Book. The Discus Thrower and his Dream Factory
The Discus Thrower and his Dream Factory
I previously described one of my first projects was with Universal Gym Equipment which was the inaugural use of our newly invented sonic digitizer installed in my kitchen. My work with the Universal Gym Corporation turned out to be a boom for both CBA and Universal. I created new designs and changed the old styles from ordinary standard exercise machines with which everyone was familiar into ones that were specifically built according to scientific principles.
Author with his newly designed DVR Universal Machine
Harold Zinkin, the owner, and his entire Universal staff were open to this new way of providing exercise machines that automatically adjusted to the exerciser’s body and actually assisted the person in their training. Harold had been a superb weight lifter and body builder during the days of bar bells and dumb bells on Muscle Beach California. Although, he was relatively short in stature, he was enormously tall when it came to thinking about exercise and equipment to increase strength.
Harold was one of the army of exercise and fitness enthusiasts who trained for many hours every day. One of his best friends was the legendary Jack LaLane. But many of these famous exercise fanatics and the gurus of the fitness industry, frequently believed in myths or in the latest fad without scientific evidence to support their theories regarding strength development. Even now, the designers and the so called experts in the exercise field believe in myths or speculation as to what people need, just as people at the time of Copernicus thought that the Earth was the center of the Universe.
It was not that the relationship between resistance and muscle strength was new at that time or even now. Probably as early as Milo the Greek, who lifted a baby calf every day until it was full grown, people have lifted weights to increase their strength. In 1948, Delorme adopted the name “progressive resistance exercise” for his method of developing muscular strength through the utilization of counter-balancing the weight of the extremity with a cable and pulley arrangement. McQueen distinguished between exercise regimes for producing muscle hypertrophy and for producing muscle power. He concluded that the number of repetitions for each set of exercise determines the different characteristics of the exercise.
Hundreds of investigations have been published relative to muscular development through resistance exercises using different techniques. These include isotonic, isometric, and eccentric exercises, the Oxford technique, double and triple progressive systems, super set systems, isokinetic exercise systems, chains and barbells, springs systems, and the list continues. Each system has been supported and refuted by numerous studies. Some of the best research was performed by Berger who concluded that 6-7 repetitions 3 times a week is best for developing dynamic strength. Other excellent research was conducted by Steinhause who emphasized the need to increase the intensity but not the amount of work in order to develop maximum strength.
When a person uses any resistance device, there are two kinds of forces applied on the body. The internal forces produced by the muscular system and the external forces produced by the resistance device. Consideration of the magnitude of the externally applied resistance cannot be the only consideration in muscular training. Rather, the magnitude, action line, direction, and point of application are all characteristics which must be considered to develop maximum muscular training. Physical educators, trainers, physical therapists, and athletes deal constantly with muscle forces, both normal and super-normal, but little is actually known about the actual magnitudes of these forces.
The human body is a system of linked segments and forces cause rotation of the parts about their anatomic axes. Both muscle and gravitational forces are important in producing these turning effects which are fundamental to body movements in daily living and sports. Pushing, pulling, lifting, kicking, running, and walking are all results of rotational motion. The linked segments are our rigid bones and the power to move the bones is caused by the contractions of our muscles.
To illustrate the mechanical principle governing the human muscular system, a good example is a see-saw. Nearly everyone has had the experience of going to a park and riding up and down with a friend on a see-saw. Understanding the principle of how to create the joy of going up and down is quickly derived from personal experience. If one child is heavier than the friend, the bar has to be adjusted to accommodate the differences in weight. The location of where the bar is placed or balanced is called the “fulcrum”. Through the trial and error of experience, children rapidly learn that their size determines how they have to adjust the bar.
What children learn, without the benefit of fancy mechanical terminology, is the principle of moments. The weight of the child and the distance from the fulcrum are both important in determining the force needed to balance the other child. This principle, widely used throughout the entire field of biomechanics, is the principle of moments. The definition is “the moment of a force about any point is equal to the magnitude of the force multiplied by the perpendicular distance from the action line of the force to that point.” A diagram illustrating this principle follows:
Since a moment is a force times a distance, it may be increased or decreased in either of two ways. One way is to change the magnitude of the force and the second way is to change the distance from the fulcrum. In the case of the see-saw, if two boys are of equal weight, they must sit the same distance from the fulcrum to the end of the board. If one boy plays with a child half his weight, this child must sit twice as far from the fulcrum in order to balance.
Another important consideration for all of our movements is the relationship between the skeleton and the muscles which are attached to each of the bones in it. The human body consists of a reciprocating arrangement of muscles and levers, which are our bones. When we move, we change the angle that the muscle pulls on the bone. For example, holding a weight in the right hand and bending the elbow, moves the weight upwards. As the elbow bends, the muscles attached to the upper arm constantly change the amount of force needed to raise the weight upwards. The length of the lever arm and the angle of muscular attachment to the bone are offset by changes in the ability of the muscles to develop torques about the joints. Therefore, there are three factors involved in movement: (1) the length of the lever (bone), (2) the angle of muscle attachment to the bone, and (3) the length of the muscle itself. There is a compensatory relationship between the geometric arrangement of the lever and the physiology of muscle contraction that allows smooth bodily movements.
In addition to consideration of the human body’s internal leverage system, the levers and resistance of exercise equipment must be calculated to facilitate and optimize the increase in muscular strength. To facilitate maximum muscular involvement, the resistance must vary. The resistance should be varied according to the biomechanical data obtained under dynamic conditions.
Consider, for example, a well-known weight lifting exercises, the bench press. Using the normal barbell arrangement, the resistance varies by as much as 100 per cent during the entire movement. At the beginning of the exercise, the force necessary to raise the bar is higher while in the middle and at the end, the muscle effort will be less. In order to increase the muscular involvement throughout the entire exercise, the leverage system of the equipment must be changed. The resistance to the muscle must be imposed throughout the entire range of the motion in order to increase strength. However, this resistance should be varied according to the biomechanical data obtained under dynamic conditions for each separate exercise.
Another bodily joint that can and should be studied because of its importance to everyone regardless of age or gender, is the knee. The knee is crucial for locomotion. Just like that old song about the foot connecting to the knee joint and on up the skeletal system, when anything impairs the normal function of the knee, it affects the entire body. When a person limps due to a knee problem, the resultant forces are transmitted to other parts just as occurred with the previously discussed football and gymnastic injuries. Back and shoulder pains are common with long-term knee problems and can result in chronic complications elsewhere in the body.
Since video was not an available technology in 1972, we collected data on the knee using X-Ray photography. The X-Ray gave us information on the internal structure and movement of joints, in this case the knee. The following is one analysis among many on the intra-articular forces at the knee joint during a squat exercise.
The figure presents a sample of an x-ray used to determine the knee joint model. The figure shows a person executing a squat exercise with a weight. The goal for the weight lifter is to increase the muscular strength primarily in the vertical dimension. In other words, to win an Olympic gold medal, the lifter must raise the barbell with more weight than the competitors. To accomplish this task, the knee joint motion must produce more force components in the vertical direction and minimize those in the horizontal direction. The horizontal forces are frequently referred to as “shear” forces.
To evaluate the forces on the knee, the most important information can be gleaned by calculating the moment arm. The moment arm, shown in the figure as “x”, is defined as the perpendicular distance from the joint center to the line of force generated by the muscle. As the knee bends, the moment arm changes. The goal is to minimize the shear force and maximize the vertical force component and quantification of the moment arm is particularly useful for this purpose. The changes in the moment arm of the joint should be considered when designing exercise equipment.
Another vulnerable part of the body which is routinely exposed to shearing forces is in the lower back region between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrates. For all of us who walk on two legs and also lift and carry packages, there is a risk of lower back pain and injury. For decades, there has been continued interest in the prevalence and etiology of lower back pain in industrial applications, injuries in the home, and sport-related problems.
Back injuries are commonly associated with the lifting of weights. Almost any weight lifting exercise, executed while standing with erect posture, is associated with great force on the vertebrate column. Researchers found a high incidence of scoliosis, prolapsed disc, and other injuries to the vertebral column and its associated structures in competitive weight lifters. The risk of degenerative and traumatic lesions of the spine is not confined to those engaged in competitive lifting as athletes in many different sports routinely incorporate weight training as part of their training routines. Young and inexperienced lifters represent another high-risk population.
In a study of pressures in the trunk cavities when pulling, pushing, and lifting, it was found that with increased stress on the vertebral column, the abdominal muscles are very active in relieving the load on the lumbar spine. Thus, the abdominal muscles counteract the shearing force to a certain extent. This factor illustrates the importance of well-developed abdominal musculature to aid in the prevention of low-back pain in weight lifting. The widespread use of the “waist belt” among weight lifters is not worn to support the back as many people believe. Rather the function of the belt is to increase the “strength” of the abdominal muscles to resist the shearing force on the lumbar region.
In 1973, there were no exercise equipment companies familiar with biomechanical calculations or with the ability to design their products to accommodate the dynamically necessary changes. Many manufacturers may have thought about the need to improve their designs but they did not have the data to actually build new equipment. It was, therefore, a unique situation to be approached by a major exercise manufacturer to help them design better equipment. It was another indicator of the creative and open-mindedness of Harold Zinkin of Universal Gym. He had been an innovator during his earlier years on Muscle Beach and now he was thinking of the future by seeking biomechanical improvements in his line of exercise equipment.
esistance” or “DVR” as it became known. These exercise machines utilized an appropriate resistance lever arm in accordance with the requirements of kinesiology, human anatomy, and were based on dynamically quantified biomechanical information. The design automatically determined the moment of force in each exercise and simultaneously considered the muscular and the dynamic forces due to the motion.Rariable Vynamic D We used our CBA technology to evaluate the existing Universal equipment. Following these biomechanical analyses, we designed a new system which was able to change the resistance for each separate exercise according to the dynamic needs of the person exercising. This new system was labeled “
In 1974, Universal Gym introduced some of the DVR machines which incorporated the research and development biomechanical analyses which we had designed at CBA. Here are some of the new, scientifically designed equipment:
1.Bench press machine. The Universal variable resistance bench press station demonstrated an automatic loading effect enabling total muscle training throughout the range of motion because of the cam-bar arrangement.
2.Leg press and shoulder press stations. These new variable resistance leg and shoulder press stations optimized the resultant force in the appropriate direction and at the same time minimized the shearing force. As discussed previously, a shearing force represents the intra-articular stress on the joint. The unique development of the leg machine was to eliminate standing posture when executing the exercises. The exercise is performed while seated and the legs are exercised against a resistance applied in the horizontal direction. By providing good support for the back, the press is executed on a seat with the motion restricted to both suit the exercise and, at the same time, to minimize the shearing factor. Thus, high shear forces on the lumbar region are eliminated.
For nearly all of the newly designed Universal equipment, the total muscular performance exceeded 85 percent of maximum muscular movement involvement throughout the range of motion. This extended range of motion permitted maximum training for each muscular group involved.
After Universal Gym introduced the first few DVR machines and explained the biomechanical principles which I had taught them, the reaction from their competitors was immediate and fierce. I realized how difficult it must have been for Galileo when the soldiers locked him out of his house for telling the world his calculations indicated that the Sun rotated around the Earth. I am not trying to compare myself to Galileo, who was one of the greatest scientists of the last 600 years. But, rather that we had each done something that was correct but revolutionary for its time.
By 1974 and for years after, thousands of Universal Gym machines were sold around the globe. Universal hired CBA to send me around the World to present my research at various conferences. We both benefited from this relationship since they received publicity by a well-known biomechanist and I was able to present the CBA technology in conference settings. My personal goal was to attract companies interested in our quantification technologies who would hire us to perform work on their products. We already had a proven track record of positive results and this was a wonderful opportunity to present us in favorable settings.
which was one of the main fitness and exercise publications at that time. The title of this article was “Criminal Fraud or Unbelievable Stupidity” and the author was Arthur Jones. I had never heard of Arthur Jones before that article was published but he blasted into my world like the meteorite that smashed into the Yucatan peninsula 65 million years ago contributing to the end of the dinosaurs. Fortunately, Arthur Jones was more prehistoric than I.Journal Athletic The strategy was working well until one day when, unexpectedly, an article was published in the Cover and first page of article.
