What’s that saying about he who laughs last laughs best?
Well after some very laughable commentary, skits and jokes around the somewhat provocative-looking Shake Weight (made funniest by Saturday Night Live, of course), it turns out that this crazy piece of exercise equipment may actually give our upper bodies a good workout after all. Well, kind of.
With the company’s infomercials claiming that the Shake Weight can “increase your upper-body muscle activity by up to 300% compared to some traditional weights”, the American Council on Exercise decided to put it to the test. They commissioned a team of exercise scientists from the University of Wisconsin to compared the degree of muscle activation when using the Shake Weight versus a traditional dumbbell, and they came up with some surprising results.
The ACE team tested four different upper body exercises. First, they used the Shake Weight to do: the one-handed biceps shake, two-handed triceps shake, one-handed shoulder shake and a two-handed chest shake. Then, in order to target the same muscle groups, they used traditional dumbbells and did: a biceps curl, triceps extension, shoulder press and chest fly.
What they discovered after using both types of equipment was that muscle activity for all four muscles was indeed greater with the Shake Weight. Surprise, surprise! But before you run out and grab these for some last-minute Christmas presents, you should know that the Shake Weight didn’t necessarily contribute to increased muscle mass. Yes, total muscle activity increase was 66% (not the 300% like their commercials claim), but it didn’t build muscles any faster or bigger than traditional weights.
So, the take away here? The Shake Weight may just work after all. But you still have to get past the somewhat offensive gesture of using it.
And in case you forgot what was so funny about it, here is a clip of Jason Bateman and Ellen DeGeneres using one: