Shake Weight Review

Updated August 15, 2016
Shake Weight
Bottom Line

The Shake Weight has gained a lot of notoriety -- not for its effectiveness, but for its suggestive infomercial. It's sparked countless YouTube spoofs and TV parodies, including a demonstration on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." Even some favorable reviewers say it can be embarrassing to use in front of others.

Essentially, the Shake Weight is a 2.5-pound handheld dumbbell with springs at each end. Originally marketed to women, it's supposed to tone arms and shoulders. (There is also a Shake Weight for Men -- identical except for a 5-pound weight.) According to its manufacturer, the Shake Weight is based on a concept known as dynamic inertia, which means shaking a weight is more effective at toning muscles than lifting. The Shake Weight includes an instructional DVD that features a guided, six-minute workout.

  • Brief exercise sessions
  • Convenient to use
  • Works muscles to some extent
  • Site promises to refund shipping on returns
  • Too light for serious exercisers
  • Can be embarrassing to use
  • Mixed reviews for effectiveness
  • Complaints about customer service, neck pain

The main question, though, is whether the Shake Weight workout is effective. Press releases cite results from two studies -- one by a commercial laboratory, the other by a San Diego State University researcher -- that claim Shake Weight burns more calories and engages the arm muscles better than free weights do. However, these studies probably should be taken with a grain of salt because they are being used for commercial purposes, rather than appearing in a non-commercial, peer-reviewed academic journal. What's more, the studies seem to be comparing the Shake Weight with the use of a standard 2.5-pound free weight. A traditional weightlifting regimen for toning arms would gradually increase the weight well beyond 2.5 pounds.

Quite a few reviewers criticize the Shake Weight's effectiveness as limited, instead recommending traditional weightlifting with a full range of dumbbells to build and strengthen muscle -- including reviews at and Wired. Claims that the Shake Weight creates lean arms also come in for criticism, since "lean" implies fat loss. The Shake Weight is not a total weight-loss solution. We also found a few complaints at and about poor customer service when buying the Shake Weight online -- including refusal to refund shipping charges for a damaged product.

Some do find the Shake Weight to be convenient, however, and it earns a positive rating from a fitness expert at ABC'S "Good Morning America." She recommends leaving it in a convenient location so you can use it often throughout the day. Overall, using the Shake Weight is certainly better than not exercising your arms at all. The main caveat is not to expect too much from it.

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Our Sources

1. Good Morning America

Grading Infomercial Exercise Products, Becky Worley, Jan. 21, 2010

The Shake Weight is one of five fitness products evaluated in this segment of ABC'S "Good Morning America." Tester Becky Worley gives the Shake Weight a grade of B-plus, saying that though you wouldn't want your kids to watch you using it (apparently because of the sexual innuendoes), the device does exercise the shoulder and entire arm and is convenient to use in your spare time.


The Healthy Skeptic: The Shake Weight Gets a "Do Not Buy" Recommendation, Sal Marinello, June 26, 2010

Certified personal trainer Sal Marinello points out that just because you can feel something -- fatigue, soreness or muscle burn -- doesn't mean you're performing an effective exercise. He also notes that the studies that supposedly support the Shake Weight's claims are not available for scrutiny.


Shake Weight Review: As Seen on TV Flop, Lisa Kaplan Gordon, Aug. 12, 2010

Tester Lisa Kaplan Gordon reports that the Shake Weight hurt her neck and was awkward to hold and use. Ultimately, the Shake Weight fails to wow her and it gets's lowest Buy-O-Meter rating.

4. Wired

The Shake Weight Review: Hilarious But Useless, Steven Leckert, Aug. 26, 2010

Although they poke plenty of fun, Wired editors take this evaluation of the Shake Weight seriously. However, reviewer Steven Leckert says it doesn't raise the heart rate much compared to regular weight lifting and did not produce any muscle soreness.

5. KIDK (Idaho Falls, Id.)

Does it Really Work? -- Shake Weight, Tommy Noel, Feb. 11, 2010

Reporter Tommy Noel interviews a body builder, Kendall Cameron, who tries the full set of Shake Weight exercises and judges the device useless: "There's no tension on the muscle whatsoever." Other body builders at the gym agree that for serious muscle strengthening, the Shake Weight is not a good solution.


The Shake Weight: Spot Reducing Arm Fat Through the Science of Dynamic Inertia!, Peter Janiszewski, Ph.D., Aug. 5, 2009

A Canadian doctoral candidate studying the effects of exercise on obesity criticizes the Shake Weight as based on ineffective "vibration training." He also probes the credentials of the experts cited in the Shake Weight infomercial, finding them quite unimpressive. (We checked out the credentials of the studies cited on the Shake Weight website, however, and they're valid.)


Shake Weight Dumbbell, Contributors to

Over a hundred reviews of the Shake Weight at result in a mediocre average rating, with as many 1- and 2-star scores as 5-star raves. Some of the negative reviews warn of neck injury from doing the exercises on the included DVD.


As Seen on TV Shake Weight Reviews, Contributors to

This user-written review acknowledges the limitations and hilarious aspects of the Shake Weight, but does recommend it as likely to get rid of "triceps wiggle" and accomplish some toning. Another user comments on this site that the two triceps exercises on the DVD are important to do in order to get results.


Essential Shake Weight vs. Dumbbell Exercises -- Which is Better?, Editors of, Jan. 5, 2010

This balanced review notes that the Shake Weight is convenient and doesn't require much space to use. The author is skeptical about the effectiveness of a large number of rapid contractions, however, compared with the tried and true method of gradually increasing the weight lifted.

10. Ripoff

Report: Shake Weight, "UNT Momma", Jan. 8, 2010

This owner-written review reports that the company didn't honor its promise to refund shipping charges or pay return shipping for a Shake Weight that arrived damaged.


Shake Weight Reviews (For Men and For Women), Contributors to

Over 200 comments here cover the gamut from enthusiasm to skepticism. Several people report serious customer service problems with ordering the Shake Weight online.

12. EZWeightLoss

The Shake Weight, "Alan", Jan. 25, 2010

This reviewer criticizes the Shake Weight commercial for implying that it's possible to spot-reduce fat and for claiming that significant results can be achieved in only six minutes a day. However, it should be noted that the reviewer is also promoting his own book on losing fat.


Leading Research Company Lifemodeler, Inc. Releases Study Proving Effectiveness of Shake Weight, Life Modeler, Feb. 12, 2010

This press release reports that computer modeling of the Shake Weight by a commercial lab finds that it uses more energy than exercising with a regular 2.5-pound weight. For example, an average woman would burn 150 calories in a six-minute session with a Shake Weight, compared with 26.4 calories with a free weight.