T Nation

Best Low Back Machine?


Seeing as how Medx low back machines are so hard to come by. Which particular Nautilus line do you think had the best low back machine?

Compared to the MedX version, none of the ones from Nautilus were that effective.

Dr Darden
I have an older low back machine from nautilus. I’ve read where Ken H says they are not good at all
What’s your opinion.?

You have to remember that Hutchins also rated many Nautilus machines a 0 out of one to ten that some people love like the duo squat. I think quite a few Nautilus machines that are rated poorly can be greatly improved with some well thought out modifications.

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The Nautilus Lower Back machine worked the hips and thighs more than the lower back. Jones drastically changed the design when he started MedX.

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Dr. Darden,

What’s your opinion on Ken Hutchin’s static trunk extension method. He describes it in detail in the article named “Announcing the iTrunk Extension Machine” that is located on his website.



Ken has some unique concepts and this one appears to be effective.

Ken is a perfectionist and analytical. If Ken said a machine was bad, then he likely was downing it for a few design situations that were major to him, yet nothing to us. Such as the 10 degree chest where the axis of rotation was too wide for most trainees. So he rebuilt it with newly positioned axis. Or the Neck flexion/extension machine which should have had a fixed position face piece vs a flexible one. He fixed that on his retro fits. Also, most machines were cam-ed for the average trainee who does the concentric in .5-1.0 sec. Ken’s thoughts were on Super Slow, so he had a reference/POV for his critiques. Different than most people. I doubt he ever said a Nautilus machine was worse than a barbell. That’s why I still have eight slightly imperfect Nautilus pieces at my house. Ken is an expert by virtue of his experience and persistence. As is Dr. Darden.


I purchased and am currently reading his book/manual:

SuperSlow The Ultimate Exercise Protocol

I find his book very interesting.

I have found nothing unpalatable except his cardiovascular conditioning comments.

FYI: the high blood pressure readings occurring during isometrics and dynamic resistance training will help capillary perfusion.

I think Ken was right about a lot of stuff. I think he was right that Jones had it wrong on needing for a cam to be very aggressive in the contracted position such as some early machines had. I think he was also right on his critique of the compound arms up bicep . Inspite of that I think I have managed to modify my early machines cams etc so that they work fine as he has done with machines like the plate loading bi-tri which I believe he used for superslow . I did most of my modifications for next to nothing. Had I money to make new cams and installation of new bearings belts etc like some people do my machines would be tough to beat!
An interesting thing to note that I can’t explain is I find that several of my early Nautilus machines which have very aggressive cams in the contracted position work perfectly fine for me. My plate loading bi -tri machine has a very aggressive cam and it feels pretty even through out. However my rowing torso was so aggressive I had a hard time getting into the contracted position.

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