Skip to content

Fitness & Exercise

No Quick Fixes for 'Ab' Flab

Check Out Fitness Ads
Font Size


Leibowitz says she is "really happy" with the Torso Track and values the convenience of exercising at home. "When you have a baby, you don't get out," she says. But even with her array of home equipment, Leibowitz still goes to a health club two to three times a week. "I like going to the gym because it has everything and it has the space," she tells WebMD.

Porcari and others emphasize that people should not buy fitness devices -- even good ones -- in the hopes that they will motivate them to exercise. "In all honesty, there's only a small percentage of people who have the internal drive to exercise at home," says Porcari.

An article in the March issue of Consumer Reports, which reviews 12 popular home gyms, echoes that sentiment, noting that a survey of its readers taken a few years ago found only 25% of respondents who had bought exercise devices within the previous five years were still using them. More people -- almost 50% -- stuck with home gyms.

For those who want to work a home gym into their exercise routine, Consumer Reports evaluates models based on how well stations adjusted to users of varying sizes and strength levels, whether the exercises provided a full range of motion for muscle groups, and whether the motions were safe and effective.

Scoring high on all measures was the Hoist Multi-Gym H210, followed by the Body Solid Multi-Station EXM-1500S. The H210 goes for a pricey $1,700, while the EXM-1500S was rated a CR Best Buy at $700. The least expensive machine, the Total Gym 1000 for $200, ranked in the middle as good overall, but it is limited to about half of a user's body weight and therefore may be inadequate for stronger users, according to the magazine.

Some home devices -- particularly those that cost less than $200 - may also not be built to last. Len Kravitz, PhD, assistant professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico, advises users to become familiar with a product's warranty and return policy. Consumers often must foot the shipping bill for returning a device, and some companies tack on a restocking fee. It is also a good idea to check the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been any consumer problems with the manufacturer.

Healthy Living Tools

Ditch Those Inches

Set goals, tally calorie intake, track workouts and more, all via WebMD’s free Food & Fitness Planner.

Get Started

Today on WebMD

pilates instructor
15 moves that get results.
woman stretching before exercise
How and when to do it.
couple working out
Moves you can do at home.
woman exercising
Strengthen your core with these moves.
man exercising
knees to chest
Man looking at watch before workout
Overweight man sitting on park bench

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

pilates instructor
jogger running among flowering plants
woman walking
woman doing pushups