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Gary Jones (Son of Arthur Jones) - Former Owner and Designer of Hammer Strength Exercise Equipment Company By Bill Pearl Gary Jones (pictured above), former owner / designer of Hammer Strength exercise equipment company, was born in 1952, in New Orleans, Louisiana. He spent his early childhood in Slidell, Louisiana, where his father, the eccentric visionary Arthur Jones (1926 - 2007 ), of Nautilus Sports / Medical Industries, Inc., at that time, operated a "Wild Animal Farm." Although Arthur was American, English was not Gary's primary language due to his mother's Hispanic heritage; consequently, he did not speak English until he entered grade school. Gary experienced a more than an unusual childhood as the son of an obsessed self-seeker. Arthur, a third-world mercenary, packed a loaded pistol in his waist band and owned and operated an import / export enterprise that specialized in snakes, a variety of reptiles, and other exotic animals. Gary recalled traveling to Latin America and Africa as a youngster, in a cargo airplane piloted by his father. On these trips, it was always, "Yes Sir...Mr.Jones," to anything Arthur demanded or required. During the 1950's and 1960's, Arthur was also a well-known television personality. His syndicated series included: Wild Cargo, Capture, Professional Hunter, and Call of the Wild. His final television production, "Operation Elephant" aired on CBS in 1970. As a youngster, Gary did not realize how extraordinary it was to have been involved in the care and feeding of crocodiles, lions, tigers, snakes, and other creatures warehoused at his dad's Slidell, Louisiana, wild animal park. He claims he developed his people skills by showing customers and visitors around the compound and regarded bites from snakes or jaguars as common occurrences. In 1965, the Jones family moved to Africa, where Arthur continued his extensive wildlife movie projects. Gary fortunately found the British school system to his liking as he pursued his interests in math, science and physics. In Rhodesia, Gary discovered a more moderate mentor than his father. The man was a retired engineer who was part of the South African chess team and who, at one time, had tied with world champion Bobby Fischer. Gary recalled being taught to practice the game of chess without the aide of the Queen or Bishops, forcing Rooks and Knights to accomplish a check-mate. "This strategy of doing something the hard way was a terrific lesson that I employed years later in my manufacturing business," he said. Recalling their final months in Rhodesia, where his family lived on the edge of a war zone and had to travel and socialize "armed to the teeth," Gary currently views rifle-toting children of war-torn third world countries with a feeling of unpleasant familiarity. In 1968, Gary's father had reached a point of "no-cooperation" with Rhodesian government officials and made arrangements for his $1.5 million worth of cameras, sound equipment, a helicopter, and two airplanes to be shipped state side. Unfortunately, the Rhodesian government confiscated the lot, which Arthur never recovered. Returning to Louisiana, approximetely $5 million in debt, Arthur borrowed $2,500 from his sister to begin the design of a prototype resistance exercise machine in the family's one-car garage. Working alongside Arthur, 16-year old Gary designed an off-centered cam, configured like a seashell, which they installed in the unit to cause the resistance of the exercise to vary as the users worked their muscles through their range of motion. Gary's father's strategy for marketing the revolutionary exercise piece became the adopted, "one-set to failure" principle, which Arthur coined as "High Intensity Training." Labeled the "Blue Monster," the prototype version of the multi-purpose Nautilus machine was previewed at the 1970 AAU Mr. America contest, held in Culver City, California. Arthur, accompanied by Gary, had transported the unit in a rented trailer, arriving with seven dollars in change and an expired credit card. * Arthur Jones - "The Blue Monster" - Nautilus Gym Equipment The following 14 years, Gary worked for Nautilus Sports / Medical Industries, Inc., in conjunction with two years at Stetson University and nine years with the Orlando Fire Department. By 1984, approximately 4,700 Nautilus Fitness Centers existed in the United States, with complete lines of Nautilus equipment in physical rehabilitation centers, professional sports team training rooms, colleges, high schools, and private training facilities. In 1986, Nautilus Sports / Medical Industries, Inc., was sold to Texas oil man, Travis Ward (1922 - 2015) (Photo below) for $23 million. Gary stayed on as Vice President and Director of Manufacturing for six months, but grew disgruntled with the new management and walked out without a goodbye. In 1988. Gary partnered with Peter Brown and Kim Wood to found the Hammer Strength