Shake Weight won’t work, even though their TV informercial and web site say you can get “strong, sculpted arms” with this funky “shake weight” device: a dumbbell that you shake. If you clicked on this article, you have seen the nutty informercials and/or have come across Shake Weight in the store.
I’m a certified personal trainer. Shake Weight will not give you the sculpted, strong arms you seek. The TV infomercial emphasizes the flappy part of the upper back of women’s arms. This is the triceps muscle group. However, sometimes that floppiness is also caused by excess fat as well. Nevertheless, untoned triceps muscles will yield that unsightly, saggy appearance even in a thinner woman.
In order to tone and firm the triceps muscles, you must perform the joint action of elbow extension against resistance, and full range of motion is ideal, though almost-full range will also work. There must be sufficient resistance to force the triceps to work hard — not necessarily exhaustingly hard, but definitely vigorously.
Jostling a 2.5 pound weight will not accomplish this. First of all, the Shake Weight informercial and web site show the models shaking the weights absent elbow extension. The advertised motion is not true elbow extension, because what little elbow extending occurs spans a tiny amount of space: only a few inches. This isn’t sufficient enough to engage the triceps muscles to the point of changing their appearance.
The classic exercises for toning, firming and strengthening the triceps are “push-downs” and “dips.” In both of these exercises, there is complete or near-full elbow extension. There is no way around this. Triceps can also get firmed up and tightened by doing pushups and chest pressing motions, because these exercises involve elbow extension, though to a lesser degree than do push-downs and dips.
There is not one triceps-targeting exercise that does not involve elbow extension. Even that “triceps machine” you sit on at the gym, with your elbows on a pad, involves elbow extension. But Shake Weight? It’s not there, so how can this product yield enviable upper arms? It won’t.
Shake Weight also says that the jostling action targets biceps and chest. No way. For the same reasons I cited for elbow extension, Shake Weight will not tone and tighten biceps; only elbow flexion against sufficient resistance will do that.
The Shake Weight program involves shaking the weights for six nonstop minutes. Anything that can be done for six nonstop minutes does not utilize enough resistance to result in the toned, tight and compact upper arms that you desire. This is why the classic strength training moves for triceps and biceps take only a fraction of that time: typically 8-12 repetitions, and then the set is completed. Several more sets are necessary for ideal results.
Some users of Shake Weight (which weigh only 2.5 pounds) believe “it will work” because within several minutes, they “feel the burn” or “feel it” in their upper arms. But “feeling it” is not a criterion for whether or not something will work. The joint action is so limited (range of motion) in Shake Weight that it will be impossible to transform flabby, flappy, shapeless arms into Michelle Obama’s arms. Impossible.
The web site also says Shake Weight will “shape and tone” your “shoulders and chest.” No way. Chest toning occurs when you are pushing against resistance. This can be done from several body positions, such as lying down (bench press, dumbbell press), and an inverted lying position (pushup) and a seated position (seated or horizontal chest press). These motions do not occur with Shake Weight. Shake Weight also does not involve the joint actions required to target shoulder muscles.
For toned, firm, shapely, tight, compact and stronger upper arms, you must engage in rigorous elbow extension exercises (which can be done with dumbbells, pulley machines, seated machines and body weight exercises like dips and pushups) and elbow flexion exercises (“curls” using dumbbells, barbells, machines or pulleys). Losing excess fat, which Shake Weight will not promote due to inefficient exertion, will improve appearance of upper arms.
The women in the Shake Weight commercials are certainly paid models who most likely perform traditional exercises for toning and tightening their upper arms.