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Brandon and Hudson White, the brothers best known on YouTube as the Buff Dudes, regularly look back to see what insights can be gleaned from old-fashioned exercise techniques when it comes to building strength and muscle. In a recent video, they decide to try out some of the most popular fitness equipment from infomercials from the ’80s, ’90s, and early 2000s.
First up is the Slim Suit, a product from the ’80s that claimed to help you lose weight without any physical activity involved, just by wearing it for extended periods of time. But there is no miracle technology involved here. “It’s a tracksuit,” Brandon says. “The weight they’re losing is just water, and that’s it. And that can be a little dangerous.”
Next up is the Body Blade, a flexible rubber baton advertised by boxing legend Lennox Lewis that, frankly, looks like it has a completely different use in the original commercial. There are some advantages of this, however. “It doesn’t feel like you’re doing a crazy workout when you use this thing, but you definitely get a lot of stabilization and more of that isometric hold to be able to control that inertia,” says Brandon. .
The third device is the Exercycle, first produced in the 1940s. “They don’t make them like that anymore,” says Hudson. And it turns out that’s because the bike’s motor creates all the motion, which means there’s absolutely no stimulation to your lower-body muscles.
Finally, there’s the iconic Shake Weight, the modified dumbbell that makes working out feel like jerking off. “If you did this for six minutes straight, you’d get tired, you’d be exhausted for sure,” says Brandon, though Hudson notes, “I don’t think you need a shake weight to do this move for six minutes.”
Philip Ellis is a UK freelance writer and journalist who covers pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller, and MTV.