Dick Butkus Dead at 80


Dick Butkus was the only athlete I ever saw who threw-up during a HIT workout . . . and was able to continue with the workout.

I’ve seen hundreds of athletes who threw-up, rested a while, and tried to continue . . . but not a single one could do it.

Butkus puked after the three Nautilus leg machines, wiped his mouth on his forearm, said a few choice words, and finished the rest of his workout which involved seven more Nautilus machines.

Dick Butkus was unique.


Great story

Wow. He was a tough man for sure.

I’m going to assume that those three leg machines were the compound leg machine (both parts, which could be counted as two machines), the duo squat - and the leg curl (if the compound machine was counted as one machine). Am I right?

Jesse Lee

Butkus did the Geared Super Hip & Back machine and the Compound Leg composed of the Leg Extension and the Leg Press. He was nauseated and could not do the Leg Curl machine until after he puked.

After that he did the Double Shoulder, Pullover/Torso-Arm, and Double Chest.

That was a total of 10 Nautilus exercises.

1 Like

Wow…he did 4 double machines in a workout

was that normal protocol back then?

Initially, it was normal. After several years, we realized that the double machines were probably too demanding for more than two of them to be used in a workout.

1 Like

Thanks much for the reply and info, sir. I hope that you and yours are doing well.

He must have really done justice to the ‘high intensity’ of HIT during that workout to have to puke after the first four exercises. Dang! I know that leg & back work takes it out of you like nothing else.
I have looked for a picture of the geared super hip & back machine that you mentioned - to no avail. Do you know of a link to a picture of one? I have a hip & back machine - but am not sure how it differs from the one that Butkus used.

Jesse Lee

A picture of this machine is in the 1974 Nautilus Catalogue. Check Bill Castro’s website.

Dick Butkus truly was one of the original “Fear me!” Bad Boys of the NFL.

You absolutely HAD to know exactly where he was each-and-every play. No exceptions.

Or else he would simply destroy you…RIP big guy!

Thanks much, Dr. Darden; you are a tremendously great source of weight training information, knowledge, experience and advice. It must have been a terrific experience to interact with all the weight-training people and programs that you have; I am very jealous. :slight_smile:

I found a picture of that super hip & back machine on pages 4 & 6 of the book at 1974(Early_Nautilus_Catalog). I remembered then that there was a version of the h&b that has a solid pad instead of two rollers for the duo-version.

Has any experimentation been done as to which version works the lower back more? I know that when I use my h&b duo machine pushing out & down with both legs together I feel it more in the lower back than in the duo style (along with having to use less weight on the both-leg method.

Thanks again – and in advance.

Jesse Lee


Some years back I read an article about his ‘deMEANor’ on the playing field. He must have been like a human bulldozer in the games.

Never was into football like my friends were but paid attention when my buddies teams were in the play off’s , etc. I remember how they would talk about this guy Butkus and his killer instincts on the field.

I don’t know how true it is but one guy told me one of Butkus’s ‘tricks’ back then was wrapping his fore arms with ace bandages / wraps and soak them in water so they would freeze on the field giving him two formidable weapons to use against the opposition.

That wouldn’t go over too well in today’s NFL , LOL.

That’s when football was football and they played for the love of the game

Or for the love of fucking up the another player no matter what

Could be

the steel curtain was brutal too