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MedX Biceps Curl Design
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Bill Sekerak

California, USA

Just curious if anyone here knows who designed the MedX curl and why it was decided to utilize an " easy curl " type grip bar instead of a straight one especially since Arthur was so dead set against easy curl bars because you cannot fully contract the bicep with an easy curl grip ?
In my last conversation with Arthur Jones in 1996 he flat our stated that the original plate loaded Nautilus bicep machine ( with bushings but no guide rods or sprockets for chains as they used cables were pretty low friction ) were probably the best bicep machines.
Additionally the cam was designed so that this resistance started " low " but kept increasing throughout the movement and being the greatest at the end of the movement when the bicep was fully contracted.
I know why the MedX bicep has a steep decline in resistance at the end of the movement ,even though I thoroughly disagree with the reason which is the same for the even more drastic and ridiculously steep resistance decline at the end of rom in the MedX pullover, i just don't know why the easy curl grip is used in the bicep machine.
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AndyMitch

As with most machines Arthur didn?t have much input with they weren?t as good as his.

I feel that most of these machines were rejigged with the lowest common denominator in mind.

You get sick of being sued constantly wouldn?t you?
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AndyMitch

I have a long history in manufacturing so I get it.
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HeavyHitter32

Bill Sekerak wrote:
Just curious if anyone here knows who designed the MedX curl and why it was decided to utilize an " easy curl " type grip bar instead of a straight one especially since Arthur was so dead set against easy curl bars because you cannot fully contract the bicep with an easy curl grip ?
In my last conversation with Arthur Jones in 1996 he flat our stated that the original plate loaded Nautilus bicep machine ( with bushings but no guide rods or sprockets for chains as they used cables were pretty low friction ) were probably the best bicep machines.
Additionally the cam was designed so that this resistance started " low " but kept increasing throughout the movement and being the greatest at the end of the movement when the bicep was fully contracted.
I know why the MedX bicep has a steep decline in resistance at the end of the movement ,even though I thoroughly disagree with the reason which is the same for the even more drastic and ridiculously steep resistance decline at the end of rom in the MedX pullover, i just don't know why the easy curl grip is used in the bicep machine.


Never used the Medex, but EZ curl is typically easier on your elbows (less strain).
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

HeavyHitter32 wrote:
Bill Sekerak wrote:
Just curious if anyone here knows who designed the MedX curl and why it was decided to utilize an " easy curl " type grip bar instead of a straight one especially since Arthur was so dead set against easy curl bars because you cannot fully contract the bicep with an easy curl grip ?
In my last conversation with Arthur Jones in 1996 he flat our stated that the original plate loaded Nautilus bicep machine ( with bushings but no guide rods or sprockets for chains as they used cables were pretty low friction ) were probably the best bicep machines.
Additionally the cam was designed so that this resistance started " low " but kept increasing throughout the movement and being the greatest at the end of the movement when the bicep was fully contracted.
I know why the MedX bicep has a steep decline in resistance at the end of the movement ,even though I thoroughly disagree with the reason which is the same for the even more drastic and ridiculously steep resistance decline at the end of rom in the MedX pullover, i just don't know why the easy curl grip is used in the bicep machine.

Never used the Medex, but EZ curl is typically easier on your elbows (less strain).


==Scott==
Yes I think it's because the easy curl bar puts less strain on the elbows etc. Maybe a straight bar technically provides a better contraction to the bicep than an easy curl bar but I think the difference is splitting hairs in the end. I know Arnold liked thumbs up curls and that's a mile away from a straight bar curl but in the end they all work the bicep pretty dang good.
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Average Al

Bill Sekerak wrote:

Additionally the cam was designed so that this resistance started " low " but kept increasing throughout the movement and being the greatest at the end of the movement when the bicep was fully contracted.
I know why the MedX bicep has a steep decline in resistance at the end of the movement ,even though I thoroughly disagree with the reason which is the same for the even more drastic and ridiculously steep resistance decline at the end of rom in the MedX pullover


I think Jones believed that a muscle needed to be fully shortened in order to fully recruit and contract all the fibers in muscle. That would explain why he thought the resistance should increase toward the end position. But that idea seems to have not held up well with time.

