Evidence Based Training
Nautilus Training Principles
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 the 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 the 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, calf raise, 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 about 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 muscular size and strength but also develops a high level of cardiovascular endurance.
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 they 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.
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 trainees to work at the required level or intensity.
Warming Up and Cooling Down