• 03.26.10

When Innovation Goes Wrong: The 5 Creepiest Exercise Gadgets

Use your imagination. Or don’t, actually–you might be mentally scarred.

When Innovation Goes Wrong: The 5 Creepiest Exercise Gadgets

fitness industry seems to roll out the next big thing about as often
and with as much fervor as gadget-mongers do. But like The Newton, some
exercise innovations just fail or fade away. For every FitBit, there’s a Twisterciser; for every Bosu
Ball, there’s a NordicTrack moldering in someone’s basement.


There’s three basic design challenges for any would-be fitness gadget: 1. Does it work? 2. Does it look cool? 3. Do you look ridiculous using it?

Most gimmicks fail the first. Almost all fail the second. And a surprising number fail the third, spectacularly:

Ciclotte by Luca Schieppati
tackled spokeless wheels , but spokeless wheel? If this new
carbon, steel, and fiberglass exercise bike
have spokes, they’d probably be in the shape of a Circle-A anyway: What
with its uncomfortably slim seat and viciously pointy handlebars apt to
stab unsuspecting gymgoers on their way to the treadmill, Ciclotte has
medieval torture device written all over it.

Shake Weight
You’ve seen the infomercial.
Svelte young women and now massively buff men groaning and grunting and rapidly jiggling the shaft of a dumbbell between
two clasped hands. (There’s no other way to describe this. We tried.) The Shake Weight works like a piston–jerk it and
the spring-loaded weights on each end fire and recoil, letting you
“shake your way to firm, fabulous shoulders in just six minutes a
day.” The Shake Weight claims to use a new workout technology called
“dynamic inertia.” Other examples of dynamic inertia? Try ChatRoulette.

Home Gym Office by Philippe Starck
< At last year’s Milan Furniture Fair,
the sybaritic French designer debuted a collection of nine fitness items
for the Italian manufacturer Alias, including a wall bar for stretching, a jump
rope, and this weighted necklace for practicing ballasted exercises. The
jewelry’s resemblance to a certain love toy was disturbing enough
before Starck advised that we’re supposed to “love ourselves at
least 15 minutes per day, at home and at work.”


The iGallop was developed by Osim, an Asian manufacturer
whose primary export is massage chairs. It’s meant to simulate riding a
horse–or a mechanical bull if that’s the way you roll–and therefore
tone the abs, back, and thighs. If the iGallop doesn’t strike your
fancy, try Joba’s similarly styled Core
Muscle Trainer
–complete with stirrups–or just give it to your cat:

Poor guy’s face says it all.