134 – Jim Flanagan on The Best Machines for Exercise, Arthur Jones, and The Colorado Experiment

Jim Flanagan
“Function dictates design, and that doesn’t change” – Jim Flanagan on exercise equipment design

Jim Flanagan is one of the most knowledgable and effective strength trainers in the world, and served alongside Arthur Jones during the Nautilus and MedX founding era for 36 years. In 2017, Jim Flanagan was inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame.

In this podcast episode, Jim Flanagan joins me for a Part 2. This was even better than the first episode and Jim and I cover a lot of interesting topics within high intensity training, body building, and the fitness business.

Contact Jim:

We cover:

  • The exercise machine industry and the challenges exercise machine manufacturers face today
  • The history of Arthur Jones
  • Casey Viator and The Colorado Experiment
  • Freak athletes
  • Jim’s personal workout
  • What to focus on when starting a strength training business
  • How to find/cultivate personal training talent
  • The importance of sticking to your business strengths
  • And much more ….

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Listen below:

Listen to the Corporate Warrior Podcast on iTunesListen to the Corporate Warrior Podcast on Stitcher

Would you like to hear more from Jim Flanagan? Check out our first episode where Jim describes the rise of Nautilus and MedX, lessons learned from Arthur Jones, how to become an effective public speaker and sales person, and much more (stream below or right-click here to download):

Selected Links from the Episode

People Mentioned

Comments 17

  • Excellent interview ! A lot of wisdom and insight from Mr Flanagan , it was a pleasure to listen to .

  • Go team big calves!

  • Fantastic interview Lawrence, Jim Flanagan has an amazing ability to get his message across. He has an absolute wealth of knowledge and historical background on the subject, and just so good to listen too!

  • I enjoyed this interview. I listened to the entire podcast twice. Mr. Flanagan is right about territory rights in relationship to professional trainers.

    The only thing I could find disagreeable were his comments about people’s opinion. There are people who are qualified in their respective fields and who have expert opinions. After a period of time…..these type of opinions generally can be trusted after critical thinking is used.
    10 days recovery…..based on his personal record keeping….interesting.

    He too stated that HIT lost. Maybe HIT needs some sterling examples.

    Health was mentioned…but nothing about prevention of the # 1 killer….heart disease. Does HIT prevent heart disease???…perhaps….to some degree. Certainly the proof …..those experts mentioned above…..is missing.

    What HIT has no answer for….is this message:


    • Appreciate your comment Marc. Would be good to get someone on the podcast to talk more specifically about exercise and the prevention of heart disease.

    • Congestive heart failure is one kind of heart disease. The other is coronary artery disease. I wonder which is more important, as a cause of death? I also wonder how much of a protective effect exercise can provide for the latter? Despite years of research, it seems like there is still some mystery as to why some lean, active, apparently healthy people with normal cholesterol levels still drop dead from a heart attack. Perhaps this recent work will shed some light on the mystery:


      • @ Greg,

        I’ve replied to you previously. It is very difficult to reply to anyone on the “net” because one can hide their true character behind a keyboard. I am trying to curtail all internet discussions due to the unproductive nature of such discussions as this. I learn very little from such replies as these.
        Your question should be directed to an exercise specialist such as Kenneth Jay PhD or at least a cardiologist. I have access to a cardiologist (M.D.) who has answered my questions on cardiovascular conditioning. We do currently know some beneficial things about cardiovascular conditioning. Resistance training does not have a sterling reputation as a cardiovascular conditioner. Can anyone take the risk to not include beneficial exercise such as cardio? Perhaps in time the subject that you brought up in the nytimes article will be addressed fully. I hope so. I personally would question why there is not more concern over the misinformation concerning cardiovascular conditioning on HIT sites. I personally am more interested in conditioning my lungs, heart, and blood vessels efficiently. I don’t believe that there is any empirical, scientific, or logical evidence to propagate a resistance-based-only exercise training modality as a primary tool to enhance heart, lungs, and blood vessels function. It is sad that the HIT community does not “call out” misinformation being levied by the SuperSlow/BBS/Max Contraction hysteria on healthy exercise regimentation choices.
        Take time to review what a former SuperSlow trainer Steve Maxwell states here on this site. He is no longer a SS disciple. Or better yet, read what Lyle McDonald states on BBS/Superslow, or Alan Aragon on the Paleo diet. My own personal evidence shows the importance of regular cardiovascular training can help condition the heart, blood vessels and lungs. Any decent textbook on the Kreb’s cycle can make “global metabolic conditioning” seem like such a silly idea.

        • Thank you Marc. You’ve certainly stimulated me to think more about HIT and cardiovascular health. I will definitely have someone or maybe even a roundtable on the show to discuss this topic in-depth. Thoughts on this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yA-AEclv0xU&t=63s

          • @ Lawrence,

            The video represents a biased HIT viewpoint!

            If you believe this HIT paradigm fully, then all an endurance athlete needs is a weekly weight workout. That is absurd. No experts in the field of endurance train this way. The body adapts to endurance activities differently than anaerobic activities. That is why global metabolic conditioning is garbage. Both aerobic and anaerobic activities can be useful. However, endurance training is much more important for healthy everyday living.
            By the time one reaches old age….lung capacity, maximum oxygen uptake, decreases significantly not to mention a general stiffening of arteries and unfortunately the heart declines with age. Unlike a HIT paradigm, a reasonable cardiovascular program can keep these vital organs functioning at higher levels. Lung function can be MEASURED with a spirometer. Why does no one in HIT mention this….because even circuit weight training does not illicit a large VO2 max, thus doing a poor job of conditioning the lungs.

            Have Steve Maxwell discuss aerobic conditioning again. Have Luke Carlson discuss aerobic conditioning. Best of all, have Lyle McDonald, Phil Maffetone, Clarence Bass, and most of all Kenneth Jay discuss aerobic conditioning. The death of aerobics by HIT experts was greatly exaggerated.

            While we are still talking, and I don’t get banned here, let us renew discussion on the benefits of stretching. OK?

  • Hey Lawrence, loved the interview with Jim. You could probably talk to him for hours the stories he has to tell. I’ve actually been in the fitness industry myself, and i think the problem with Gym equipment lines today, is unless it’s someone that is making a small boutique line, because they’re passionate about it Most of the innovations if they are being built are going to large high paying Team sports. The problem being the gym culture. In the past a lot of Gym owners were passionate about fitness, and sure wanted to become successful. But once the large Gym chains like 24HR fitness popped up, it’s really all about the bottom line. How to do it the cheapest etc

  • I forgot to comment about one gripe here. The Colorado experiment is 0% science, it can tell us virtually nothing. I watched this https://youtu.be/mYhsbVlyyDc clip today from Steven Novella, containing lots of info about the problems with even rigorous study design (first 5 or so mins can be skipped for the short of time).

  • Excellent job on the interview. Big Jim is a one of a kind, great guy.

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