The current thinking seems to be that it is the mid range of the contraction where you can get maximum cross bridge formation, and hence maximum recruitment and muscle tension (even if there is a leverage disadvantage that limits external load).

Regarding fall off cams as a design choice: What do you think the reason was, and why do you reject it?
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Donnie Hunt

Did all the generation 1 Nautilus have the progressively more aggressive cams?
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

Donnie Hunt wrote:
Did all the generation 1 Nautilus have the progressively more aggressive cams?


== Scott==
I?ve found that most all gen one Nautilus have cams that get harder in the contracted position. It might work for some people but I found all it did for me was shorten my sets as I would quickly be unable to get into the contracted position and the set would terminate too soon. I much prefer an even feel through out the reps so my reps don?t stop short because I can?t get into the contracted position . I was told I?d eventually get stronger in the contracted position and it would eventually feel even through out the movement but that never happened . My plate loading pullover is a good example of that. Way too hard in the contracted position.
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AndyMitch

Bill
I actually believe that the grip on the Medx still enables a fully supinates grip.
If you place your hand in a in a supinated way and in a complete anatomical fashion place a stick or pole in your palm and clench the fist you?ll see that the optimal position is not straight but on a slight angle.
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AndyMitch

In terms of strength curves
Any machine I?ve used in the last 40 years whether that was nautilus, Medx or hammer it did feel unusual for a short while after some time the strength curve flattened out, interestingly only after a couple of workouts.
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Donnie Hunt

entsminger wrote:
Donnie Hunt wrote:
Did all the generation 1 Nautilus have the progressively more aggressive cams?

== Scott==
I?ve found that most all gen one Nautilus have cams that get harder in the contracted position. It might work for some people but I found all it did for me was shorten my sets as I would quickly be unable to get into the contracted position and the set would terminate too soon. I much prefer an even feel through out the reps so my reps don?t stop short because I can?t get into the contracted position . I was told I?d eventually get stronger in the contracted position and it would eventually feel even through out the movement but that never happened . My plate loading pullover is a good example of that. Way too hard in the contracted position.


Thanks for the detailed answer Scott. It has been such a long time since I worked out using Nautilus machines. I'm pretty sure the ones I use to have access to were gen one. I don't remember for sure what the feel was like for me and or how long my sets would last. I still like when the topic of this type of stuff comes up even though my workouts of late consist of using bodyweight and using some objects for weight and or actual weights.
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Bill Sekerak

California, USA

Average Al wrote:
Bill Sekerak wrote:

Additionally the cam was designed so that this resistance started " low " but kept increasing throughout the movement and being the greatest at the end of the movement when the bicep was fully contracted.
I know why the MedX bicep has a steep decline in resistance at the end of the movement ,even though I thoroughly disagree with the reason which is the same for the even more drastic and ridiculously steep resistance decline at the end of rom in the MedX pullover

I think Jones believed that a muscle needed to be fully shortened in order to fully recruit and contract all the fibers in muscle. That would explain why he thought the resistance should increase toward the end position. But that idea seems to have not held up well with time.

The current thinking seems to be that it is the mid range of the contraction where you can get maximum cross bridge formation, and hence maximum recruitment and muscle tension (even if there is a leverage disadvantage that limits external load).

Regarding fall off cams as a design choice: What do you think the reason was, and why do you reject it?


