Fitness

Weird, Weirder, Weirdest: The Craziest Workouts

Every time you turn on the TV or search YouTube for a fresh new workout, you probably come across another weird workout trend or bizarre piece of exercise equipment. We’ve picked some of the funniest ones to hit the Internet over the past few years, and we’re going to tell you whether they’re really the fitness revelations they claim to be, or whether you’re better off hitting the gym and getting your sweat on.

THE FLEX BELT

This is a weird one if we’ve ever seen one! You’ve probably clicked past ads for the Flex Belt, or heard of other devices a whole lot like it. The Flex Belt is a type of EMS device, which stands for “electrical muscle stimulation.” These types of exercisers have been around for a long time, almost since electricity itself was discovered! The idea is that your muscles get flexed and relaxed without any real effort on your part. You can wear something like the Flex Belt while sitting on the couch watching TV, and you don’t have to break a sweat or spend time in the gym.

Lots of people find these devices not just bizarre but also a little bit scary–after all, you’re basically electrocuting yourself to stimulate your muscles! And in that sense, EMS devices like the Flex Belt really do work. The Flex Belt will make your abdominal muscles contract, and some reviewers report that they feel like they did a full ab workout after using it.

But does the Flex Belt give you the six-pack abs advertised in their commercials? Probably not. This is the source of many users’ dissatisfaction with this wacky workout device. In essence, the Flex Belt doesn’t do anything that a really good ab workout can’t do. So if you haven’t achieved six-pack abs with hard work at the gym, you probably won’t achieve them with one of these devices, either.

Genetics are a big factor in how much muscle you build, and the amount of fat on your body is a big factor in how well your abs “show” on your stomach. So if all you’re doing is laying around the house using the Flex Belt, it’s unlikely you’ll get the results you’re seeking. Those six-pack abs require hard work at the gym and amazing nutrition, too.

THE SHAKE WEIGHT

The Shake Weight is a weird one that swept the Internet a few years ago… but not because of the amazing results it gives its users! This device got popular because of how silly people look while they’re using it. Check out the video. It’s amusing, to say the least!

This weird weight is supposed to work by keeping your muscles in a steady state of contraction. Instead of doing full range-of-motion exercises like bicep curls and chest presses, you hold your arms still while grasping the Shake Weight, and jiggle it back and forth in a very small motion. The Shake Weight site claims that this type of exercise, done with little rest, “burns more calories” than traditional weight lifting. They don’t claim that you won’t look a little ridiculous, though!

A writer for Greatist tested the Shake Weight for a whole month, using it for the recommended 6 minutes every day. The reviewer did lose two pounds, but she attributes this to factors other than the Shake Weight, because she saw almost no difference in arm tone or definition! She even found that after using the Shake Weight for a month, her arms felt weaker at the gym when she went back to do some lifting. Now that’s weird.

So what’s the verdict? You’re probably still better off lifting weights in a traditional gym setting using your full range of motion. The Shake Weight is another “easy way out” that’s probably a lot less effective than putting in the time at the gym.

GENIE HOUR GLASS WAIST TRAINER

Waist trainers have become more popular lately, with ads appearing on TV and in magazines for these apparently miraculous shaping devices. They strike a lot of women as super weird because of how much they resemble corsets. But unlike corsets, which are made to be worn under clothes and hold a shape temporarily, waist trainers tend to claim that they will alter your body shape even after you take them off. Some even say that they can help you lose fat from your waist and flush toxins out of your body. All from wearing something around our waists? Hmm…

Most of us probably know from simple common sense that it’s unlikely that we can change our body shapes simply by compressing them into the shape we want. Even targeted exercise can only take our shaping efforts so far: our waists can only get so small, our biceps only so big, and our stomachs only so toned based on our genes and body types. We can maximize results with great exercise and proper nutrition, but can we permanently change our shapes?

The short answer is no. This weird workout trend (many women wear their waist trainers while exercising!) is most likely nonsense. So what do waist trainers actually do? Most often, they make you sweat like crazy! Which makes you weigh less. Which in turn makes many women think that their waist trainers are working miracles.

What’s more, just like corsets waist trainers can compress your internal organs if you cinch them too tight or wear them too long. And even when worn properly, they can bruise your ribs and make it difficult to breathe as deeply as you should. That’s not weird, it’s just unhealthy.

PRANCERCISE

If you haven’t seen this one floating around on the Internet, then you may have been living under a rock for the past few years! Prancercise became a popular meme, with tons of GIFs and videos made about the weird form of exercise that involves, well… prancing. Sometimes with ankle weights and handheld weights to add resistance.

Prancercise now involves a website complete with diet tips: eliminating most processed foods, lowering sodium, and getting plenty of omega-3 fatty acids. All of this seems like a great idea. But does Prancercising for exercise actually work, or is it just another weird exercise trend?

It does work! But not because there’s anything special about Prancercise. Prancercise is likely to work because, plain and simply, it’s exercise. You’re doing what is in essence a light jog, and using weights to tone and strengthen your body. That’s not to say that Prancercise isn’t special, though! It actually looks like a lot of fun. This form of exercise teaches you to forget about what people think when you’re working out (prancing in public takes some guts!), and focuses on enjoying your favorite music and connecting with your playful side.

Definitely not a bad thing. Go ahead and give it a try if you’re bored with running… and if you’re brave enough to Prancercise in public.

VIBRASLIM VIBRATION EXERCISE MACHINE

Again, there are lots of weird machines and exercises that work just about the same way as the VibraSlim, but this particular product makes a good example since it’s been advertised pretty often recently. It looks like a stair-stepper, but instead of stairs, the platform on which you stand is flat. And it vibrates.

That’s about it! As you can see from the video, you’re supposed to do exercises with your feet, hands, or butt on the vibrating platform. The idea is that the machine’s vibrations will “build muscle strength, improve your flexibility, speed up metabolism, build bone density and lose weight.”

But there’s a reason why you won’t find a set of these bizarre machines in most gyms! Vibration doesn’t have any significant benefits as far as increasing your fitness or your fat burn. It is possible that vibration has effects on your muscles, but the actual, measurable results? They’re unlikely to be anything to write home about.

Like all “magic bullet” weight loss and toning solutions, the VibraSlim probably often succeeds in getting people to exercise more than they used to, because they’re interested in using their new “toy.” This often results in weight loss and/or a better-looking body, which the customer attributes to the action of the machine itself and not to the fact that they’ve been more active than usual. Vibration doesn’t reduce body fat: burning calories does.

Let’s Wrap It Up!

As tempting as easy fixes might be–they’re SO weird that they MUST work, right?!–we just can’t recommend them for improving your health, fitness, or appearance. Science agrees: the only things that can alter our body shapes and reduce the amount of fat we store are healthy eating and regular exercise. Or Prancercise, if you’re into that.

Are you sighing wistfully, wishing that weight loss and toning up could be so easy? We do have some ideas for you!

Check out our 15 Day Challenge/6 Week Fit Body Challenge for workout and meal plans that WORK and are already DONE for you. Getting your ideal body can’t be effort-free (sorry!), but it can be super fun and easy.

And don’t forget to include IdealLean BCAAs into your daily regimen. Drinking BCAAs during your workout will help to  repair your muscles so you can get back into the gym faster, and provide a specially formulated Fat Loss blend so you can burn fat, and build lean muscle.

Maximize your hard work by including IdealLean Protein into your daily regimen. Adding IdealLean Protein will help you to build a lean, strong physique. And try it in one of our amazing stacks to help meet your fitness goals.



Katharine Stevenson

Katharine Stevenson

Writer and expert


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