I soon discovered that Arthur Jones was the owner and the founder of the Nautilus Company. Nautilus was a major commercial competitor of Universal. The article was seven pages in length and hurled many outlandish claims against both Universal and me.
Jones was allegedly a wild character in his own right. The claim was that he always carried a gun and, according to urban legend, he had pistol-whipped people when he was provoked. He owned two 707 airplanes which he used to fly his exercise equipment units from their manufacturing base in Columbia to the US for sale.
In his younger years, Arthur Jones had lived in Africa where he filmed and produced a television program called “Wild Cargo”. It was a popular show in America because it showed daring and exciting rescues of African animals which were in danger from situations such as environmental threats or poachers. After he had left Africa, he returned to a small town in Florida, Lake Helen, where he had based his Nautilus Company. He had a collection of unusual pets including snakes, spiders, quails, and a big crocodile named Jack. In fact, in his later years, he had flown 63 baby elephants from Africa which were to be “culled” to his farm in Lake Helena, Florida.
To the best of my knowledge, Jones never finished elementary school and, most certainly, had no advanced academic education whatsoever. He was what is known as “street smart” and had used his imagination and intuition to develop monstrous exercise equipment. Unfortunately, his machines were massive and extremely well made but were exactly backwards for the purpose of dynamic strength development. The machines had to be used at a slow, deliberate speed. If the exerciser tried to move quickly, enormous inertia was generated which caused the weight stack to move upward rapidly. The result was that the exerciser could develop hypertrophy but not strength for dynamic athletic activities. Athletic activities require fitness training to be dynamic rather than slow and steady. Nautilus equipment was fine for some activities but not for sports training.
To the best of my knowledge, Arthur Jones first encountered the Universal Gym DVR machines in 1974 at a Trainer Convention in Kansas City. I did not meet him at that time but it was reported that he was extremely angry. The stories of his ranting and raving eventually became legendary. After the show, Jones began his attack on me and on Universal.
article, Jones talked about his company and all of his ventures. However, I will present the statements that are relevant to this story.Journal Athletic In his
On page one, Jones stated:
Think it is about time for somebody to make some very plain statements … and if you are involved in any aspect of coaching or physical training, then the following may well be one of the most important things you will ever read.
Universal Athletic Sales Company is guilty of outright CRIMINAL FRAUD … or, if not, then they are certainly guilty of almost unbelievable STUPIDITY.
Additionally … they are guilty of libel, slander and malicious lies. As well as utterly false claims and phony documentation.
LET ME BE VERY PLAIN . . . the statements and claims now being made by Universal are not merely “over-statements” nor anything even approaching the misleading claims of some other companies in the field of exercise. INSTEAD … they are making statements that are outright lies, quoting “experts” who do not exist. Trying to “prove” their lies on the basis of research that never occurred.
The field of exercise has been almost literally knee-deep in outright criminal fraud for the last thirty years … the health foods, the protein supplements, the drugs, the sauna belts, the body wraps, and a long list of worthless or near-worthless equipment; all of the above listed items are of no demonstrated value . . . and the people promoting them are guilty of criminal fraud, or almost unbelievable stupidity.
YET … hidden beneath a vast covering of worthless products and phony claims, the demonstrated benefits of proper exercise are certainly of great value. The problem has been [and the problem remains] … just how do you separate fact from fiction? How do you know what to believe ? Or not to believe?
The last was a good question, but one he forgot to ask himself. He was clearly entitled to his attitudes, ideas, and concepts although I did not agree with most of them. This is a free country and you are allowed to believe whatever you want to believe. However, some of his complaints were probably hyperbole but they made him feel good to expound on them. But his personal and unjustified attacks on me and Universal were wrong, scientifically incorrect, and a mirror-image of his own claims.
On Page 2 Jones continued:
“…Then, later, Burke told a number of people that I made threats against his life although, even later, he assured me to my face that he had NEVER made such statements to anybody; that, in fact, he had never said anything to anybody that could even be twisted into being a critical statement regarding me or my products. Ed Burke is a liar and, in due course, we will prove it in court; with a long list of witnesses that will put him in jail where he belongs … highly respected medical doctors, coaches, trainers, people that a judge will not doubt.”
Ed Burke was the American Hammer Throwing champion who competed in the 1968 Olympics Games in Mexico City. Although he had not thrown far enough to win an Olympic medal, he remained the US champion. Long after the events described here with Arthur Jones, Ed Burke resumed his training and decided to compete in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. He received the great honor of being elected by all of the American athletes to carry the flag as he led all of them into the Stadium in the Games Opening Ceremony.
In 1974, Ed had been working for Universal for many years and I worked with him at shows presenting the Universal machines. I was aware of the fact that Jones had threatened Ed at various shows and, at one time, he put a gun to Ed’s head. In addition, Jones had threatened Ed and Ed’s family enough times that Ed felt the need to move from Fresno, home of Universal, to another city. Since I spent time with both of them over the years, I can say without dispute, that Ed Burke was and is an honorable, honest person. I cannot say the same about Arthur Jones.
Ed Burke in the 1968 Olympics On Page 3, Jones continued his rant:
“A few months after that telephone conversation, Universal suddenly sprang their “HERO” onto an unsuspecting world … the “great doctor” Gideon Ariel, according to their ads, had invented a new and totally revolutionary type of Universal Exercise machine with variable resistance. Which variable resistance, of course, was “exactly correct.”
Well the facts are that Gideon Ariel is an outright fraud … AND, rather than provide a perfectly balanced “variable resistance,” their machines DO NOT VARY AT All, remain absolutely constant in all positions. When I first saw their initial ads, concerning the new Centurion line of Universal machines that supposedly provided variable resistance, I simply could not figure out how it was supposed to VARY. Then, when I first saw the machine itself, I instantly realized that it doesn’t vary, that it is exactly the same in every position. So I approached the great doctor, Gideon Ariel, and I asked him … “How much does your leg-press force increase during the full stroke?” And he said, “The exact amount for the mean average.” (which is pure double talk nonsense.) I said, “Tell me in figures, so a dumb guy like me can understand. What percentage does it increase?” Because … in order to vary the resistance you must vary the torque; and in order to vary the torque you have to change either the leverage or the perpendicular force, or both …and since both remain constant in this machine, it should be obvious to an idiot that the resistance doesn’t vary. Then I offered to bet him a thousand dollars that his machine didn’t vary at all, that the resistance remained absolutely constant in every position. He refused to bet. “
“Later that night I offered to bet one-hundred thousand dollars against a “used doughnut” that the Universal machine didn’t vary at all; this bet being offered to and refused by Chuck Coker, the President of Universal. When I first met Gideon Ariel, I didn’t know him from Adam . . . but it didn’t take long to check him out … and, in any case, it was obvious at first glance that he was either an utter fool or guilty of criminal fraud. If he really believed his statements, then he was almost unbelievably stupid . . And if he was aware that his statements were lies, then he was guilty of criminal fraud. Take your pick; there is no other choice, fool or fraud.”
Jones was right. He did not understand how the mechanism worked on the DVR machines. His ignorance and outrageous hatred was staggering. The most amazing part of the entire attack was that he was wrong about all of his scientific claims and, therefore, guilty of exactly what he was accusing others of doing or being.
At this point, I should not have been surprised to read that one of my old adversaries from the University of Massachusetts, Dr. Plagenhoef, would come back to haunt me through the distorted lens of Arthur Jones.
“Having thought so, and having discovered much what I expected to after meeting Ariel . I invited Professor Stan Plagenhoef of the University of Massachusetts to come to the Trainers convention in Kansas City for the purpose of confronting the great doctor Ariel.
Professor Plagenhoef, you see, was Gideon’s former teacher … and, at the moment, is bringing charges against Ariel for fraud, lies, false statements and false claims and similar outrages.
Then I said … “Gideon, l want you to know that your Professor, Dr. Plagenhoef, stood up for you … you see, Gideon, I was worried about you; I thought you are guilty of criminal fraud … so I asked your professor if it was really possible for you to be stupid enough to believe your own claims. And he assured me that you were … he told me that you were so dumb that you were capable of believing almost anything.
For your part, be you coach, trainer, doctor or athlete … it would pay you to investigate the facts; and if you have been unlucky enough to purchase a Universal machine advertised as providing “variable resistance,” then you are also in a position to bring charges of fraud against Universal.”
I was not surprised that my old adversary, Dr. Plagenhoef, was attacking me even with the likes of Arthur Jones. What did shock me was that my Professor, the one who had taught me biomechanics and accused me of not knowing enough about engineering to have my own company, was unable to understand how the mechanism that I had devised for the Universal machine varied the resistance.
An engineering professor of mine, Paul Tartaglia, and I had designed a sleeve mechanism which we attached to the bar. This mechanism consisted of a roller that always applied the force perpendicular to the bar. What this accomplished was that when the bar was pushed, the moment arm became longer and the resistance increased. A diagram illustrating this system is shown below:
It was understandable that Arthur Jones did not have sufficient engineering education to make the appropriate calculations to realize the force applications made possible by the DVR mechanism. But when Professor Plagenhoef was unable to make the correct assessment, I could only surmise that he did not want to recognize the simplicity and cleverness of the device.
After the spectacle at the show, Harold Zinkin arranged for me to travel to Universal’s home site in Fresno, CA. Based on the accusations, despite the craziness of source, we concluded that it would be a good strategy to have the machines tested by an independent professional testing equipment company. One of the leading companies for this task was Truesdail Laboratories. I was familiar with the company since they had been instrumental previously in the Johnny Carson case.
Truesdail Laboratories agreed to test the equipment and provide detailed results. Universal provided the machines for testing with the specific purpose to determine whether they varied in resistance as I had calculated. There was no question that the resistance changed. However, the primary issues were the accuracy of my calculations and the functionality of the equipment to perform as desired.
The results calculated by Truesdail’s were amazing and positively confirmed that the DVR performed as I had planned. As a scientist, I was very happy to discover that Truesdail’s results varied less than one percent from the results which I had calculated. The machines did, indeed, vary as the person exercised exactly as they had been advertised to do. Now, Universal had an independent third-party confirmation regarding their claims. Arthur Jones’s diatribe had been wrong on many levels and now Universal could proceed to prove this in a public forum. Step one was to print and circulate the Truesdail results in a handout available at all of the trade shows. The cover of this brochure is shown below and the text is available in its entirety in the appendix.
After the Truesdail results had been published, Harold Zinkin again asked me to come to Fresno as soon as possible. I flew from Amherst where I was met at the airport by Cliff Cocker, who was Chuck Cocker’s son. Cliff had served in the US Marines in Vietnam and was a war hero with chest covered with medals. On the way to the Universal office, Cliff told me that Universal was launching an incredibly important project and that he had been selected to head this initiative. I was pleased to hear that Cliff was going to be placed in a leadership role. For the past several years, I had come to know him and was very impressed with his abilities as a planner and leader.
When we arrived at the Universal office, I walked into Harold’s office and saw a large conference table surrounded by very serious faces. Harold Zinkin sat at the head of the conference table with one of the Universal engineers, Dennis Kiser, their sales manager, Ed Burke, and the president of Universal, Chuck Cocker. Cliff Coker, the head of research and development, and I sat down at the table and all eyes focused on Harold. I imagined that this environment must be what every campaign resembles before the combat begins.
Harold said, “Gideon, here is what the plans are for the immediate future. Universal is going to file a multimillion dollar lawsuit against the Nautilus Corporation and individually against Arthur Jones.”
, defamation of character issues, and the physical threats Jones made at the Kansas convention.”Journal Athletic Cliff continued the thought, “The claims are based on the erroneous statements Jones made in the
“What do you want me to do to help?” I asked pleased that they were going to do something about the outrageous lies and misinformation Jones had published.
