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The Shake Weight – Very, Very Stupid And Boring

I’m going to tell you a story for your Christmas present. It is about how I am preparing for my entrance exams to Dumb Academy. Despite what you may have heard, they are highly selective, but I do think I have a shot. You see, I have a new piece of equipment to help me get ready.

I walked into the gym the other night to see an abomination sitting on a plyo box. No, it was not the gym owner, who merely qualifies as a sub-creature (Hi James). It was the latest in cutting edge fitness technology, the shake weight for men. Have you ever seen this thing? If you have a TV you’ve no doubt been eye-assaulted by the Shake Weight Infomercial several dozen times.

Even in the midst of the Crossfit madness, it was still obvious that it was there as a joke.

shake weightIf you’re new to the lingo, here’s what the weight is.

I know, I know. You’re confused. You’re thinking that this won’t be enough to get me into Dumb School. That thing looks really stupid, you might be thinking. Well, don’t say that–the reality is more unkind.

How does the shake weight work?

Does the shake weight work? I’m sure it does if you commit to it. How? Well, you pick it up. Then you shake it. That’s it. Then you put your feet up and wait for wave after wave of great abs, huge biceps, RIPPED shoulder, and massive thighs to roll over you. It also generates a ton of smiles and exclamation points and enthusiastic testimonials about hard hard it is.

There is a tiny cynic who lives in the darkest reaches of my brain. He carries a machete and when he gets annoyed he lays into anything whenever he sees something dumb. Well, at about 1:32 of this video he had reduced my brain to a smoking ruin.

I am willing to admit that shaking a weight back and forth for six minutes in a span of two or three inches is a challenge. I’m not willing to admit that it is worthwhile or better than anything else or even remotely useful.  I’m not willing to even consider that the men in this video look they way they do because of the Shake Weight.

Can it help you lose fat? Of course. So can lots of other things that are actually enjoyable.  I tried it and it raised my heart rate. Calories burned. That’s how it works. Burning calories by shaking something is not better than burning calories by lifting or actually getting strong, and why would you not want to get stronger? I’m sorry, you just can’t look like a bad*ss while using this thing. The men in this video have the smile of men who are being forced to recite the orders of a kidnapper on camera while their families are  being help captive elsewhere. These guys know what they’re doing is lame. I know they know. They have to.

I shook one for about 60 seconds. I held it in front of my chest. My arms were quivering and I was breathing hard when I was done. It was hands down the least fun I’ve ever had exercising. I think I’d have more fun doing Crossfit, which I usually rate just below a Tasering to my man-bits on the fun scale.

I’m sure I burned calories. It also made me feel really stupid to be waving a noisy baby rattle around when there were barbells and kettlebells in the same room with me.

But again, the fun factor is what was really lacking with me. I look forward to my workouts. I personally believe that is the key to training longevity–doing what you think is fun and trying to get better at it. I will do anything I can to make my workouts enjoyable. When I finish I’m usually looking forward to the next one.

If I knew there was nothing in my future beyond walking into my living room and shaking something, I would be…quite annoyed. And I am fairly certain that shaking a light weight will never make me very strong. It would, however, make me better at shaking something very fast. I’m trying to imagine scenarios where this would be useful.

  • Prepping for the entrance exams to Dumb Academy (I also have to submit an essay on P90X)
  • Mixing a protein shake without a blender
  • Getting hysterical women to calm down after grabbing them by the lapels (always worked for Humphrey Bogart)

I think that’s about it.

Outside the office where I am typing this, there are lots of presents under the Christmas tree. They belong to 12 different people. If any of them contains a shake weight, tomorrow there will be a crater in the ground in Littleton, Colorado.

That is down and to the left on the holly-jolly spectrum. Pray for us all.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Demond December 24, 2010, 1:07 pm

    Thank you for the laugh! Merry Christmas!

  • Bryce December 24, 2010, 1:48 pm

    You’re forgetting the most obvious benefit to this exercising instrument, it will make you really good at tugging things. (you know, man parts)

  • Kris Wragg December 24, 2010, 2:09 pm

    I think the south park episode taking the piss out of these things is one of the best this year, I nearly died laughing watching it!

  • Jack Stanton December 24, 2010, 6:58 pm

    Josh – I agree with you; the Shaker Weight is a joke. But it may be a real asset for someone who can’t do three body weight toe raises without losing their breath. I been lifting for over 50 years, and this is not the worst gimmick I’ve seen. In the 1940’s and 1950’s there was the vibrating machines; more recently the bodyblades and ion bracelets. I believe P.T. Barnum had it right, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

    • Josh Hanagarne December 27, 2010, 12:01 pm

      PT knew his stuff. Jack, what was the purpose of those vibrating machines? I’ve seen really old film clips but never really knew what the gist of it was.

      • Jack Stanton December 27, 2010, 1:41 pm

        These vibrating machines were supposed to stimulate limited muscular growth while removing fat. Or as they claimed turn fat into muscle! The primary purpose was to eliminate fat from particular areas of the body. The theory was based on pseudo science, but a lot of people believed that you could remove fat by the vibration of a belt attached to a machine. It reminds me of Weider’s “No Pain No Gain” crap – pseudo (false) science.
        I would suggest if anyone is looking for a variation to their exercise program try swinging Indian Clubs (English Military Style) while balancing on a Wobble Board for 10 to 20 minutes. This makes a great warm-up routine for any workout. Unlike the Shake Weight or other gimmicks you will get real results in balance (stability), coordination, and joint mobility. All are required to lift heavy and minimize injuries.

