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My Top 10 Most Useless Pieces of Exercise Equipment – #7 The Red Exerciser

April 14, 2011 0 Comments

(This is 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.)

red-exerciserThe Red Exerciser

As I stated in a previous post, abdominals, more precisely the six pack abs, are the Holy Grail of fitness.  At least that’s what we are meant to think or believe.  And with that, the proliferation of ridiculous, misleading, yet top selling exercise gadgets that are common place on late night TV ads.  I could do an entire segment on abdominal gimmicks alone, but there are just so many comical ones out there, it would spoil all the fun.  Nevertheless, at number 7 is the very technically named ab toner called the Red Exerciser.

What’s in a Name?

This one even stumps me.  The Red Exerciser is well, red.  Hence the name I suppose. Very original. It’s really nothing more than a swivel chair (like a bar stool) with handles at the side to grab while rotating in the seat. Scratching my head here.  Someone developed this, thought it was a good idea, and sold it for upwards of $75? I must be doing something wrong.

Functionally Irrelevant

One element of any training is that the movement being trained should have some relevance to everyday life, whether an athlete or super mom.  I assume that someone sat in their swivel chair at their cubicle and said, “Hey! This could be a great exercise!” They may be laughing all the way to the bank, but it’s a shame that anyone would think this apparatus is a good idea at all.

First of all, as discussed in the previous post on the Ab Roller, the function of the abdominals is to stabilize, rotate, and flex the torso and in that order.  Yes, the Red Exerciser addresses rotation but here begins point number two. Very little functional rotation occurs while sitting; it usually happens when we’re standing.  Again, I think someone was doing a lot of swiveling in their chair at the office when they dreamt of this one.  Number three, while seated the hip flexors (the muscles in the crease of the thigh and hip) are flexed, thus pulling on the lumbar spine (the back).  A tight low back (very good probability if you spend a lot of your day in swivel chairs) coupled with the torque of a rotating torso (spine), and you have a really good concoction for some serious back, specifically disk, problems.  And finally, the Red Exerciser most likely was sold on the false promise, otherwise known as spot reducing, that it would magically reduce the “love handles”.  I regret to report that will never happen.

Twist the Night Away

With all the popularity of Dancing With the Stars, my advice if you really want to reduce the appearance of the love handles.  Go dancing and cue up some Chubby Checker’s “The Twist”. At least you’ll be standing and burning real calories.  Who knows?  You might even really have a good time

Stay tuned for future posts with numbers 6 -1.

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:


#10 The Jump Snap

#9 The Thigh Master

#8 The Ab Roller


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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