Harold leaned forward and said, “We want you to analyze the Nautilus machines. We want to know specifically and scientifically what the Nautilus machines actually do with regard to their claims of providing resistance as well as whether the other performance parameters they claim are correct. We will send an official request directing you to conduct this research (see appendix).
“Of course,” I said. We can perform all of the analyses and prepare a report for you.
This project required some subterfuge, though. We had to take films of the machines without alerting Arthur Jones or any of his sales staff. Fortunately, Ed Burke and Cliff Coker had many contacts in the exercise and fitness world so they were able to find all of the Nautilus equipment which we were able to film.
After we had the film, it was business as usual, biomechanically speaking. We used all of the CBA equipment, personnel, and technology to evaluate how the Nautilus machines performed. After we had the data on the Nautilus, we compared them with the Universal Machines.
CBA provided a detailed, in-depth report to Universal Gym. The report included details about each Nautilus machine and a specific comparison with the appropriate Universal equipment. It was lengthy and filled with scientifically calculated biomechanical results obtained under dynamic conditions.
Following the receipt of the report from CBA, Universal prepared a large brochure to detail the findings we had made. This brochure had a bright, electric green cover and has been referred to as “The Green Brochure” even to this day. “The Green Brochure” is presented completely in the Appendix but the cover is shown below:
The beginning pages of “The Green Brochure” identified specific pieces of equipment and presented detailed analyses regarding their strengths and limitations. Needless to say, the DVR on the Universal equipment provided more resistance throughout more of the exercise stroke. These strengths were specifically identified. For the Nautilus machines, on the contrary, the limitations were shown in detail.
In addition to quantifying the specific equipment and presenting comparisons, there was a section which addressed the “Principles and Terms” as they related to conditioning of the human body for strength and fitness. The message presented in the section was to make it clear that any resistance which a muscle had to overcome would be beneficial in the development of muscular force. There were differences of opinions between the two companies with regard to training principles and the relative effectiveness.
There are two types of muscular contractions within the human body: concentric and eccentric. Concentric contractions are when the muscles pull one limb segment towards another which reduces the angle between the two segments. With concentric contractions, the muscle becomes shorter. For example, holding a weight in the hand and moving the arm so that the forearm moves upwards towards the upper arm will reduce the internal angle at the elbow. Eccentric contractions are the opposite movements. The muscle lengthens and the angle between the segments increases in size. Holding a weight in the hand, with the weight touching the upper arm, an eccentric contraction would lower the lower arm resulting in increasing the internal angle at the elbow. Another set of terms frequently used to define concentric is “positive work” and eccentric is “negative work”.
Daily life activities and sports are all blends of these two types of muscle contractions. Walking is an excellent example which requires bending and flexing of the leg joints, the stabilization of the torso, and balance is assisted with arm motions. Exercise training can focus on many levels. Many people are merely trying to produce strength for a healthy daily life while others are attempting to win Olympic medals or achieve other maximum goals.
There were major differences between Universal and Nautilus to achieve these varying goals. The philosophy of their training principles and the relative conditioning effectiveness had the same ultimate goal of strength development and fitness. The manner and construction of the equipment for each significantly effected how they attempted to accomplish these training goals.
One of the most obvious differences was the emphasis on concentric (positive force) with the Universal equipment compared to the heavier reliance on eccentric (negative force) with Nautilus. This was manifested primarily through the construction of the machines. Universal employed the DVR device which allowed the exerciser to maximize the concentric contraction throughout most of the exercise stroke.
Nautilus advocated negative resistive training or eccentric motion and they recommended slow movements in both directions. It is unknown whether the slow speed was recommended because of the belief that strength was developed most readily with this exercise technique or rather that slowness was necessary because of the equipment design. The design of the equipment of the weight stack and cam arrangement on the Nautilus equipment precluded rapid movements. If an exerciser moved quickly, the inertia due to this rapid movement resulted in the weight stack “flying” up in the rack. The result was that very little initial effort resulted in large displacement of the weights. In order to exercise more of the musculature, the exercise action had to be slow so that the weights were moved by the person rather than by inertia.
Negative resistance training, that is eccentric, is simply the exertion of maximum muscular effort while lowering a weight from the extended or ending position back to its original starting point. In the previous example, when the weight in the hand was lifted up to touch the upper arm (bicep curl) this constituted the concentric portion of the exercise. Returning the weight downwards to the starting point would be the eccentric phase of the exercise. Although there is a natural muscular system of concentric-eccentric action, Nautilus placed greater emphasis on the lowering or negative phase of the movement. Furthermore, the performance which they espoused was to execute the exercise strokes, in both directions, with slow, controlled speed.
Arguments have continued, before and after that time, concerning the efficacy of concentration on eccentric contractions for athletic achievements. There appears to be no scientific basis that training in a negative or eccentric fashion will improve the strength for athletic performance. There does seem to be more bases for training all of the muscles for dynamic, or explosive, performances.
Athletic events are primarily concerned with the development of “Functional Strength.” “Functional Strength” has been defined as the force variations in a particular displacement (direction). In other words, the athlete should be able to generate the maximum amount of force at every point of the movement rather than slowly under control.
A first rule in any weight training program should be to train the muscle in a positive manner to ensure a “Functional Strength”. The characteristics of athletic “Functional Strength” include the ability to instantaneously change the degree of speed, force, direction, and intensity. When exercising a muscle in a negative fashion, the motion or direction as well as the speed of movement is opposite to the required (positive) motion and develops a negative central pattern which may be detrimental to “Functional Strength”. Negative training over a long period of time may actually produce impaired coordination as well as a reduction in athletic ballistic efficiency (speed of the movement). There may as well be reductions in the biochemical activities within the muscle although this remains to be proven.
A second rule in a weight training program is to “Train to perform”. Every athletic activity has its own unique muscular demands. For example, some activities may require greater leg strength while others require greater arm strength. In addition, they also may differ in the direction in which the force is applied. In general, a high jumper needs more leg strength to be applied while a long jumper requires greater leg strength for translation in a horizontal direction. Each of these jumping events requires leg strength but the performance criteria for each event are different. Strength development must be developed appropriately in conjunction with the correct performance technique. The ability to exert a maximum force at only one isolated joint angle, such as with an isometric contraction, has no bearing on the efficiency of either of these sporting performance.
Due to these differences, it is essential that training routines develop “Functional Strength” as well as “Train to perform” in a manner which closely simulates the desired activity. It would appear rather obvious that maximum athletic performances cannot be achieved through negative training, isometric programs, or exercising all athletes with the same fitness protocols.
The advantage that the Universal DVR equipment was that the exercise motions more nearly reflected the anatomical and neurological system in the human. There was a natural lifting ratio was maintained while the resistive intensity instantaneously adjusted to accommodate the mechanical changes. The adaptive mechanism which the DVR provided, allowed for maximum muscular efforts throughout the entire range in motion.
Only Universal was superior in the ability to accurately adapt to the complete resistive needs of the exerciser’s movement and successfully employ them into a failure-proof lifting system.
Fortunately, all of these claims were corroborated by the third party evaluator of Truesdail’s Laboratory. I had maintained confidence in the calculations that CBA and the Universal engineers had made and in the product that had resulted from them. But it was wonderful that an external, unbiased third party had made it official. Universal’s marketing department immediately started to distribute the Truesdail report (which can be found in its entirety in the Appendix).
Eventually, the report reached Arthur Jones. Apparently, his response was rapid. When Jones got the “Green Brochure,” he begged Universal to take it out of the market place. His urgent communications to Universal reflected an obvious desperation since his previous behavior was nothing if not belligerent.
Arthur Jones’ request for Universal to take the “Green Brochure” out of circulation prompted my next phone call from Harold Zinkin. He asked me to come as soon as possible to Fresno in order to discuss the future steps regarding Arthur Jones.
The next day I was once again flying for hours across America to meet about Arthur Jones and Nautilus. This was prior to the long lines and extensive security checks so the length of time was spent flying. Still, the entire Arthur Jones episode was dysfunctional, unproductive, and the opposite of uplifting. Whereas the DVR development had been a rewarding challenge, its defense against the opponent could politely be described as a major pain.
Once again, the meeting consisted of Harold Zinkin, Chuck Cocker, Cliff Cocker, and Ed Burke. This time, however, additional participants included the Universal attorneys. We sat around Harold Zinkin’s large conference table and there was the sense of great victory among the Universal staff. The primary focus of the discussion concerned Arthur Jones’ sudden proposal to settle the legal battle between the two companies. He had expressed his willingness to compensate for damages and pay legal fees.
The next afternoon, the meeting was with Arthur Jones in Harold’s office. The initial discussion was limited to Harold and me with Arthur Jones. The two attorneys, one for Universal and one for Nautilus, waited outside the room. I have no doubt that the lawyers were concerned and perplexed about what they must have envisioned as shenanigans going on behind the closed office door.
I sat quietly at the table, not saying a word. I had no need to say anything as yet while the presidents of the respective companies hammered out some of the large details. After a long discussion and various finger pointing by both Harold Zinkin and Arthur Jones, they arrived at a tentative agreement. I listened to their proposal as it developed and, when they asked how I felt about the terms, I agreed with most of them.
The proposed out-of-court settlement consisted of the following steps:
- in that same journal and in several other mutually agreed upon media sources.Journal Athletic Arthur Jones would publish a retraction immediately to his statement in the
- Arthur Jones would pay cash to me (I prefer not to mention the amount but it was substantial).
- Payment to Universal would be separate from Arthur Jones’ payment to me.
- In addition to the cash payment, Arthur would pay me an additional $200,000 in installments each month which was to be referred to as a consultation fee for movie making. This reflected Arthur Jones’ plan to produce some fitness movies in which I would appear as one of the guests.
I was displeased with the last movie option since the relationship between Arthur Jones and I had been quite contentious. However, Harold convinced me that it would be good for both companies and, to the outside world, it would look as if the “War” between Universal and Nautilus had ended. Reluctantly, I agreed but only because of my deeply felt respect for Harold.
At one point during the conversation, I asked Harold about what would happen to Ed, Cliff, and Chuck who had been attacked by Arthur Jones as well. Harold answered that the damages specified in the agreement were to cover only him and me. He would work with Ed, Cliff, and Chuck from within his Universal compensation. Because of the confidentiality of the settlement, this is the first time I am revealing the terms of the agreement.
are shown below:Journal Athletic A copy of the handwritten retraction by Arthur Jones and the printed version in in
Arthur Jones’ retraction in his own handwriting
Unfortunately, peace and quiet lasted a relatively short time. Within two years, another incident occurred with Jones which started a new legal battle with him. He, predictably, stopped sending the required payment and the wasteful time spent traveling to Lake Helen, Florida mercifully ended. That episode was relatively short and, actually, I was only a side show in Arthur Jones’ on-going problems with the IRS.
The wars between Universal and Nautilus as well as between Arthur Jones and me were over. Corporations and individuals often try to destroy innovative people who have new ideas. These attacks frequently result because their own ideas are no longer relevant or because they prefer to avoid competition. I felt vindicated that the DVR which my staff and I had proposed for Universal’s exercise equipment had been proven to be scientifically sound. The biomechanical motion analysis system had produced accurate data. Science and knowledge always win but sometimes it takes time. But the entire Nautilus experience poisoned my attitude and I was more guarded about motives in the future.
Appendix 1. The Truisdail Laboratory Result
THE EFFECT OF DYNAMIC VARIABLE RESISTANCE (D.V.R.)
EXERCISE ON MUSCULAR STRENGTH
The relationship between resistance exercises and muscle strength has been known for centuries. In ancient Greece, Milo, the Greek wrestler, used progressive resistance exercises to improve his strength. His original method consisted of lifting a calf each day until its full growth, and this technique provides the first example of progressive resistance exercises.
