Rena Rates It: Exercise equipment

7:04 PM, Feb 15, 2011   |    comments
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  • Rena Rates It: Exercise Equipment
  • Rena Rates It: Exercise Equipment
  • Rena Rates It: Exercise Equipment
  • Rena Rates It: Exercise Equipment
  • Rena Rates It: Exercise Equipment
  • Rena Rates It: Exercise Equipment
  • Rena Rates It: Exercise Equipment
  • Rena Rates It: Exercise Equipment

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn.  -- You've no doubt caught one of the infomercials on T.V.  It's usually for a product sure to change your life, or at least or body, in no time flat.  And, you've no doubt wondered if it really works.  We're testing, and rating, some of the popular exercise products before you buy them.

We took each of the products to Steele Fitness, a Twin Cities personal training business, and to Dr. Stacy Ingraham, an exercise physiologist, in the Department of Kinesiology, at the University of Minnesota.

First on our list is Shake Weight. The product claims to give you arms that are firm and fabulous in just six minutes a day.

"Well, it weighs about three pounds so you'd better be shaking for the rest of your natural life to get any benefit," says personal trainer Steele Smiley.

Steele says any time you create resistance against your muscles it's a good thing, but the shake weight is pretty light and, as we found, pretty awkward to use.

We paid $19.99 for it, and we give it a thumbs down.

"To some degree shaking a $20 bill around versus this is going to be about the same and you look less weird, right?" said Steele.

I spoke by phone with Johann Verheem, the CEO of FitnessIQ, who defended the product. Verheem said the company has done numerous scientific studies to show their "Dynamic Inertia" works.

"We never made a weight loss claim in any of our advertising, we don't promise weight any weight loss. We've never made an inch-reduction claim. We've basically said this will tighten, tone and define your muscles," said Verheem.

Next up is Belly Burner. The waist-busting belt claims to melt off inches and burn calories faster. The key to this product is that you have to exercise and follow the low-fat diet plan that comes in the box.

"At the end of the day a device strapped on to your midsection is never going to help you lose weight, but eating better, making better lifestyle choices is definitely going to help you lose weight,' said Steele.

The rubber-lined neoprene is certainly going to make you sweat but it's also uncomfortable. At $19.99 we give Belly Burner a thumbs down. We contacted the company but did not get a response to our test results.

The Perfect.Pushup was designed with disks that rotate allowing you to change angles and target different muscles. Here's what we forgot...pushups are hard enough on their own.

"For that person that has never really done a lot of pushups, by moving this thing around your wrist, you're targeting your rotator cuff, a lot of smaller areas in your shoulder that might not have been used to doing pushups before and your risk of injury is just flat out high," said Steele.

So, if you're a Navy Seal, we give Perfect.Pushup a thumbs up. For the rest of us, use your hands, they're free.

It turns out the creator of the Perfect.Pushup actually was a Navy Seal. We spoke Alden Mills by phone to get his reaction to our test. Mills said he agrees that Perfect.Pushup is hard and is proud of the fact that the company has never claimed otherwise.

"We're pretty proud of the fact that our infomercials are not going out and claiming that one, it's easy, two, you're going to have some unrealistic expectation of how quickly you're going to change your body in a short period of time," said Mills.

The Irenew Bracelet is probably the most controversial of our products.

"You see these on the wrists of professional athletes. You see them on people that are on the tour that play golf. There are people that are on the tour that absolutely swear by this technology, if it is technology, and then there are people who say it's a total hoax, it didn't work for me," said Steele.

The company claims its technology can re-balance our biofields giving us better balance, strength and energy, however, their website offers no studies or research to back those claims up. Maybe it's the placebo effect or the power of suggestion, but there are those who claim it works.

"If a $19 rubber band gets you to do it, I think it's great," said Steele.

Regardless, we're giving Irenew Bracelet a thumbs down.

Disappointing results for the products we picked, but surely there's something out there that works.

"No," says Dr. Stacy Igraham with the University of Minnesota's Kinesiology Department. "We've got a very vulnerable population and it sells," she said.

Dr. Ingraham says if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

"This will go through one generation right now and people will realize this was garbage, and it's in your garage now, and you're not using it, and then they'll come up with a new thing, and it's probably the same thing that existed 10 years ago, and it's just packaged differently, it's a different color, and they've spun it differently, but it's still the same garbage we saw 20 years ago," said Ingraham.

It might not be what you want to hear but at least it will save you money.

"You don't need fancy equipment and you don't need a fancy place to work out. You just need to be burning calories," said Dr. Ingraham.

No pill, product or magic bullet, you're just going to have to work for it.

(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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