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The Shake Weight is a modified dumbbell that oscillates, purportedly increasing the effects of exercise. As a result of the perceived sexually suggestive nature of the product, infomercial clips of the exercise device have gone viral.
The Shake Weight has a female and male version, though was initially released as a product "designed specifically for women".
The female version weighs 2.5 lb. Per official company press releases, "Based on a groundbreaking workout technology called Dynamic Inertia, which engages the muscles in the arms, shoulders and chest in an entirely new fashion, the Shake Weight increases upper body muscle activity by more than 300% compared to traditional free weights". The company website further adds that the product has "scientifically proven results" and that the user can "get incredible results in just six minutes a day, three hundred sixty-five days a year". In comparison, the male version weighs twice as much at 5 lb.
The product appears to be based on "vibration plate technology—machines that vibrate to make the muscles relax and contract several times a second—thought to enhance the impact of exercise". The company claims this action tones the upper biceps, triceps and shoulders.
Shake Weight has gained popular attention and parody due to the fact that its use involves pumping a phallic object. The product's commercials have been described by Diane Mapes of MSNBC as "slightly pornographic". Following its July 2009 debut, clips from a Shake Weight infomercial quickly went viral. The viral YouTube clip has more than 4,000,000 views.
Among its many appearances on television shows, Shake Weight was tested on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and This Morning. The Shake Weight commercial has also been parodied on Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, Two and a Half Men, South Park episode "Crème Fraiche", the Regular Show episode "Do Me a Solid" and A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, as well as a promo for the new 2011 episodes of Beavis and Butt-head.
Johann Verheem is the inventor of Shake Weight and CEO of FitnessIQ.
By August 2010, a reported two million Shake Weight units had been sold for a total of $40 million in sales.
In January 2010, Alex Gerrard, the English model and wife of English footballer Steven Gerrard, launched the UK version of the Shake Weight. Gerrard said, "I use the Shake Weight every day and my arms have never looked so good. It really works."