"Doing more exercise with less intensity,"
Arthur Jones believes, "has all but
destroyed the actual great value
of weight training. Something
must be done . . . and quickly."
The New Bodybuilding for
Old-School Results supplies
MUCH of that "something."
This is one of 93 photos of Andy McCutcheon that are used in The New High-Intensity Training to illustrate the recommended exercises.
To find out more about McCutcheon and his training, click here.
The latissimus dorsi muscles are the largest of the upper body and they need intense work to reach their full potential.
by Ellington Darden, Ph.D.
In the early 1970s, Arthur Jones designed an ultimate-lat routine that consisted of five Nautilus machine exercises, performed back-to-back, with minimum rest in between. These were the machines and the exercises:
Pulldown to chest on Torso-Arm Machine
Behind-neck pulldown on Torso-Arm Machine
Jones always said that this five-exercise routine, properly performed, would produce several times the rate of progress of standard lat exercises. I tried the cycle in various workouts and each time I received a massive pump to my latissimus-dorsi muscles.
The Nautilus Behind-Neck Machine provided one of the most unusual lat exercises ever invented. From a seated position, as shown, the round pads on the sides of the triceps were rotated down to the waist. The exercise was like doing a behind-neck chin, without the bar in the hands. Thus, the lats were targeted directly, with no involvement of the hands and forearms. Most trainees were not skilled enough to keep their upper arms in the correct place – and they felt it in their chest more than their lats. As a result, the Behind-Neck Machine – unlike the Pullover – was never popular.
Since most trainees do not have access to any of these Nautilus machines today, what would I recommend as free-weight substitutes?
FREE-WEIGHT LAT ROUTINE
Here are my suggestions:
Straight-arm pullover with one dumbbell held in both hands, immediately followed by
Bent-arm pullover with barbell, immediately followed by
Pulldown to chest on lat machine with underhand grip, immediately followed by
Bent-over row with dumbbells and with parallel grip, immediately followed by
Straight-arm pullover: This is the same style pullover that I recommend doing after squats or leg presses in some routines. Lie crossways on a bench with shoulders on the surface and head and lower body off the bench. Hold a dumbbell at one end with both hands and position it over your chest. Lower the dumbbell slowly beyond your head and stretch your lats. Raise the dumbbell smoothly to the over-chest position and repeat until failure. Quickly turn 90 degrees on the bench and get ready for the bent-arm pullover.
Bent-arm pullover: Whatever you handled on the straight-arm pullover, you'll be able to do 50-100% more resistance on the bent-arm version. Lie faceup on a bench with your head barely off the edge. Anchor your feet securely underneath. Have a spotter hand you a heavy barbell. You hands should be spaced 12 inches apart, with the barbell resting on your chest. Move the barbell over your face and head and lower it smoothly until it almost touches the floor. Keep your arms bent. Stretch in the bottom. Pull the bar over your face to your chest. Repeat the lowering and lifting for maximum repetitions.
Pulldown to chest on lat machine: Stabilize your lower body under the overhead bar. Grasp the bar with an underhand grip with your hands shoulder-width apart. Pull the bar smoothly to your chest. Pause. Return slowly to the stretched position. Repeat until momentary muscular failure. Release the bar and immediately move to the bent-over row.
Bent-over row: Place your feet beside two moderately heavy dumbbells. Bend over grasp the dumbbells in a parallel fashion with your palms facing each other. Keep a slight bend in your knees to reduce the stress on your lower back. Pull both the dumbbells upward, to the sides of your thighs, and pause at your waist. Lower slowly to the bottom and repeat for maximum repetitions. After the last repetition, quickly get to the chinning bar.
Negative-only chinup: You'll need a chair or bench for assistance. The idea is to do the positive work with your legs and negative with your upper body. Since your biceps and lats will be well fatigued by now, it will take a focused effort on your part to do even 3 or 4 negative chins . . . and initially you won't require any added resistance.
Place the chair or bench directly under a chinning bar. Climb into the top position with your chin over the bar. Hold onto the bar with an underhand grip and space your hands shoulder-width apart. Remove your feet and lower your body very slowly to a dead hang in 8 to 10 seconds. Climb back to the top position and repeat for as many repetitions as possible. Stop when you can no longer control the downward movement, which is usually a lowering time less than 2 to 3 seconds.
ONLY TWICE A WEEK
After a couple of workouts, and with the proper arrangement of your available equipment, you should be able to move from one exercise to the next within 3 seconds or less – which is the goal. The five-exercise cycle – each exercise performed for one set of 8 to 12 repetitions – should take no longer than 7 minutes.
Once you get the hang of the routine, do it intensely and progressively for no more than twice a week, for two consecutive weeks.
Is this free-weight version as good as Jones's original Nautilus routine?
No free-weight exercise will ever take the place of the Behind-Neck and the Pullover machines. The Behind-Neck and the Pullover, especially the Pullover, supplied direct, rotary resistance to the upper arms – a characteristic that cannot be duplicated with free weights.
This lat routine, however, is as good as it gets with free weights. You'll still be able to see significant muscular improvement in two weeks.
Apply it seriously, widen your lats – and let me know your thoughts?
I am lucky enough to have access to a Nautilus pullover. I have never had an upper body exercise task me and bring nausea like the Superpullover. It reminds me of squatting. I would love to find a Nautilus behind the neck machine.
