Ever wonder if the Shake Weight is actually, like, effective? You’re not the only one. As a celebrity trainer, I get asked all the time for my opinion about fitness gadgets that are advertised on TV. (The inquiries have only increased now that I have my own product line.) So this week, I thought I’d take five workout devices you’ve been pitched and tell you what I really think of them. The truth might surprise you... once you get over the fact that I didn’t have room for the Thighmaster. —Jay Cardiello
Rock 360, $14.95 This newish product reminds me of the old-school ab wheel that you rolled forward and backward. Only here, you can roll it in any direction to work every inch of your midsection. Now, the pros about this thing: first, I like that its founder, Tommy Saunders, actually played football at a high level—for the University of Missouri—so he understands what an athlete goes through. Two, it will definitely work. It’ll create elongation in your ab muscles and challenge you. The cons: it’s probably not suited for someone who’s really out of shape. And if you don’t have much lumbar strength, it could put a great deal of stress on your lower back.
Jack Rack, $365 My favorite of the bunch. I like that it’s endorsed by Dr. Jim Stoppani of Muscle & Fitness (the most badass-looking doctor ever), as well as UFC champ Chuck Liddell. Jack Rack can be your everyday workout program, especially if you’re a gym rat. There are lots of exercises—more than 150, including 80 different types of pushups and 30 types of pull-ups. Plus, it includes a nutritional program. As mentioned in previous columns, nutrition is critical, accounting for 80 percent of your health and body composition. If you think you’re going to get ripped and lean simply by exercising, forget it.
Perfect Pushup, $19.95 I love the Perfect Pushup. The Navy SEAL and his associates who created it made a simple but great product. For one thing, it doesn’t cause wrist flexion, so it gives you a more solid base when you’re doing pushups (which is better for your joints). The other thing is, it just seems more fun than a regular pushup. If I say, “Do a pushup,” you might not be too motivated. But when you see the Perfect Pushup, you’re going to be more excited to try it out. That’s why a lot of gyms now carry this product. It’s also easy to travel with, so you can stay fit on the road.
T-Core Fitness Trainer for Men, $32.95 This one is my least favorite. Reason being, it focuses only on the anterior (front) portion of your core. And when you’re developing your core, you should be working on both the front and the back. If you’re sitting at a desk all day, you’re creating an anterior tilt. The movement of the T-Core is just exacerbating that anterior tilt. And when your body is unbalanced that way, you’re more prone to injury. (It also doesn’t look very good, from a posture standpoint, when you’re hunched over.) That said, the commercial is pretty fantastic. I especially like the narrator’s use of the phrase “speed bump abs.” Feel free to use that sometime.
Shake Weight for Men, $29.95 The Shake Weight has been the butt of many a joke over the past few years, but here’s the thing: it’s actually pretty effective. It will access and break down muscle fibers, which is the key to muscle growth. Now, it doesn’t take your muscles through a full range of motion, which would be better for preventing injury. And I don’t think it’s your be-all, end-all program. (Like, I seriously doubt you’re going to get “ripped, strong, toned arms and chest in six minutes” without a diet plan.) But it could be a nice supplemental product. Keep one in the office for a quick workout. After everyone else has left, of course. Jay Cardiello is Made Man’s fitness and nutrition expert. As a top certified strength and conditioning coach, personal trainer and sports nutritionist, Cardiello has worked with Hollywood A-Listers, Fortune 500 CEOs and NFL stars. His accelerated body transformation program, JCore, is available here, and his new book, Cardio Core 4×4, is available here. Got a question for Jay? Leave a note in the comment section, and he’ll do his best to address it in a future column.