The 434 voluntary muscles in man constitute 40 to 60 percent of his total body weight. These muscles are responsible for human motion, which is the most fundamental function of the musculoskeletal system.
exercise, eccentric contraction techniques, Oxford technique, double and triple progressive super set system, and many others. Each system has been supported and refuted by numerous investigations. Berger (3) concluded that 6-7 repetitions three times a week is best for developing dynamic strength. Other research conducted by Steinhause (9) emphasized the need to increase the intensity—not the amount of work-in order to develop maximum strength.Muscular strength may be defined as the force a muscle group can exert against a resistance in a maximal effort. In 1948, Delorme (4) adopted the name “progressive resistance exercise” for his method of developing muscular strength through the utilization of counterbalancing and weight of the extremity with a cable and pulley arrangement and, thus, gave load-assisting exercise to muscle groups which did not perform antigravity motions. McQueen (6) distinguished between exercise regimens for producing muscle hypertrophy and those for producing muscle power. He concluded that the number of repetitions for each set of exercise determines the different characteristics of the exercise. Based on evidence presented in these early studies, hundreds of investigations have been published relative to muscular development including isotonic exercises, isometric
The most recent research pertaining to exercise was conducted by Thomas B. Pipes and Jack H. Wilmore (7) in their article contrasting isokinetic with isotonic strength training in adult men. According to their findings with isokinetic contractions of both in low speed and high speed contractions, the results demonstrated a clear superiority of the isokinetic training procedure over the isotonic procedures. In 1972, Ariel (8) introduced the Dynamic Variable Resistance exercise principles which resulted in variable resistance exercise equipment. For the first time biomechanical principles were employed in the design of exercise equipment, and rather than force a man to fit the machine, the machine was designed for the man.
In sport and athletics, most movements are ballistic in nature. This implies that they are preprogrammed as a unit in the central mechanisms of the brain and, once initiated, cannot be influenced by sensory and/or environmental information. This necessitates exact precision in the timing and coordination of both the system of muscle contraction, as well as, in the segmental sequence of muscular activity involved with complex tasks.
In order to accomplish ballistic movement, it is necessary to utilize isotonic exercise routines. It is impossible to duplicate the neuromuscular system utilizing isokinetic exercises which by their nature control the speed of the movement. It was found that a characteristic pattern of motion is present during intentional movement of body segments against resistance. This pattern consists of reciprocally organized activity between the agonist and antagonist. These reciprocal activities occur in consistent temporal relationships with motion parameters, such as velocity, acceleration, and forces. Hellebrandt and Houtz (5) shed some light on the mechanism of muscle training in an experimental demonstration of the overload principle. They found that mere repetition of contractions which place little stress on the neuromuscular system had little effect on the functional capacity of the skeletal muscles; however, they found that the amount of work done per unit of time is the critical variable upon which extension of the limits of performance depends. The speed with which functional capacity increases suggests that central nervous system, as well as the contractile tissue, is an important contributing component of training.
athletic performance, many exercise equipment manufacturers have developed various types of devices employing isometrics and isokinetics. These isometric and isokinetic devices inhibit the natural movement patterns of acceleration and deceleration. However, when considered as a separate entity, force is only one factor influencing successful athletic performance. Since the human body is a system of linked segments, forces cause rotation of these segments about their anatomical axes. Both muscle and gravitational forces are important in producing these turning effects which are fundamental in body movements in all sports and daily living. Pushing, pulling, lifting, kicking, running, walking, and all human activities are results of rotational motion of the links which are made of bones. Since force has been considered the most important component of
The three factors underlying all athletic performance are:
2.Displacement (direction of movement)
3.Duration of movement
.speed may result in poorer athletic performancesIn all motor skills, muscular forces interact to move the body parts through the activity. The displacement of the body parts and their speed of motion are important in the coordination of the activity and are also directly related to the forces produced. However, it is only because of the control provided by the brain that the muscular forces follow any particular displacement pattern, and without these brain center controls, there would be no skilled athletic performances. In all athletic events, the intricate timing of the varying forces is a critical factor in successful performances, and therefore, training an isolated muscle group slowly or at a constant
In conventional resistive exercises, loads are moved through a range of motion. The muscular force and the load are not constant because of the modifying effects of the lever system throughout the range of motion. In an exercise such as the bench press, there is a point where the resistance is maximum and below or above this point the resistance is less. This fact illustrates the important phenomenon that throughout an exercise stroke, the muscle is working at its maximum potential during a very small range of motion.
data obtained under dynamic conditions.resistance should be varied according to biomechanicalTo facilitate maximum muscular involvement it is necessary to vary the resistance. In some exercises, this resistance should vary by as much as 100 percent in order to maintain the moment of force at its maximum. The
The purpose of the present study was to compare the new dynamic variable resistance (D.V.R.) exercise concept to a conventional resistance training method.
Twenty male University students between the ages of 19 and 23 were used in the present study. Their height averaged 181.5 cm. with a mean weight of 91.4 kg. The experiment was conducted during a twenty week period.
All subjects were athletes with weight training experience of at least two years. For a period of four weeks prior to the beginning of the test, all the subjects lifted weights five days each week and were tested on the seventh day of the week for maximum lifts in the bench and military presses, the curl, and the squat. A standard warm-up procedure was performed and each test was a maximal lift. The experiment was conducted during a subsequent twenty week period.
The twenty subjects were divided into two equal groups. Those subjects in Group 1 were assigned to train on conventional Olympic barbell equipment, while those in Group 2 were assigned training procedures on dynamic variable resistance (D.V.R.) exercise equipment.*
Subjects trained five times per week for approximately two hours each training session, according to a program designed to work the major muscle groups of the body utilizing a progressive over-load principle. The program consisted of bench press, military press, squat, and curl exercise. Each exercise was performed in sets of four with an increased load following a pyramidal increase. Each set consisted of a decreasing number of repetitions from 8 to 3. Weights were increased as rapidly as possible to maintain the training at maximum effort. The training programs for both groups were identical with the only difference being the exercise equipment. Constant supervision of workouts was maintained at all times. Testing was conducted every six days until the conclusion of the study. Both experimental groups were tested for maximum dynamic strength on the Olympic bench press set. This exercise was selected due to the similarity of the procedures. The bench press exercise was conducted as the subject reclined on his back flat against the bench. The weight was handed to the subject, and then lowered by the subject to his chest. Immediately, the barbell was raised to a straight arm position directly above the chest.
♦Apparatus used in this experiment was provided by Universal Gym Equipment. Centurion Dynamic Variable Resistance Machines, Fresno, California.
Muscular force testing was conducted during the four weeks prior to the start of the experimental period and at six day intervals thereafter until the conclusion of the study. Maximum dynamic muscular force measurements were determined by 1-RM in the bench press. Techniques used in performing the press were those prescribed by the Amateur Athletic Union rules for weight-lifting competition.
The reader should notice that maximum strength testing was conducted on the Olympic bench press set even though only Group 1 trained with the Olympic barbells. Group 2 trained only with the dynamic variable resistance apparatus. This factor introduced a bias against those subjects training with the dynamic variable resistance since these individuals were not repeatedly exposed, via their training regimen, to the Olympic bars.
As voluntary muscular force gains are a function of training over a period of time, neither the “t-test” nor a one-way analysis of variance for “before” and “after” conditions were deemed totally adequate analytic techniques. The relationship between both the gains in muscular force and the effect of time on the two experimental groups suggested a comparison of the regression lines to investigate the influences of the two different types of exercise equipment upon the development of muscular strength. Therefore, analysis of variance and slope analysis were utilized in assessing the data.
Table 1 presents the raw data for the bench press exercise. Table 2 illustrates the means, standard deviations and the variances. Figure 1 illustrates the mean changes in the muscular strength in the bench press exercise during the twenty week experimental period. Table 3 illustrates the regression analysis results between the two experimental groups.
statistically significance, as well as, practical significance.demonstrating a mean change of 74.5 lbs which wasIt was found that both groups increased their mean strength level during the twenty week period. The group using the Olympic barbell increased their strength level from 249.5 pounds to 285.5 pounds demonstrating a mean change of 36 pounds. However, this strength increase was not found to be statistically significant, although such a strength gain may represent a practical significance.. The dynamic variable resistance (D.V.R.) exercise group increased their mean strength in the bench press exercise from 252.5 pounds to 327.0 pounds
Table 4 revealed the analysis of variance between the beginning and the last period.
resistance exercise (D.V.R.) method.n favor of the dynamic variable gain of 3.84 pounds per week. Comparison of the slopes of the regression lines yielded a significant F-ratio demonstrating the statistically significant difference between the two training methods iregression coefficient of 3.84 demonstrating an averageRegression analysis yielded a significant difference between the slope of the two regression lines. The regression coefficient for the Olympic barbell group was 1.31, illustrating an average gain of 1.31 pounds per week while the dynamic variable resistance (D.V.R.) group produced
on which the muscle pulls. When the force arm changes due to the angular changes of the limb, the muscle can lift a variable load. This explains why when performing an exercise such as the bench press, there is a point where the resistance is maximum and below or above this point the resistance is less. This fact illustrates the important phenomenon that throughout an exercise stroke using conventional Olympic barbells, the muscle is working at its maximum potential during a very small range of motion.
Another factor to consider in muscular training is the dynamic characteristics of the motion. In conventional barbell lifting, there is an initial burst of muscular activity as the agonist muscle contracts and the antagonist muscle relaxes thus causing acceleration of the limb. This is followed by an intervening quiet period during which there is no muscular firing activity and which is followed by deceleration of the limb as the antagonist contracts. Near the end of the movement, the antagonist muscle has to stop the motion. With a conventional barbell, the stopping motion starts too soon causing a diminished training effect. The dynamic variable resistance exercise equipment assigns different resistances throughout the range of motion in order to accommodate the biomechanical changes occurring during the exercise and, at the same time, adjusts for the ballistic characteristics of the movement. With the dynamic variable resistance apparatus, the agonist muscle can fire for a longer period of time. This type of ballistic training is shown by the results of the present study to be more efficient for dynamic muscular training.
1.Ariel, G. Computerized Biomechanical Analysis of Human
Performance. Mechanics and Sport. New York: ASME Press, 1973.
2.Ariel, G. Computerized Biomechanical Analysis of Track
and Field Athletics. Track and Field Quarterly Review 72: 99-103, 1973.
3.Berger, R. Effect of Varied Weight Training Programs on
Strength. Research Quarterly 33: 168-181, 1962.
4.Delorme, T. Restoration of Muscle Power with Resistance
Exercise. J. Bone and Joint Surg. 27: 645-651, 1945.
5.Hellebrandt, F. and Houtz, S. Mechanism of Muscle Training
in Man: Experimental Demonstration of Overload Principle. Physical Therapy Review 36: 371-376, 1956.
6.McQuenn, I. Recent Advances in the Technique of Progressive
Resistance Exercise. Brit. Med. J. 2: 328-338, 1954.
7.Pipes, T., and Wilmore, J., Isokinetic vs isotonic strength
Training in Adult Men. Medicine and Science in Sports. 7: 262-274, 1976.
8.Ariel, G. Computerized Biomechanical Analysis of the Vari
able Resistance Exercise Machine. Technical Report, UNI-7, 1974.
9.Steinhaus, H. Strength of Morpurgo to Muller — A Half
Century of Research. J. Assoc. Physical And Mental Rehab. 9: 147-150, 1955.
Appendix 2. The Green Brochure
The following independent study by Computerized Biomechanical Analysis Incorporated was commissioned by Universal Gym Equipment to compare the average strength gains from two different resistive weight training systems — Universal’s Dynamic Variable Resistance and the Olympic Barbell. GYM EQUIPMENT
The purpose of this edition is two fold: (1) to present the significant conditioning differences as they presently exist between Universal and the Nautilus system; (2)To scientifically establish which system of conditioning is most capable of producing the highest level of human efficiency.
