8 Pieces Of Junk Fitness Equipment

The world of late night TV (and now prime time too) has never had a shortage of stupid exercise machines guaranteed to make you look like a dehydrated, sauced-up infomercial model. ObsessionFitness has put together a quick list of 8 of the worst offenders, including our favorite, the hula-inducing Hawaii Chair.

“Faux Fitness – 8 Inane & Pointless Pieces of Exercise Equipment” [ObsessionFitness]


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  1. SJActress says:

    Ellen had the Hawaii chairs on her show for a few days last season.


  2. B says:

    The treadmill bike is a joke, right?
    Oh, god, I hope that’s not a serious product.

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      @B: I can’t accept that it’s real. I can’t.

      /OMG I CAN REPLY!!!

    • _NARC_ says:

      @B: There are people laughing in the background during parts of the clip; I definitely think that it’s a joke.

      I love the fact that the person running on the bike is going considerably slower than if they were just running on the ground!

    • bonzombiekitty says:

      @B: It has to be a joke. But you can apparently buy one from here, although I’m guessing it’s intended to just be a joke item.

    • shepd says:


      I believe it really exists. It appears to have been built by students at the University of Waterloo, considering the filing involved “uptown” (really downtown) Waterloo and the University of Waterloo campus. However, as a resident of the area, I can assure you I’ve never seen one, ever.

      And I would also suggest the film is a tongue-in-cheek joke and that the thing will never actually be produced. University of Waterloo students build a *lot* of useless inventions. I get to hear about them on the local news every once in a while–some of them are neat, like the RC spy-hover-planes one guy is building for the military, but others are completely moronic (but I can’t think of an example off the top of my head).

      • BluePlastic says:

        @shepd: This thing was shown briefly on a recent episode of “The Doctors.” It’s apparently real. They were telling people to be careful if they use it. It looks like a device to use if you WANT to be injured.

    • TVarmy says:

      @B: I’m near 100% certain this is a joke made by some engineering students. It’s not a real product, it was made as a joke because it’s so obviously useless.

  3. BuddhaLite says:

    Love the treadmill bike. Just get a fixed gear bike and then you either pedal or die.

  4. HogwartsAlum says:

    Anybody buy any fitness things that actually work or are any good? If so, what are they?

    HELP!!!! I’m too fat! Although I did take a twenty-minute walk today and do a little weight work. Yay for me! :)

    • Ratty says:

      @HogwartsAlum: Just buy some free weights and some nice running shoes, and introduce yourself to the hellish (and effecitve) world of HIIT.

    • MBEmom says:

      @HogwartsAlum: I personally love an elliptical machine, but it’s pricey. Debbie Siever’s does a great aerobics video series. She will kill you and if not, you will wish she had.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @HogwartsAlum: Sitting on a stabilizer ball while you sit at your desk really works your core over time. (But you need either a low desk or a tall ball … or one of those fancy ball-chairs which I don’t know if they’re any good.)

      I also had a little pedal machine under the desk for a while and only let myself surf the web if I was pedaling. That was a good one.

    • battra92 says:

      @HogwartsAlum: The Wii Fit worked for me …

    • CFinWV says:

      @HogwartsAlum: Rebounders are great when used properly. They had a short resurgence in the fad-exercise equipment department for a while so you can find some used stuff out there. I love mine.

      • floraposte says:

        @CFinWV: If you’re looking to cheap it out, you can get DVDs from the library and work out in crap clothes in your living room with soup cans. Combining that with brisk 60-minute walks should start you out quite nicely. If you’re willing to make a little more outlay, I’d check for used ellipticals (mine was only $300+ new anyway, and it’s a fabulous one), or even used bicycles if that’s feasible where you live. Don’t skip the helmet, though.

        I would really stress trying stuff to see what you’ll actually stick with, though. Are you likelier to stick to it with other people or if you’re doing it alone? Are you better leaving your home or being able to do stuff within it? Things like that make a difference. And do consider having a few different possible approaches to stave off boredom. It’s nice if you just can’t face Workout A to be able to shrug and go for a long bike ride instead.

