Turn on any late-night infomercial and you’ll see a bunch of crazy workouts and crazier contraptions that promise to turn you into an overnight athlete. Some of these are funny and some are just outlandish and belong in a sci fi film. However, there are TV fitness products out there that may just be worth giving a try. Let’s look at some.
Disclaimer: No branded products listed here are meant to be endorsed, they are simply being used as reference.
You’ve seen them, long colorful rubber bands with handles that are supposed to replace free weights. You can get them in any variety from a one piece elastic rubber band to a full set of bands of varying intensity.
While the one piece colorful band you find on any discount retailer shelf for under $10.00 may look fun, it’s not very effective. However, you can buy actual effective strength bands that will give you a good workout. Quality strength bands will often cost you anywhere from 20 to 120 dollars but can be a good investment especially for those who travel a lot or live in a small apartment
Bands can even have some distinct benefits over free weights.
- Provides constant tension throughout the range of motion
- You can alter the range of motion as much as 360 degrees in some movements
- Can trigger more or often underused muscle fibers
You want a good set of bands that will offer real resistance. One good brand is Bodylastics that sell band sets that are made of quality materials, offer as much as 30 pounds resistance in a single band, and come complete with a carrying case for travel.
You can read an article about strength bands from world renowned fitness authority Jim Stoppani PhD. Here.
Tv Fitness Products – Bowflex
This piece of home fitness equipment has been around for over a decade and there’s a reason….. it works! The bands do something that free weights can’t, they allow resistance in both directions. You can also move quickly from one exercise to the next, changing the bands quickly and easily. Not only does this save on time, it’s also a great way to do a circuit training routine or even a drop set routine.
PULL UP BARS
The pull up is one of the most time-tested exercises ever and a favorite to the military second to only the push up.
Pull ups are usually done on a rack in the gym or on an outdoor pull up station like you may find in your local park. You can do pull ups at home though. Some bars will require you to fasten it between a door frame or into a wall. Pullup/dip stations that use leverage to stay in place came about through TV fitness ads in the last ten years, most specifically the Iron Gym. They fit in an open door frame along the top part of the opening and are designed so that your own bodyweight keeps the bar in place through tension.
These will allow you to do pullups from a pronated (palms out) supinated (palms in) and even natural grip. And if that was not enough (spoken in booming TV announcer voice) most bars can even be placed at the bottom of the frame for sit ups, or used as a dip or pushup bar when placed on the floor. Tough I never found them sturdy enough for sit ups and too low for dips. The edge of a chair or even bathtub is way better for dips.
This product can be worth it because it offers several different upper body exercises and can be used in any home for under $50.00
ROTATING PUSH UP HANDLES
Fitness TV Products go military. Who remembers the Navy SEAL Perfect Pushup? The Perfect Pushup was a set of rotating pushup handles designed by a Navy SEAL turned personal trainer. Sure (and with all due respect) the fact that one of the military’s most elite is behind this product boosts its reputation.
However rotating pushup handles have some merit on their own. They increase the range of motion in the exercise. While you can do this with your hands or on traditional static bars, you can’t do it during the movement. It not only adds to the challenge but can hit different parts of the muscle. Don’t forget muscles are three dimensional, not flat.
Back in the mid 2000s I worked at a supplement store who just started carrying the Perfect Pushup. As there was lots of down time I would often use the floor model set and even challenge some of my regular customers, many of whom underestimated the stability needed to use the product.
It is good enough for the great Chuck Norris (baddest man in the universe) then it must be great for mere mortals. Believe it or not the Total Gym, a long time TV fitness product, has been around for over forty years. If you haven’t been near a TV in the past few decades then I’ll educate you really fast. The Total Gym uses a pulley system and varying angles combined with your bodyweight to provide resistance.
I was given one of these by a family member over ten years ago and still have it in my home gym to this day.
While I don’t necessarily believe the Total Gym replaces an entire commercial gym, it is a great home gym tool. Why?
- Good for people new to working out as it offers controlled movements lessening the possibility of injury like that from free weights
- Good for those with no access to a commercial gym or no room for a weight bench and free weights. It even folds away for storage, something my two flat benches can’t do. I even use the folded up Total Gym as a preacher curl station.
- Allows you to do some exercises not usually available in a home gym like cable crossovers and overhead cable triceps extensions.
- Can build a good foundation of upper strength. You can lay prone and do cable pullups easier than traditional pullups on a bar.
- Like the strength bands you can achieve wider ranges of motion.
- Chuck Norris can’t be wrong, it’s a proven fact.
TV Fitness Products – Tread Climber
The Tread Climber is a nautilus piece of equipment that combines a treadmill with a stair stepper. The best part about this home gym equipment isn’t about the calories you burn or how fast you “could” get in shape; it’s actually about body symmetry! Over time, the dual action peddles even out the muscle imbalances in your legs. Imbalances cause a whole host of issues, from back problems, to poor posture, to neck issues. While you’re kick butt climbing up imaginary mountains in your house you’re also protecting your body over the long haul! Oh and don’t forget this machine burns the same amount of calories as running without the harsh impact!
While not all tv fitness products are worth your hard earned cash. These may be worth a little more attention. If you love the equipment, but you hate the retail price, consider buying them second hand.
Tim and Adria