T Nation

Nautilus Lower Back with Lumbar Issues?

Hi Dr. Darden -

I have the chance to acquire a Nautilus Gen 1/2 (blue) lower back machine. I’ve read in another thread that when compared to the MedX lumbar extension machines, none of the Nautilus lower back machines were all that effective. However, I’m just curious as to your thoughts on my particular application.

I have several old Nautilus pieces in my home gym. I’m 6’4" 320 lbs., and I love how well these machines accommodate my size. I actually got my start in weight lifting at a YMCA that had a full circuit of Gen 1/2 Nautilus machines. I also got you “Big: Bulkbuilding Instructional Guide” for Christmas when it came out and I was just getting into lifting. So, I’ve always been mindful of the eccentric motion and proper form in my training.

After all these years of training, I’m now 46 years old, and have had plenty of issues with my lumbar (bulged discs, etc.). As a result, I’m very susceptible to pain / injury if my squat, deadlift, and back exercises deviates from perfect form too much. I’m curious if using the Nautilus low back machine and really focusing on a slow eccentric would help fortify my vulnerable lumbar area?

There are some ways to adapt the Nautilus lower back machine to make it more effective at working the mentioned muscles. If the price is right for you, go for it.

Thank you for the reply. I’ve actually seen an example on a 2st machine where someone converted the back pads to rollers and added a Medx style restraint system. I have to assume the goal is to achieve maximum pelvic restraint in order to most effectively target the lower back muscles?

It looks like a bit of a project to tweak the original machine, but the price is definitely right. However, I’m up for it if it can help keep my lower back in the game for years to come.