Does the Shake Weight Really Work?

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?

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We’ve all seen it. 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. It seems like a very bizarre way to sculpt muscle, but could the crazy thing actually work?

I’ll be honest. I thought the Shake Weight would be bankrupt by now. Seriously. 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 to work their arms, 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? Millions of other people aren’t afraid to shake up their bodyweight workout, so why should I?

Shake Weight

Shake Weight: How It Works

The Shake Weight is a dumbbell with two weights at either end, which are connected by a spring at the handle. The idea behind the Shake Weight is that it works by the method called “dynamic inertia”. The user is supposed to manually shake the weight while basically holding an isometric (static) contraction.

I looked up “dynamic inertia” to learn more but all I could find were a bunch of hilarious posts about the Shake Weight which I cannot even repeat because of sexual undertones. It seems this terminology is only used in Shake Weight commercials – and in the bedroom.

The product also comes with a 6-minute DVD on how to use it. The original shake weight is offered in two different weights, a 2.5-lb weight for women and a 5-lb weight for men. As they say in infomercial land, ‘but wait, there’s more.’

Not only is the Shake Weight not out of business, they came out with a new version called the Shake Weight Roll. The weighted circular ends now spin so you can use it as an ab roller, among other things. In addition to changing up their design, they’ve also doubled the workout. For $29.95 (plus shipping and handling of course), you will get the Shake Weight Roll and a 12-minute DVD workout featuring 12 exercises for the full body instead of just the arms.

Shake Weight

Does the Shake Weight Really Work?

I have to tell you, I really hoped the Shake Weight would surprise me and prove to be more than just a joke, but the one real pro I could come up with is also a con. It is lightweight so it’s pretty portable but it’s so lightweight it is also limiting. While it might be a good weight for a beginner, there is no way to increase resistance – and the Shake Weight’s suggested exercises are limited.

The list of cons, on the other hand, is quite long so I’ll narrow it down to just a couple of important points. One, while the company says their product is backed by scientific studies, but they do not have that research available on their website, and I have not been able to find any reliable studies or scientific journals that support the product.

However, I did find a noteworthy study by the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, which compared the shake weight to a regular dumbbell and the dumbbell won on every level. When it comes to strength training, there are simply better methods.

The other issue is that the workout action required is unnatural and some experts say it could even cause muscle spasms that could lead to injury. This is where I draw the line on questionable methods. If there is a safer way to get better results, it’s not worth the money or the risk.

Fit or Flop?

While I really did dive into this project with an open mind, my initial instincts were correct. This phallic piece of exercise equipment is a flop and not worth the money – unless you plan on giving it to a friend as a gag gift. Then, all the laughter, endless jokes and priceless photographs are definitely worth every penny.