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Nautilus Training Principles

Exercises properly performed on Nautilus machines produce faster results more efficiently than any other strength training equipment.  A clear understanding of the following principles will assure you the best possible results from your Nautilus exercise program.

The building of strength is proportionate to the intensity of exercise.  The higher the intensity the better the muscles are stimulated.  Performing a Nautilus exercise to the point of momentary muscular failure assures that you've trained to maximum intensity.  Muscular failure occurs when no additional repitions are possible.  Only by working to this extent can your engage a maximum number of muscle fibers. The first few repetitions on a Nautilus machine are merely preparation and do little to increase strength.  Because the intensity is low, these repetitions are of limited value.  The final repetitions are productive because the intensity is high.

The cornerstone of Nautilus training is progression.  Progression means increasing the workload during every training session.  With each workout you should try to add another repetition, increase resistance or both.  Experience has shown that at least 8 reps and not more than 12 should be performed.  If you cannot achieve 8 reps, the resistance is too heavy.  If you can perform more than 12 reps, it is not heavy enough.  When you are able to perform twelve repetitions or more it is time to increase the resistance on that Nautilus machine by approximately 5% at the next workout. Nautilus weight stacks are made with 10-pound increments.  Nautilus also manufactures small saddle plates weighing 1-1/4, 2-1/2, 5 and 7-1/2 pounds.  These saddle plates help you progress in a systematic manner.

Form refers to speed and range of movement and is very important to your Nautilus training program.  When repetitions are performed in a slow smooth manner, steady force is applied throughout the entire movement.  When a resistance is jerked or thrown, three or four times the actual force required to move the resistance is directed at the joints and muscles.  This is ineffective and dangerous.  The range of movement of each repetition from full extension to full flexion should be as complete as possible.  To contract fully, however, a muscle must produce a full range of movement.  When the movement resulting from muscular contraction is less than full-range, the entire length of the muscle is not involved.  Performance is improved and the possibility of injury is minimized when the muscles have been strengthened in every position through full range of movement.

Evidence Based Training

Accentuate The Negative
For best results each repetition should be performed in a negative-emphasized manner.  Like all forms of strength training Nautilus exercises require the raising and lowering of resistance.  When you raise the weight stack you're moving against the resistance of gravity and performing positive work.  Lowering a weight under control brings gravity into play and is referred to as negative work. In normal positive-negative exercise performed on Nautilus equipment you should always concentrate on the lowering (negative) part of the movement.  If it takes two seconds to lift a weight smoothly it should take about four seconds to lower it.

To perform negative-only exercise, you need to select a heavier weight than you would normally use.  Initially you should use about 40% more weight than you can handle for 10 reps in a normal positive-negative manner.  With this additional amount of weight on the Nautilus machine you have one or two assistants or instructors lift the movement arm to the contracted position.  Your job at this point is to lower the resistance back to the starting position. During the first 2 or 3 reps it should take approximately 8-10 seconds per rep to lower the resistance in a slow even manner.  It should be possible for you to stop and reverse the movement of these repetitions although no attempt should be made to do so. If the weight has been selected correctly the middle 3 or 4 reps shoudl be performed slightly faster, approximately 4 to 5 seconds per rep.  In these reps you should be able to stop the movement but not reverse it.  During the last rep it becomes impossible to stop the downward movement though you can control it.  The exercise is finally terminated when teh downward movement can no longer be controlled.

Negative-accentuated training does not require helpers.  Nor does it require nearly as much resistance as negative-only training.  With these types of exercises you can use Nautilus machines that have single connected movement arms. The leg extension machine offers a good example of negative-accentuated exercise.  If you can handle 100 pounds for 10 reps in a normal manner, you should use 70 pounds, (or 70% of the weight you normally handle). The movement arm should be lifted with both legs.  Pause in the contracted position and smoothly transfer the resistance from both legs to the right leg.  Then slowly lower the resistance in about 8 seconds using only the right leg.  Lift it back to the top position with both legs--pause--and lower, this time with the left leg again in a slow manner.  Up with two, down with one, up with two again, down with the other.  Continue this until you can no longer raise the weight to the contracted position.  If teh weight is selected correctly you should reach a point of momentary failure at about the 11th or 12th rep.  When you can perform 12 reps, increase teh resistance by 5%.  A properly performed set of negative-accentuated exercises should consist of 8-12 lifting movements plus 4-6 negative movements performed by the right leg and an equal number by the left. Other machines that allow for negative-accentuated exercises are the leg curl, leg press, calfraise, pullover, overhead press, decline press, biceps curl and triceps extension.

If each Nautilus exercise is done properly in a high-intensity fashion brief workouts must be the rule.  High-intensity exercise has an effect on the entire system and this effect can be either good or bad.  If high-intensity work is followed by an adequate period of rest muscular growth and increase in strength will result.  Intensive work, however, must not be overdone.  Low-intensity work has almost no effect at all. Many athletes mistakenly perform too much exercise.  They do too many different movements, too many sets and too many workouts within a given period of time.  When an excess amount of Nautilus exercise is performed, total recovery between workouts becomes impossible.  So does high-intensity training. You can perform brief and infrequent high-intensity exercise or long and frequent Nautilus exercise involving a high intensity of work.  That will result only in losses in both muscular mass and strength and can also result in total exhaustion.