  5. RandaPanda says:

    What, the thigh master wasn’t on there? Geez…that’s a classic people. Plus it was more fun to see kids try to push the thing together and get bopped in the face when it got pushed too far together (okay, I admit it, I was one of those kids, along with my kid sister).

  6. MsAnthropy says:

    Link doesn’t work for me. I “don’t have permission” to access the site, apparently. :(

  7. HogwartsAlum says:

    Ratty: I’m tryin’! LOL!

    Damn I wish the reply would work.

    • Ratty says:

      @HogwartsAlum: Hey, and trying is great. :)

      Free weights, HIIT, and other cardio are going to be cheaper and more effective than any home gym equipment though, that’s all I’m saying! And it’ll be all for naught if your diet doesn’t change to what is needed.

  8. loueloui says:

    I didn’t see the gut buster on there. Despite it being nothing but a humongous (and dangerous!) spring with pedals attached it was a hugely popular, and much copied fauxtness product.

    I remember discovering just how dangerous one of these things could be when I was about 12 and couldn’t resist the temptation to put my feet in my mom’s ‘stomach eliminator’ and twist the spring like crazy.

    I learned an important lesson about potential energey when the handles beat me in the shins repeatedly after I let go.

  9. MrsLopsided says:

    LOL. Consumerist got punked by the treadmill bike.

  10. Megladon says:

    …and still they didnt cover that $14k thing that looks like a wheel chair they try to sell in the popular science every month…

  11. ZeeroxFalls says:

    @HogwartsAlum: Another vote for the elliptical machine (I use one at the gym). Really though Ratty is right on target. Free weights and comfy walking/running shoes. If you’re not up to running yet, walk. Seriously. Just walk. Everywhere and anytime you can. Walk long distances if at all possible. 3, 4, 5 miles. Longer if feasible. Hiking is also great to get your heart rate and endurance up.

    It’s not the type of exercise machine that’s important (so long as it’s safe and really is an exercise machine). It’s all about maintaining an active lifestyle and balanced diet.

  12. Blinky987 says:

    The fact that one of the products sells itself for “spot reduction” should immediately tell you that it has no respect for the intelligence of its target market. =(

    • rocketbear79 says:

      There is only one thing that has ever proved to be effective at spot reduction, its not a piece of equipment though it a trandsdermal supplement from a company called Avast Labs. Its called Lipoderm-Y, though they have a newer version called Napalm.

      • ds says:

        @rocketbear79: Someone at marketing realized that the slogan “I love the smell of Lipoderm-Y in the morning” was missing something.

        Napalm! Burn through your enemy tank’s armor! I mean, get thinner.

  13. gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

    re: gliding disks
    we found some of these at my YMCA when they were moving into the new facility, nobody knew wtf they were, so we gave them to the camp/afterschool group to use as frisbees, since they’re soft and kids can’t get hurt with them.
    now i know what they are, and think they are better suited for use as kiddie frisbees

  14. pixiegirl1 says:

    @ HogwartsAlum 3rd vote for the elliptical. I also use it at the gym but I go to fitness 19 so it only costs me $9 a month for membership. Otherwise the best thing to do is what others already suggested walking combined with free weights and walking is free so you can’t beat that. Just make sure you challenge yourself; going up hill, walking on different kinds of terrain, and slowly build up speed. The most important part is consistency once you stop it’s really hard to get back in the swing of things.

  15. Nitrokart knows CPR and took that guy's wallet says:

    I watched the Hawaii Chair commercial… wow, I almost thought it was a parody. “Use it at the computer! On the phone!” I seriously thought the person was going to drop the phone and get frustrated when trying to type… IF YOU CAN SIT, YOU CAN GET FIT!!!

  16. Nitrokart knows CPR and took that guy's wallet says:

    Is the Treadmill Bike for real? Nice editing when trying to get it on the bus though. :p They cut away right as you saw that the thing was too big to fit into the door.

