Do TV Fitness Gadgets Work?

By the Editors of Men’s Health

Are those infomercial exercise devices six-pack saviors, or money-wasting scams? You don’t have to call an 800 number to find out. Researchers at Slippery Rock University, in Pennsylvania, measured muscle activation in five different abs gadgets and compared them with the classic situp.

The Ab Sling

These hanging straps activated people’s abdominal muscles mostóbut were also the most despised exercise, says study coauthor Jeff Lynn, Ph.D. “It’s very uncomfortable. Many complained about arm and shoulder fatigue, pain, and numbness.”

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The Ab Rocket

The makers of this abdominal rocking chair tout its neck-and-back-supporting design. But according to Lynn, users reported neck strain and thought the motion felt unnatural.

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Bender Ball

In theory, it sounds smart: Increase your range of motion with a squishy ball wedged beneath your lower back. But science finds otherwise: Standard situps produced 25 percent greater lower-ab activation than the Bender Ball. What’s more, a rolled-up towel can serve a similar purpose.

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The Ab Lounge

Testers enjoyed this exercise; their backs, however, did not. “It allows you to hyperextend your back,” Lynn says. “This puts potentially damaging pressure on the low spine.”

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The Bean

Banish this blow-up chair to the kiddie pool. “The Bean was the worst of the lot,” Lynn says. “It actually facilitates movement forward, so you do less work.”

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Chinmayee Jog
Chinmayee Jog5 years ago

Thanks for sharing - ab-toning fitness equipment always looks so impressive on TV, but most of them just seem to be scams! I think yoga and cardio are basically the best way to - healthy for not only your spine, but for all your muscles, joints, and even organs!

Jane R.
Jane R.5 years ago

Most of these gadgets are usless and a waste of money. The only thing I use is ankle weights and hand held weights. They will do more than anything on these info-mercials.
Also just put on some good dancing mucic with a good beat and dance into shape. A lot more fun than any other exercise!!

Rudolf Affolter
Past Member 5 years ago

I would doubt it. All the manufacturer wants is to make a profit. You do not need them to work out. Improvise. There are plenty of ways if you just use your imagination.

Rana Sinha
Rana Sinha5 years ago


Margarita Murphy
Margarita Murphy5 years ago

I once bought the Leg Magic Exercise Machine. When it arrived in bits and parts, it was impossible to put together and some screws were missing. I complained, and the manufacturer sent me a second one, telling me that I could keep both. The second one was equally impossible to assemble. Several of my friends had a shot at it and no one succeeded.
Both machines ended up in the garbage.
That was the first and last time that I bought some exercise gadget!

Jillian M.
Jillian L.5 years ago

I used to use gadgets... I find that weights combined dancing and yoga work great!

Ernie Miller
william Miller5 years ago

Dang I guess I will have to stick to walking and my Bicycle. I like my Wii fit also.

Emily S.
Emily S.5 years ago

Wish they did too!

Tish L.
Tish Levee5 years ago

What I long suspected.

Spoorthi BS
Spoorthi BS5 years ago

hi everyone, please sign this petition and help