It is our further intention that the facts provided will stimulate the readers to further evaluate their present means of conditioning and to eventually resort to ONLY those methods which insure the greatest conditioning benefits.
The foregoing developments reflect the true findings from actual scientific assessments of lifting performances as they occurred on the two systems of conditioning in question. These findings will provide a sound understanding and overview of the essential differences between the two systems and will further provide a comprehensive and up-to-date source of useful data on problems related to specific conditioning theories.
We are again indebted to Chuck Coker, Harold Zinkin, Dr. Gideon Ariel for his ingenious application of Computerized Biomechanical Analysis, Ed Burke and chief engineer Kenneth Gustafson. Along with their professional assistance and the combined efforts of our entire staff you can be assured that Universal will continue to develop only the finest conditioning equipment that provides for the greatest degree of physical improvement.
Universal will also continue in its efforts to provide you with ONLY the most-up-to-date facts in conditioning and hum an performance so that all may share the common thrill that comes with new ideas and the satisfaction that results from seeing greater progress in the efficiency of man and his movements.
Copyright© 1974 by Universal Athletic Sales.
Since the beginning of modern weight training, there have been vast improvements in both the design and function of various resistive systems. Progress can mainly be contributed to man’s quest for an easier and more comfortable means of assuring maximum muscular development.
This quest has given birth to many different conditioning systems which have had their own unique but somewhat mystical conditioning theories. For the most part, many of these systems and theories were short-lived, as their development was largely due to mere speculation and guesswork which may have been derived from little or no practical experience.
Today, the theory in conditioning and equipment design has often been referred to as “variable” resistance. Variable resistance refers to a resistance intensity which is capable of increasing or decreasing to accommodate man’s changes in leverage and muscular force. The theory is obviously physiologically correct, however, the majority of conditioning machines on today’s market are not capable of performing as required. Despite the many failures that do exist, manufacturers have resorted to making wild conditioning claims to lure customers into believing conditioning miracles will occur. Unfortunately, many have fallen for these promotional gimmicks, only to be extremely disappointed with the actual end results.
This study will be the first scientific attempt to determine the true conditioning value of the Universal and Nautilus variable resistance systems and their related conditioning theories. The word scientific has often been misused, however, in this case, it refers to computerized biomechanical analysis — the perfected science which investigates the effect of internal and external forces upon living bodies.
The following conclusive findings will again provide the reader with the true conditioning effectiveness presently provided by the Universal and Nautilus systems. The conclusive Nautilus findings may also hold true, in some degree, for other manufacturers using similar components.
For those who have been searching for scientific comparisons rather than visual inspections arid unsubstantiated claims, this will be a welcomed change !
In order to scientifically evaluate the Universal Gym and the Nautilus conditioning machines, it is necessary to establish the standards by which they should be analyzed. These essential standards must be incorporated into the design of conditioning equipment if superior athletic performances are to be achieved:
a.An accurate assessment of man’s biomechanical system.
b.An accurate assessment of the variability of kinematic and kinetic factors imposed by the apparatus including its mass and inertias.
The evaluation of the resistance intensity provided by Universal and Nautilus can be determined by the muscular efforts generated by the body segments at each particular exercise station. Actual muscular force data will be provided on Universal and Nautilus exercise stations and direct comparisons will be made when applicable.
The comparative analyses of the two systems involving these scientific standards will clearly substantiate which of the two products is superior for athletic and human performance.
In order to accurately assess man’s biomechanical system, it is necessary to resort to those scientific methods of research which are capable of accurately
(12-30, 45, 46, 48, 131, 180-195, 203, 207)
determining the various human mechanical changes.
Universal utilized computerized biomechanical analysis, the only scientific method capable of determining man’s muscular resistive needs in specific conditioning exercises. This sophisticated and highly complex science involves a systematic application of the laws of mechanics and biological concepts, both anatomical and physiological, to the problems of human motion.
Other forms of research methods are incapable of accurately determining the necessary answers associated with the complexities of man and his movements. In order to understand some of these complexities, consider the following illustration. A man performs a squat exercise using the same weight but assuming two different trunk positions.
The traditional kinesiological approach utilizing conventional methods of determination of origins and insertions of various muscles may conclude that the knee extensors are the dominant muscles. However, by utilizing computerized biomechanical analysis to assess the intricate relationships among the body’s link system, it was determined that with an erect trunk the knee extensors are the dominant muscular force, but when leaning forward the knee flexors are dominant.
More detailed information on computerized biomechanical analysis and the results obtained from its application to specific conditioning exercises can be found in a previous Universal publication, “Understanding the Scientific Bases Behind the Universal Centurion.”
While assessing man’s biomechanical system, it is equally important to simultaneously consider the parameters of mass and the moment of inertia. Additional information will be provided on the Universal and Nautilus conditioning machines relative to their mechanical characteristics in the chapter entitled, “Failures to Avoid in Equipment Design.” At this particular time, however, it appears necessary to elaborate on the moments of inertia and their effect on muscular performance.
Sir Isaac Newton pointed out that force depends not only on the mass (or weight) of an object but also upon the acceleration, since the force is equal to the mass times (X) the acceleration. (Force = Mass X Acceleration)
In order that the reader can clearly understand this principle, we will use an elevator to illustrate that the variations in resistance are dependent upon fluctuations of motion.
Imagine yourself entering a hotel elevator. Upon entering, while the elevator remains motionless, you weigh 200 lbs., or, in other words, there is 200 lbs. of force being exerted on the floor of the elevator. When the elevator begins moving upward, the elevator starts from 0 velocity and increases in speed. From experience one may recall a sensation of being forced down or of feeling heavier as the elevator continues upward. The passenger feels himself pressing down on the floor
with a force which is greater than when he and the elevator were at rest, and this phenomenon is commonly observed by most elevator riders. We can measure this sensation by having the passenger stand on a scale in the elevator while the elevator ascends at a slow speed (2 ft./sec.2). Observing the dial on the scale for the 200 lb. person, it would now read 212.5 lb.!!
The reader can easily compute this result by using the following formula:
As the elevator approaches its final destination and slows down (-2 ft./sec.2), then the 200 lb. passenger feels lighter and often experiences the sensation that he is continuing upward without the elevator. In this particular stopping situation the 200 lb. person would observe the scale reading at 187.5 lb.!
Human dynamics are concerned with man in motion and include any external implements with which he interacts. Both the object and any body part may resist changes of motion and these changes in motion are directly related to both the mass of the segment and its moment of inertia. For example, when lifting a 100 lb. barbell, it is generally assumed that the resistance applied to the body is 100 lbs. and that this barbell imparts a 100 lb. resistance throughout the complete range of motion. However, as in the case of the elevator, when the 100 lb. barbell
is moving, the resistance it provides can vary from more than 100 lbs. to less than 100 lbs., depending upon the acceleration of the motion.
Since these inertial forces (acceleration and deceleration) affect the weight of the 100 lb. barbell, the magnitude with which the muscle has to contract is also affected. The less the inertial forces, naturally, the greater the muscular contraction and vice versa.
In order to effectively cope with the problems of inertia associated with resistive exercise equipment, it is essential to accurately identify their particular motion patterns. Since acceleration and deceleration are factors in all human movement and can be modified through mechanical means, they, therefore, must be incorporated in the design of the exercise equipment. In order to maintain maximum muscular efforts, it is necessary that the resistance be varied throughout the range of motion according to the motion parameters and the biomechanical changes previously discussed.
The success of one’s assessment of these important parameters can be clearly determined by calculating the actual muscular efforts as they occur on the various exercise stations. Actual force curve data will be provided in the following section on both Universal and Nautilus exercise stations. It can only be assumed that some scientific means of research was conducted by Nautilus in order to assess these essential parameters. However, it appears that Universal’s scientific analysis is far superior to that of Nautilus which enabled Universal to assess Nautilus exercise equipment with perhaps greater expertise than their original designers.
Prior to presenting the actual muscular performances as they occur on both Universal and Nautilus equipment, it is necessary to briefly repeat the following facts:
A brief introduction to the scientific procedures of data collection and processing along with the scientific interpretation of the moment curves will be provided in order that the reader can truly understand their scientific significance.
Slow motion cinematography was used to record actual exercise performances on the Nautilus and Universal exercise machines. Special tracing equipment allowed the data to be processed directly by a high speed computer. The appropriate computer programming resulted in a segmental breakdown of information of the whole exercise motion. Data obtained included the total body center of gravity, segment velocities and accelerations, joint forces, and moments of force. A unique feature of this analysis procedure yielded the significant contribution of each body segment to the whole motion and the interaction between the exercise equipment and the body’s segments. This sophisticated program provided findings pertaining to the magnitude of the muscle action at each joint; the vertical and horizontal forces at all joints; the magnitude of the shearing force at the joint; the timing or coordination of motion between the segments; and the differences due to body builds. Each exercise possesses its own unique pattern of moments of force and body segment sequences enabling determination of the effi- ciencies and limitations of each particular exercise machine.
UNDERSTANDING MUSCULAR PERFORMANCE
ing any movements that necessitate different levels of muscular involvement. 89)
There are natural changes that occur in the human lever system while perform-
possible to determine the force ranges generated by the muscle. These ranges can
If one were to completely the human body, it would be
vary from a light load to a maximum load. Variations in load result from differ__
(64, 65, 68, 69)
ent levels of muscle fiber recruitment.
When determining the maximum load that the muscle can lift, it is possible to observe that the muscle remains capable of moving this maximum load, regard-
produced by a muscle does not significantly vary due to its constantly changing
less of its relative length (or degree of stretch). In other words, the relative force
(58-60, 90-95, 99)
However, when the muscle is returned to the human link system, the muscle force can vary throughout the range of movement while lifting the same maximum external load. This variation in muscular force results from the biomechanical advantages and disadvantages of the human lever system. When the human lever is in the position of the greatest biomechanical disadvantage, commonly referred to in weight training as the “sticking point,”maximum muscular efforts are required at this particular point. When the human lever system is in its greatest advantage, the muscular force diminishes in order to lift the same maximum external load. Therefore, the variability that exists in muscle force is due primarily to the changing advantages and disadvantages created by the human lever system.
The following examples will illustrate the changes in muscular forces that do occur from different leverage positions.
By understanding this important human phenomenon, it is relatively easy to establish that muscles work at their maximum potential during only a very small range of the total movement (normally only at the “sticking points”).
In traditional weight training equipment there occurs a vast waste in muscle performance which may range as high as 705 of the total movement. For example, the following force curve reveals what normally occurs when lifting near maximum resistance with a conventional Olympic bar. Data for plotting this force curve was provided by the computer output taken from the actual performance.
In order to develop maximum conditioning effectiveness, it is an absolute requirement to accurately vary the resistance. The variations in resistance intensity must occur only when there are biomechanical advantages or disadvantages which decrease or increase the required muscular efforts.
By varying the resistance accurately, it is possible to maintain the same degree of muscular involvement (efforts) throughout the entire range of movement.
In the following computerized biomechanical analysis comparison between the Universal exercise equipment and the Nautilus equipment, the force-mass-acceleration method of deriving the equations of motion of the body’s segments was used to determine the values of the moments of force around the various body’s segments at successive instances in the performance of the exercise. Subsequently, the fluctuations in muscular performance were analyzed in relation to the total
The following muscular force curve pages contain frames taken from the original slow motion cinematography resulting in reproduction difficulty, however, the essential (lifting) body angles remain easily detectable.
In order to scientifically evaluate these two leg press machines, it is necessary to define the standards which they should maintain.
It can be assumed that the leg press machine was originally developed in order to strengthen the leg extensors around the knee joint. In order to achieve this function, the ideal machine should provide for the following factors:
Actual computer outputs on the Nautilus leg press machine have been included along with a brief interpretation of their findings. (Universal computer outputs have been previously provided in an earlier publication, “Understanding the Scientific Bases Behind the Universal Centurion.”)
The computer outputs provide the necessary data for plotting the actual muscular force curves. The muscular force curves are the only significant means of evaluating which machine is capable of insuring greater muscular performances (conditioning benefits).
