The Resistance Exercise Conference – Exercise and Arthur Jones

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Resistance Exercise Conference over April 7th and 8th at the JW Marriott in Minneapolis, Minnesota, hosted by Discover Strength. We had a fantastic lineup of speakers, many of whom I know personally, and I left feeling inspired and reaffirmed in the Vertex Fitness approach to exercise.

The conference was packed with big names and superstars in the strength training world including Roger Schwab, Wayne Westcott Ph.D., Ellington Darden, Kim Wood, Jim Flannigan, and James Fisher.

My focus as a fitness professional has always been to give my clients what is safe and effective, based on research and not on fads or marketing. That’s one reason that I attend these conferences—to reconnect with fellow professionals in the field, to share knowledge and resources, and to keep on top of the latest in exercise science and research.

My involvement with Discover Strength goes back over ten years now. I first met Luke Carlson when he hijacked me in the hall of the IHRSA Conference in 2005. He and I had known of each other from our activities online, but had never met. I was walking down the hallway when he said, “Are you Dwayne?” We started talking and realized that we had a lot in common. He was just starting Discover Strength, which would be very similar to Vertex Fitness, with an emphasis on research-based resistance training.

The common thread linking our two practices was the same as the one that linked the presenters and conference goers. Everyone at the Resistance Exercise Conference follows, teaches, or wants to learn about High Intensity Training (HIT). HIT is based off of the work of Arthur Jones (1926 – 2007). Jones was the inventor of Nautilus equipment, and he was a proponent of the type of training that we do at Vertex Fitness. HIT has been used to train bodybuilders, college and professional athletes, and the general population looking for a good workout. His method stands out as being safe, efficient, effective, and evidence-based resistance training. It involves working the whole body in a single session, from one to three times a week, that takes less than thirty minutes.

Many of the presenters at the conference had ties to Arthur Jones and were involved in evangelizing and giving research-based credibility to the HIT method. Roger Schwab was a friend of Arthur Jones and owned a facility called Main Line Health and Fitness, which was full of Nautilus equipment. Wayne Westcott Ph.D. is known as a Professor of Exercise Science at Quincy College, as well as a researcher at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts. Ellington Darden did research and wrote books for Nautilus. Kim Wood worked for Nautilus and was the first NFL full-time strength coach, who worked with the Cincinnati Bengals. James Fisher is a leading researcher in exercise science, and is now expanding on the HIT body of literature.

Though Arthur Jones first brought the HIT method to the public’s attention in the early 70s, there is still a lot of research being done today in the exercise science field, and that research still bears out the efficacy of this method. Wayne Westcott PhD has been doing research on HIT for over thirty years, while James Fisher has recently joined him as a contemporary. They both presented the findings of their research, which was fascinating to all of the attendees looking to understand more about how HIT works. The four panel presenters, on the other hand, laid the foundation of the HIT philosophy. The two taken together gave all of the attendees a solid background in the research and ideas behind HIT.

I had a great time at the conference reconnecting with the folks at Discover Strength, as well as my many friends and acquaintances in the audience. The community of HIT based resistance training is a close-knit one. These aren’t just names on a book cover, but friends with whom I have met and exchanged ideas over the years. It was a wonderful opportunity to spend time in a room together and reaffirm the research and science behind what we are doing.


If you are in the exercise field, I highly recommend attending The Resistance Exercise Conference next year.



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