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Did Viator Use Conventional Equipment During the Colorado Experiment?

Hi Dr Darden,

I had a quick question concerning the actual workouts Casey was performing, and the exercises more specifically. While I understand the majority of what he did was on special Nautilus equipment, did he ever utilize conventional equipment during the experiment?

As a follow-up to the above question, after going through the your article Colorado Experiment: Fact or Fiction here on TNation, do the exercises you selected closely mimic those Nautilus based exercises that Casey was performing?

Many thanks!

Viator used all Nautilus equipment during the Colorado Experiment.

Yes, the conventional equipment that I listed in my article do somewhat mimic the Nautilus machines.

Weren’t several of them prototypes that never made it to market? And I vaguely remember being told that some of the prototypes had designs which facilitated the use of Negative Only protocols, which was a someone unique feature of training program that was used?

Look up Michael Petrella at STG strength and power on YouTube. He has every piece used in the experiment. They’re the ones that did the exact program earlier this year. If you like Nautilus, his place is better than a candy store! And yes to the negative only machines

Go did love to be near that gym! I’ve sent subliminal messages to them trying to convince them that Arlington Va is the best possible place for a gym like that but they don’t seem to be working, ha ha!!

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Stuart Florida is a better place, :laughing: :laughing:

Thanks for your prompt response Doc.

I have been toying with the idea of trying to replicate the experiment / mimic the exercises used in the Colorado Experiment, strictly with resistance bands.

What are your thoughts on this?

This is, of course, due to of pure convenience and personal preference to training at home with minimal equipment.

I don’t believe you should try to mimic the exercises applied during the Colorado Experiment. Use what you’ve learned with resistance bands and develop your own workouts.

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Dr Darden , that’s the best advice I’ve seen you give on here!

I think they were all produced. There’s even the sales brochure for them. The only one that didn’t make it past the Colorado Experiment was the squat machine. It’s said it had a habit of throwing the user out of the machine. It later become the duo squat if I’m not mistaken.

The Colorado Experiment has become a famous and popular piece of HIT lore, and given the spectacular results that were reported, I can see why it would be fun to think about reproducing the training program used for experiment. But what exactly does that entail? The ideal way would be to use the same machines and protocols, down to the last detail. But doing that would require access to a unique collection of equipment, which probably isn’t available in too many places anymore. And doing the Negative Only exercises can require the presence of training partners to get the weights into position, which makes execution a bit more complicated.

But is it necessary to duplicate all the details? Perhaps it is sufficient to understand the general principles that were employed, and use them with whatever equipment is at hand? To me, it seems unlikely that there was any magic in the particular sequence of exercises used. If there was any particular strategy for how Jones varied the exercises from session to session, it isn’t evident to me. The main novelty of the program was the more extensive use of Negative Only exercises.

So from a 30,000 foot view, the program Viator did was a series of full body routines, roughly 10 exercises per session, done about every other day or roughly 3 times a week, with each exercise done for one set to failure. When I think about it, that isn’t much different than program that I did back in the early 1980’s, when I joined a fitness club that had a Nautilus circuit. That was a full body workout, 10 or 12 exercise stations, which you did for one set each, to failure. You were supposed to move quickly through the circuit, and you were supposed to train 3 times per week.

Viewed in that way, I suppose I can claim that I already tried my own version of the Colorado experiment (minus the negative only protocols). My results? While I did get stronger, and probably added a bit of muscle, my results were nowhere near as good as Viator’s. If some NO exercises had been incorporated, perhaps I would have done better, perhaps not… But I think it mostly comes down to my genetics being much poorer than Viator, and the fact that I was trying to add new muscle, whereas he was rebuilding muscle he had recently lost.

You’re correct about that version of the Squat machine never being produced. The other one that never got produced was the Omni-Bench Press. The machine pictured on the right. Dubbed the “Happiness” machine during the West Point Study. caseyviator-omnimachines-coloradoexperiment Casey is using the Omni Shoulder machine in this photo.

If you looked at all the workouts of the Colorado experiment, it was an Upper Body emphasized program. Almost every workout started with upper body and
lower body was done at the end of the workout. Pretty tough to do justice to the lower body musculature when you always stick it at the end of the workout. But, also a bitch to do a workout at that pace when you start the workout with Squat, leg press, hip and back. Maybe that’s why it was done that way? I don’t know. Would seem to me that more muscle could be gained by working the legs harder by doing more workouts that started with the lower body. My opinion. And who am I to disagree with Arthur Jones?`

That’s the problem with any full body workout once you’re moving some decent weights. Do legs first and the upper body suffers, do upper body first and legs can suffer. There’s a reason they fell out of style with bodybuilders and it’s not because they’re just hard, it’s because to get the necessary volume to develop everything something will suffer.

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Worked fine for the bodybuilders of the silver Era

Is that because of recovery would be very hard to achieve with the amount if negative only exercises per week?

That’s because bodybuilders of the Silver Era didn’t rush through their workouts. Steve Reeves, George Eiferman, Leroy Colbert, Clancy Ross, John Farbotnik and many others trained whole body 3 times a week, but each workout took 2 hours +. I don’t commonly train whole body in a workout, but when I do I take longer rests between sets. The results are much better than rushing through from one exercise to another. Either you optimize muscle or you optimize endurance. Either or.

Yes, that is how they trained…but that is no different than the split routines performed, i.e. there is no rushing, plenty of rest between sets…the only difference between the two is the number of exercises performed for each body part and frequency

Yes, mathematically speaking you are right, when you add up number of sets/reps etc. But for them (Silver Era bodybuilders) it was important to train whole-body in a workout. Jones & Dr. D shared the same approach. Probably, in 1940-1950s people have had a better health and could better tolerate the stress of whole-body routines. Equipment choice could also be a factor.


And you should also remember, back then full body was used because the gyms had to alternate days for men and days for women…they could not train together

Not the sole reason of full body, but some of the reason