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The Shake Weight: Spot Reducing Arm Fat Through the Science of Dynamic Inertia!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009 Posted by Peter Janiszewski, PhD

What weighs about 2 lbs, is shaped like a phallus, and is used exclusively by women?

Nope – not what you were thinking!

The product I just described is the Shake Weight – the new fitness product sweeping the nation! As described in the brief commercial which has now gone viral on YouTube for all the wrong reasons (see video below to understand exactly what I am alluding to), the Shake Weight is “the revolutionary new way to shape and tone arms ... designed specifically for women!”

Apparently, “in just 6 minutes a day you can get arms you’ll be proud to show off.”

If you have any weight to lose, somehow I doubt that using the Shake Weight for 6 minutes a day will lead to much improvement in body composition in any area of the body. To accomplish this, you need to expend some calories.

But wait, as the commercial plays, I start to think I may have missed something.

The Shake Weight is “based on a completely new workout technology called DYNAMIC INERTIA which ignites the muscles in your arms, shoulders and chest.”

Wow that sounds impressive! Dynamic inertia – that’s got to be good for you! (While I have no idea what this “new workout technology” actually entails, I get the impression it has something to do with vibration training – a topic previously debunked on our site.)

So what exactly is this advanced piece of exercise technology?

In essence, it’s a 2.5 lb dumbbell that you shake.

According to the sexy voiceover, “Scientific studies at a prestigious California university prove that the shake weight increases upper-body muscle activity by more than 300% in comparison to traditional weights.”

As we always try to do at Obesity Panacea, I attempted to find out more details about these studies from this mysterious university, but alas, the Shake Weight website was not working: “HTTP Error 404 - File or directory not found”. This is always a good sign.

However, I did uncover by reading some other (potentially unreliable) sources that the “prestigious” California university in question was actually DeVry.

Then comes the typical product endorsement…

Is this a glowing product endorsement by a physician, or researcher, or exercise physiologist?

Nope, instead the Shake Weight is endorsed by Lindsey Reese, “Professional Personal Trainer.”

You must have heard of Lindsey Reese! No? Ok, me neither.

Lindsey believes that the Shake Weight is the “fastest, easiest, and most effective way to get a beautiful, defined, and sexy upper body.”

ALERT: If this woman is your personal trainer, you should be VERY worried.

You can work your biceps, triceps, shoulders, and chest – all for $19.95! What a steal! (Keep in mind this only buys you ONE 2.5 lb dumbbell).

But wait – there’s more!

Included for the listed price, is a bonus revolutionary exercise DVD which will show you how to perform the most basic exercises ever (i.e. lunges) – but I bet you’ve never done lunges whilst holding a vibrating sex-toy above your head!

Remember – this is revolutionary exercise technology!

Dynamic Inertia!


(If you are baffled by the highly punctuated and ‘loud’ tone of today’s post, please click here to view a previously featured silly video which should clear things up).

We usually like to direct our readers to the source of the product, in the unlikely event they weren’t convinced by our analysis and were interested in purchasing the discussed product. Unfortunately, as the official Shake Weight website is out of order, you will just have to try eBay.

Enjoy the video.
UPDATE: check out the newly released Shake Weight for Men!


[Note: Thanks to dedicated Obesity Panacea follower and friend, Andrew for bringing this wonderful video to our attention.]

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17 Response to "The Shake Weight: Spot Reducing Arm Fat Through the Science of Dynamic Inertia!"

  1. Richard Eis Said,

    This reminds me of the powerball gyro advert i once saw. It's perhaps a little beyond your normal posts but i wouldn't mind seeing your opinion.

    Posted on August 6, 2009 at 3:43 AM

  2. Peter Janiszewski, PhD (Cand.), MSc Said,

    Thanks for the link Richard. After briefly perusing the Power Ball website, I tend to think their approach, at least in marketing, is superior to that of the Shake Weight.