The following muscle force curve for the Nautilus leg press machine reveals that the resistance provided fails to maintain maximum muscular efforts throughout the entire range of movement. Maximum muscular efforts are required only in the initial phase of movement and then the required muscular efforts diminish rapidly to a point of less than 10% muscular involvement (or exertion).
On the other hand, Universal is capable of maintaining a muscle performance level above 90% throughout the range of motion. Observing Universal’s muscular force curve, one can see that the muscular efforts vary only slightly throughout the range of movement and yet never fall below 90%. This results in a far superior conditioning benefit to the leg extensor muscles.
CONCLUSION: It is possible to assume that the failure to provide accurate variable resistance in the Nautilus leg press occurred as a result of their inability to accurately assess human movement and the other external motion parameters. Their lack of knowledge resulted in a machine incapable of accommodating the biomechanical changes necessary for maximum muscular performance. In addition, the mass of the machine’s moving parts is capable of creating inertia forces which further reduce the required muscular efforts.
Universal, through accurately assessing man and machine, developed a far superior leg press machine resulting in near maximum muscular performance throughout the entire range of movement.
In order to scientifically evaluate these two shoulder press machines, it is again necessary to resort to the previous standards of (1) maintaining maximum muscular involvement in the complete range of movement, and (2) maintaining the natural accelerations of movement as found in athletic performances and other strenuous activities.
The shoulder press machine was developed primarily to strengthen the shoulder girdle muscles which normally play a significant role in most athletic and strenuous activities. In the shoulder press exercise, it is virtually impossible to identify the magnitude and the direction of the many separate muscle groups that function during a dynamic situation. (This limitation occurs in all multiple joint exercises.) In the shoulder joint there are various groups of muscles which act upon the shoulder joint as well as the synergistic function of the elbow extensors. Due to the complexities of these many muscles, it is necessary to take the sum (resultant muscle forces) of their total effort, which represents the amount of muscular involvement.
Actual computer outputs on the Nautilus shoulder press machine have been included along with a brief interpretation of their findings. Universal computer outputs were previously provided in the earlier publication, “Understanding the Scientific Bases Behind the Universal Centurion.”
The force-mass-acceleration method was, again, used to determine the values of the torques at successive instances in the total movement pattern. Also, the variations in the pattern of movement as functions of time were investigated in relation to the kinematics (description of movement) and kinetics (forces due to movement) of motion.
The following graph represents the moment (muscle force) curve which denotes the total muscular involvement in percentages as it occurred throughout the entire range of the exercise. Observing the Nautilus’ force curve, it is revealed that the machine provides for only 30% muscular efforts from positions 1 through 10, which is nearly half of the entire exercise movement. From position 10 until completion of the stroke, the resistance increases which provides for greater muscular efforts.
The Universal shoulder press machine insures more than 75% muscular involvement throughout the entire range of movement and over 90% muscular involvement for approximately two-thirds of the entire movement.
CONCLUSION: The exercise benefits, as revealed by the muscular force curves, indicate that the Nautilus shoulder press station has increasing resistance. However, the variation in their resistance is inaccurate in its intensity and occurs at the wrong time in the exercise stroke. The Nautilus cam profile has inaccurately dealt with the proper biomechanical requirements. Again, it is possible to assume that the conditioning deficiency in the Nautilus shoulder press is due to their inability to accurately assess the necessary biomechanical requirements for this particular exercise.
Universal, as a result of scientific research, developed a shoulder press machine which insures maximum muscular performance throughout the range of movement. The result of Universal’s efforts is the only shoulder press machine capable of providing maximum conditioning effectiveness.
The purpose of this computerized biomechanical analysis is to determine if the Nautilus leg curl machine provides any greater conditioning benefits than other conventional leg curl machines.
The leg curl machine was developed primarily to strengthen the knee flexors. This group of muscles is extremely important in all running activities. Several research studies have concluded that the knee flexors are weaker in their muscular development than the knee extensors which may explain why so many “hamstring pulls” occur in explosive athletic movements.
Prior to discussing the actual computer findings, it is necessary to give a brief description of the complexity of the knee joint and its surrounding musculature.
The knee joint is the largest and most complex synovial joint in the human body. The knee joint is subject to injury from all types of strenuous activities, which may be due to its location between the two longest bones in the body (the femur and tibia). Some knee injury analyses have concluded that the instability of the knee joint results from excessive external rotation and abduction forces that occur when in a fixed weight-bearing position.
The knee joint has been described as a hinge joint consisting of three articulations whose surfaces are not mutually adapted to each other so that movement is not simple gliding. The quadriceps femoris muscle is primarily responsible for the extension of the knee joint. The four heads of this muscle pull through a common tendon and insert via the ligamentum patella, which continues from the patella to the tuberosity of the tibia.
The knee flexors consist of several groups of muscles which have different origins and insertions.
The movements around the knee joint are primarily flexion, extension, and internal and external rotation.
Considering these many complexities, it is most difficult to develop a machine capable of accommodating the many different muscular functions.
The computerized biomechanical analysis of the Nautilus leg curl machine will again evaluate the areas of total muscle involvement and the essential movement patterns (accelerations). The computer outputs provide substantial evidence as to the true effectiveness of this particular machine (see pages 45 and 46).
The following muscle force curve graph reveals that only maximum muscular efforts are required in the initial phase of movement. After the initial phase of the movement the muscular efforts diminish rapidly to a value of zero (0). Abserving the computer output, a negative sign (—) indicates that the machine’s moving parts create adverse inertial forces which sustain the movement instead of the muscle’s driving force. This factor can also be determined by examining the following pictures taken in the actual dynamic sequence of the movement.
The Nautilus leg curl machine fails to accommodate the biomechanical changes which results in limited ranges of conditioning effectiveness (benefits). The machine’s moving parts create adverse inertial forces robbing the user of additional conditioning benefits. It is possible to assume that the mechanical failures of this machine resulted from the lack of accurately assessing the biomechanical and motion parameters.
The only effective resistance is provided in the early stage of the movement (approximately 40% of total movement).
It may be possible to achieve the same conditioning effects on conventional leg curl machines. At the present time, Universal is conducting scientific research necessary for the development of the optimal leg curl machine.
The purpose of a leg extension machine is to strengthen the knee extensor muscles. This computerized biomechanical analysis will determine the success of the Nautilus leg extension machine in performing this function.
Conclusive scientific evidence can be found in the computer output tables (see page 50 ) and in the following muscular force curve.
The muscular force curve reveals that the maximum muscular involvement occurs only from the mid range to the completion of the exercise. In the initial phase of the movement the resistance intensity provides for only minimal muscular efforts. The actual muscle efforts vary from 10 to approximately 45% in this particular range of the movement.
Observing the data presented in the computer output Table #4, it is revealed that adverse changes in the shearing forces occur. These changes may create adverse side effects within the knee joint and possibly reduce the muscular involvement when performing that particular phase of the exercise.
The Nautilus leg extension machine does provide variable resistance, but the intensity does not adjust accurately to the biomechanical changes! Nearly half of the total movement (first half) lacks the resistance capable of insuring maximum conditioning benefits.
Before exercising on the Nautilus leg extension machine, one should strongly consider its inability to provide maximum conditioning effec-
Presently, Universal is conducting scientific research in order to determine the exact amount of resistance intensity necessary to accommodate the biomechanical changes and external motion parameters.
This research will provide scientific data necessary for the development of the first leg extension machine capable of insuring maximum
muscular efforts throughout the complete range of movement.
EVALUATION OF CONDITIONING PRINCIPLES & TERMS
The purpose of this chapter is to briefly discuss the differences between the Universal and Nautilus training principles and their relative conditioning effectiveness.
The previous chapter provided documented evidence to support Universal’s claim that to insure superior athletic performances it is necessary to train at rapid, explosive movements rather than slow voluntarily-controlled movements so advocated by Nautilus. Additional information on this training principle is available in “Ballistic Training” and “Resistance Exercises And Muscle Fiber Typing” published in Understanding The Scientific Bases Behind The Universal Centurion.
In addition to the “training speed” principle, there are several other Nautilus training principles that need to be evaluated in order to fully realize the true conditioning benefits that can be derived from their application.
Presently, negative resistance training is being advocated by Nautilus as a means of developing superior achievements in athletic strength. The following information will provide a realistic view of this newly-advocated method of conditioning.
ANOTHER MISCONCEPTION IN ATHLETIC TRAINING
NEGATIVE RESISTANCE TRAINING –
Negative resistance training is simply the exertion of maximum muscular efforts while lowering a weight from the extended or ending position back to its original starting position. The muscular activity that takes place during this reverse action is often referred to as eccentric or lengthening contraction. In this activity, the muscle contracts while merely returning from its shortened or fully contractile state to its normal resting length.
This is a natural muscular function that occurs when exercising; however, Nautilus is now advocating that greater emphasis be placed on this lowering or negative phase of movement rather than the actual lifting or positive phase of movement. Presently, there appears to be no scientific basis that training in a negative fashion will improve the degree of positive or FUNCTIONAL
sidered before training in this manner as a means of developing strength for ath-
STRENGTH. Contrary to this belief, there are several factors that should be con-
In previous chapters it was made clear that any resistance to a muscle may be beneficial to increase the muscular force; however, in athletics as well as other physical activities, the primary concern is the development of “FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH.” FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH may be defined as the force variations in a particular displacement (direction). The ability to exert a maximum force at only one isolated joint angle has no bearing on the efficiency of human
The characteristics of athletic FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH include the ability
to instantaneously change the degree of speed, force, direction, and intensity.
When exercising a muscle in a negative fashion, the motion or direction as well as the speed of movement is opposite to the required (positive) motion and develops a negative central pattern which may be detrimental to FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH. Negative training over a long period of time may further result in an impairment of coordination and a reduction in athletic ballistic efficiency (speed of the movement) as well as reductions in the biochemical activities within
The first rule in any weight training program should be to train the muscle in
a positive manner to insure a FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH.
The second rule in weight training is to TRAIN TO PERFORM. Every athletic activity has its own unique muscular demands. For example, some activities may require greater leg strength while other activities require greater arm strength. In addition, they also may differ in the direction in which the force is required. A high jumper requires vertical leg strength while a long jumper requires horizontal
Due to these differences, it is essential that training routines develop FUNC-
TIONAL STRENGTH in a manner which closely simulates the desired activity.
It would appear rather obvious that maximum athletic performances cannot be achieved through negative training as well as training all athletes under the same training program. The key to Universal’s success has been superior resistive equipment and the ability to provide meaningful conditioning programs specifically to a sport.
MISLEADING CONDITIONING TERMS
Various misleading conditioning terms have recently been introduced into the field of muscular training. The majority of these terms are unscientific and only cloud the field of conditioning with meaningless terminology. The exact origin and the physiological significance of these terms have yet to be clearly determined.
There are basic scientific principles that govern man and his movements, and it is essential that these principles be adhered to in the development of resistive exercise equipment. It would appear that many of these terms, such as “rotary,” “pre-stretch,” “omni-directional,” “infltonic,” “inflmetric,” etc., have been used in an attempt to avoid discussing the failure to adhere to the scientific principles which are essential for maximum muscular development. Unfortunately, many coaches, doctors, trainers, and athletes have been misled by these terms and have also overlooked the essential scientific requirements for muscular development. In addition, many have assumed that the various pieces of conditioning equipment actually possess some exclusive miraculous power. In other educational fields such as chemistry, physics, anatomy, physiology, etc., very seldom do new terms evolve, and yet, a vast number appear annually in the field of weight training.
Universal has previously introduced the scientific principles governing man and his movements and has, further, documented their. success in maintaining these principles in the development of their exclusive resistive equipment.
In order to recognize the true insignificance of many of these new conditioning terms, it is necessary to examine several of them and their mysterious muscular implications.
Recently, Nautilus has publicized the word “rotary” as being an exclusive Nautilus feature and an essential requirement in muscular development.
