Red Exerciser: Does it Work?

portrait of a young woman squatting on a bathroom scale

Spot reduction, despite what television infomercial producers would have you believe, is impossible. Sports medicine expert F.I. Katch proved this in 1984. His study, published in "Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport," found that traditional abdominal exercises did not reduce abdominal fat. The best marketing plans do not alter this fundamental truth. Products such as the Red Exerciser may have their benefits, but they fail to fulfill unrealistic promises such as losing inches and weight loss.


The Red Exerciser features a removable, soft red cushion with handlebars on each side. It comes with a tension adjuster, which offers up to 120 lbs. of resistance. The Red Exerciser works in a manner similar to a bar stool or an office swivel chair. You sit on it, lift your legs and swivel your hips from side to side. This may be an effective oblique exercise, but an expensive machine is not needed for this type of movement.

Floor Exercises

The Red Exerciser's removable cushion makes it more versatile than other equipment advertised in television infomercials. Place the cushion on the floor, and use the side handles for performing triceps dips. Assume a prone plank position with your elbows and forearms on the cushion, and rotate your upper torso from side to side to work your obliques and your core. The Red Exerciser facilitates an innovative variation of the oblique curl. Lie supine, with your legs extended and your head and shoulders on the cushion. Rotate your upper torso from side to side, to tone the muscles around your waist.

Deciphering Infomercial Speak

The Red Exerciser infomercial begins with photos of people with their bellies hanging over their pant belts. This type of negative marketing appeals to people's insecurities. The next images display toned and defined people with well-sculpted six pack abs, which you are supposed to assume were attained on the Red Exerciser. The narrator goes on to explain that "independent reviewers at the University of Houston" found that the Red Exerciser works all of the muscles of the core, as well as the legs and upper body. A thorough Internet search does not turn up any indication of this study.

Reality Checks

The Red Exerciser infomercial narrator explains that fitness experts understand the value of rotational exercise, the type featured on the Red Exerciser. This is accurate. Rotational movement engages the oblique muscles, which form an "X" across your abdomen. Working your obliques adds abdominal definition, but toning workouts do not reduce accumulated body fat. "Consumer Reports" warns consumers to ignore claims that the Red Exerciser can help you lose 4 inches around your midsection in two weeks. This type of loss, claims the report, is impossible without dietary modification.