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.
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.
A 2011 study in Consumer Reports states that for the chest, shoulder and triceps, the Shake Weight's exercises are inferior to conventional exercises that target the individual muscles. For the biceps, the results were similar. Additionally, the report found that the Shake Weight routines burned fewer calories than walking at 3 mph.
The Shake Weight has a female and male version, though it 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 mechanism of action is created entirely by the user. Controlling the oscilliating inertia requires engagement of not only the biceps and triceps but the stabilizing muscles and the core.
Shake Weight has gained popular attention and parody because its use involves the appearance of 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. The Shake Weight commercial has also been parodied by Saturday Night Live,The Daily Show, Two and a Half Men, South Park, Regular Show, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, Beavis and Butt-Head, Deadpool, and Thor: Ragnarok.