest between
the squats and the first set of the lat machine cycle.
In almost all cases, only one such cycle, performed three times
weekly, is required for maximum possible gains in the lats, for a
rate of gaining that must be seen to be believed; and since each
cycle (including the squats) should require not more than eight
minutes of training time, this means that not more than twenty-four
minutes of weekly training is required by most trainees, and never
more than forty-eight minutes of training time for anybody (when
two such cycles are being performed).
Arm training -- which I will detail in later articles, and shoulder
training (as well as pec and leg training) should be equally brief,
and in many cases even less involved. Thus, for training the
entire body, with two full cycles for all body parts, training time
should not exceed one hour and twenty minutes per workout, or a
total of four hours weekly.
And in almost all cases, best results will be produced by a
training program limited to about forty-eight minutes, three times
Too easy? Well, like I mentioned earlier, quick it may be insofar
as the production of results is concerned, but "easy" it certainly
is not. Or, if performed in on "easy" fashion, then the possible
results from this system of training will not be produced. But
also, as mentioned earlier DO TAKE IT EASY AT FIRST, otherwise you
may literally kill yourself.
Although this may or may not be obvious, the previously described
six exercises for the lats, and especially the first three, have
almost nothing in common with previously existing methods of
exercise; while previously existing forms of exercise meet none of
the basic requirements for producing best possible results from
weight training, the first described three exercises meet most of
them especially if they are performed properly in sequence with the
If these exercises fail to produce at least ten times the rate
of progress you have experienced previously, then you are not
performing them properly; probably not working hard enough, or
pausing between sets, or performing too many cycles; and these
exercises are fully capable of producing as much as thirty times
the results usually produced by conventional training methods, at
least insofar as a "return of results in proportion to expenditure
of energy" is concerned.
Six months of three times a week brief training on this program of
exercises will build the lats of a mature individual to any size
previously possible by any amount of other training over any period
of time; and a year of proper training will produce results in the
lats far exceeding anything ever seen previously.
And very similar, if not quite so spectacular. degrees of results
are possible in other areas of development; in the arms, the chest,
the shoulders and the legs.
Whether such a degree of development will be desirable or not
remains to be seen. Personally, I think that a definite limit
exists insofar as "desirable" muscular size is concerned, but I
have no slightest doubt that any such level of desirable
development will be far exceeded by many individuals, now that it
is at last possible to do so.
Second, I am far from being convinced that "maximum possible"
strength is desirable either, since it is obvious that such
strength will far exceed the ability of the human skeleton. In
effect, how do you use strength that is capable of destroying its
own supporting framework, the skeleton?
One cycle of the previously described six exercises will work the
lats almost literally "into the ground" from every possible angle,
over the entire possible range of movement from several directions;
additionally, one such cycle will provide an enormous amount of
work for the pectorals, the abdominals, and the trapezoids, and
quite a bit of work for the deltoids and several similar smaller
muscular structures. The last described three exercises
will provide all of the work that is required for linking the
development of the major torso muscles to that of the arms, while
rounding out the development of the lats, and without overworking
the arms in the process.
Carried to extremes, that is to say, employed for a period of two
or three years of steady training, such exercises will certainly
produce a degree of development in the lats that will dwarf the
possible development of other body parts; the lats would become so
huge that other, smaller body parts would look small by comparison
in spite of their size.
And this is obviously true in spite of the fact that such great
development of the lats will cause by "indirect effect' large
increases in muscular size in all nearby muscular structures as
well. When any muscular structure grows in response to exercise,
all other muscular structures in the body grow as well, even those
muscles that receive no work at all, thus building such great size
into the lats will create a lesser degree of size increase over the
entire body, even in the legs, but the potential size of the lats
is so great that they are capable of attaining a size far out of
proportion to the maximum potential size of any other human
muscular structure. At least by presently accepted standards of
And the lats are capable of attaining this disproportionately large
size in spite of the increases that such development will cause in
other body parts as a result of indirect effect.
What makes me think so? Several things. We have already
demonstrated that the lats are capable of far outstripping other
body parts in size and strength increases, once exposed to direct,
omni-directional, full range exercise, and, second, it has long
been obvious that the pectorals. a very similar muscular structure, are
capable of reaching a disproportionately large degree of
So don't be surprised when you start seeing men with lats so big
that they defy belief, as you soon will; and when you do, don't
wonder how such size was attained; you already know the answer to
When will such machines be available? They already are, on a first
come, first served basis; we are producing them as fast as
possible, but it now appears that it will take us several years to
reach a level of production that will reach a point of balance with
demand. So, if you are interested I strongly advise that you get
your order in early; at the moment of this writing you can expect
delivery in about three months, but by the time this is published,
delivery time may require six months or longer, and it now
appears that delivery time will reach a period of a year or more
before the trend reverses itself, as we start to meet demand with
an increased production capacity.
Price? Well, in general the machines are not inexpensive; nor
could this be expected. They are large, heavy, complex, and
require a great deal of precision workmanship. But if you are
considering price in relation to the production of results, as you
should, then they are by far the lowest priced pieces of training
equipment on the market.