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"If You Like an Exercise, Chances Are You're Doing It Wrong"

This is a quote from Arthur Jones. Arthur Jones was a billionaire who was fascinated with the science of muscle building and inventor of the Nautilus machines. He was very eccentric and opinionated.
What do you think of the idea that “if you like an exercise, you’re probably doing it wrong?”

I think there is an element of truth in what he’s satying…problem is I think there is truth in the reverse statement as well. Tis not a black and white issue ( I know for me their are times I wholeheartedly enjoy ALL the exercises I do & others when it’s a real chore!).


I think what it means is you should like an exercise for how challenging it is. Those “warm up” row machines are not challenging, but they sure are fun for Mickey Mouse workouts.

I agree.

I think it stems from Jones’ belief in/commitment to the High Intensity Training method he championed (and that the equipment he sold was designed for). As I don’t think HIT is the optimal approach to training, you won’t be surprised to hear I think his idea is incorrect.


Even Arnold couldn’t do HIT correctly! What chance do we normal men have?

Some Nautilus machines are pretty nice. If Jones was so tough, why did he put cushions on the seats?


I think an absolute statement like that assumes too much. Still, very often I can see why he might issue such an opinion.

These days, I can imagine it as the title of the latest article/rant by the guru of the month.



Fairly dumb point. We all need to do more of what we’re bad at. For example I hate single leg work, but I need to do more of it. But damn I love rear delt flys as I get a crazy pump back there and it looks awesome. Keeps my shoulders healthy for heavy pressing as well. Pretty sure that doesn’t mean I’m doing it wrong…

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Yeah I see the superficial logic in the quote but don’t agree it. If you are hitting the right level of intensity your favourite exercises will brutalise you plenty.


I like sitting on the couch with a bowl of ice cream while two fit, young, attractive women in skimpy bikinis gyrate and simulate affection towards firstly each other and then me.

Relative to the above, “like” doesn’t really rate a mention when we’re talking exercise.

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What makes the HIT method to training not optimal? Optimal for who?

But I like the pain and suffering I feel when I’m pushing myself to the limit
Maybe it doesn’t take into account people that get off strangely on the pain


Not sure how to answer this…What makes it not optimal is that the results most people achieve with it are not as good as the results achieved via more traditional training methods. In my experience, at least. YMMV.


If you’re curious about the history of HIT, you might look for The New High Intensity Training: The Best Muscle Building System You’ve Never Tried, by Ellingon Darden. I stumbled on it at my local library when I first started lifting weights, and thought it was interesting, but no, I didn’t start using his methods.

BTW, I think whole body training can be fine, depending on your goals and programming.

About HIT, IMO, it’s not suitable for a new lifter who does not yet have the work capacity to be really effective at one heavy set to failure, while engaging MMC to make that an optimal set. I don’t see anything magical about going to failure. Also, connective tissues need time to adapt to that kind of intensity. With regard to intermediate or advanced people, I personally don’t know anyone who trains this way.

TN did an interview with Darden about his book, and it gets into some of the history of Jones training Darden and Viator. @Chris_Colucci is really our resident BBing history buff, so he might have more to say about Jones and HIT.

Here’s the article from 2004. Some fun history.


My pullups are pure poetry in motion. :wink:


Try adding this to the PoF profile!

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I can kinda see where he’s coming from with that quote, but I don’t think it’s necessarily true. Before I knew any nuances of squatting, I sucked at it, and because I sucked at it, I hated it. I know how to squat now and it’s my favorite lift. Front, back, overhead, goblet, you name it, I like it.

At the same time, I see a lot of people in my gym who routinely stand in front of the mirror doing curls. A lot of these guys are using weight that’s probably a little (or a lot) too heavy for them. I understand that cheat curls are technically a real exercise, but the guys that love curling and doing cheat curl-esque curls every time they curl may just not know how to curl properly. And they love it because they think swinging the 60lb DBs around is fun, which is fine. But in that case, I would agree with this quote

LOL!!! :laughing:

That’s werid it keeps saying incomplete sentence and won’t let me post , but most of my sentences are incomplete hahah

I have to concur here.
Speaking as a guy who tried HIT as a novice. It surely fits my binary personality. But I didn’t turn into Casey Viator or Mike Mentzer, nor did I get Colorado Experiment type results. I focused on the movements and not the muscles. Full range of motion. Strength and work capacity went up, thighs, butt, calves, obliques and traps grew. Arms chest and back really didn’t.

What I did learn was how to manage hyperventilation through an entire workout, because naturally the 20-35 rep squat was always first. I tried to move between exercises as fast as possible. I believe that the reason my upper body didn’t progress was I was just too gassed when I got to those lifts. I am not good enough for HIT apparently.

If you read Ellington’s book there’s a part in there where Viator puts him through a workout and when Darden gasses out and can’t do more reps Viator tells him “you aren’t cut out for this.”

YMMV though OP. Give it a shot.


At face value, the quote is basically saying to train hard and leave your comfort zone to get results. Not bad advice for building muscle.

But I think that idea falls secondary to another quote of Jones’:

"For years I told other people to train in exactly the way I trained for producing best results, and that way worked for me then, when it failed to produce similar results for other people, I blamed that failure on them, accused them of not trying hard enough, or did not believe that they had really been training the way they said they had.

But now I know better: while my advice did work very well for some people, it did not work at all for some other people."

Jones was prolific and influential, but he was wrong on plenty of things too. A lot of people have taken his general “high intensity, low volume, low frequency” principles and bastardized them into some pretty awful looking but self-rationalized routines.