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My Top 10 Most Useless Pieces of Exercise Equipment – #1 The Shake Weight

May 20, 2011 0 Comments

(This is the final in a 10 part series in which I am reviewing some of the products sold as exercise equipment, fitness solutions, etc. on infomercials, magazine ads, and cable shopping networks.  Unlike most of the ads for these products, this isn’t based on a double blind, major university backed study.  It is simply my professional opinion based on my fitness experience and knowledge in the hopes that it will save you some time, aggravation and money.)

Get Sexy, Toned Arms & Shoulders in just minutes per day using the Shake Weight!!The Shake Weight

Well, we have reached the end of My Top 10 Most Useless Pieces of Exercise Equipment.  Mind you, this list was for the gimmicks sold on TV, not the abundance of useless equipment that fills health clubs; that’s for another time. I could have created a Top 20, 50, or even 100 list of the most useless pieces of exercise equipment and it still wouldn’t have covered it all.  Aside from the equipment, such as the Hawaii Chair, the Ab Doer, and the High Tech Ride Ijoy, there are also the useless gimmicks such as the Sauna Belt, the AbTronic, and countless others that could make a book all their own. I see a new one just about every other week and as is proof from my list, abdominal gimmicks seem to proliferate the market the most.  But when I first saw the Shake Weight I thought it was a joke…really, like some kind of twisted Saturday Night Live skit. (actually, SNL did do a parody skit, click here to see video parody) To my utter amazement, the Shake Weight (over $40 million in sales) is for real.  How gullible has society become and where does it ever end?

Just For the Women

It is the fear of far too many women that resistance training will bulk them up.  It is a completely unfound fear when in reality resistance training will do more to change the shape of a woman than just about anything she will do exercise wise. There are too many factors, such as the amount of circulating testosterone, total volume lifted, rate of protein synthesis, calories consumed among other things that have to be present in order for women to show much muscle hypertrophy.  A small percentage of women have higher than normal circulating testosterone levels (yes, even women have testosterone naturally occurring in their bodies as do men have levels of estrogen in their bodies) and the grotesquely enormous muscular women got that way artificially. I have always been amused by the woman in the weight room standing in front of the mirror while bicep curling a 5 lb. dumbbell because she only wants to “tone” her arms and not get manly arms. What she doesn’t understand is that she would tone her arms more effectively and noticeably with a heavier weight done correctly to muscular failure.  This woman is the target consumer of the Shake Weight manufacturer.

By merely shaking the Shake Weight, it is guaranteed to tone, trim, shape, and flab blast the arms and shoulders through what the makers of Shake Weight call “dynamic inertia”, which is nothing more than describing the forces moving back and forth from the momentum caused by the Shake Weight’s motion.  The result: the muscles of the upper extremities (arms, chest, and shoulders) are contracting quickly to decelerate and create more momentum.  Will the muscles burn and get tired? Probably.  Will it be enough to strengthen and tone the muscles of the upper extremities? Hardly.  And yet again, the Shake Weight is sold on the promise of spot reduction (eliminating fat from a body part by working that body part) and spot toning (defining a desired muscle by working that muscle). It may work the targeted muscle, but not enough to elicit the change that is sought.

Just For the Men

The popularity of the women’s Shake Weight was so pronounced that someone at Shake Weight HQ decided it would be a good idea to promote a men’s only Shake Weight. When you watch the ads for the women’s Shake Weight it promotes toning and sculpting and not increased size and strength.  The men’s Shake Weight promotes size, definition, strength, and will build muscle.  Wait a minute.  Isn’t that what most women don’t want? Isn’t that what the men would want? What makes the men’s Shake Weight so different? Nothing, except that it’s a little bit heavier (women’s is 2.5 pounds; the men’s is 5 lbs). Hmmm. Do you see now why these things are so ridiculous? They think the average consumer won’t notice or care to notice the difference because they’re too emotionally wrapped up in why their arms are so flabby.  Well, sadly it was enough to generate over $40 million dollars in sales. May be four years of college and 16+ years of real world practical experience have taught me nothing.

Here’s My Answer to That

Wake up people! There is not one single exercise, device, supplement, or diet that is going to make you healthier or more fit than you currently are all on its own.  It requires a lifestyle; a lifestyle of moderate, consistent exercise; healthy and balanced nutrition; stress reduction and plenty of rest.  It doesn’t have to be perfect; it just needs to be better more times than not. It requires a discipline that doesn’t necessarily need to be a hardship, but it needs to be automatic.  For some, it will take more work than others, but no matter how hard the effort or path you follow, the end result undeniably outweighs the journey.  Take responsibility for your own health for ultimately in the end, you have no one to point the finger at but yourself.

My Conclusion to This Series

I hope you enjoyed this series of My Top Ten Most Useless Pieces of Exercise Equipment. I have a lot of pride and a lot of passion for my profession and it is not only my duty but my honor to educate and touch as many people as I can who seek true health, real fitness, and the knowledge they not only need, but deserve to hear.  So as I’ve ended all of my posts and til I post again….

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

In case you’ve missed them, here are My Top 10 Most Useless Pieces of Exercise Equipment so far:

#10 The Jump Snap
#9 The Thigh Master
#8 The Ab Roller
#7 The Red Exerciser
#6 Leg Magic
#5 The Ab Circle
#4 The Bender Ball
#3 6 Second Abs
#2 The Ab Lounge


About the Author:

Jeff Harrison is a fitness coach based in Pottstown, PA. He received a BS in Exercise and Sport Science from Penn State University and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), NSCA Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT) and ACE Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist (ACE-AHFS). Jeff's articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals as well as consumer oriented websites and magazines.

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