Paul D. Shinkman,
WASHINGTON - With this exercise device, you'll thrust your pelvis into a lean, fat-free and sexually healthy body.
Without it, you'll fall down in the middle of your living room, bringing shame and corpulence upon yourself and subsequent generations.
Or so the creators of the "Horse Riding Fitness Ace Power!" would have you believe.
Yet another exercise machine video is making its rounds on the Internet. It treads the well-worn path carved out by forebears such as the Shake Weight, which apparently tried to capitalize on the intersection of eroticism and fitness.
According to the description text in its YouTube video, this newest product is "for those who like to ride horse in front of TV and in home comfort of their own space."
"It help device to fitness you up!" it continues. "Reach the health goal! Live longer for now! Be your Ace Power!!"
Check out the commercial, which has already garnered over 1 million views (it starts at 0:30):
But one fitness and industry expert believes this, like its predecessors, does not live up to the hype and could be downright harmful.
"The motion of the machine does not replicate riding a horse at all," says Fairfax Hackley, fitness trainer and WTOP contributor. "I'm concerned about what happens in the legs."
"Going up and down like that is very repetitive, and some of the hip gyrations just aren't conducive to good health in the hips and back," he says. "Your movement is restricted by the flexibility of that machine, as well as the height and width of the seat."
The machine does not engage the arms at all, Hackley points out, forcing the lower back and weak abdominal muscles to do a significant portion of the work.
"It looks like it would impact your back tremendously," he says.
Health and fitness is a multi-trillion dollar industry. Gym memberships alone raked in $21.4 billion in 2011, according to a report from the for-profit South University. This will expand to $28.2 billion in the next five years, an IBISWorld report predicts.
Many businesses try to tap into this river of money with gimmicky, get-fit-quick products, says Hackley, that align with the overused but stubbornly true marketing model: Sex sells.
The Shake Weight, the ThighMaster and the 1960s-era Mark Eden Bust Developer gave the illusion of working, says Hackley. Roughly a year after its launch, the Shake Weight made $40 million in sales, according to C NBC.com. The ThighMaster, helped by a sexy endorsement from Suzanne Somers, made over $100 million, CNN.com reports.
"If people can give us something that seems relatively logical, they're more likely to buy it," he says.
Ultimately, these products don't do enough to truly improve health, Hackley says. In this case, he suggests, "No horsing around - skip it."
For those actually dedicated to toning up glutes, thighs and lower back strength, as advertised in the YouTube video, Hackley suggests placing a stability ball against the wall and rolling it up and down. Unlike the machine, this allows the body to move in multiple directions - the way it's supposed to work. This kind of exercise regimen will provide the results advertised in the video when combined with a healthy diet.
Check out footage of these other devices that caught the nation's attention, but do not work:
Mark Eden Bust Developer
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)