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Arthur Jones Squat Technique

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The Final Breakthrough

by Arthur Jones

From IronMan, November 1970 Volume 30 Number 1 , visit www.ironmanmagazine.com

Why not restrain the thighs?" he said; and with those five words, Dan Howard solved the last remaining problem of any real importance.

More than that; be provided the answer for the problem that had stopped me in my tracks for months, and he also provided an answer to a problem that I had always considered impossible to solve. Every weight trainee in the world should take off his hat to Dan Howard of the University of Tulsa; in no small part, weight training results of the future will be made possible because of his contribution to our research.

Are you worried about danger to your knees from heavy squats? If so, forget such worries; that danger (if such ever really existed) has been removed.

Do squats bother your lower back? They never will again. That, too, has been taken care of. Does the weight of the bar across your shoulders exert too much compression upon your spine? Such pressure has been entirely removed; not reduced, REMOVED -- never again need you expose your spinal column to even an ounce of compression force while performing squats.

Are you forced to do full squats with a light weight for full-range results, and additional sets of partial squats with a much heavier weight for building great strength and muscle mass? If you have not been training in such a manner, you have been training wrong; but you need never do so in the future; that limitation has also been overcome.

Do you consider squats almost brutally hard? That problem HAS NOT BEEN SOLVED - and it never will be. On the contrary, Dan's contribution has not resulted in an easier form of squatting; it has, instead, resulted in a form of squatting that is at least three times as hard as any previously possible method of squatting.

And primarily for that very reason, it is at least 3 times as productive as any other method of squatting; and, insofar as the production of results in comparison to the expenditure of energy is concerned, this new method of squatting will certainly prove to be at least ten times as productive as any earlier method.

The title of this article is "The Final Breakthrough." Many readers may feel that is a gross overstatement; ". . . after all," they may ask, "how can he possibly predict the discoveries of the future?"

Obviously I cannot predict the discoveries of the future, and I certainly don't pretend to be able to, but in this instance, just as obviously, I don't have to predict the future. All -- and I mean ALL - of the important problems connected with the field of weight training have now been solved. Only a matter of a few months before you read this article, all but one of the important problems in this field had already been solved, and then Dan Howard solved the final problem.

A very similar problem had been encountered, and solved, previously; but in this case it did not appear to be practical to approach the problem in a similar manner. Such a solution was POSSIBLE, but it certainly was not PRACTICAL; an exercise machine based on those principles would cost at least as much as a small airplane -- and would be approximately the same size.

Full-range movement of the biceps muscle of the upper arm involves compound rotation in two separate planes. Building a machine that was capable of supplying the required compound resistance was certainly not easy - but it was both possible and practical. The resulting "Compound Curling Machine" is a rather large, far from inexpensive, very complex machine; but it will build maximum possible strength and muscular size in a tiny fraction of the time previously required.

Squatting is also a compound movement; it, too, involves rotational movement around two different axis points. But in this case, a solution such as that used in the Compound Curling Machine did not appear to be practical. So, at that point in our research, we were stuck; until Dan pointed out a possible solution that had not previously occurred to us.

Squats and leg presses are very similar; their primary differences being "range of movement" and "point of restraint." In squats, the lower legs (the calves) are restrained, while the torso and the thighs are moved. Properly performed, full squats are a full range movement.

Leg presses are different in that the torso is restrained while the thighs and calves are moved; and since the thighs are not brought into line with the torso in leg presses, the range of movement is reduced. Leg presses are easier on the spine.

So much for the slight differences between squats and leg presses; their similarities are more numerous. Neither exercise offers any direct exercise; neither movement is based upon rotational resistance; neither offers the required variation of resistance during the actual performance of the movement; both work the involved muscular structures heavily in their weakest positions, while affording almost no worthwhile resistance in the strongest positions.

But until quite recently, and in spite of those limitations, squats and leg presses were among the most productive exercises known.

In effect, a squat (or a leg Press) is a double movement, a combination of a thigh extension and a glute extension; and in the case of squats, the exercise may reasonably be considered a triple movement, the third part being a lower back extension.

While there may be very little actual movement (bending) of the lower back during the performance of squats, the fact remains that the lower back muscles will be forced to work quite hard in order to prevent such bending of the back; so in either case, with or without bending of the back, the back muscles will be worked either isometrically or isotonically.

A close scrutiny of the actual forces being expended during the performance of the squat will clearly indicate at least one probably very surprising disclosure; the force being exerted is NOT directed upwards, along the line of the spine - in fact, it is being exerted almost exactly 90 degrees out of phase with an upwards direction, toward the rear.

This being true, and it is true, then why support the weight an the shoulders, when in fact the force being expended is not going in that direction? Probably because there was simply no other way to do it, except by performing leg presses, which limited the range of movement and thus reduced the production of results, while doing little or nothing for the lower back muscles.

But if the thighs were restrained, then the upper body could rotate in one direction while the lower legs rotated in the opposite direction; the resistance could be removed from the shoulders (or from the feet, as in the case of leg presses), and could then be spread out over the entire surfaces of the back and the front of the lower legs, as it should be, since the forces are being expended in those directions.

Having provided direct, rotational resistance in this fashion, then the resistance could be varied in exact proportion to the strength curves of the involved muscle structures by use of a Nautilus. pulley rotating at the knee axis and another Nautilus pulley rotating in the opposite direction at the hip axis.

Since it is extremely important for the rotational axis of each of the two Nautilus.pulleys to remain exactly in line with the body axis for which it is designed, and since the distance between the axis points of the knees and hips of a short man will be several inches less than would be the case if a taller man was using the machine it becomes obvious that one of the Nautilus pulleys and its related machinery must be movable; but since such movement would be in a horizontal plane, this presents no great problem; it simply means that part of the machine must be mounted on a track that would permit the required movement.

Quite simple, once you think once of it; perfectly obvious, once it is explained to you. But so is the wheel, yet millions of people struggled for thousands of years before anyone thought of anything as simple as a wheel. And since that moment, every single improvement in the field of transportation, apart from riding animals or sailing boats, has been based upon, or dependent upon, the principle of the wheel; and if you think otherwise, then just try building a practical square rocket. You may be able to build a square rocket that will be strong enough to withstand the required forces, but if so, it will be far too heavy to get off the ground. For maximum strength with minimum weight, any structure must be round.

So, just as the wheel was the real breakthrough in the field of transportation, this latest development in the field of weight training is the final breakthrough in this field; the other requirements had all been provided previously; we had already discovered rotational movement, direct exercise methods, variable resistance requirements, full range, omni-directional, balanced, compound resistance, and we had learned how to provide the requirements in every case but one.

Now even that has been solved. Thanks, in very large part, to Dan Howard.

But some people will ask, "... just how can you be so sure it really is such an enormous improvement in method?"

Simply because nothing else is even possible; although many people continue to try to do so, you cannot adjust the laws of physics to suit yourself; definite efforts will invariably produce definite results. Since, for the first time in the history of exercise, this new method of squatting will provide the involved muscular structures with direct, omni-directional, balanced, variable, full. range resistance, resistance that will involve working almost a full 100% of the individual muscle fibers in that section of the body, then it must produce much great and far faster results -- no other result is even possible.

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Arthur Jones Squat Technique

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