Be leery of those too good to be true exercise ads - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

Be leery of those too good to be true exercise ads

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NSCA certified personal trainer Shannon Sorrels has a bachelor's degree in chemistry and an MBA. Her Ahwatukee-based company, Physix LLC, works with Valley individuals and groups to improve their overall fitness. Reach her at (480) 528-5660 or visit www.azphysix.com.

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Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 8:00 am | Updated: 1:39 pm, Wed Oct 10, 2012.

Yet another fitness-gadget is espousing benefits backed by scientific studies. That's like blood in the water to me. I must investigate. It's an addiction.

The product in question? The "shaking dumbbell" (name changed because, who knows). You've seen it - overly fit men and women, smiling, muscular, grasping a shaking dumbbell-looking device. I'm a monkey's uncle if that "shaking dumbbell" created those six-pack abs.

I like it when the woman dumps an old-school dumbbell in the trash, then proceeds to exercise holding the "shaking dumbbell" in non-shake mode. Makes me laugh. Also entertaining is the bonus DVD. It contains workout routines that look like stuff you'd do in any fitness class. There isn't anything earth-shatteringly new about any of it.

Their website boldly states: "... is more than 7 times more effective than a regular dumbbell!" (their grammar, not mine). The footnote reads: "Study compared (it) to similar weight dumbbells performing standard dumbbell exercises." Where was the study?

I scoured the website. There were eight clickable links but surprise, no study. I did find a phone number that prompted me to order several times. The lady that eventually answered was nice, but she put me on hold a couple of times to look for the study. Finally, she said they didn't know how long it'd take to get the study from the manufacturer. I asked would it be ready in a week. She wasn't sure. Could I call the manufacturer? She didn't have the number. Surprise again.

Call me crazy but if you've got great scientific results, you'd plaster it all over the place. And yet?

I took a quick look on Google. It didn't reveal any obvious FTC filings or nefarious activity. There were lots of reviews, though. The best was by Consumer Reports.

They found the "shaking dumbbell" to expend fewer calories than walking at various speeds or a push-up/elastic band routine. For biceps they found muscle activation on par with standard exercises, but for triceps, chest and shoulders, the "shaking dumbbell" was inferior. Their conclusion was you could get a work out with it, but you'd be better off with a variety of other exercises. Surprise yet again.

Conclusion? I say save your money. Bicep curl a can of peas instead.

• NSCA certified personal trainer Shannon Sorrels has a bachelor's degree in chemistry and an MBA. Her Ahwatukee-based company, Physix LLC, works with Valley individuals and groups to improve their overall fitness. Reach her at (480) 528-5660 or visit www.azphysix.com.

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