What Is the Ab Wave System?
The Ab Wave is 2012′s addition to a long line of questionable infomercial exercise gimmicks with little redeeming value. Unlike other ab gadgets, this one takes lazy to a whole new level. You actually sit in the machine and then swing side to side, using momentum to carry you through the range of motion. It may sound convincing, but can this product really deliver svelte abs and obliques?
I have to confess, it never ceases to amaze me at how purveyors of infomercial exercise gimmicks keep coming up with new ways to repackage the same old crap. Even more disconcerting is that they use the EXACT same marketing tactics over and over again…and people still fall for it hook line and sinker.
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Two years ago, I authored a comprehensive point by point debunking of the Ab Circle Pro’s questionable marketing, which contributed to the company being fined $25 million for making false claims. I honestly didn’t think it could get much worse, but then this week I was alerted to the Ab Wave. The majority of the marketing copy mimics the same tactics used by the Ab Circle Pro, SpinGym, and Liproxenol (i.e., lose weight quickly and easily without the effort). Sadly, there are reports of Ab Wave infomercials popping up all over the radar in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United States, and the United Kingdom. I’d be surprised if it wasn’t trickling into other countries as well, given that infomercials tend to creep like an insidious pancreatic cancer lesion.
Therefore, the purpose of this review is to systematically address the Ab Wave System’s main marketing claims and provide a bit of balance to their unfairly lopsided sleight-of-hand promotional materials. I have transcribed the audio portion of the Ab Wave sales video which can be found at the end of this article (Click here for transcript).
Ab Wave Claim:
From the promotional website: “It’s fun and it’s easy! Just sit and get fit!*
Ah yes, there it is, that pesky asterisk! Why do they always have to tack conditions onto those promised miracle results?
The fine print below it states “By adhering to the Ab Wave System, which consists of adhering to a healthful meal plan, exercise on the ab wave machine, plus regular cardio or aerobic exercise. Your results may vary.”
The marketing material interchangeably uses the terms “Ab Wave” in reference to the machine and the “Ab Wave System” which refers to the machine, healthy eating plan, and the recommendation to do aerobic activity. The sleight of hand is that the promotional materials are all disproportionately biased towards the machine but give comparatively little attention the the overall “system.” This is where consumers often confuse cause and effect vs. coincidence. Results obtained from healthy eating and regular aerobic exercise (cause and effect) while doing the Ab Wave machine a few times per week might be erroneously attributed to the machine (coincidence) instead of your hard work. In the grand scheme of things, you would fare better by saving your money and just opt for the healthy lifestyle instead.
Ab Wave Claims:
(1) From the promotional website:
“From the Easy Slide & Glide movement to the Total Body Twist & Turn motion, your body will go from frumpy to fabulous!”
(2) From the promotional video:
“The secret is its unique “fast track technology” uses the fun swinging momentum of gravity to target your upper, middle, lower abs and obliques all in one fat-burning fun wavelike motion, firing your core like never before.”
The promoters claim that the easy slide and glide movement or ‘fast track technology‘ is a beneficial movement, but in reality, the ease of use is also one of its greatest limitations. The fact that you’re 1) sitting upright with no significant gravitational load on your abs; and 2) using momentum instead of your muscles to complete the movement only serves to decrease the effectiveness of the machine.
Also, because your body weight is supported by the machine (i.e., you’re in the seated position) and momentum is doing the majority of the work, you are unlikely to achieve any appreciable increase in heart rate and, consequently, training intensity.
Ab Wave Claim:
From promotional video: “Introducing the Ab Wave System! You just sit and wave to get fit, flat washboard abs like this (showing ripped shirtless guy).”
It is highly improbable that you will get “washboard abs” using the Ab Wave machine. The low exercise intensity is unlikely to place any strenuous demands on the abdominal musculature, plus your calorie expenditure would likely be insignificant (given the fact that your body weight is supported in the seated position and you’re using momentum to minimize muscle activation).
Ab Wave Claim:
“Best of all, it’s fun and easy. Wave goodbye to stressful crunches that strain your neck. Wave goodbye to bulky machines that cost thousands. The Ab Wave eliminates every obstacle that kept you from getting in shape.”
This is where they slap you with a litany of common sales objections and then provide you with a simple solution to a complex problem (obesity). It gives the impression that the only other way to get into shape is by doing crunches or using “bulky machines.” It gives no consideration to more practical and relevant activities such as walking or cycling which, if done on a regular basis, will contribute to fat loss around the mid-section. As for specific conditioning, there are other options besides “stressful crunches” for conditioning the abdominal musculature (i.e., planks, side planks, etc).
Ab Wave Claim:
“What if you could get off the floor and into a comfortable padded seat and wave goodbye to fat? Imagine losing inches while you watch TV!”
This claim panders to the “pleasure seeking, pain avoiding” side of human nature. While exercise does not necessarily need to be impossibly difficult in order to get results, it does take long-term effort and commitment.
Ab Wave Claim:
Ab Wave helps you fire your core like never before!
Wait, hold on! The Ab Circle Pro already staked its claim on this claim three years ago? Could it really be possible that there are two gadgets competing for the same title? In my opinion, it looks a bit fishy and tends to make me wonder if it’s the same company with a new gimmick blowing the same tired smoke up everyone’s ass.
Ab Wave Claim:
Best of all, it stores easily under your bed or in your closet.
Like most infomercial ab gadgets, this one will likely wind up in the dusty graveyard under your bed.
Price: How much does the Ab Wave cost?
The Ab Wave System is far from cheap considering it’s sold on overblown hype without a single scientific research report on its effectiveness. It costs $14.95 for a 30-day trial plus $19.95 shipping and handling, plus taxes. Then, after 30 days, you are liable for 4 payments of S39.95 plus taxes. Total cost will be approximately $194.70 plus applicable taxes, so likely over $200. If you’re looking to buy the Ab Wave in Australia, New Zealand, or other countries, the price might be higher due to import taxes.
Where is the Ab Wave sold?
The Ab Wave appears to be sold through a Canadian website, but also looks to be available in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand markets. However, to the best of my knowledge, this is a relatively new product and, based on my observations, does not yet appear to have the same sales and distribution infrastructure in place yet.
The Ab Wave machine (as part of the “Ab Wave System”) appears to be yet another too-good-to-be-true infomercial gimmick sold via misleading marketing. Much of the sales copy appears to be eerily similar to another questionable product, the Ab Circle Pro, and is based on the notion that losing weight is quick and easy. As with the Ab Circle Pro’s marketing strategy, the primary emphasis is on the exercise machine. However, the low intensity of the movement is unlikely to result in any significant calorie expenditure (and consequently fat loss). It is more likely that weight loss would stem from the collective Ab Wave “System,” which includes the healthy eating plan and recommends additional aerobic activity.
Bottom line: I would advise consumers not to buy the Ab Wave (save your $200) and instead just improve your diet (reduce soda, burgers, fries, and candy) and get into a regular walking program (all free).
Ab Wave pitch man:
Warning! Warning! Do NOT adjust your set! What if you could get off the floor and into a comfortable padded seat and wave goodbye to fat?
Introducing the Ab Wave System! You just sit and wave to get fit, flat washboard abs like this (showing ripped shirtless guy).
Best of all, it’s fun and easy. Wave goodbye to stressful crunches that strain your neck. Wave goodbye to bulky machines that cost thousands. The Ab Wave eliminates every obstacle that kept you from getting in shape.
The secret is its unique “fast track technology” uses the fun swinging momentum of gravity to target your upper, middle, lower abs and obliques all in one fat-burning fun wavelike motion, firing your core like never before.
And check this out – just release the knob and twist to blast away those obliques. You’ll firm and flatten your abs in weeks.
Testimonial from woman 1:
On the Ab Wave System, I lost 17 pounds, 13 inches and I feel fantastic!
Testimonial from woman 2:
Just try it because you’ll begin to notice results right away. It’s easy to use and it definitely works.
Note: a disclaimer in microscopic print is displayed during the testimonial. This is completely illegible on the website because the video display is too small.
Ab Wave pitch man:
No more straining your back and neck. The ab wave gets you off the floor and into a comfortable padded seat. It’s perfect for every fitness level. Raise your legs for a more intense workout.
Imagine losing inches while you watch TV. Best of all, it stores easily under your bed or in your closet. Gym memberships are expensive. and who has the time? These machines cost thousands, but you can try the ab wave system for 30 days for only $14.95.
If you can sit in a chair, you can ride the Ab Wave to the best shape of your life. Don’t delay, order the Ab Wave today!