Have you ever seen the Wonder Core Exercise Machine on tv? I know they’ve had an infomercial running. It’s one of those infomercials you’ll run into if you can’t sleep and find yourself rummaging through the channels at 4 am. Well, I was looking at some core exercise equipment online and ran into it again. I recognized it from the tv commercial and was a little intrigued. I’ll be honest, my instinct is to immediately distrust anything I see an informercial for. But the Wonder Core Smart Exercise Machine has gotten a lot of good reviews online. So, I wanted to take a closer look for myself and see if this machine is legit.
What Is The Wonder Core Smart?
For those of you who sleep well at night and have not come across this product’s infomercials, let me explain. The Wonder Core Smart is a compact exercise machine designed to strengthen the core muscles (as well you arms and legs). It has a pretty simple design. It really just consists of a flat platform and 2 spring-loaded arms you can press against in varying positions.
That’s really all there is to it. Depending on you body position, you can use the spring-loaded resistance to work your ams, legs, or core- as it seems the device was primarily designed for.
Each arm has it’s own adjustable resistance level. The resistance is adjusted by simply turning a dial to increase or decrease the stretch of the spring. This is how the Wonder Core Smart exercise machine can offer “adjustable dual resistance”.
The Wonder Core exercise machine comes fully assembled, a nice touch. It also folds for storage and is very portable. This device takes up very little floor space when in use and is small enough to travel with without much inconvenience.
What Exercises Can I Do On The Wonder Core Smart?
The Wonder Core exercise machine advertises that you can get a complete body workout using this one product. After reviewing this machine I would technically agree with this statement. Based on the possible exercises they describe, you can work MOST of your body. Let’s take a look at them one by one.
As the name of this machine implies, we should assume that it provides at least 1 core exercise. Well, sit ups are the bread and butter of what the Wonder Smart machine was designed for. The interesting thing to me though, is that this device would actually offer a great low back workout more so than an abdominal workout. Let me explain.
When doing sit ups, you are sitting with your low back against the resistance arms. These arms are actually resisting you as you push your back into them as you go toward the floor during your sit up. These same arms are actually going to assist you coming back up to the sitting position.
Now these arms aren’t going to be strong enough to fully propel you back to the sitting position, so yes, you are using your abdominals some as you sit up. But I would argue you are working your lower lumbar extensors more because they are the muscles fighting against the resistance.
Not that this is a bad thing. Our lumbar extensors are very important core muscles. Strengthening these muscles make us safer when we are bending and lifting. I’m just saying when it comes to our abdominals, it would actually be more difficult to do a standard sit up without this device. This device makes sit ups easier (for our abdominals anyway).
If you’re not sure what a bridge is, click the link for an example. Bridges are another great core exercise that really works our glutes and lower back. Similar to the sit ups we just discussed, the Wonder Core Smart actually makes bridges a little easier too. The resistance arms are helping you bring your hips back off the floor. This makes the exercise easier, and really works our glutes less than they would normally be worked.
I think scissor kicks would work great with the Wonder Core machine. This is an exercise where this device would really come in handy. You are pushing against the resistance to really work your hamstrings and glutes. So far this is the first exercise where the Wonder Core actually makes the exercise more difficult (which is a good thing when looking for results).
Tricep Press Down
I recommend clicking on this link to see the pics of these different exercises, especially if you can’t picture how they would be performed by only looking at the Wonder Core. Think of a dip. This is how you would be doing tricep press downs with this device.
You’re sitting on the mat like you would for a sit up. You put your hands on the resistance arms, and push down activating your triceps. This exercise would work well with the Wonder Core Smart. I think the adjustable resistance goes up to about 48 lb of resistance on each side, so that may be enough to get a pretty good strengthening workout for your triceps.
For push ups, you are laying with the front of your hips on top of the resistance arms. In this position, the Wonder Core is assisting you as you push up. Again, this is making the exercise easier because you are pushing less of your body weight up. It’s better than nothing, so if you can’t do any standard or knee push ups, this may be helpful.