I just started to utilize the following routine:
Hopefully I will see some marked improvement in my back. It is a killer routine with no rest between exercises, and my lats are swollen like balloons afterwards.
Thanks for the new articles you have posted lately. They always seem to remind me of something I really need to work on. The neck article got me to recognize I had access to a Nautilus Neck and Shoulder and a 4 way neck machine in my gym. They were tucked away in a corner and I hadn't really paid attention to them other than wiping them down on my shift. I have never seen them used. I have really started an emphasis on neck work, and now you have reinforced my need for serious backwork as well.
We are often reminded the importannce of TUT yet this routine, without resting between sets as is suggested, appears to exceed most people's ideal TUT, if we assume that is 40-90 seconds. How does one reconcile between the two?
Ellington Darden wrote:
The Pullover was, and is still, one of the most popular of all Nautilus machines. And I always like the Behind-Neck, but I haven't seen one in a gym in more than a dozen years.
I have that piece in one of my gyms. I actually go to that gym to use that one piece of equipment. It has a unique feel to it. Oddly enough it always felt more effective if I cut the movement in half and did the bottom part first and then the top part. It really gave me a good pump.
I have a behind-the-neck machine on my Negative-Attitude multi. I used it negitive only last night. It felt great. Good thing it comes with a seat belt or I would have been yanked into the air.
could you elaborate a bit on the Negative-Attitude multi?
I thought NA produces only spacious single stations.
I recall this wonderful machine. at the time i nicknamed it "the truth"! LOL i loved it! As you can see from the pic it would give your lats a really great stretch from the start. a real lat killer, one of my favs! nothing else like it!
It defies all logic and common sense that this machine is not produced today. I'm perpetually dismayed that rational resistance equipment is largely a thing of the past. :(
That's an interesting idea with 1-minute chins for lats. No, I've not tried it in that manner. Try it and report back.
And albeit the 1 minute chin with just bodyweight and concentrating on lat contraction was not bringing me even close to failure(should try 40/40 next time and/or add weight), together with the imediately followed DB pullover (could get 8reps with 4/1/4, failed at ninth) it did a great job for tiring and pumping my lats big time.
Really nice, especially if you consider that it took only 2sets and I could happily proceed thereafter with my 7 other exercises with great intensity.
I urge everybody here you to try that combo.
Really looks like a winner.
The Nautilus stocked gym I visit regularly has the behind the neck lat machine. I have never made friends with it ;^) but it works great if you practice a slow controlled downward shrug rather starting by pushing down with your arms. Pushing down with your arms too early causes uncomfortable triceps stretch (near the elbow) and tends to make it hard to keep both sides going down evenly.
I have cycled through that Jones routine before and it is brutal but what a pump. My abs were killing me for days after and I couldn't throw a ball for my dogs for 3 days! I found it helped to have spotter to offer a few light forced reps and to keep me from giving up.
Dr Darden, I think you are quite smart to push the lying pullovers (with 2 different back to back sets - pardon the pun), definitely a under utilized back move that offers great quality stretch position training.
My old normal lat routine was the pullover to pre-exauhst the lats and then a pulldown to chest to failure and then either a strip set or if I had a "good" spotter, forced negatives. The Nautilus Pullover is hands down the best back exercise. I've tried the pullover on other machines and none even come close. My sets on it were usually higher reps, 12+, to keep good form and to better allow for a good, deep stretch. IMHO perfect form is paramount when doing the pullover (not like it isn't with other exercises...).
But of course in the gym I used to work at no one ever used except for the older crowd who, without fail, always did it wrong and for 30 reps. When the remodel happened, they got rid of it. Shame. Everyone that I put on it complained the next day or two that they couldn't raise their arms past shoulder level.
I have a super slow modified 1st gen pullover. A first gen behind the neck torso arm retrofitted with bearings, A medx torso arm, a rowing torso and a Hammer strength low row.
I did some variation of this routine for the majority of the winter every 5 or six days. In retrospect it is probably over kill. The pullover to the Medx torso arm,or the Behind the neck to the medx torso arm, or the rowing torso to the Hammer strength row is enough to fry most people.
The Behind the neck is the most difficult machine for me of the entire line to master.
Best of luck to all.
I absolutely LOVED the Behind Neck, and Behind Neck Pulldown combo machine.
Yes, some people could never master the arms properly when they do Behind Neck, they always tend to rotate the forearms forward and that tended to occur simultaneously with a flexion of the spine.
But if you extend the spine and stick your chest up while you rotate the arms down I think eventually you can learn to keep your arms pretty relaxed and ina good position, (I think it would help to have the cam fall off more for slower than 2/4 speeds too).
I know where a Behind Neck and Behind Neck Pulldown is, and I WANT IT, but it is sadly not availble for sale, (or so I have to believe).
I always used the Behind Neck machine when I trained at Roger Schwab's Nautilus.
Most folks cheated on this exercise, bringing there arms forward and using the chest muscles.
Now that I have a Bowflex Ultimate 2, with the adjustable lat tower, I can mimic this exercise on the Bowflex by placing the pin in the 4th hole, using the grips in a hammer style, grasping the right grip with the left hand and vise- versa for the left hand.
It really has the feel of that old Nautilus machine.
To really isolate the lats, I adjust the pin to the 2nd hole, and use the hand cuffs and drape them over the forearms in the above mentioned criss cross fashion. Great stuff!