I contacted the guy who designed the cam profile and asked him how they determined the cam profile.
He told me they tested a number of average people statically over a variety of points and averaged out the strength profile.
I really don't think for one second that such a method will give you anything close to an ideal strength profile for any given movement.
His name is Clay Steffee and he has a Facebook site if anyone wants to contact him.
He was good enough to answer my questions but that doesn't necessarily mean he will answer yours.
I.may have added an extra e to his last name so you might have to try both ways or maybe someone knows the correct spelling.
I don't know the best way to design a cam but I do recognize a mistaken way when I see it.
On the MedX pullover I can work with about 180 for full rom but when I get near the last 30 degrees of rom it feels like there's no resistance at all.
I restricted the rom to the last 30
degrees and ended up using the entire stack of over 500 lbs and I still got about 15 reps.
Now there is no way the drop off in resistance towards the end of the movement should be that great.
In case anybody thinks I am a freak I have heard from many others that they also thought the drop in resistance was too great.
Now if they used the same procedure for designing the other cam profiles you can see the potential problems.
The lumbar machine feels perfect but was most certainly designed by Arthur Jones as were the leg extension.rotary torso and neck machines because they were all originally part of the medical line which Arthur was actively working on/with.
The bicep machine cam is wrong , the pec machine is also " off ".
The tricep machine feels " right " as does the lateral raise and the hip extension.
Although I have used almost all of the other MedX " exercise " machines it was so long ago l can't comment on them.
The ones I have commented on I own so memory is not a factor.
Now giving it more thought the MedX leg press is probably just about right as well because it left a big impression on.me and I regret not buying it when it didn't cost as much as a used Tesla.
I have used many,many leg press machines since 1972 ( including the one where you lay on your back on the floor and the weight plates are straight over your chest ) and none of them can hold a candle to the MedX. Now I know someone is going to.pop-off about it not having enough resistance but that's bull shit.
If you use it as intended with full rom and using a 4/4 cadence there's more than enough resistance for anybody short of a freak on the juice.
I have seen at least a thousand people using a wide variety of different leg press machines and I can count on one hand the number I've seen using it correctly.
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Bill Sekerak

California, USA

AndyMitch wrote:
Bill
I actually believe that the grip on the Medx still enables a fully supinates grip.
If you place your hand in a in a supinated way and in a complete anatomical fashion place a stick or pole in your palm and clench the fist you?ll see that the optimal position is not straight but on a slight angle.


Yex ,but the handle on the MedX curl places the hand in a partially pronated position. Its not possible to supinate with these handles.
The reason I suggest using a straight grip is because it allows for some supination.
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DNAHelix

New York, USA

Bill Sekerak wrote:
Now giving it more thought the MedX leg press is probably just about right as well because it left a big impression on.me and I regret not buying it when it didn't cost as much as a used Tesla.
I have used many,many leg press machines since 1972 ( including the one where you lay on your back on the floor and the weight plates are straight over your chest ) and none of them can hold a candle to the MedX. Now I know someone is going to.pop-off about it not having enough resistance but that's bull shit.
If you use it as intended with full rom and using a 4/4 cadence there's more than enough resistance for anybody short of a freak on the juice.
I have seen at least a thousand people using a wide variety of different leg press machines and I can count on one hand the number I've seen using it correctly.


Depends which MedX we are talking about here, Bill. If it is the Avenger, yes, it is a decent piece, I kind of liked it. If we are talking MadX selectorized leg press..... that?s one overpriced sub-par device.

Cybex Eagle Selectorized is probably a better Leg Press than MedX selectorized.

MedX leg extension was also sub par.

Nautilus 1 Gen leg extension was good.

Duo-Squat is a great piece.

Atlantis line has a phenomenal leg press, beats anything MedX every day all day.

MedX Pullover is not a good piece. There are way better pullover machines on the market.

MedX biceps curl is another aberration, Cybex VR is a way better curling machine, that is if you need one. In my experience weighted Chin Ups work better than machines.

Old Nautilus biceps-triceps machine was actually a really good curling piece. Ditto compound bicep.
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Average Al

Bill Sekerak wrote:

