Dr Ben Bocchicchio – The Origins Of SuperSlow, Nautilus Business Success, And Optimising High Intensity Strength Training (#173)

Ben Bocchicchio PhD
Dr Ben Bocchicchio

Dr Ben Bocchicchio has been an innovator and leader in the fields of fitness, exercise, and health since the 1970s. He founded Sports Conditioning in Staten Island and developed programs for weight reduction, cosmetic enhancement, general fitness, and health and rehabilitation. Dr Ben owned and supervised a number of private fitness and health centers from the early 1970s. He also developed and owned spine and cardio vascular rehabilitation centers, where he used his S.Ma.R.T.-EX™ program.

In the early 1980s, Dr. Ben founded Cardio Management Systems and used resistance training as an intricate part of Phase 2 Cardiac Rehabilitation. This was the first documented and formal use of such exercise and is now commonplace protocol. In the mid-1980s, Dr. Ben became the exercise physiologist for Lehrman Back Centers in Miami Beach, Florida.

Dr. Ben has continued his work in the fields of fitness, wellness, and health to this day. He currently maintains a private fitness and health practice in Arizona. This successful business includes medically managed weight loss programs that combine prescription medication therapy, nutritional counselling, and supervised exercise. Now at 70, Dr. Ben continues to train regularly using his revolutionary S.Ma.R.T.-EX™ training system. This enables him to maintain a high level of strength, significant muscle mass, and low body fat. He continues to be a much sought-after expert and consultant by corporate, educational, and individual clients.

Check out Dr Ben’s book – 15 Minutes to Fitness: Dr. Ben’s SMaRT Plan for Diet and Total Health

In this episode, we cover:

  • The origins of SuperSlow
  • Classic tales with Arthur Jones
  • Dr Ben’s business success
  • High intensity strength training:
    • Short vs long workouts
    • Bodyweight vs machines
    • Potential problems with Timed Static Contraction training
    • Maximising hypertrophy
    • Workout technique
  • … and much, much more

Enjoy!

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Get access to more from Dr Ben on SuperSlow and Fitness Business in the HIT Business Membership here

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Selected Links from the Episode

People Mentioned

  • Greg P.

    This was a very interesting interview. I imagine his remarks may have sparked some interesting reactions from some long time members of the HIT community.

    Dr. Ben is somewhat unusual among HIT guru’s these days, because he seems to have stayed more faithful to certain of Arthur Jones original ideas, namely that you want to use mostly cam-based isolation exercises in order to be able to target specific muscle groups with a lot of intensity over a full range of motion. In contrast, HIT trainers that come out of the Hutchins/McGuff lineage now seem to favor mostly compound machines (Big 3, Big 5), where isolation moves are treated almost as accessory exercises. The latter training style seems to dominate the HIT community these days. It would be interesting to hear more about how that shift developed, and why it happened. Was it just a matter of cost and efficiency? Perhaps the small studio model just isn’t viable for most potential owners if they need to buy 12 to 15 isolation machines. ARX seems a further step in that direction: you can have a studio with just one, or maybe two machines. But are you making compromises by reducing the exercise selection to mostly compound movements?

    With regard to the rowing exercise: the same kind of thing happens with a lat pull down, or body weight pull up exercise. As you reach the top of the movement, leverage falls off. My understanding is that the SS line of row and pull down machines were built with so called ‘radical fall off’ cams to deal with this issue. Also, if you look at videos of Arnold using a cable row machine, you see extreme forward lean before he starts his pull to fully stretch the lats, and then a good deal of lay back at the end, to deal with the leverage issue. There was some method to the technique he used. Another approach taken with barbells is called the Yates row, used to hit the lats will especially heavy loads in the appropriate range of motion.

    On the subject of acute hormonal responses after intense exercise: It used to be conventional wisdom that these were significant, and associated with better results. But with further research, that idea seems to be falling out of favor.

    As an aside: I am disappointed that some of his interviews will be behind a pay wall. I understand, of course – you have got to get paid, and that is one way of boosting the numbers of paying customers.

    • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

      Thank you Greg.

      I also wonder if the move to a Big 3 or Big 5 or something similar, was also a matter of a belief that a small number of compound movements were enough to stimulate practically the entire body. Dr Doug McGuff has spoken before on this podcast with regard to how closely interwoven muscles are, and how during his medical schooling, had to have professionals show the students where one muscle started and another began. So I do wonder sometimes if, at least in this context, a lot of single joint exercises are redundant. I still use single joint exercises, primarily in the context of a 3-way split to allow for more recovery, which again is heavily debated.

      Regarding the row, I see your point, Doug has a fall-off cam from Ken Hutchins on his MedX Row which solves this problem.

      I’m sorry to disappoint Greg. You’re quite right I do need to make a living, but more important than that is the impact on HIT and public health. The podcast has had and continues to have a big impact on people, but a community and content platform that helps HIT business owners grow their business is one very effective way we’ve found to impact many more lives and get more people strength training. And obviously this requires revenue to run, improve, and scale.

      • Greg P.

        As they say, never look a gift horse in the mouth: I’d rather see you prosper and continue to offer some content for free (or by an ad model), as opposed to being all exclusive content, or else going out of business.

        I’ve always wondered if the use of compound exercises to failure was a tacit admission that failure was not critical. After all, when you do a compound movement, you fatigue a lot of muscles. But do all of them reach failure? Can you even define failure in terms of the state of the muscles involved? At best, you can say you are fatigued enough that you can’t continue that specific movement.

        • enlite

          Failure to me simply means that you can’t complete another rep despite your best effort .

    • enlite

      The issues you mention with regard to losing tension on the lats and so forth can be remedied with modifying the range of motion to maximize tension on the muscles . For example on a pull down/row not bringing the bar fully into the torso while maintaining a 90 degree angle or so at the forearm/upperarm does maximize tension on the lats & general back musculature .

  • Matt

    Great interview. I was fortunate to earn Dr. Ben’s F.I.R.S.T. (Focused Intensity Resistance Slow Training) certification many years ago. He came to the facility I was working for at the time so all of the trainers could further our education with H.I.T. concepts.

    • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

      Cheers Matt

  • marcrph

    Interestingly, in Dr. Bocchicchio’s book, he recommends 2 weekly workouts, AND, 3 weekly cardio workouts, AND, daily stretching. Sadly, Lawrence did not cover this at all?????????????

    • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

      You’ll be glad to learn Martin Gibala PhD is returning to the podcast to discuss this further.