  17. bluewyvern says:

    My great grandmother had one of those vibrating belt machines dominating one corner of her 70’s-tastic living room. It always freaked me out a little.

  18. rocketbear79 says:

    Those sliding disks work if you use them on a slick floor the same way you use one of these on any flat surface:

    • rocketbear79 says:

      @rocketbear79: Forgot to finish my thought: Before I got a wheel I used to use those little disks you put under furniture legs to help them slide over carpet. Iron-cross style pushups are fun.

  19. working class Zer0 says:

    I’d like to know what orfice that slendertone bottom toner plugs into. I think the model is using it wrong.

  20. Shadowfire says:

    workingclass Zer0: Yea… I was kinda wondering that too.

    I will say, however… she has a pretty great body.

  21. synergy says:

    I’ve never heard of all but 2…

  22. ceejeemcbeegee is not here says:

    @ HogwartsAlum : pilates reformer. if you can get a hold of one on ebay, and if you have the room for it, buy one.

  23. Dafrety says:

    Did anyone see the Hawaii Chair on Ellen? Hilarious.

  24. kittenfoo says:

    my very first boyfriend’s mother had one of those vibrating belt machines in her basement. i think it may have been part of the reason i stayed with him for an entire summer. it was AWESOME. didn’t do a damn thing but shake, but still. Awesome.

  25. theblackdog says:

    I’ll stick with my sledgehammer workout.

  26. girly says:

    Remember that infomercial or commercial for the Bodyslide? It was a piece of plastic and some nylon booties and you would slide to simulate skiing or skating?

    I know I have one stashed in my parent’s basement, I was thinking recently of digging it up.

    If you have vinyl floors the cheap version is just to spray some furniture polish on the floor and wear some socks (but VERY dangerous).

    As kids we also found that the family room coffee table plus furniture polish was also a good ‘slideboard’ surface.

  27. madfrog says:

    (Reply button still broken!)
    One of my cats used to start running from the living room carpet and then drop her butt as she hit the vinyl kitchen floors and slide across. She would do this several times a day. She lived until she was 20, so maybe there is something to it (at least for cats)

  28. suburbancowboy says:

    The Slideboard was a great workout. I used it when I used to inline speedskate on rainy days so I could get a proper workout.
    (reply button not working)

    The treadmill bike was featured on Make magazine’s TV show. (which you can watch online).

    I do think the P90x workouts do work, because they are actual difficult workout which require hard work, and a proper diet. They do not make ridiculous claims like “do this exercise for two minutes a week, and we will take 8 inches of your waist guaranteed!!!!”

  29. HRGirl wants a cookie says:

    The gliding discs work if you do it right. I took a class at my Y and had a firm booty in 6 weeks. *bounces a quarter off her tuchus*
    You have no choice but to keep your abs and glutes tight or you’ll fall into a split. I don’t think frisbees would would work because they wouldn’t respond to pressure to stop the slide like the foam on the bottom of the discs. Gym socks on a waxed floor might work though, and you can admire your tight butt in the floor’s reflection!

  30. Customer_Service_Slave says:

    I hope it’s not against forum rules to post links for other sites but…..

    infomercialratings.com is a great site to check all those “As seen on tv” products. I doubt that the majority of them are fake because most of the junky items got pretty bad reviews.

  31. alexiso says:

    I was so scared my Tony Little RockNRoll Stepper was going to be on this list! It really does make you sweat

  32. axiomatic says:

    Cans. #2(from the link). I’ll be in my bunk.

  33. HogwartsAlum says:

    Thanks for the tips, everyone!

    floraposte: I figure skate every weekend but that’s not enough. I found some workouts in a book and on a DVD that might be good. I really don’t have room for any big machines in my house.

    Eyebrows McGee: The ball is a cool idea. I had a coworker that had one in her office. The job I’m at now wouldn’t let me do that, though. :P I can do it at home!

    I want to get a copy of Richard Simmons DVDs when I have a little money, for when I can’t walk outside (weather). I always loved him and he is very motivating.