The Shake Weight has been the brunt of many jokes and has even made its way in popular late night variety show skits. It seems like a very bizarre way to sculpt muscle, but could the crazy thing actually work? Nearly everyone who has access to television or the web has been a victim of the phallic ads of a guy or girl holding the ridiculous shaking dumbbell. Because of the seemingly sexual suggestive nature of the product, the Shake Weight has been the brunt of many jokes and has even made its way in popular late night variety show skits. I thought the Shake Weight would be bankrupt by now. How in the world could anyone take this piece of equipment seriously? Yet, to my surprise, I still see the silly thing on store shelves and their outlandish advertisement, which means people are still buying it despite all the jokes. Since the commercial went viral, for obvious reasons, it is nearly impossible to take the Shake Weight seriously. Maybe that is why I never really looked in to it. Even if it had merit, could I really bring myself to use it?
It's the stuff of dreams for raunchy Saturday Night Live comedy writers, but the Shake Weight might be worth more than just a few laughs. In case you haven't heard of the Shake Weight, it is, according to its makers, the "revolutionary new way to shape and tone your arms , shoulders and chest. Wanting to test out some of the claims made by the Shake Weight informercials -- primarily that the Shake Weight can "increase your upper-body muscle activity by up to percent compared to some traditional weights" -- ACE commissioned a team of exercise scientists from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. The researchers compared the degree of muscle activation when using the Shake Weight to using a traditional dumbbell of equal weight, and they came up with some interesting results. The ACE team tested four different workouts using both the Shake Weights and regular weights: the one-handed biceps shake, two-handed triceps shake, one-handed shoulder shake and two-handed chest shake were compared to a biceps curl, triceps extension, shoulder press and chest fly. Researchers measured muscle activity using something called surface electromyography EMG and found that, for all four exercises, the total EMG activity for all four muscles was indeed greater for the "shakes" -- on average, total muscle activity was 66 percent greater with the Shake Weight exercises not the percent the Shake Weight makers claim, but still a significant amount. The researchers found out that, although the EMG was indeed a lot higher, no matter which exercise they performed with the Shake Weight, the muscle being worked the hardest was always the tricep -- even when the tricep wasn't the target.
Hitting the infomercial airwaves in with promises like these, Shake Weight quickly became one of the hottest-selling products on TV. Originally marketed to females as the cure for flabby arms, the Shake Weight is essentially a lightweight 2. Over the past couple of years, the Shake Weight infomercials have gained something of a cult following in popular culture, primarily because some find that the way the models use the Shake Weight in the infomercial can be perceived as sexually suggestive. A quick YouTube search yields several very funny parodies. But officials at Fitness IQ say they don't mind the parodies and insist that these parodies probably have, in fact, helped to make the Shake Weight one of the best-selling fitness products in the nation. Better results in less time? It may sound too good to be true, but the buying public is, well, buying it.
The Shake Weight is a modified dumbbell that oscillates, purportedly increasing the effects of exercise. As a result of the perceived sexually suggestive nature of the product, infomercial clips of the exercise device have gone viral. A study in Consumer Reports states that for the chest, shoulder and triceps, the Shake Weight's exercises are inferior to conventional exercises that target the individual muscles.