Late-night infomercials promote crazy fitness products that guarantee unbelievable results. You'll be able to completely change your body and look like a superhero with as little effort as possible!
In reality, the vast majority of these products are complete gimmicks that do nothing but lighten your wallet. However, some items are actually based on effective training methodology and have become favorites among strength and conditioning coaches, athletes and the general fitness community.
Here is a list of the most and least effective infomercial training products of all time.
The Best Fitness Infomercial Products
Yes, another piece of equipment marketed to give you a ripped "six pack," but this one actually works. Elite strength coaches like Mike Boyle, owner of Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning, use it for Ab Rollouts, which train the abs to resist extension. Contrary to popular belief, this type of move more effectively engages the abs than traditional flexion moves, like Sit-Ups and Crunches. Should you jump right into Ab Wheel exercises? No. You need a strong core to begin with, or you could hurt your lower back. However, it is a piece of equipment that you should consider adding to your workout routine.
The 90-day program created by Tony Horton, which has grossed more than $500 million since its release in 2003, features six hour-long workouts per week, focusing on strength training, plyometrics and yoga—which will add muscle and burn fat. Just do a quick search for "P90X results" and you'll see thousands of before-and-after pictures. Is it without its critics? No. Some strength coaches chastise its one-size-fits-all approach. And 'Plyo' is more of a conditioning workout that features some jumping, rather than a power-building routine. But, you can't fault it for making an effective strength-training program available to the masses. And it has produced some great results.
Doing Pull-Ups at home can be a pain if you don't have a full gym set-up. Enter the Iron Gym—a pull-up bar that attaches to any standard door with no complicated mounting systems or subsequent damage. All you need to do is slide it over the doorframe. Better yet, it has multiple grip options so you can do Pull-Ups, Chin-Ups and Neutral-Grip Pull-Ups to work your back from different angles.
The Valslide makes the list because, 1) There's a 'Valslide TV' section on the website, which is the next best thing to an infomercial; and 2) not many infomercial products warrant making the list. The Valslide is an incredibly simple low-friction device that simulates a slideboard, but at a fraction of the cost. You're able to add new variations to many of your favorite exercises, like Reverse Lunges, while also performing moves that challenge your core and stability. And better yet, it's a favorite among many elite strength and conditioning coaches.
The Worst Fitness Infomercial Products
8-Minute Core Workouts
"Flatten those abs, shape those buns, tone your arms and thighs." In only eight minutes! Put simply, you can't get a good workout in eight minutes—that should be the length of your warm-up alone. If it were this easy, millions of Americans wouldn't be struggling to lose weight and get in shape.
Shake Weight claims that, "In just six minutes a day, you'll get strong, toned, ripped arms and chest." What's up with these miraculously effective workouts that only take a few minutes? If shaking a weight back and forth for six minutes actually delivered those results, you'd better believe that Shake Weight would be among the most profitable companies in the world. It burns "seven times more energy than using a dumbbell!" I'm curious about what dumbbell exercise was used for the comparison, because it's a sure bet that dumbbell exercises performed through a full range of motion produce better results in every possible way.
In the quest for getting results without doing anything, this takes the cake. You simply put an electric stimulation system on your abs, it forces your muscles to contract and voila! Washboard abs. Electrical muscle stimulation does activate muscles—which is why the technique is used in physical therapy settings—but it doesn't make them stronger or increase muscle tone. And the key to getting abs is losing weight. Sitting down with a machine sending electrical shocks to your abs sounds like the exact opposite. You just need to put in hard work.
The ThighMaster promises to shape your thighs, a claim based on the idea that you can exercise a specific area to burn, which is simply impossible. Will it strengthen your inner thighs? To an extent, but that's it. So, if your hopes and dreams of killer thighs are riding on the ThighMaster, you will be terribly disappointed.
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