  • David Park December 24, 2010, 7:23 pm

    At my kettlebell class, the RKC instructors tell people, “If you’re late for class, you’re stuck in the corner with the Shake Weight.” People have never been earlier. I ain’t kidding. This is a sincere & serious font. It’s sincerious.

    • Josh Hanagarne December 27, 2010, 12:00 pm

      That is a serious font. Serious like the old pointy lettering on the Minnesota Timberwolves jerseys.

  • Boris December 24, 2010, 8:27 pm

    Hi Josh. Great post. Have you seen this (the “Shake Weight Cert”)? Quite funny: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQ1Nx8PBptY

  • Heather December 25, 2010, 12:18 pm

    Dude. . . . just, oh heavens DUDE! The first time Is aw this ad, I was thinking. . . bad thoughts. . . .sexually humorous thoughts. . . .and I felt bad about this, because my mother was in the room, and for the ever-Good Daughter to even think about saying, “Mom, it looks like that guy’s jacking that weight, and it also looks like he’s had lots of practice,” I just couldn’t say it. But I thought it. And I was snorting laughter and water out my nose. My brother was there, too. Then my dad walked in, and burst out laughing. “Looks like that guy’s jackin’ off with that weight!” Hey, better from Dad than me! Wow. . . someone actually brought this to a gym. . . this thing has not only seen daylight, but it was in a PUBLIC SPACE. My vote for it’s use–doorstop for a pathetically light door, and/or a paperweight. Hmmmmm. . . . book-end might be ok too, but then it would have to be close to something that’s actually worth some money. I don’t know that it should be used for that, then. thanks for the laugh and Merry Christmas! 🙂

    • Jen H January 5, 2011, 12:54 pm

      I just snorted coffee out of my nose right at my desk: thanks Josh and Heather and Shake Weight man for my laughs of the week.

      Now I have to look up Crossfit, will that make me laugh too?

      • Josh Hanagarne January 5, 2011, 3:42 pm

        Jen, Crossfit isn’t laugh out loud funny, but it will probably make you raise your eyebrows.

  • Andrew Lowry December 26, 2010, 11:19 pm

    Thanks. I think I burned about 500 calories laughing so hard. Justification for another piece of pumpkin pie. 🙂

    • Josh Hanagarne December 27, 2010, 12:00 pm

      You’re welcome, Andrew. I’ve been laughing off my calories all week.

  • ellen December 27, 2010, 2:45 pm

    I read your blog more for the book talks and comedy than the strength training (although I really liked watching that man pull a truck with his hair!) But this post makes me jealous. I wish I looked forward to exercising! Last year I took a kung fu class and that was fun. I use to play on a rugby team and that was fun too. I felt stronger but I never noticed much improvement in the way I looked. Like most Americans I’m usually looking for the fastest way to lose weight and tone up…with the least work. I realize that’s not a successful mindset. I’d really like to read a post about how you make exercising fun for yourself.

    • Josh Hanagarne December 27, 2010, 6:36 pm

      Will do, Ellen. Give me a few days and you shall have it.

  • Joy March 3, 2011, 11:45 am

    Oh, good grief people, get over yourselves! You really don’t get it do you? Here’s the deal…..any exercise is better than NO exercise. The average person doesn’t go to the gym because they are either too selfconcious to work out with all the would-be JOCKS and JOCKETTS, or they can’t afford the rediculous price of these sweaty, testosterone filled gyms. To be perfectly honest, all exercise is boring! Unless you are trying to impress someone of the opposite sex I or same sex….)by “acting healthy”. How many go out for a “drink” after they work out or “party” on Saturday night? Hmmmmm! The percentage of people who actually get fit by doing whatever it takes is staggeringly low. Quite sad actually. No matter what it takes, even the over rated ShakeWeight, which I believe works, if used, is better than not doing anything. And if the ShakeWeight is part of a complete exercise and diet program it WILL work. I was quite overweight for 40 years and I have been using the Shakeweight as part of my exercise program and I think it has worked as well as dumbbells. I have gone from 187lbs to 155, and I am 60 years old. Been around long enough and tried more GIMMICKS than you can shake a ShakeWeight at. For $20 is not a bad investment.

    • Josh Hanagarne March 3, 2011, 11:56 am

      First of all, congratulations on your progress. Fantastic work!

      I also agree that there’s nothing more obnoxious than a gym full of appearance-obsessed meatheads, which is why I don’t train in those places.

      I’d be interested to know what you consider “getting fit?” It’s different for everyone. I don’t generalize about it because we all have different goals and ideas.

      I agree that anything is better than nothing and if someone likes the Shake Weight more than other tools then they shoudl use it. I completely, emphatically disagree that all exercise has to be boring. I’m assuming that you mean “to be perfectly honest all exercise is boring to me.” It doesn’t bore me, my clients, the multitudes of people who enjoy playing a sports, etc. You don’t get to speak for all of them or for me. What I have said in this post is my opinion. You’re not phrasing your statement as an opinion.

      Look at the options–going for a walk, running, swimming, racquetball, gymnastics, any other sport you can think of, kettlebells, weights–there are thousands more. There is something for everyone.

      The best progress will always come when someone finds something they enjoy doing. And yes, I think there is something that everyone could find that is fun. If you think the Shake Weight is boring, find something fun. Time is precious. If you think it’s fun and effective, don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing it wrong.