I contacted the guy who designed the cam profile and asked him how they determined the cam profile.
He told me they tested a number of average people statically over a variety of points and averaged out the strength profile.
I really don't think for one second that such a method will give you anything close to an ideal strength profile for any given movement.
His name is Clay Steffee and he has a Facebook site if anyone wants to contact him.
He was good enough to answer my questions but that doesn't necessarily mean he will answer yours.
I.may have added an extra e to his last name so you might have to try both ways or maybe someone knows the correct spelling.
I don't know the best way to design a cam but I do recognize a mistaken way when I see it.
On the MedX pullover I can work with about 180 for full rom but when I get near the last 30 degrees of rom it feels like there's no resistance at all.
I restricted the rom to the last 30
degrees and ended up using the entire stack of over 500 lbs and I still got about 15 reps.
Now there is no way the drop off in resistance towards the end of the movement should be that great.
In case anybody thinks I am a freak I have heard from many others that they also thought the drop in resistance was too great.
Now if they used the same procedure for designing the other cam profiles you can see the potential problems.
The lumbar machine feels perfect but was most certainly designed by Arthur Jones as were the leg extension.rotary torso and neck machines because they were all originally part of the medical line which Arthur was actively working on/with.
The bicep machine cam is wrong , the pec machine is also " off ".
The tricep machine feels " right " as does the lateral raise and the hip extension.
Although I have used almost all of the other MedX " exercise " machines it was so long ago l can't comment on them.
The ones I have commented on I own so memory is not a factor.
Now giving it more thought the MedX leg press is probably just about right as well because it left a big impression on.me and I regret not buying it when it didn't cost as much as a used Tesla.
I have used many,many leg press machines since 1972 ( including the one where you lay on your back on the floor and the weight plates are straight over your chest ) and none of them can hold a candle to the MedX. Now I know someone is going to.pop-off about it not having enough resistance but that's bull shit.
If you use it as intended with full rom and using a 4/4 cadence there's more than enough resistance for anybody short of a freak on the juice.
I have seen at least a thousand people using a wide variety of different leg press machines and I can count on one hand the number I've seen using it correctly.


Thanks for the detailed reply. I don't really know the right way to design a cam either.

What I have read (on the David Health Systems site) that muscles do not fatigue uniformly, such that the shape of strength curve changes through the course of a set. In particular, in a rotary movement, fatigue happens most rapidly in the contracted position. Given that, static testing when fresh probably isn't the best way to evaluate the strength curve.

The consequence of the changing shape of the strength curve with fatigue in those kind of exercises is that failure begins with a gradual shortening of the range of motion. Think about a pull up: failure usually starts by failure to get the chin up to the bar. Then on subsequent reps, you get even less vertical movement, until finally you can't even get half way up.

The argument for a fall off in resistance at the end of the movement is so that you can still get a full range of motion even when you are very fatigued in the most contracted position. Of course, this means that you will be underloaded in that position when fresh. But if the mid range of the movement is more important, maybe that does not matter?

In contrast, compound movements like a leg press usually have a much flatter strength curve, due to the multiple leverages from the involved limbs. If a change is made from flat resistance, it usually just involves an ascending load to compensate for greater and greater transfer of load onto the bones as the legs extend. Then you just have to decide how steep to make the curve. I gather with the Nautilus Duo Squat, it was made very steep. Same thing happens with the Cybex squat press: very easy out of the bottom and gets progressively harder as you approach lockout. Leverage machines tend to have that kind of feel.


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AndyMitch

Bill Sekerak wrote:
AndyMitch wrote:
Bill
I actually believe that the grip on the Medx still enables a fully supinates grip.
If you place your hand in a in a supinated way and in a complete anatomical fashion place a stick or pole in your palm and clench the fist you?ll see that the optimal position is not straight but on a slight angle.


Yex ,but the handle on the MedX curl places the hand in a partially pronated position. Its not possible to supinate with these handles.
The reason I suggest using a straight grip is because it allows for some supination.


True.
There?s an old saying though.
To get into shape one first need to be in shape.

I think a lot of people in terms of the position held in a bicep curl are just unable hold That position under load for a protracted time.

Very rarely you see Arthur?s machines used well.
And the bicep curl is the one exercise everyone identifies with.
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AndyMitch

It?s a tough gig designing machines.
Everything he designed is supposed to be wrong lol
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Bill Sekerak

California, USA

DNAHelix wrote:
Bill Sekerak wrote:
Now giving it more thought the MedX leg press is probably just about right as well because it left a big impression on.me and I regret not buying it when it didn't cost as much as a used Tesla.
I have used many,many leg press machines since 1972 ( including the one where you lay on your back on the floor and the weight plates are straight over your chest ) and none of them can hold a candle to the MedX. Now I know someone is going to.pop-off about it not having enough resistance but that's bull shit.
If you use it as intended with full rom and using a 4/4 cadence there's more than enough resistance for anybody short of a freak on the juice.
I have seen at least a thousand people using a wide variety of different leg press machines and I can count on one hand the number I've seen using it correctly.


Depends which MedX we are talking about here, Bill. If it is the Avenger, yes, it is a decent piece, I kind of liked it. If we are talking MadX selectorized leg press..... that?s one overpriced sub-par device.

