Exercise Gimmicks

The other day I was asked about my thoughts on the Shake Weight. They claim it uses 300 times more muscle than an ordinary dumbbell and that this is backed up by scientific research. What they fail to tell you is that the only research they did was one computer simulation, they didn’t test it on actual human beings.

They also only tested it against a 5lb dumbbell biceps curl. First of all, 5lbs is nothing and will not challenge 99% of the population. if they compared it to a challenging weight  the results would be very different. Secondly, a bicep curl uses very little muscle anyway. If they tried it against a kettlebell swing or a push up there would be an entirely different outcome to the study too. Finally the shake weight only uses isometric (static) contractions and so the feeling of being toned will only last for a very short space of time.

Check out the video of the shake weight to get a good laugh 🙂


I’m also a part of the new TV3 series How Healthy Are You? and in our first episode I trial the wii fit and give my thoughts on it. You can check out the replay here


The wii fit review starts on 10mins but I also suggest you check out the first half where Elsa Jones exposes the amount of sugar in diet foods and how much sugar we actually consume in a month. What really surprised me was that people actually think it’s ok to drink 2 litres of diet fizzy drinks a day when trying to lose weight!!

Some other exercise gimmicks are:

The vibro plate – You don’t need to spend a fortune on a piece of equipment that doesn’t deliver any more benefits than doing exercises without the plate. I’ve heard people say they’ve gotten some results using the vibro plates but when asking them what they did before the answer was nothing! So yea you started training and got some results, it’s got nothing to do with the vibro plate!

Nordic Sticks – I’ve written about these before. They claim using them burns 20% more calories than a normal walk. The problem is a normal walk will only burn around 200 calories – an extra 40 calories isn’t gonna do much damage to your body fat levels.

Ab machines – First of all training your abs won’t give you a great looking stomach unless you are around 12% body fat (males) and 18% body fat for women. In order to do this you must burn fat by eating right, lifting weights and interval training. And these machines will over train your abs leading to postural imbalances and pain in the long term. In fact most people do way too much direct ab training as it is. In episode 3 of How Healthy Are You? I reveal the truth about sit ups and the fact that it takes 250,000 sit ups to burn 1lb of fat!!!

So what does work?

In the camps and in our private training we use Dumbbells, Kettlebells, Ab wheels, your bodyweight, Sandbags and Jungle Gyms. These are relatively inexpensive and will deliver the results you want provided you perform full body exercises to maximise muscle involvement and increase your metabolism. Bicep curls, tricep kickbacks and sit ups won’t.

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