    I like the fact that they do not claim this product will help with weight loss or toning the arms or other nonsense. Whether it has any actual transfer to skill improvement in any sport - I'd be curious to see the evidence. It does seem plausible at least that using it would strengthen your wrists and forearm muscles.

    However, if the power ball is as 'addictive' as the manufacturers claim then my concern would be actually causing repetitive strain injuries. Also, I think the best way to improve your golf swing, is to practice your golf swing – not play with a ball.

    Finally, after seeing a few of their videos – some of the movements performed by people trying out the product, also bring to mind a sexual gesture. So in that sense, the Power Balls along with the Shake Weight could be a great package as a gag gift for a friend, but that’s probably where their use ends.

    I will try and do a full post on this product in the near future – maybe there is some evidence to support their claims.


    Posted on August 6, 2009 at 9:54 AM

  3. Lauri Said,

    Thanks Peter, I needed the laugh. BTW, have you seen I found it after your column on nutritionists and trainers.

    Posted on August 7, 2009 at 11:19 AM

  4. Peter Janiszewski, PhD (Cand.), MSc Said,

    I'm glad your enjoyed the post, Lauri! Those types of posts are by far the most cathartic to write.

    Thanks for the link - I had actually seen that before, though I don't believe we've ever featured it on the site. Pretty hilarious - although by the same token, a bit frightening.


    Posted on August 7, 2009 at 12:46 PM

  5. Anonymous Said,

    the shake weight doesnt vibrate it just has a free moving weight in a tube with springs inside the tube on either side of the weight that bounce the weight back and forth as you shake it

    its funny youre trash talking it bcuz its really effective

    Posted on October 27, 2009 at 11:33 PM

  6. Anonymous Said,

    when i was googling around i found first your url and then the one below,
    which mentions the ppl and place doing the scientific research mentioned in the adds

    A well-documented scientific study involving the Shake Weight technology was
    conducted by Dr. Daniel Cipriani, Professor at the department of Exercise
    Physiology at San Diego State University, one of the leading Exercise Physiology
    Departments in the country. The study used EMG monitoring of muscle activity
    during use of the Shake Weight compared to similar size dumbbells, pushups and
    sit-ups. The study revealed that the Shake Weight radically outperforms free
    weights due to the rapid motion of the exercise and isometric contraction of the
    entire upper body during use.

    Posted on October 28, 2009 at 2:34 AM

  7. Anonymous Said,

    I was skeptical, but hey, 40 bucks with shipping isnt much. I dont want to advertise, but i like it. 6 minutes a day wont get you much, but my dworkout time definitely halved while i feel the same good old feeling in my muscles as after using dumbells. There are no batteries or vibration - you move everything with your own hands. Basically its 10 lbs (5+5 on each end) that you move up, then down, but in the end the inertia addds to the force which your movement down needs to do. So in essence its not same as shaking a 10 or a 100 lb dumbell, where gravity pulls it down - here you do work both going up and down, and it is more than moving the 10 lbs due to the spring inside. No matter how funny it might look, it does work.

    Posted on January 27, 2010 at 10:15 PM

  8. Anonymous Said,

    As others stated, ShakeWeight doesn't have a battery and doesn't vibrate on its own.

    YOU SHAKE IT. And it actually works.

    Yes, you can do the same thing with weights, but for $20 you can get a much faster workout that does the same thing.

    Funny you write an article after only seeing a commercial, it leads me to question the credibility of other articles on this site.

    Posted on February 1, 2010 at 10:22 PM

  9. Travis Saunders Said,

    Thanks for the comments - we have changed the post to say that the Shake Weight is not battery operated. Although that makes little difference in our views of its likely effectiveness.

    I checked out the Reuters press release, and although the study is "well publicized", I couldn't find it listed as one of Dr Cipriani's publications on Pubmed. If you can find a link to the paper itself, please send it our way so that way can discuss it on the site.


