Arthur Jones




Arthur Jones was a pioneer in the design and development of variable-resistance exercise machines. His Nautilus brand of machines, patented and first introduced in the United States in 1970, set a standard for the fitness industry. Nautilus technology was first conceived by Jones as having significant benefits to the medical profession for use in the rehabilitation of injured persons. At the peak of Nautilus popularity, over 2,000 fitness clubs in the United States used the Nautilus name. Many professional sports teams used Nautilus equipment, the first being the Miami Dolphins football team in 1971. As with many inventions, the Nautilus name became a generic reference for any type of fixed exercise machine.

At the heart of Jones theories regarding the utility of his machines for maximum muscular development over the use of traditional free weights, such as dumbbells and bench press exercises, were his views about how muscle development was best achieved. The Nautilus machines were designed to isolate the function of specific muscle groups during an exercise. It was Jones's belief that by isolating the muscle function, the user would be forced to apply the best possible form in moving the target muscle. With proper form came the best possible extension and flexion of the muscles and joints being isolated.

In conjunction with the emphasis on form, Jones developed a training system that became known by the acronym HIT, high intensity training. Jones believed that short, intense workouts provided a superior return to the athlete than what was then the standard weight training workout, one that was long and involved the lifting of a high volume of weights.

Jones was an advocate of precision in the HIT training sessions. He specified 16 different Nautilus machine exercises, with one set of each exercise performed to failure (where the athlete could no longer perform the exercise), three times per week. Jones also advocated that the athlete spend no longer than 15 to 30 seconds between each exercise, so as to build in an aerobic component to the resistance workouts.

Jones personally trained American bodybuilder Casey Viatu in the early 1970s; Jones claimed that Viatu gained 63 lb (29 kg) of lean muscle in a 28-day period using his methods on Nautilus equipment. Jones also trained Arnold Schwarzenegger, the noted bodybuilder, in 1973.

Jones moved to the development of exercise machines directed to the rehabilitation of medical patients; in 1986, he created the MedX line of machines for use in rehabilitative medicine.

SEE ALSO Free weights; Resistance exercise training; Weightlifting.