Corporation, which went into direct competition against Nautilus. Aligning himself with Brown and Wood caused a severe rift to develop between Gary and his dad, due to the partners having sued Nautilus Sports / Medical Industries, Inc., for the violation of their distributor's franchise agreement, following the sale of the corporation. Furthermore, when Gary abruptly abandoned Nautilus, with Travis Ward still owing his father millions of dollars, Arthur became so bitter regarding the trio's alliance that he allegedly said, "Gary's not my son! He's given up that right." Gary responded, "It's true. I potentially cost Nautilus millions of dollars by walking away from the company. I was the son of the founder. I had a tremendous amount of information, and I was thought to be an enemy of the corporation." Similar to the success of Nautilus exercise machines, Hammer Strength grew to be the number-one brand for plate-loading exercise equipment almost overnight, with sales in the millions of dollars per year. Gary, responsible for the design and manufacturing of the Hammer Strength machines, used a highly sophisticated computer program he had written and later sold to Hewlett-Packard Company. He remarked, "I was one of those kids who studied multi-dimensional calculus. I was doing flight problems for my dad before I was old enough to go to school ". In 1997, Hammer Strength sold to Life Fitness Inc., a division of Brunswick Corporation for an estimated $32 million. Gary then worked for Life Fitness as he mentored the younger engineers. In 2019, Gary and his wife Brenda, divide their free time between homes in Florida and Colorado. Regarding his late father, Gary commented, "I got nothing...zilch, zip, zero, from the sale of Nautilus. I had no ownership which was the way my dad wanted it. The only financial opportunity I felt I had was to start a new business competing in the field I knew. Arthur taught me a lot. I still read all his books and articles. But he believed in throwing you to the sharks. If you survived, he added more sharks. I didn't mind competing against the outside, but I didn't need that kind of competition from the inside. Understand, I'm not saying my dad was evil. It's just the way it was." * Arthur Jones has a "Who Blinks First Loses" contest with his pet crocodile. More information on Arthur Jones can be obtained from ArthurJonesExercise.com. Books on Arthur Jones can be purchased from here. An amusing Arthur Jones and Gary Jones story can be read here.
Casey Viator Talks Arms By Doris Barrilleaux Doris: How big were your arms when you began training? Casey: When I started training I had about a 17 1/2 inch arm. Doris: Along with the methods you use today, what were some of the methods that worked for you in your early years of arm training? Casey: I used to use a lot of heavy, heavy movements, barbell curls, heavy lying tricep extensions, heavy dipping and chinning. Everything was done pretty strong. I moved slowly so I've never had elbow or knee problems. I did this without thinking. Arthur Jones later contributed because he brought all this to light. I now understand what it takes for intensity in each set. Doing high intensity sets in the beginning, I didn't quite understand what I was doing. I was doing multiple sets - 8 sets for my biceps in one movement. I was sacrificing my recuperative power, my ability to recuperate from one exercise period to the next. * Arthur Jones (Inventor of Nautilus) using his Nautilus Pullover Machine Doris: How powerful are your forearms, biceps and triceps? Casey: I'm doing 225 pounds on a wrist curl, biceps 225 pounds strict curl (see photo above), and triceps - I do 300 pounds lying tricep extensions. NOTE: * Casey Viator compares forearms with bodybuilding legend, Gunnar Rosbo Doris: How big do you think it's possible to build an arm? Casey: There is so much lying in the books. I think a 21 inch arm would be freaky and scare people. I don't think anyone in the field has 20 inch arms. Doris: On the stage one time they asked Boyer Coe (see photo below) what his measurements were and he said he didn't know what they were and he didn't care. He said people can lie. It is how you look that's important. Casey: That's exactly how I feel about it when people ask me about my measurements. I don't care what my measurements are as long as I look good. Doris: Who's arm impressed you most during your early career? Casey: Larry Scott all the way. I think Robby Robinson has a nice arm as far as peak. * Larry Scott at Robert Nailon's gym in 1978. Doris: What do bodybuilders do wrong in their arm training? Casey: They train too much. And they quit right when they are starting to warm up that muscle. They quit at 8 reps when they should go on. I personally think the maximum you can do is 6 sets for both biceps and triceps and still get maximum gains with intensity. 