The human body while in motion naturally exhibits rotary motions as well as the ability to move in translatory, linear, or curvilinear motion. Rotary or angular motion is characterized by movement about an axis with all parts of the object
moving in an arc like the movement of the spoke of a wheel. The design in the human body is capable is producing only rotary movements around a fixed joint. In moving two segments simultaneously it is apparent that the motion is translatory; however, the motion is actually rotary movement around two simultaneous joints. Due to the fact that the human body naturally moves in rotary motions, there is no need to develop an exercise machine that may visually appear to move in a rotary fashion. The relative design of the machine is not capable of changing a natural bodily function as in the case of rotary movements. The majority of exercise equipment requires human movement to occur in a rotary fashion. Therefore, the term “rotary” is not a new or significant factor in conditioning.
Another conditioning term frequently used by Nautilus is the word “pre-stretch.” Unfortunately, the word “pre-stretch” has not been clearly defined and, therefore, it is difficult to determine its actual conditioning significance. By observing the Nautilus equipment, it may be possible to assume that this word refers to the actual exercise starting position as dictated by each individual machine. Some of the machines require a lower starting position than other conventional exercise equipment.
It is important to understand that the effect of pre-stretching a muscle can either be inhibitory or excitatory. In the case of Nautilus, the stretching force is exerted by the actual resistance provided by the lifting arms and cams. In these lower starting positions the muscle may suffer harm if it is stretched in excess of its physiological limitations. In addition, even though the muscle is elastic in nature, it may be over stretched and not capable of recoiling from its extended length. In a previous chapter, documented evidence was given to support the fact that the relative length of a muscle may only slightly influence the magnitude of the contractile force.
This recently documented discovery opposes the previous muscle tension length theory which indicated that the greater the initial length of a muscle the greater the muscular force capability. In general, the optimal length of a muscle is close to the muscle’s maximum body length. This is approximately 1.2 to 1.3 times a muscle’s resting length. It is possible to cause muscle injury when exercising a
muscle from a starting position that exceeds this physiological limitation, particularly if the individual has not sufficiently warmed up and is lacking in needed flexibility.
Another possible interpretation of the word “pre-stretch” has been known for years in the earlier feedback theory based on the stretch reflex. This is a more sophisticated concept which involves an understanding of the neuromuscular basis for stretch reflexes; however, the stretch reflex concept occurs naturally in all human movement and it is not dependent upon any particular design of conditioning apparatus.
At the present time, there is a need for greater scientific understanding regarding the various exercise starting positions. It is important that individuals move with caution when considering pre-stretching muscles past their physiological limitations until such time as well-documented research findings can substantiate this unnatural occurrence.
Examining these two more frequently used terms, it is possible to assume that the other less used and described terms, such as “omni-directional,” “infltonic,” and “inflmetric,” provide no significant contribution to the field of conditioning or to the relative design of conditioning equipment.
Furthermore, when describing the benefits derived from various conditioning machines, all attempts should be made to resort to only scientific terms based on scientific principles and not mystical terminology that has no significant bearing on the final conditioning outcome.
FAILURES TO AVOID IN EQUIPMENT DESIGN
In weight training, the ultimate objective is for the muscle to function at maximum force throughout the range of movement.
To accomplish this objective, it is necessary to assess man’s biomechanical changes and then develop a resistance intensity that will accommodate those changes. The variations in resistance intensity must be precisely incorporated into a variable resistance lifting mechanism. It is likewise essential that the overall machine design and operation do not adversely affect the performance of this mechanism.
To prevent machine design failures and operational failures, it is necessary to understand the relative effects of inertia. Inertial forces affect the motion and the magnitude of the muscle’s involvement. The smaller the inertial force produced by the machine’s moving parts, the greater the muscular involvement. In order to maintain small inertia forces, it is important to retain proper mechanical balances in the lifting ratios and in the the relative distribution of all moving parts. These two factors cannot be ignored in optimum equipment design. Only Universal has provided conclusive scientific data to support their success in building the optimum conditioning machines.
In addition, only Universal has provided conclusive scientific findings on Nautilus equipment. The following information and illustrations will further emphasize the Nautilus mechanical failures and their related effect on conditioning performances.
THE UNIVERSAL PROGRESSIVE DYNAMIC VARIABLE RESISTANCE
“The greatest technological advancement
in resistive equipment.,,
Only Universal has been able to accurately determine man’s complete resistive
needs and successfully employ them into a failure-pioof oof lifting system. The natural lifting ratio is maintained while the resistive intensity instantaneously adjusts to accommodate the mechanical changes.
This results in maximum muscular efforts throughout the entire range in motion.
ONLY POSSIBLE WITH UNIVERSAL
This comprehensive study reveals Universal’s unequaled technological capabilities in the field of physical exercise equipment and conditioning. Universal is the first to provide conclusive scientific facts to support the reliability and accuracy of their new resistive system.
Thorough examination of both Universal and Nautilus Computerized Biomechanical test results clearly substantiate Universal’s superiority in all of the major conditioning requirements.
This scientific investigation further reveals the tremendous technological responsibility required in both research and engineering necessary for the development of new and better methods of conditioning. Universal has successfully remained purely scientific in their development of a new conditioning system capable of producing superior muscular achievements.
When all these conclusive facts are digested, the basic appeal of Universal lies in the uncompromising dedication and the unbeatable technical know-how provided by Universal’s research staff. As a result of Universal’s supreme efforts, millions of athletes will witness impressive new achievements in both muscular development and performance.
It is the obligation of the coach, trainer, educator, or buyer to consider all of these important facts before purchasing any resistive equipment.
Appendix 3. The Universal Red Brochure
The Universal Gym Company Brochure
Universal is privileged to provide you with a selection of articles directly related to our persistent and uncompromising efforts to perfect variable resistance conditioning.
Universal acknowledges its indebtedness to many individuals without whose help it is doubtful that a new and more effective method in conditioning could have been developed.
Universal wishes to express its grateful appreciation, particularly to Dr. Gideon Ariel for his ingenious application of Computerized Bio-mechanical Analysis which provided the foundation for our new, perfected method of conditioning.
Vast accumulations of research findings were compiled during our thorough investigations to assess all the factors governing human movement. Universal has selected, for inclusion, only those areas of information that are necessary requirements for the perfection of variable resistance. Universals scientific formula which provides the exact and precise increases in resistance for each joint angle remains in the confidential files of Dr. Gideon Ariel and Universals Research and Development Department.
Universal further recognizes the great diversity of scientific backgrounds of the readers and has attempted to have authors write simply, in non-technical terms, whenever possible, and yet, in a manner remaining meaningful to doctors, physiologists and those in the physical education profession.
It is Universals further intention that this vital information clearly helps to substantiate the significance of our new conditioning system and stimulate your appreciation for our efforts in attempting to remove former elements of doubt, and the uncertainties due to trial and error.
The bibliographies and references cited also provide a rich source of information to support our claims.
Introducing Dr. Gideon Ariel
It takes the best of educated experts in the field of exercise science to be able to program, interpret, and assess the many laws and factors that govern human movement.
Universal is proud to be able to introduce to you the world’s most acclaimed expert in the field of Computerized Bio-mechanical Analysis.
Dr. Gideon Ariel Ph. D. in Exercise Science Specialist in Computer Science Qualified specialist in Human Factors and Bio-Chemistry of Exercise. Dr. Gideon Ariel is a Professor in the Department of Exercise Science at the University of Massachusetts. He has been involved with highly sophisticated research in the field of exercise for many years. He has also been involved in sports as a participant in the 1960-64 Olympic Games. Dr. Ariel has conducted numerous research studies related to bio-mechanics for major corporations and national institutions. Due to his proficiency in this field he is now involved in research projects for the Veterans Administration as well as the National Institute of Health for developing a new prosthetic hip and other bio-mechanical related projects. He has contributed more than 30 publications on the subject of bio-mechanics of exercise to many diversified journals of medicine and coaching. He has appeared as a feature lecturer to many international and national symposiums such as and including: World Symposium of Sports Medicine; Melbourne, Australia Congress of Bio-Mechanics, Penn State University International Congress of Motion Biology; Budapest, Hungary We at Universal again are indebted to Dr. Ariel’s efforts in finding the answers necessary for the perfection of Variable Resistance.
Variable Resistance Exercise – A Biomechanical Approach to Muscular Training
The relationship between resistance and muscle strength has been known for a long time. Muscular strength may be defined as the force a muscle group can exert against a resistance in a maximal effort; and, any motion by the human requires muscular involvement. Forty to sixty per cent of the human body is composed of contractile tissue forming 437 different voluntary muscle, and the most fundamental function of these muscles is the ability to produce motion by their own contraction. The action of these muscles on the bones which provides the leverage system, permits man to stand erect, carry out activities of daily living, and participate in athletic performances requiring optimal efficiency in muscular contraction and coordination. This motion of the musculoskeletal system is governed by both the strength of the muscles and skeletal structure.
In 1948 Delorme (12 ) adopted the name “progressive resistance exercise” for his method of developing muscular strength through the utilization of counterbalancing the weight of the extremity with a cable and pulley arrangement and, thus, gave load-assisting exercise to muscle groups which would not perform antigravity motions. McQueen ( 16 ), distinguished between exercise regimes for producing muscle hypertrophy and for producing muscle power. He concluded that the number of repetitions for each set of exercise determines the different characteristics of the exercise. Based on evidence presented in these early studies, hundreds of investigations have been published relative to muscular development through resistance exercise with various methods being introduced. Techniques for muscular development include isotonic exercises; isometric exercises eccentric contraction technique; oxford technique; double and triple progressive systems; super sets system; isokenetic exercise system; chains and barbells; springs system and many others. Each system has been supported and refuted by numerous investigations. Some of the best research is that performed by Berger (9) who concluded that 6-7 repetitions 3 times a week is best for developing dynamic strength. Other excellent research was conducted by Steinhause (18 ) who emphasized the need to increase the intensity — not the amount of work—in order to develop maximum strength.
The intent of this paper is not to discuss the merits of various training methods or systems, but rather to discuss the biomechanical principles that govern all types of resistance exercises, and to introduce a new concept in exercise equipment design which allows optimum training benefits from the resistance exercise regardless of the system used. BIOMECHANICAL CONSIDERATIONS
Biomechanics is the science which investigates effects of internal and external forces upon living bodi When a person uses any resistance device whether is a spring or a bar, there are two kinds of forces apply on this system. The internal forces produced by muscular system and the external forces produced the resistance device, in this case the spring or the bar When considering any human force system, musele bones, and joints, as well as externally applied resistant, must be considered. Consideration of the magnitude of the externally applied resistance cannot be only consideration in muscular training. Rather, 1 magnitude, action line, direction, and point of application are all four characteristics which must be considered to develop maximal muscular training mud Physical educators and athletes deal constantly with muscle forces, both normal and super-normal, but how much is actually known about the actual magnitudes these forces? The actual forces produced by individual muscles cannot be predicted easily because of the influence of a number of physiological a mechanical factors. These include length-tension a force-velocity relationships as well the location of the muscle attachments with respect the joint. One way to determine the muscular involvement in the exercise is to refer to the moments of force produced by all the muscles at the particular joint. It well known in resistance exercise that there exists “sticking point” during which the apparent resistant is at its maximum. However, the absolute mused force is relatively constant and varies slightly depends on its force length relationship. This variability of mum length is of no significance when performing exert with heavy loads. If this is the case, why is there “sticking point” in the bench press, for example, which the weight becomes “light”? This phenomenon will be discussed in more detail.
FORCE SYSTEM AND MOMENT OF FORCE
Since the human body is a system of linked segment forces cause rotation of the parts about their anatomic axes. Both muscle and gravitational forces are important in producing these turning effects which are fundamental in body movements in all sports and daily living Pushing, pulling, lifting, kicking, running, walking, all human activities are results of rotational motion the links which are made of rigid bones.