When you understand the requirements for productive high-intensity training you'll be able to select the best exercise for a particular purpose.  In most cases not more than 12 different Nautilus exercises should be performed in any one workout.  The lower body should have 4-6 exercises and the upper body 6-8.  If you push or are pushed to the supreme effort in each of 12 exercises you will not be able to perform more than one set properly.  A set on 10 reps preformed in proper style should take abotu one minute to complete.  By allowing one minute between exercises most athletes should be able to complete 12 Nautilus exercises in less than 25 minutes.  As you work yourself into better condition, the time between exercises should be reduced.  It is entirely possible to go through a workout of 12 Nautilus exercises in less than 15 minutes.  Such a workout not only develops muscualr size and strength but also develops a high level of cardiovascualr endurance.

More Is Not Better
An advanced trainee does not need more Nautilus exercise than a beginner; rather, the advanced trainee needs less exercise, but at a higher level of intensity.
Beginner trainees usually show acceptable strength gains on most types of exercise programs even though they may perform several sets of more than 12 reps in each training session.  They are able to make the progress, at least for a while, because thay are not strong enough to use up all their recovery ability.  As they get stronger, however, they do use that recovery ability and their progress stops.  The stronger the individual becomes, the greater resistance he or she handles and the greater inroads are made toward recovery ability.  The advanced trainees must reduce their overall Nautilus exercises from 12 to 10 and train at high-intensity only twice a week.  For instance, on Monday they might train hard, on Wednesday less strenuously and on Friday hard again.  The Wednesday workout does not stimulate growth but prevents muscle atrophy.  It would permit growth by not making significant inroads into the athlete's recovery ability.

Between Nautilus workouts you should rest at least 48 hours but not more than 96 hours.  High levels of muscular size and strength begin to decrease and atrophy after 96 hours of normal activity. High-intensity Nautilus exercise causes a complex chemical reaction inside a muscle.  If given time the muscle will compensate by causing certain cells to get bigger and stronger.  High-intensity exercise is, therfore, necessary to stimulate muscular growth but it is not the only requirement.  Time and rest are also important as the stimulated muscle must be given time to recover and grow. An every-other-day, three-times-per-week Nautilus program will also provide the body with the needed irregularity of training.  The schedule of training prevents the body from falling into a regular routine.  Since the system is never quite able to adjust to this irregularity of training, growth is stimulated.

Workouts should begin with the largest muscle groups and proceed to the smallest.  This is important for two reasons, training the largest muscle first causes the greatest degree of overall body stimulation, it is impossible to reach momentary muscular exhaustion of a large muscle, if the smaller muscle group is serving as a link between the resistance and the large muscle groups has already been exhausted.  Therfore, it is important to work the largest muscles first while the system is still capable of training at the desired intensity.  For best results the exercise sequence should be as follows: hip, legs, torso, arms, waist, lower back, neck.

The human body quickly grows accustomed to almost any kind of activity.  Once this happens no amount of participation in the same activity will provide growth stimulation.  It is important to provide growth stimulation.  It is important to provide many forms of variation in Nautilus training and variation can be achieved in several different ways.  Weight or repetitions can be varied for each workout.  The exercise can be changed occasionally alternated or performed in a different sequence.  Training days can be varied.

Some people can push themselves to a 100% effort occasionally or on two or three Nautilus exercises.  However, experience proves that this is virtually impossible to do consistently. Nautilus high-intensity exercise is very demanding.  It is not surprising that few people can do it on their own initiative.  An instructor is needed to supervise and motivate most traniees to work at the required level or intensity.

Keeping Records
You should keep accurate records of workout-by-workout progress. This can be done on a card that lists the exercises with ample space to the right for recording the date, resistance, repetitions and training time.

Warming Up adn Cooling Down
During warm-up, the cartilages of the knee increase their thickness and provide a better fit of the surfaces of the knee joint. friction-like resistance of the muscle cells is reduced by the higher temperature of the body and the elasticity of the tendons and ligaments is increased. The change to higher temperature allows for increased speed of movement and strength potential. It also minimizes risk of injury. A rise in temperature of the muscle cells by only a few degrees speeds up the production of energy by one-third. These changes in the human mechanism are similar to those that occur in an automobile as it warms up.

Almost any sequence of light calisthenic movements can be used as a general warm-up to precede a vigorous Nautilus training session. Suggested movements include head rotation, side bend, trunk twist, squat and stationary cycling. Doing each movement for a minute or so will be sufficient. Specific warming up for each body part occurs during the first four reps of each Nautilus exercise. Cooling down after your workout is also important. This prevents blood from pooling in your exercised muscles. After your last exercise, cool down by walking around the workout area, getting a drink of water and moving your arms in slow circles. Continue these easy movements for 4 to 5 minutes or until your breathing has returned to normal and your heart rate has slowed.

12 Rules From Nautilus

1. Perform one set of 4-6 exercises for the lower body and 6-8 exercises for the upper body and not more than 12 exercises in a workout.
2. Select a resistance for each exercise that allows you to do between 8 and 12 repetitions
3. Continue each exercise until no additional repetitions are possible. When 12 or more repetitions are performed, increase the resistance by approximately 5 percent at the next workout.
4. Work the largest muscles first and move quickly from one exercise to the next. This procedure develops cardiovascular endurance.
5. Concentrate on flexibility by slowly stretching during the first three repetitions of each exercise.
6. Accentuate the lowering portion of each repetition.
7. Move slower, never faster, if in doubt about the speed of movement.
8. Do everything possible to isolate and work each large muscle group to exhaustion.
9. Attempt constantly to increase the number of repetitions or the amount of weight or both. But do not sacrifice form in an attempt to produce results.
10. Train no more than three times a week.
11. Keep accurate records - date, resistance, repetitions, and overall training time - of each workout.
12. Vary the workouts.

The Nautilus Principles