6 sets of 10 - 15 reps progressive. Repetition, you know, also contributes to all these injuries from doing many sets. Your elbows and knees just have so much lubrication. Doris: I read an article on a woman bodybuilder that said she does 20 or 30 reps. How do you feel about that? Casey: She can do that, but the thing is she has to save herself. If she'd do 2 sets all the way to failure, she'd accomplish a lot more. When you try to do too many reps, you're saving yourself for the next set. Doris: Do you have any comments on arms and overall physique symmetry? Casey: WOW! That's going to take some time. I think arms are my best asset. I think if you can display them right it is one of the basic things to win a physique contest. Proportions mean so much. You have to have everything balanced, that's what the problem is with professional bodybuilders today. There's not a balanced physique. Well, Zane has it but he's not big enough. * Frank Zane - 1966 Mr Olympia Contest Doris: Do you think size is that important? Casey: Definitely! If you're symmetrical. Zane has come as close as possible because his calves are proportioned to his thighs and he is cut up and can display his physique well. Doris: What do you think about women and bodybuilding? Casey: I think it is beautiful, a beautiful healthy sport. I just hope the money starts rolling in for you people and things start coming on strong. * Female Bodybuilder Lisa Lyon Doris: You say you think a man's arms are his most important part, right? On a female anatomy do you think the upper or lower body is more important? Casey: I think the lower body is more important as far as calves, buttocks, lower back and abdominals. I think the upper body is last. Doris: That's the way I feel. I think the lower part is most important and the rest should be in proportion. So many women are now going into the bulky look. Casey: I've never seen a woman's calves too big. The Europeans have a standard there that's very good. They keep their calves up. All the Europeans believe in the calves and lower body. Few own cars, so they get a lot of exercise. * Cory Everson Doris: Do you have any amusing stories from your training career? Casey: When I first came down from Louisiana to work with Arthur (see photo below) I was living at his house with his son Gary. Arthur was into making him protein milk shakes. He thought up one made with peaches and fried chicken livers. He mixed it up in a blender and handed it to his son and said; "Drink it." Gary sniffed it and said; "Dad, I just can't do it." Arthur became very obnoxious demanding that he drink it. They argued back and forth, and when Gary took a sip he gagged. Arthur snatched it from him saying; "Give me that damn thing! " He took a whiff of it and said; "WOW, that does smell bad! " and he poured it down the sink. He also used to make the same kid that we're talking about squat, (he had a squat rack in his living room) squat until he'd - how shall I say - put dropping in his pants and pass out! EDITOR'S NOTE Arthur Jones is a staunch realist in all things. He believes to grow fast, hard and strong --- that means training to failure. I've personally witnessed a bodybuilder retching from going to the maximum in a 'Nautilus' style leg routine under Jones' scrutiny. Jones can get a trainer to achieve more in one set that most men can get out of 4 or 5 workouts. To him, intensity is everything. The 70's were his - rather, the 'Nautilus Decade'. * Deland Florida - Arthur Jones [pictured centre] (1971) * Info on Nautilus Gym Equipment * "Jones patented the Nautilus machine and introduced it to the public in 1970 - First to a weight lifting convention in Los Angeles, California. He would hold demos on how the machine worked (The Blue Monster - pictured in Iron Man magazine Nov. 1970). This is the machine Arthur hauled out to California. In 1975 Dr. Michael O'shea opened his facility, Sport Training Institute in New York City, and offered only Nautilus Equipment. It was the advent of Nautilus machines that made resistance training appealing to the general public, fueling the fitness boom of the 70's and 80's and resulting in Nautilus gyms in strip malls across America. They could use the nautilus name for branding as long as they ran their business in an ethical manner and only offered nautilus equipment with the exception of utility benches etc. There were no franchise fees to use the nautilus logo all you had to do was buy the 12 piece circuit, this did get the nautilus name out across the country but it also posed a problem for Arthur to protect the rites of his brand. Jones sold Nautilus in 1986 and founded MedX where his aim was to perfect the testing of human strength, endurance, and range of movement." ~ CyberPump.com Casey Viator now lives in California and trains with Mike Mentzer. As this goes to press, he has just won his first IFBB Pro Grand Prix contest. Nine years after winning the AAU Mr. America, Casey Viator is finally getting the credit and publicity his greatness deserves. * Mike Mentzer - Samir Bannout - Casey Viator