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Exercise Column

So you want to get in shape? BEWARE of infomercial exercise equipment

The majority of credible research proves most pieces of home exercise equipment are no better than using your own body.

The saying of buyer beware is no more true than in the world of home exercise equipment.

Particularly exercise equipment for training your abs. Over the years our lab at Occidental College in conjunction with Simply Fit, and others, have tested numerous different home exercise training devices. We have found some home training devices were no more effective, and most less effective than simple calisthenics.

Our latest study at Occidental College, published in the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, found that only one device, the Ab-ONE,was more effective than a traditional crunch at recruiting the ab muscles.

Like an earlier study we performed on portable abdominal exercise devices, of the combined ten devices tested only one device in each study (the Perfect Abs and the Ab-ONE) was found to be more effective than a traditional crunch. Interestingly, to date neither product which was significantly more effective than a traditional crunch is available on the marketplace.

Interestingly, Guthy-Renker even test-launched their Perfect Abs product and after getting a lukewarm response decided to shelf the product - even though it was the most effective one we’ve tested to date.

This, while all of the other devices and many more we’ve tested- including the Perfect Ab Roller, Ab Roller Plus, Ab Swing, Torso Track, Torso Track 2, 6SecondAbs, Ab Scissor,and AB-DOer Pro -currently are or were sold through infomercials and in stores. Several of the products helped to make their manufacturers tens to hundreds of millions of dollars while providing little added benefit to the consumer.

These studies, and others, regularly find that you can do simple traditional exercises to train your body as effectively as many devices marketed on the television.

Beware of worthless exercise equipment!

Written by Dr. Sternlicht for on 8.27.05