Happiness begins at 50, a book once said, and for Nautilus, this year celebrates the 50th anniversary of one of the largest manufacturers of fitness equipment in the world. With an estimated global value of $3.7 Trillion, the health and fitness industry is one of the world’s fastest and largest growing industries. Since its inception, the fitness industry has exploded into the massive conglomerate that it is today, thanks to industry pioneers like Arthur Jones, the inventor of Nautilus.
“Arthur Jones built the first Nautilus prototype – the pullover machine – in 1948 but was not completed for sale until more than twenty-two years later, in 1970,” said Frank O’Rourke, VP of Latin America and Asia Pacific Sales for Core Health & Fitness. “During that twenty-two-year gap, twenty-seven distinct models of the pullover were built and tested and literally hundreds of other models were considered and rejected before reaching the prototype stage.”
Jones changed the landscape of the fitness industry with his revolutionary CAM method and his efforts fostered the development of fitness companies everywhere. The Nautilus CAM was so innovative to strength machines because it changed the way resistance was applied. When a cable with weights is pulled over a round pulley, the resistance is consistent, but when a nautilus shaped, or oval, CAM is used, the resistance is varied. The load is lighter at the beginning and end of the motion with full resistance in the middle. The variable resistance follows the body’s natural strength curve and makes for a much better workout.
Since this invention, Nautilus has consistently lead the pack in innovation by creating solution-based products like the Glute Drive and the Sound & Vibration Absorbing (SVA) Platform. These innovations provide valuable solutions to noise and safety concerns that effect every fitness facility across the globe. Today, Nautilus continues to build on the foundation laid by Jones himself – incorporating his principals of training into every piece of equipment produced.
“Nautilus is one of the most noteworthy types of exercise equipment to originate in the last half of the 20th century”
–from Legends of Fitness by Stephen Tharrett, Frank O’Rourke and James A. Peterson (Tharrett et al. 2011)
Half a century after he introduced Nautilus to the world, his principals of training remain deeply ingrained in the language of modern functional training.
Jeff Dilts, VP of Innovation and Product Development for Core says, “It’s truly amazing to see the strength of the Nautilus brand through its evolution over the past 50 years. Nautilus was instrumental in bringing strength training to the masses at a time when strength training was mostly governed by body building.”
In addition to revolutionizing the way strength equipment was developed, Nautilus was also one of the first companies to recruit athletes and celebrities to promote their equipment through marketing. Their successful marketing and groundbreaking products pushed Nautilus to the forefront of the fitness industry.
“Nautilus Sports/Medical Products Company became the largest manufacturer of fitness equipment in the world, achieving annual sales of close to $75-$80 million at its pinnacle in the late 1970s”
– (Tharrett et al. 2011)
Thanks to Jones’ efforts and ideas, training with machines became widely acceptable for gym goers and paved the way for industry greats like Dorian Yates. Yates is an English bodybuilder and has a long-standing history with Nautilus strength machines. He sparked his passion for fitness at the age of 18 during a short stay at a juvenile detention center that housed a large HIIT and strength training area.
“It seemed like I was stronger than everyone else on the weights and more efficient on the circuit training which earned me more respect,” said Yates.
Dorian was first introduced to Arthur Jones and his Nautilus machines at the age of 21 when he walked back into the gym to begin his body building training.
“What struck me about the machines was the logic about the training system,” Yates continues, “…it was a combination of the logical theory and practicality for me in the gym that majorly contributed to my training.”
Yates went on to have an amazing career in body building, earning himself the coveted Mr. Olympia title a whopping six times. He later opened Temple Gym in 1987 with the idea of creating a gym for body builders that was equipped with ideal equipment from the Nautilus brand.
“I could’ve had any equipment I wanted but I chose Nautilus because of the unique design that isolates the muscle throughout the entire movement.”
Nautilus has partnered with world-class fitness facilities around the globe to recognize locations in an elite class and is proud to award the title of Nautilus Trusted Strength Center to facilities that place great emphasis on quality, innovation and reputation.
“We are delighted to receive this recognition from Core Health & Fitness,” said Manuel Lopez, Operations Director at Duet Fit. “Our collaboration with them goes beyond the quality of their fitness machinery that is currently top in the market. Their brand image and the constant support of the entire company make it very pleasant to work and continue to trust them.”
To celebrate this milestone anniversary, Nautilus has created special branding and education materials including an anniversary Nautilus logo and an all new strength training comeback program that embodies the original training principles and influences from Arthur Jones himself. This new education program capitalizes on the high demand for educated instructors across all platforms. Fitness facilities with staff who know how to design strength training programs featuring Nautilus equipment can deliver a safe, consistent exercise experience for members and can help clients achieve tangible results.
In the new Strength Training Specialist Course by Nautilus, participants will learn the benefits of strength training and how to design exercise programs for a variety of specific fitness goals. While the content in this course is applied to Nautilus equipment, the protocols and practices can be applied to most strength equipment in the fitness industry. This course will teach instructors how to apply the variables of exercise program design to enhance muscular definition, increase lean muscle mass and improve overall health of their clients and facility members.
Dilts continues, “Nautilus capitalized on strong science, biomechanics and programming to develop products that allowed everyone to participate and benefit from strength training, from body builders and athletes to first time strength trainers of all ages. The Nautilus name has always been among the leaders in biomechanics, variety and quality and it has truly helped shape the current landscape of every strength training facility, globally.”
50 years later, Nautilus is still considered first in strength and continues to lead in innovation and fitness performance. Jones’ most significant contribution to the world of fitness may not have been the Nautilus equipment itself, but rather his core principals of training that have influenced millions of people. Core is honored to be part of such a rich, well known legacy and is excited to continue pushing this iconic brand forward.