The Flex Belt System Abs, by Slendertone is the latest Electronic Muscle Stimulation (EMS) abdominal device that promises to tighten abdominal muscles with no effort on the part of the user.
This is the first installment of a multi-part story.
The Flex Belt System Abs is the latest iteration of an exercise gadget that has a long history of being ineffective. These EMS abdominal stimulation belts have been shown to be worthless and many of them have been marketed to consumers in a misleading manner.
The Federal Trade Commission has posted a “Q & A” section on their site covering the EMS issue in some detail. Here are some excerpts from the FTC’s web site.
Q. These electrical muscle stimulators are advertised not only to tone, firm, and strengthen abdominal muscles, but also to provide weight loss, girth reduction, and “rock hard” abs. Do they really work? A. While an EMS device may be able to temporarily strengthen, tone or firm a muscle, no EMS devices have been cleared at this time for weight loss, girth reduction, or for obtaining “rock hard” abs.
The Flex Belt web site claims that their product will, “tone, tighten, firm and strengthen your abs…guaranteed.” The Flex Belt site says that, “The technology (my emphasis) used in the Flex Belt units has been clinically proven,” and that, “an 8-week clinical study showed a 1.4 inch average waist reduction.”
What’s interesting about this passage is that the Flex Belt marketers make the distinction that the technology used in the belts was responsible for the 1.4-inch average waist reduction, not actual Flex Belts. Sadly and predictably there are no specifics provided by the Flex Belt folks with regard to exactly who did this research, where and when it was done, any parameters of this clinical study, sample size, information about the initial fitness levels of the subjects, the exact type of EMS device used in the study and the diet and exercise regimens followed by the subjects in this study.
What is also very suspicious is the claim that the Flex Belt worked for 100% of the users that used it as instructed who were involved in this study. I would think that the specifics of this clinical study would be made readily available if in fact this clinical study provided such slam dunk proof.
Check back in a few days for Part 2 of this story and find out some interesting information about the science behind the Flex Belt and some apparent inconsistencies with the FDA.