Do Workout Props Really Work?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 - 9:53am

By Michele Silence, MA

It seems like there is a never-ending stream of new workout props on the market—from steps and gliders to cardio blades and balls. But do any of these things really make a difference? Can they help you get in shape, or are they simply gimmicks designed to take your hard earned cash?

Be a savvy shopper when buying workout props

Actually, many of these workout props do help with a variety of exercises. The key is to learn their functions, as well as their limitations. Most of the time, the companies promoting these products make exaggerated claims about their capabilities. And, when a few strands of truth are tangled in with a lot of bogus statements, it’s easy to swallow an entire sales pitch.

How can you evaluate a workout prop before you buy it? Take each claim and put it through this test.

  • Is the claim realistic? For example, do the promoters claim you will change dramatically in a short period of time? Losing a few pounds a week is realistic. Dropping 20 in a month is not. People do not improve the way they look quickly. It takes time. If it didn’t there would be a lot more people walking around looking terrific. The more dramatic the results, the more likely they’re phony.
  • What does the label say? Look for the fine print that says “results not typical”. This means that most people who use the product won’t see a big change. And, no one knows what other things led to success in anyone who claimed it worked.

Also, look for the words “guaranteed results when used in conjunction with a low-fat, high fiber diet and regular exercise”, or something similar. This means that if you exercise and eat right, you’re guaranteed results. Well, that’s no news flash. In fact, if you exercise and eat right, you probably don’t need to purchase the product at all.

Workout props keep you motivated

On the upside, workout props can be a lot of fun. Used for variation or for targeting specific muscles groups they can be very motivating and effective. Too often though, it’s expected that they will deliver miraculous results overnight. Changes that only a magic wand could make happen.

So, do use those props. Enjoy crunches on a Swiss Exercise ball for a great core workout. Glide around for non-impact aerobic conditioning. Tubing will make those muscles tight and tough. And, stretching straps really help with deep stretching. Each item has its pluses and minuses. As long as you use each prop for what it’s best suited for you’ll have a lot of fun and get some really great results. Just avoid trying to get an entire workout from one product. Use them all. They’re fun, and they keep you interested. For many, that’s exactly what they need to keep motivated.