Cybex Eagle Selectorized is probably a better Leg Press than MedX selectorized.

MedX leg extension was also sub par.

Nautilus 1 Gen leg extension was good.

Duo-Squat is a great piece.

Atlantis line has a phenomenal leg press, beats anything MedX every day all day.

MedX Pullover is not a good piece. There are way better pullover machines on the market.

MedX biceps curl is another aberration, Cybex VR is a way better curling machine, that is if you need one. In my experience weighted Chin Ups work better than machines.

Old Nautilus biceps-triceps machine was actually a really good curling piece. Ditto compound bicep.


I disagree about the MedX leg extension.The first gen Nautilus leg ext was friction laden.
I can't think of better curling exercise than what is provided by a plate loaded 1st model Nautilus bicep.machine that's been given an anti-friction treatment. Ditto for the first plate loaded Nautilus pullover with the pulldown attached to the front of the frame as the original pullover/pulldown combo
I agree about the duo-squat.The " negative " cam was pure genius. Also the fact that you could utilize it so many ways was fantastic. Akinetic mode busted balls but pumped my quads with one set better than any other method.
Simply put it allowed for the most intense leg workout pos
I've never tried Cybex eagle or an Atlantis leg press before so I can't comment how they would compare to the MedX selectorized but I stsnd by my original assessment of the leg press comparisons I made originally.
Out of curiosity why do you think the MEdX selectorized leg press is " sub-par. " ?
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

==Scott==
One of the worst machine offenders of friction that I remember was the double shoulder. I remember seeing pictures of it and I marveled at the beautiful construction of it and thus I had to have one. Finally after many years of wanting one I got one and put it in my home gym.What a huge disappointment it was when I actually tried it and found out how poorly it performed. The press part was like it had the brakes on it dragged so much and the arms were way to wide for my smaller frame etc. I ended up using the metal to make a different machine and scrapped the rest.
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AndyMitch

Some / most people are unable to get into positions on some machines.
It doesn?t mean the machine is a dud.

If I had a gym and I placed high value on a bicep exercise then I would have a series of machines.
I?d start with the Medx then bicep multi and then the plate loaded.
But I digress...
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DNAHelix

New York, USA

Bill Sekerak wrote:
I disagree about the MedX leg extension.The first gen Nautilus leg ext was friction laden.


Bill, I am fine with that, I am coming to a conclusion that our likes or dislikes for a particular piece of equipment have a lot to do with our anatomy. I remember using MedX leg extension and it just wasn't that great. I must say, the best ever muscle contraction I got was from using Hoist Roc-It leg extension. Everyone shits on Hoist and for a good reason, however they have a couple of diamonds in their line, those would be leg extension and prone leg curl.

Bill Sekerak wrote:
I can't think of better curling exercise than what is provided by a plate loaded 1st model Nautilus bicep.machine that's been given an anti-friction treatment.


I guess we are talking about biceps-triceps combo. Yes, absolutely the best in my opinion as well.

Bill Sekerak wrote:
Ditto for the first plate loaded Nautilus pullover with the pulldown attached to the front of the frame as the original pullover/pulldown combo.


Never had a chance to use one.

Bill Sekerak wrote:
I agree about the duo-squat.The " negative " cam was pure genius. Also the fact that you could utilize it so many ways was fantastic. Akinetic mode busted balls but pumped my quads with one set better than any other method.Simply put it allowed for the most intense leg workout pos.


Precisely my feeling about the Duo-Squat.

Bill Sekerak wrote:
I've never tried Cybex eagle or an Atlantis leg press before so I can't comment how they would compare to the MedX selectorized but I stand by my original assessment of the leg press comparisons I made originally.


That's fine. In particular I am talking about
PE-225 Seated Leg Press. Give it a shot if you come by one.

Bill Sekerak wrote:
Out of curiosity why do you think the MEdX selectorized leg press is "sub-par "?


I remember briefly using one back in 2014. It had no negative and the tension dropped off pretty fast. The price is also a joke, not worth it, brand new Cybex Eagle is around $7500 and it beats MedX selectorized any day, all day.

