Before I was a personal trainer in West Los Angeles, I remember doing 7 Minute Abs with my mom when I was 10 years old, and I can still hear my mom ogling over the blonde haired dude in the video (“He’s just such a doll, I can’t get over him!” in her thick New Jersey accent). After a slew of fitness products that never produced any results, and finding out the science later in life as to why these products never worked, I realized I had been duped.
Since then, I’d always had a negative perception of “As Seen On TV” fitness products. Any product (not service) that offers expedited results with minimal work is typically too good to be true.
But once in awhile a product will come out and actually be of use. The product typically isn’t good for the reasons promised in the infomercial. Take the ab wheel for example. “Tone your upper body as you desire. This wheel targets your abs, shoulders, arms, and back for a strength building workout.”
Interpretation “Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.”
However, the ab wheel is a great fitness product because of it’s rehabilitative properties. it works the “anti-extensors” of the core. The core is more about resisting movement then creating it, and a lot of our body’s dysfunction and imbalances come from the core. Therefore, utilizing the anti-extensor properties can help stabilize your core, therefore allowing the rest of the body do what it is designed to do: Move freely without restriction and produce the most amount of power with the least amount of effort.
The shake weight was marketed to “Work Chest, Biceps, Triceps & Shoulders. Build Definition, Size & Strength FAST! Dramatically Increases Muscle Activity.” No more gym memberships, now you can look like a complete fool in the privacy of your own home.
OK, I made up the last line. Unsurprisingly, these claims have been disproved with research. You can check it out here if you’re super bored.
There is a time and place for the shake weight. The place is just not in the physique realm and is actually in the rehabilitation realm- particularly in rotator cuff rehabilitation.
External shoulder perturbation exercises are great for shoulder stabilization. Again, if you’re super bored you can check out the research supporting this.
The shake weight could actually be most optimally use in a diagonal pattern for effective scapular muscle activation, such as the one in this video:
If you don’t happen to have a shake weight for some crazy reason, you could also use a body blade, bouncy balls, or have someone physically do perturbations at each angle of the pattern.
Try these diagonal patterns lying on your back, on your stomach, standing up, on your knees, and on one knee to add functional carryover as well as core integration.