Figure 1. The See-Saw Principle
Familiar example is a see-saw (Figure 1). This example illustrates the importance of the lever arm length in relation to the force or resistance applied. As can be seen (Figure 1) and by knowing this principle from personal experience, the weight of the child and his distance from the fulcrum are both important in determining the force needed to balance another child. This principle, widely used throughout the entire field of biomechanics, is the principle of moments. By definition, the moment of a force about any point is equal to the magnitude of the force multiplied by the perpendicular distance from the action line of the force to that point.
This perpendicular distance from the force to the fulcrum is known as the lever arm of the force. Dl and D2 in Figure 1 are the lever arms associated with Fl and F2 (Force 1 and Force 2). A moment is the product of the force and the lever arm of the force. The product of Dl ( distance) and Fl (force) in Figure 1 is the moment associated with the left side of the system, and the product of D2 and F2 is the moment associated with the right side of the system. The system in this figure is considered to be in equilibrium only if the moment on the left is equal to the moment on the right. This equality may result in several ways. For example, Dl might be smaller than D2, and Fl greater than F2, or possibly Dl is greater than D2, so that F2 must be greater than Fl, or, Dl, D2, Fl, and F2 are equal. If we assume that Dl is 100 cm., D2 is 200 cm., and F2 equals 40 kg., then, to balance the system, Fl must equal 80 kg. since 200 X 40 must be equal to 100 X 80.
Since a moment is a force times a distance, it may be increased or decreased in either of two ways:
1.By changing the magnitude of the force.
2.By changing its distance from the fulcrum. In the case of the teeter-totter, if two boys of equal weight are to balance one another, they must sit the same distance from the fulcrum of the board. If one boy plays with a child half his weight, this child must sit twice as far from the fulcrum in order to balance.
The magnitude factor may be changed in the human body by varying the resistance, however, the distance factor is genetically acquired and it is unlikely that one would alter the length of his arm or leg or the insertion of his muscle into the bone. Man is born with anatomical limits such as the normal force-distance relationships associated with muscle attachments. If the attachment of the distal portion of the biceps could be altered from its position of normal attachment at A to Position B (see Figure 2), then an appreciably greater force would be available for lifting weights, but a proportional reduction in the velocity for flexing the arm would accompany such a change (17). In the case of the biceps supporting the forearm at a 90 degree angle, the lever
arm may be considered as the perpendicular distance from the tendon to the axis of the elbow joint (Figure 3). In this instance the lever arm is anatomically fixed, but the magnitude of the muscle force can be varied to alter the moment. Genetically a person may be born with a short forearm but with the normal distance for insertion of elbow flexors. Such a person may be extremely strong in arm wrestling because of the short resistance arm as compared with the force arm of a normal person. His absolute muscular strength is as normal as his opponent since it is merely the mechanical advantage that he has that allows him to win in arm wrestling. Suppose the biceps muscle supports the forearm with a weight of the forearm of 5 kg. and its center of gravity located 12 cm. from the elbow joint, and the biceps has a lever arm of approximately 3 cm. Then, the biceps must pull with a force of over 20 kg. in order to lift the arm. From these examples one observes that the biomechanical principle governing human motion is much more important than the classic length-tension principle.
Without a great resistance, the moment of force around the joint is relatively small as compared to resistance exercises. Under such conditions, the length tension curve of a muscle may play an important factor in accommodating the changes in the body position.
Inman and Ralston (13 ) have described this condition: An interesting observation on the human skeletal lever system is that by maximum muscle effort, relatively constant moments are produced against resistance no matter what the angular position of the articulating segment. This is surprising since the lever arms through which the muscles act vary continuously with changing position of the part. To produce such an effect necessitates a varying force to compensate for the varying lever arm, and such a mechanism is actually found in the muscle itself. In the body, therefore, is a reciprocating arrangement of muscles and levers by which changing lengths of lever arms are offset by changes in the ability of the muscles to develop torques about the joints. The nicety of the compensatory relationship between the geometric arrangement of the lever and the physiology of muscle contraction has not been fully appreciated.
This is a description of the compensatory interaction between the length-tension curve and the leverage system in normal movement without great resistance ( see Figure 4). However, when great resistance is applied to the body segment, the length-tension phenomenon no longer compensates for the changes in the leverage system.
THE VARIABLE RESISTANCE CONCEPT
In conventional resistance exercise, loads are moved through a range of motion. The load remains constant throughout the motion but the muscular force is not constant because of the modifying effects of the lever system throughout the range of motion ( Figure 4). For all practical purposes, the absolute muscular force is the same throughout the exercise since the only
difference is the force arm on which the muscle pulls. When the force arm becomes greater due to angular changes of the limb, the muscle can lift a larger load; when the force arm becomes shorter, the muscle cannot pull as large a load not because of its strength but because of the biomechanical disadvantage. Figure 5 illustrates the variation in knee extensors force throughout the range of motion. As can be observed, the knee extensors had the greatest magnitude at 60 degrees, but does that mean that at 60 degrees the knee extensors are the strongest? On the contrary, this means that the combination of the lever arm at 60 degrees and the length of the resistance arm are entirely mechanically dependent, enabling the knee extensors to demonstrate maximum results. However, at 30 degrees the knee extensor contractile tissue are as strong, but because of the biomechanical disadvantage, they cannot produce the same recorded output. This explains why when performing an exercise such as the bench press, there is a point where the resistance is maximum and below or above this point the resistance is less. This fact illustrates the important phenomenon that throughout an exercise stroke, the muscle is working at its maximum potential during a very small range of motion. (In order to resolve such a phenomenon, it is necessary to accommodate the biomechanical changes by varying the resistance.) To accomplish this, the concept of moment of force must be introduced into the exercise. As discussed previously, the moment of force is the product between the force arm of the muscle and the muscular force and indicates the dominant muscular involvement in the exercise. For example, in Figure 3, if the force arm is 2 cm. long and the resistance is 100 kg., then the muscle has to produce a 2 X 100 = 200 kg. cm moment in order to lift this resistance. However, if the force arm becomes 4 cm. only 50 kg. of force is needed from the muscle to resist 100 kg. In this latter case, the muscle does not work as hard and the training effect is less. Figure 3 illustrates the variability of moments in elbow flexion. In this figure one observes that maximum muscular involvement was obtained at 90 degrees. At 30 degrees, the elbow flexors were used to only 50 per cent. Figures 6 and 7 obtained from the bench press and the squat exercises revealed that the muscular force is at its greatest potential in only 30 per cent of the stroke. This fact demonstrates the vast waste found in traditional weight regimes since 70 per cent of the exercise is relatively useless.
To facilitate maximum muscular involvement, it is necessary to vary the resistance. In several exercises, this resistance should vary by as much as 100 per cent in order to maintain the moment at its maximum. The resistance should be varied according to the biomechanical data obtained under dynamic conditions. The method for obtaining such data is discussed elsewhere in the following article (Biomechanics) (1). By varying the resistance, the goal of obtaining a relatively change is the force arm on which the muscle pulls. When the force arm becomes greater due to angular changes of the limb, the muscle can lift a larger load; when the force arm becomes shorter, the muscle cannot pull as large a load not because of its strength but because of the biomechanical disadvantage. Figure 5 illustrates the variation in knee extensors force throughout the range of motion. As can be observed, the knee extensors had the greatest magnitude at 60 degrees, but does that mean that at 60 degrees the knee extensors are the strongest? On the contrary, this means that the combination of the lever arm at 60 degrees and the length of the resistance arm are entirely mechanically dependent, enabling the knee extensors to demonstrate maximum results. However, at 30 degrees the knee extensor contractile tissue are as strong, but because of the biomechanical disadvantage, they cannot produce the same recorded output. This explains why when performing an exercise such as the bench press, there is a point where the resistance is maximum and below or above this point the resistance is less. This fact illustrates the important phenomenon that throughout an exercise stroke, the muscle is working at its maximum potential during a very small range of motion. [In order to resolve such a phenomenon, it is necessary to accommodate the biomechanical changes by varying the resistance.) To accomplish this, the concept of moment of force must be introduced into the exercise. As discussed previously, the moment of force is the product between the force arm of the muscle and the muscular force and indicates the dominant muscular involvement in the exercise. For example, in Figure 3, if the force arm is 2 cm. long and the resistance is 100 kg., then the muscle has to produce a 2 X 100 = 200 kg. cm moment in order to lift this resistance. However, if the force arm becomes 4 cm. only 50 kg. of force is needed from the muscle to resist 100 kg. In this latter case, the muscle does not work as hard and the training effect is less. Figure 3 illustrates the variability of moments in elbow flexion. In this figure one observes that maximum muscular involvement was obtained at 90 degrees. At 30 degrees, the elbow flexors were used to only 50 per cent. Figures 6 and 7 obtained from the bench press and the squat exercises revealed that the muscular force is at its greatest potential in only 30 per cent of the stroke. This fact demonstrates the vast waste found in traditional weight regimes since 70 per cent of the exercise is relatively useless.
To facilitate maximum muscular involvement, it is necessary to vary the resistance. In several exercises, this resistance should vary by as much as 100 per cent in order to maintain the moment at its maximum. The resistance should be varied according to the biomechanical data obtained under dynamic conditions. The method for obtaining such data is discussed elsewhere in the following article (Biomechanics) (1). By varying the resistance, the goal of obtaining a relatively
constant moment curve is attained. By having a constant moment curve in an exercise, the maximum mechanical means for receiving the full muscular training potential of the body segments throughout the total range of motion is provided and, at the same time, allows the natural ballistic characteristics of the motion. Hence, one does not need to maintain constant velocity, such as in isokinetic exercises, in order to achieve the variable resistance effect. Rather, any load can be used without changing the natural ballistic motion of the segment — a factor which is extremely important for athletic performances.
THE VARIABLE RESISTANCE EXERCISE MACHINE
To design the proper layout of exercise machines with the appropriate resistance lever arm in accordance with the requirements of kinesiology and the anatomy of man, it is necessary to determine the moment of force in each particular exercise and simultaneously consider the muscular forces and the dynamic forces due to the motion. At present only Universal has utilized this type of data in the design of their exercise equipment. This information allowed development of apparatus which assigns different resistances throughout the range of motion in order to accommodate the biomechanical changes occurring during the exercise. When designing exercise machines for the development of muscular strength, there are two alternatives from which to choose if pertinent information is not available regarding some human performance characteristics. In the first place, one can pick answers out of the thin air; this obviously is a pretty risky business, although it is, unfortunately, a fairly common practice. Alternatively, it may be possible to carry out some research project to develop the needed information. Visual inspection can in no way ascertain the numerous forces or their direction acting on the individual.
The present variable resistance exercise machine, developed by the Universal Athletic Sales, provides an exercise machine which allows maximum muscular development utilizing biomechanical principles. Alternately, many exercise machines from various companies are designed merely from observations and ideas demonstrating the continued absence of scientific data associated with individual athletes, their specific performances, and training regimes. The Universal Research Department initiated designing of the Universal Variable Exercise Machine based on computerized biomechanical parameters. Currently, Universal Exercise equipment arc the only machines in the world which maintain a relatively constant moment curve through the entire range of motion based on the internal muscular forces and the forces due to motion. Resistance to the different muscles is applied throughout the range of motion for maintenance of optimal muscular resistance during the biomechanical changes occurring in the range of motion.
The concept of strength variation through the range of joint motion presents a broader concept of muscular force development. A question should be raised regarding the extent to which muscle training is efficient when performed with the regular barbell or on equipment without scientific basis. Functional movements are frequently ballistic in nature, and the relationship of joint moment measurements to dynamic or phasic activity needs to be considered when designing exercise equipment to facilitate efficient muscular strength. Not only do force values vary among muscle groups but the rotational effect of a given group depends on the position of the joint it moves. Universal Research Department utilized extensive fundamental data of this nature and a computerized biomechanical analysis system to develop its new variable resistance exercise machine—a new generation in muscular training.