We’ve seen them on those late nights when zoning out in front of the television is more appealing than going to bed. Whether it’s a device to tone your abs or boost your biceps, the infomercials for at-home fitness products have a fascinating appeal to them, which is why 20 minutes later, you can still find yourself watching the same ad and then picking up your cell phone or popping on the computer to order it and cash in on the “act now” savings.
If all of those fitness products seem to look like one another, we’re going to help you sort through the sometimes drowning waters of the exercise industry.
Here is a list of the six most popular As Seen on TV fitness products and a summary of each.
1. Shake Weight
What it is: This dumbbell-like weight promises to help sculpt lean and strong arms and shoulders. It literally shakes as you use it forcing your muscles to contract and relax so that they become toned and defined.
Target Audience: Females who want to firm up their arms and get rid of underarm jiggle.
Pros/Cons: Doesn’t require batteries and time commitment is pretty low. But the Shake Weight has a bizarre phallic feel to it, which may dissuade potential users.
Cost: $19.95 plus $7.95 in shipping and handling.
Complete Review: Shake Weight
2. Ab Circle Pro
What it is: Kind of like a treadmill for your abs, the Ab Circle Pro targets your entire core from side to side and front to back in a circular movement so that you can get rid of love handles and tone your entire middle. It also comes with a nutrition plan.
Target Audience: Males and females who want to tighten up their abdominal muscles.
Time Commitment: Three minutes per day.
Pros/Cons: It’s lightweight and can be easily stored under your bed or in a closet. But the the Ab Circle Pro is one of the more expensive As Seen on TV fitness devices.
Cost: $199.95 and free shipping and handling.
Complete Review: Ab Circle Pro
3. Bender Ball
What it is: The Bender Ball, which is a small exercise ball, target abs in ways that you can’t do with regular crunches. Regular crunches just move the core forward, but the Bender Ball allows you to get extension and flexion. The ball’s Selective Stabilization method sculpts your abs from all sides, including the hard-to-reach lower abs. The Bender Ball also comes with a series of abs workout routines.
Target Audience: Females who want to tighten their abs.
Time Commitment: Ten minutes per day.
Pros/Cons: Simple to use and cost-effective. But you may be able to get the same effects by using any exercise ball.
Cost: $12.98 plus $7.93 in shipping and handling.
Complete Review: Bender Ball
4. Wave Fitness by The Firm
What it is: This device, which is a cross between a rocking surf board and a step-aerobics platform, combines cardio with strength training. On one side is the rocking, or Wave, platform, which you can use to tone and strengthen your core, abs, lower back and hips. On the other anchored side, you can use it like a step aerobics platform for a cardio workout to burn calories with minimal impact on your joints. The Wave by the Firm also comes with a workout DVD that teaches you how to perform 100 different exercises.
Target Audience: Females who want an overall body workout.
Time Commitment: Three times per week.
Pros/Cons: Comes with supporting and instructive workouts but the rocking motion and design may lend itself to instability.
Cost: $59.95 plus $14.95 in shipping and handling.
Complete Review: Wave Fitness by the Firm
What it is: Also called the Slendertone Flex Pro, this abs contouring belt develops toned and sculpted abdominal muscles through its FDA-cleared electric muscle stimulation technology.
Target Audience: Males and females who want to tone their middle.
Time Commitment: Thirty to forty minutes a day, five days a week.
Pros/Cons: It can be worn at any time, but it does run the risk of causing chafing or burns, if not used correctly.
Cost: $99.95 plus $9.95 in shipping and handling.
Complete Review: Slendertone Flex
6. Core Sculptor
What it is: This stable but rolling pad targets your upper and lower abs, obliques and lower back. Together with the stretch power cords, you can tone these areas of your body in just a few minutes a day.
Target Audience: Females who want to tone their middle.
Time Commitment: Four minutes per day.
Pros/Cons: Time commitment is small and its compact design allows for easy storage, but its rolling movement may be unstable.
Cost: $59.95 plus $10.95 in shipping and handling.
Complete Review: Core Sculptor