Today's blogger: Marissa Stephenson, Shape's senior associate fitness editor
We've all rolled our eyes at those late-night infomercials pushing wünder tools that can supposedly get you sculpted without the hard work. But a recent study from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) found that one gadget—the Slendertone Bottom Toner—can give you similar results as lunges and squats. The device has a handheld wand with small electrodes, and when you press it directly on your tush it sends electrical shocks to your muscles that cause them to contract, helping to firm and lift your butt.
It sure sounds too good to be true, so researchers at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse separated 72 women into three groups: One used the Slendertone, one did 3 sets of quadruped hip extensions (you get on all fours, draw one knee in at a time toward your chest, then extend it back), and one did doing nothing at all. At the end of six weeks, the gadget group had improved the strength and firmness of their backsides a small percentage more than the exercise group (neither group lost weight or changed their BMI or hip measurements). But don't call it a magic bullet for your butt just yet-there's a catch: The Slendertone group used the device five times a week for 30 minutes at a time, while the workout crew spent only six minutes five times a week doing their glute toner. If the exercise group had devoted half an hour to moves, they would probably have seen results that far exceeded the Slendertone, says Cedric Bryant, Ph.D., the chief science officer at ACE. "People cite lack of time as one of the reasons they don't work out," he says. "But if you can find 30 minutes a day to shock yourself, you should be able to find 20 to 30 minutes a day to do something where you're moving and getting all the benefits of traditional exercise." As a reminder, those include weight loss, stress relief, and strength gains from head to toe-all things you won't get with this or any gadget. Check out the full report from ACE.