    Posted on February 1, 2010 at 10:52 PM

  10. Anonymous Said,

    Well in my oppinon a lot of people have gutter minds. I have the shake weight, I also use weights, but try and do it for 6 minutes, you wont the first, second or third time. I am a swimmer, it took me 5 days before I could do 6 min. Of course it goes along with diet and other exercise, but I like the way my arms feel...LOL B.W

    Posted on February 7, 2010 at 1:17 PM

  11. Susan Said,

    This is by far one of the best workouts I've had in a long while (albeit for upper body only). You can sit and watch TV and do it. I follow the video tho' and really felt like I'd actually targeted my arms, shoulders and chest. This shaker weight has hardly been around long enough to say it's just another scam. I'm going to give it a try. I'd love to have defined arms and Mz Reese looks great. So what if she's not famous she's a good example of what she's promoting. The 6 min workout is a good start, shows the right moves & can be increased. I find dumbell weights...well, dumb (& boring). At least with this, there's a concentration on doing it correctly. I got mine at Fry's by the way, $21.90 w/tax (no S/H). Anyone have some positive energy to share? Results? How long?

    Posted on March 7, 2010 at 9:06 AM

  12. Anonymous Said,

    The Shake Weight probably does give its user a good upper body burn, but you still can't say you have achieved a good workout in just 6 minutes. Everyone would love to gain strength and look toned with only 6 minutes of working out a day but that is unrealistic. The isometric contractions the Shake Weight provides (like any other isometric exercise) is not real functional strength unless you only need strength at that one specific point in your ROM. Stop wasting your energy arguing with 2 exercise experts about the effectiveness of another trendy exercise product and put some real work in to improving your health.

    Posted on March 8, 2010 at 6:42 PM

  13. Anonymous Said,

    this looks like a jack off stick. lmao.

    Posted on March 15, 2010 at 3:55 AM

  14. Anonymous Said,

    For $19.95 it isn't a bad price. but you don't need to pay for shipping. It is available at your local Target store and most likely Walmart as well!!

    Posted on April 28, 2010 at 11:15 AM

  15. Shannon Said,

    Someone actually bought one of these for me as a gag gift...I've tied a cord to it and have hung it from my rearview window since, which says a lot about how "heavy" it is.

    But anyway, the people who are boasting that it works are amusing to me. I won't doubt that if you have no arms period, it does give some results. BUT there is nothing magical about the Shake can accomplish the same thing and "feel it" by gripping your remote control tight or shaking a jug of water (heavier too).

    To the one who says that the trainer is a "good example of what she's promoting," there is no way a personal trainer got those arms via a Shake Weight (what did she do before the Shake Weight was created?) Just because a NASCAR driver steps foot into a clunker doesn't make it suitable for the race track.

    Many females want the "Michelle Obama arms," however they might not realize that the first lady got up at 5:30AM every morning with a personal trainer to earn those arms. Looking "toned" takes work.

    On a final note, to the author, the video itself actually doesn't teach any lunges, it's all very weak arm exercises. More hysterically after every rep is an "active recovery period"...for a two and a half pound weight, LOL.

    Posted on June 24, 2010 at 8:25 PM

  16. jeever1981 Said,

    I never read that this shake weight was designed for weight loss at all! It's to get toned arms and shoulders! If you want to lose weight, just change your eating habbits! And if you want a toned body, go excersize! The Shake Weight is excellent if you want to train your arms. Your article was hilarious to read though.

    Posted on August 23, 2010 at 8:37 AM

  17. Anonymous Said,

    i own a shake weight and i absolutely love it! no, it's not to lose weight, but it definitely tones your arms without having to do push ups. it's fantastic 20 bucks at wal-mart good investment if your not lazy and actually use it! :]

    Posted on September 9, 2010 at 11:23 PM


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We are PhD students in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Our research focuses on the relationships between obesity, physical activity, and health risk. This blog is our attempt to consider the many "cures" for obesity that we read about on a daily basis. Enjoy.


The opinions expressed here belong only to Peter and Travis and do not reflect the views of any organization. Any medical discussion on this page is intended to be of a general nature only. This page is not designed to give specific medical advice. If you have a medical problem you should consult your own physician for advice specific to your own situation.

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