Science, HIT, TUT, and Arthur Jones

I don’t post much on technical stuff, but I found this interesting, and I’d like to hear from the more scientifically-minded what you think about this article:

STRENGTH TRAINING METHODS AND THE WORK OF ARTHUR JONES by DAVE SMITH AND STEWART BRUCE-LOW, University College Chester, University of Liverpool published in the Journal of Exercise Physiology, Volume 7 Number 6 (December 2004).

Full article available online at


STRENGTH TRAINING METHODS AND THE WORK OF ARTHUR JONES. Smith D, Bruce-Low S. JEPonline. 2004;7(6):52-68. This paper reviews research evidence relating to the strength training advice offered by Arthur Jones, founder and retired Chairman of Nautilus Sports/Medical Industries and MedX Corporation. Jones advocated that those interested in improving their muscular size, strength, power and/or endurance should perform one set of each exercise to muscular failure (volitional fatigue), train each muscle group no more than once (or, in some cases, twice) per week, perform each exercise in a slow, controlled manner and perform a moderate number of repetitions (for most people, ~8-12). This advice is very different to the strength training guidelines offered by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, the American College of Sports Medicine and most exercise physiology textbooks. However, in contrast to the lack of scientific support for most of the recommendations made by such bodies and in such books, Jones? training advice is strongly supported by the peer-reviewed scientific literature, a statement that has recently been supported by a review of American College of Sports Medicine resistance training guidelines. Therefore, we strongly recommend Jones? methods to athletes and coaches, as they are time-efficient and optimally efficacious, and note that, given his considerable contribution to the field of strength training, academic recognition of this contribution is long overdue.


Arthur Jones was a god damned business genius. How scienfitic his theory is reading that abstract doesn’t conclude much. Don’t shit on me here, but I don’t think true “scientific techniques” are used in lifting. Sure they are, but not in the sence of what you just posted. I think that the scientific method is used…its used in everything we do, but coming from a science background (biotech) it makes me cringe when I see “scientific” used in such ways.

Most likely my prejudice and nothing else though.

Scientific method being ‘state hypotheses, do observations, remake hypotheses, conclude’ etc.

Quite a bit of clinical research has been done that looks into optimizing weight training workouts, and the fact of the matter is that most of the research supports Jones’ theories. However, before you give up on higher volume workouts you need to take a look at exactly what most of these studies were measuring.

The subjects in these studies were invariably college students with little or no previous weight training experience. Besides that, in many cases the duration of the trial was as short as six weeks. Like Dan John says “every program works for 6 weeks.”

I do think that it is safe to say that if you are just starting out weight lifting then Mr. Jones’ program would probably be about optimal. Not only are these workouts short and simple, but the research shows that they produce the largest gains in strength in folks that are just starting out with weights.

If you have friends that think that they might be interested in trying out weight training you should definitely steer them in this direction. You can always help your friend work in a bit more volume after they reach their first set of plateaus. The trick is to get them hooked first, and simple but effective workouts are the way to do that.

“The subjects in these studies were invariably college students with little or no previous weight training experience.”

Did you read the full article? That’s actually not the case, which is one reason why I wanted to get comments. The results reportedly were consistent across all studies regardless of experience or lack of it, and regardless of age.


Check out this erudite discussion by Carpinelli at mentzer’s site.
Also, did Jones really espouse only training once a week (twice at most)?

I thought it was Mon-Wed-Fri with weekends off, but perhaps this was Ellington Darden’s later contribution to the subject.

Brian Haycock also has some referenced studies on his site.

Frequency as opposed to volume has been more productive for me:
less volume per muscle group per session but more sessions per muscle group per week.

SUPERTRAINING by Siff,MC & Verkhoshansky, YV 1999

I noted no mention of neurological adaptation in the article about Arthur Jones.