For those that haven’t read it yet, please read Dr. McGuff’s article entitled Body By Science — Especially For Women in our articles section. It covers so many important points that women need to know in order to maximize their results from proper strength training exercise. Here is the link to this exceptional article:



Certain of our female clients at Nautilus North have agreed to our  our video taping their workouts so that readers of Body By Science can see points of form, technique and proper breathing. Here Amy is put through a “Big 3” workout under the direction of trainer Blair Wilson.

The protocol featured is the “Done In One” method, whereby the trainee attempts to inroad slowly and thoroughly so that he or she is literally “done” in “one” repetition. It can be used with a 30-seconds out/30-seconds back time signature or 1-minute out and 1-minute back. If the client still hasn’t inroaded to the point where the weight (which is deliberately set to be lighter than he or she would normally use) has overcome his or her force output, the trainer will encourage the client to attempt a second repetition (sometimes this works out out to be only one and a half reps, and occasionally two). This is just one way to perform a “Big 3” workout but we thought it might prove helpful to female readers of our book. Here is the link to Amy’s workout:




In this video Mel (a friend of Amy’s who also trains at Nautilus North) goes through the same “Big 3” workout. She uses the same protocol as Amy and, like Amy, does not rest between exercises. Here is the link to Mel’s “Big 3” workout:

— John Little


  1. Great workout!


    How are the done in one workouts coming along in terms of strength/tissue gains?
    Do you find the old nautilus cams to be a slight impediment when moving this slowly?


  2. Why did they do this ‘done in one’ method ? What is the purpose of doing it rather than the big 5 with 3 or so reps ? What were the weights that Amy and Mel were lifting ?

    I can’t say I would like to spend just a few minutes in the gym doing a ‘done in one’ method ! I do enjoy doing my workout – it’s short enough as it is ! Still I enjoyed watching Amy and Mel doing their workouts, but wish though again that there was this type of gym in the UK ! No Nautilus or SuperSlow gyms here.


  3. Hi Anne,
    Mel and Amy do the “Done In One” method because they find that they can give the exercises “more” of what they’ve got and find that they are pacing themselves a bit to perform 5 exercises. As written in Body By Science the “Big 5” will have to be reduced to a “Big 3” or a “Small 5” (incorporating some isolation exercises) for recovery factors. Both Mel and Amy like the “Done In One” protocol — but it is still only “a” protocol (not necessarily “the” protocol). The purpose of this is to minimize force and to inroad a little more deeply to augment the metabolic effects derived from the workout. I’m glad that you are still enjoying your “Big 5” (the majority of our trainees at Nautilus North use the “Big 5” protocol as well); the “Big 3/Done In One” approach is simply another color in the high-intensity paintbox.

    All the best,


  4. John

    Great videos–keep them coming. It was nice to see some vintage Nautilus equipment at your place. The gym I used to work out at had all the original Nautilus equipment from the 70’s but got rid of them all for other equipment which I feel is vastly inferior. Amy and Mel train harder than most of the men I see around here in PA., and they both look great. I’ve always felt women have more to gain from both proper strength training and proper martial arts training than men do. As Dr. McGuff has pointed out, these women are making an investment in their health and functional ability that will reap enormous dividends later in life.

    Ed H


    I’d be hard pressed to select a favorite article you’ve written, but the “Body By Science especially for women” is certainly one of the most important. I’ve given several copies to some women who are still addicted to the “gerbil wheel” and the “cardio” (formerly “aerobics” classes). It’s too soon to tell but perhaps one or two of them will give your article some thought and give it a try.

    Ed H

  5. Hi Al,

    Thanks for the kind words. The “Done In One” workouts are producing good strength gains (at the moment comparable to most “slower” repetition progressions). In terms of tissue gains, I haven’t put enough people on the program that are likewise willing to commit to multi BodPods and periods of not training (to measure the post workout result). However, one of our trainers (Chris Greenfield) has been conducting an informal study on how his own physiology has been responding to various high-intensity strength training protocols since January 22, 2009. From that point to now he has performed but 5 workouts and is up 5.3 pounds of muscle since his January start date). To your question, he tried the “Done In One” protocol during his last workout (May 12th) and at Day 8 post workout his lean was up 1.8 pounds over his pre-workout lean level. We will keep Poding him until 30 days have ticked by so that we can analyze the data and see if this was a false spike or whether it was when the lean increase actually showed up as a result of this style of workout.

    Some of the cams are problematic (particularly the pulldown cam on the old Behind Neck/Torso Arm machine) as there is virtually no resistance in the stretched position and almost too much in the fully contracted position. I was expecting a similar mismatch with slower reps and the Duo Leg Press, but so far there seems to be a positive effect from this machine. I’d REALLY like to get some of the Superslow TM systems machines like Doug and Bo have (lucky dogs!)
    All the best,


  6. John,

    Thanks for you responses. I’d be really interested to see Chris’s progress. The BodPod sounds like a really neat device. I wish I had one, however I do have SuperSlow TM and Med-x Machines(Ha-ha:)


  7. Thanks for your explanation John. I’d be interested too to know the weights Amy and Mel were lifting please. For example the other week you showed Stephanie doing 270 lbs on the leg press which is roughly what I do – how much would you lower that to do a ‘done in one’ ?