Forearm & Biceps
This is the exercise I really disagree with. In the picture displayed for this exercise, the user is basically doing a tricep press down but is facing the machine. This may work the wrist extensors a little, but not much. This exercise really isn’t going to hit the biceps at all. This is just another version of the tricep press down. Great for the triceps, but poor for the biceps. In my humble opinion, the Wonder Core Smart isn’t able to give you a good bicep workout.
For this exercise, you will be sitting on a chair with your feet on the resistance arms. You are pushing down with your legs to compress the arms repetitively, kind of like riding a bike (although the motion is more up and down instead of circular). This is a nice attempt at cardio, however it’s pretty easy. That said, if you are are looking to burn a few more calories in front of the tv, it’s better than nothing.
|Comes assembled||Small weight capacity (250 lb)|
|Easy to use||Not appropriate for moderate or advanced fitness levels|
|Portable||Exercises aren't very difficult|
|Exercise several different body parts|
|Acts as a spotter|
|Appropriate for beginners or for users with injuries|
|Workout DVD included|
|User guide, mat, and workout poster included|
So, Does The Wonder Core Actually Work?
Ah, the most important question, does this thing actually work? Well, kinda. Yeah, I realize that answer is extremely vague. But the truth is it really depends on what you are trying to achieve and how fit you already are.
Right off the bat, if your fitness level can be described as moderate or advanced you don’t need the Wonder Core Smart. This device will be way too easy for you. It just won’t have anything to offer these users.
However, if you are new to exercise or have difficulty performing push ups and sit ups, the Wonder Core could be helpful. I think this device would work best as a spotter. The design of the resistance arms put them in a position to actually help you during several of these exercises.
I think this device would also work really well for strengthening your lower back. I think this is how the device really should’ve been marketed. The Wonder Core Smart puts you in a great position to safely strengthen your lumbar extensors.
The Wonder Core machine is going to make sit ups, push ups, and bridges all significantly easier than they would be without the device. If you can already do push ups and bridges the old fashioned way, there is no reason to use this machine. If you struggle with push ups and sit ups, the Wonder Core will help you do more reps, and therefore help you strengthen these muscles.
I think the Wonder Core Smart will work well for folks that have back or neck problems too. If you can’t do sit ups or push ups because of pain, this device may come in handy. Especially for sit ups. The extra support should make you a little more comfortable.
Of course, one could argue that there are so many other exercises you could do instead of sit ups to work your core, do you really need to buy a device to help you with them? I can’t answer that one for ya, but it’s something to think about.
The informercial for this product, like most I guess, is really unrealistic. Of course it shows a bunch of super fit models exercising on the Wonder Core Smart. The narrator tells us how you too can get in the best shape of your life by using this product. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but none of these people got in that kind of shape by using the Wonder Core.
The Wonder Core Smart offers a gentle, low impact mode of exercise. But it will not work you hard enough to get in crazy shape. But like I said, this product does have something to offer, but it’s not right for everyone.
Who Would Benefit From The Wonder Core Smart
- People new to exercise
- People who struggle with push ups or sit ups
- People with back or neck discomfort
- People looking for a portable exercise device
- People looking for a machine to strengthen their lower back
Who Would Not Benefit From The Wonder Core Smart
- Users of moderate to advanced fitness levels
- People looking to gain muscle mass
- People who can do standard push ups or sit ups
Looking online, the user reviews for the Wonder Core Smart are actually very positive. It’s currently rocking a 4.3/5 average user rating on Amazon with over 700 reviews. That’s pretty impressive. It tells me people are on average, very happy with this device.
Overall, the Wonder Core exercise machine does have something to offer. It’s actually more useful than I would expect for a “as seen on tv” product. This product would work well for strengthening the lower back (which is part of the core) and for users who struggle with standard push ups and sit ups. If you are strong enough to do these moves on your own, this device will have little to offer you.