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Bill Sekerak

California, USA

entsminger wrote:
==Scott==
One of the worst machine offenders of friction that I remember was the double shoulder. I remember seeing pictures of it and I marveled at the beautiful construction of it and thus I had to have one. Finally after many years of wanting one I got one and put it in my home gym.What a huge disappointment it was when I actually tried it and found out how poorly it performed. The press part was like it had the brakes on it dragged so much and the arms were way to wide for my smaller frame etc. I ended up using the metal to make a different machine and scrapped the rest.


Yup, it was not well designed as far as friction was concerned, however I don't think anybody gave much thought to machine friction at that time if at all.
I have tried every Nautilus machine available that was available from the beginning up to the early 90s with the exception of the Omni line and the rotary neck. Including all of the double machines,and the first compound bicep and the second compound bicep which had two seats and you worked one arm at a time. The hardest one to find was the compound tricep machine that I finally found at the Duncan YMCA in Chicago where Sergio Oliva trained ( excellent pump in the tris from that one.
I also found a Nautilus of California gym in Ventura that had the Duo Squat, the double leg the pullover/pulldown combo, the double chest ,double shoulder, and 2 double torso machines ( behind neck/ pulldown behind neck machine, a behind the neck machine, low back duo hip and back, two compound bicep machines, a 4 way neck, 2 shrug machines, double chest, an OME, a 70 degree chest/shoulder and a 40 degree chest, a rowing machine, a plate loaded bi/tri machine and that's about it for that one gym.
Also I never used a infimetric/infitonic bench press or a sportsmate.
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Bill Sekerak

California, USA

DNAHelix wrote:
Bill Sekerak wrote:
I disagree about the MedX leg extension.The first gen Nautilus leg ext was friction laden.


Bill, I am fine with that, I am coming to a conclusion that our likes or dislikes for a particular piece of equipment have a lot to do with our anatomy. I remember using MedX leg extension and it just wasn't that great. I must say, the best ever muscle contraction I got was from using Hoist Roc-It leg extension. Everyone shits on Hoist and for a good reason, however they have a couple of diamonds in their line, those would be leg extension and prone leg curl.

Bill Sekerak wrote:
I can't think of better curling exercise than what is provided by a plate loaded 1st model Nautilus bicep.machine that's been given an anti-friction treatment.


I guess we are talking about biceps-triceps combo. Yes, absolutely the best in my opinion as well.

Bill Sekerak wrote:
Ditto for the first plate loaded Nautilus pullover with the pulldown attached to the front of the frame as the original pullover/pulldown combo.


Never had a chance to use one.

Bill Sekerak wrote:
I agree about the duo-squat.The " negative " cam was pure genius. Also the fact that you could utilize it so many ways was fantastic. Akinetic mode busted balls but pumped my quads with one set better than any other method.Simply put it allowed for the most intense leg workout pos.


Precisely my feeling about the Duo-Squat.

Bill Sekerak wrote:
I've never tried Cybex eagle or an Atlantis leg press before so I can't comment how they would compare to the MedX selectorized but I stand by my original assessment of the leg press comparisons I made originally.


That's fine. In particular I am talking about
PE-225 Seated Leg Press. Give it a shot if you come by one.

Bill Sekerak wrote:
Out of curiosity why do you think the MEdX selectorized leg press is "sub-par "?


I remember briefly using one back in 2014. It had no negative and the tension dropped off pretty fast. The price is also a joke, not worth it, brand new Cybex Eagle is around $7500 and it beats MedX selectorized any day, all day.

[/quote
If I can find a Cybex Eagle leg press I will give it a try.
Problem is that more and more gyms are reducing the number of machines to make room for treadmills, bikes, tires,ropes,kettle bells and so called" free weights " aka barbells and dumbbells.
Awhile back I was in a gym where a guy who paid a trainer to encourage him while he walked around the gym holding a kettle bell above his head with one arm and alternating with the other arm every time he completed a revolution around the gym.
I called this period of time the " Magic Kettle Bell Phase ".
Are we still in the " Crazy Ass CrossFit " phase ?
Is " Waving The Magic Rope Phase " still alive ?
What about " Explosive Olympic Lifting For A Permanent Life Time Injury " ?
Is that still a thing ?
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

==Scott==
The compound tricep is at the top of my list to get!I have never found a reasonably priced one.
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