  8. Hi Anne,
    The weights will depend upon the brand of equipment you use. Amy and Mel (like the rest of us at Nautilus North) use a Nautilus Duo Leg Press. The Duo Leg Press incorporates a “negative” cam that tracks along with your increasing strength during contraction of the thighs, so that as your leg straightens and takes you to what would normally be a leverage advantage, the weight increases by a ratio of 3.2 times (differing interpretations have come in on this ratio from the early Nautilus days). In any event, the weight more than doubles as you press your legs out toward the (almost) locked out position. To this end, we find weights of 100-120 pounds — at least on this machine — to be more than adequate for deep inroading. Both Mel and Amy are presently using 100 pounds on this with the seat moved up to prevent total lockout … so, if the Nautilus authorities are to be believed, the resistance at the position of full contraction of the thighs is approximately 320 pounds and, at the start of the exercise, where one’s leverage is bad, the resistance is what you see on the weight stack. I’m not sure what equipment you use or what sort of a cam the machine does (or does not) have, but I would — as a rule of thumb if want to experiment with the “Done In One” protocol — reduce the weight you are presently employing in the exercise by approximately 45 percent. Initiate the contraction slowly (we find it helps if you do so with your eyes closed to focus more on the “feel” of the exercise) and KEEP IT SLOW throughout every inch of contraction (both out and back). Try your best to take a full minute to press out. If you find that the weight you selected is too heavy to complete the rep, use your hands to assist your legs in the completion of the rep. The next workout keep the weight the same and you will find that you will be able (assuming it wasn’t WAY too heavy) to complete a full repetition with it.
    Give it a try and let me know your thoughts.
    All the best,

  9. Hi John,

    I don’t know what make the machines are in the gym I go to, it doesn’t seem to say on them. I posted a link to the gym where you can see some photos of the machines but the message didn’t get posted, I think there’s a problem if a person posts a link…anyway, they’re definitely not Nautilus or Medx !

    I’ll try what you suggest and let you know how it goes !

    all the best,

  10. Hi Anne,

    If you’re around London there is a full Medx equiped gym in Putney of all places, it’s called physical culture, there’s also an old old Nautilus gym in Hendon but the equipment has been poorly maintained as has the gym itself.

    Your gym has Hammer Strength iso lever machines as well as cybex and life fitness -Hammer Strength are pretty good.

    There is a company called Kieser Training near Camden which has an extensive range of Medx but their programs are more along the lines of what Nautilus used to do, 10 exercises twice a week -I dont think they allow such consolidated programs unless you asked for their maintenance program (5-6 exercises) if you’re in the area it’d definitely be worth popping in just to try out the Medx machines though.

    hope this helps,


  11. Hi Jamie,

    I can get to Putney, not easily, but I can get there and I see they say to contact them to arrange a tour of the gym so I think it would be worth my while doing that just so I know what difference there is between Medx and the equipment I use so I know what Doug and John and others are actually talking about. Glad to know that Hammer Strength machines in my gym are good though :-)

    Thanks !


  12. I did nautilus low back ntf this morning… below is a paste, from conference in Toronto in November (from Darden site)

    Folks, just got off the phone with Fred Hahn who is definitely looking at attending.

    Also a format that has been suggested is a moderated roundtable discussion discussing/debating the various coordinations of variables of frequency, volume, intensity, etc.

    I would like this thread to be an opportunity for people to suggest properly worded questions that could be used as a starting point. The idea would be for certain people to state their case in a given amount of time, say, 2-5 minutes and give others a chance to counter… say 3 to 4 people. And then we would move on to next question.

    An example that I would suggest:

    Various exercise practitioners/trainers, from both hit and outside hit circles differ sharply on frequency, from 3 times per week being superior to less frequency, all the way to once every 14 days or more… what is your take on this, and what evidence/experience can you bring to the table to support your perspective?

    Attendees so far:
    Fred Hahn, Author, certified trainer/gym owner
    Michael Petrella Certified Trainer/gym owner
    James Pate competitor
    Rick Chartrand competitor
    Andrew Shortt competitor/author
    Greg Roseman…competitor
    Mark Irwin … competitor
    Alex Fee…author/competitor?
    who else?\\
    Mark Irwin… competitor

    Here was the old list…(minus those above…) and those who have since declined.

    Josh Trentine (I think Josh is taking layoff from competing)
    Michael Lipowski *? awaiting reply to email
    David Landau* awaiting reply to PM
    Brian Johnston… awaiting reply to email
    Who am I mssing?

  13. anne …call nautilus and medX to ask them if any gyms have there equipment in a town/city near you. On MedX’s site they have a page where gyms list their equipment. If you havetrouble finding this info you could email me directly for help.

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  15. I’ve read the book, watched all of the videos on YouTube several times, made notes, and am trying the Big 3 at my local YWCA, using Cybex machines. I’m 56, have been sick and lost muscle/gained fat. At 5’3″, I’m 135lbs and want to regain strength and tone. I was on a weight training regimen for 6 years and was lean, but at great expense of time and energy. In fact, it made me sick. I then went back to yoga, doing 90 minutes of Power, Flow or Ashtanga 4-5 times a week, and regained my health, temporarily. I have a condition that will no longer allow me to spend so much of my life in the gym, and am VERY excited about BBS re blood sugar, leptin resistance management, and low stress to my exhausted adrenals. I’ve been doing leg press first, 110lbs/3 reps/108sec TUL. I’m shaking on the last one, but not exhausted. I just don’t think I’m doing it properly. Chest Press 30lbs/3reps/1.30TUL. Pulldown 7lbs/2reps/60sec TUL. My left arm is weaker, and my elbow locked. If I’d had a trainer there, s/he could have moved it just a bit, and supported me in finishing..but I just couldn’t make the left arm finish. Would it be possible for me to come to SC for a session, so that I can learn more, in order to continue on my own here? Thanks, Susan

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