FitFlops and The Power Plate: Do They Really Work?
Have you ever heard of a shoe claiming it can get you in shape? And what about the latest fitness craze -- you vibrate and get fit? Possible? Here are a few of our latest investigations and what we found.
According to the manufacturer: "It's the flip-flop with a gym built in. FitFlops have been shown to trigger increased gluteal muscle response, increased hamstring response, increased rectus femoris (thigh) response, and increased calf muscle response. So just by wearing a pair of FitFlops you'll get more exercise while doing just exactly what you're normally doing."Facts
The shoe "appears to have considerable shock-absorbing materials at the heel, a midsole that controls mid- and rear-foot pronation, and a stiff toe portion allowing efficient transfer of energy at terminal stance (all good things to absorb the shock and correct common, minor biomechanical problems)," says H. James Phillips, PT, PhD, a professor of physical therapy at Seton Hall University.Do FitFlops produce more glute and quad activation than regular shoes?
"Given the propensity for bad posture and gait, many individuals (especially women who wear high heels) have little glute engagement in standing and walking, so their glutes are very weak. The wobble effect of shifting pelvic position and weight onto the heels will increase glute activation. If the glute is weak, even a slight increase in glute activity may feel like a butt-blaster," says Fabio Comana, MA, MS, an exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise.Will this tone and trim your legs?
"Theoretically the muscles must work a bit harder than they would with more conventional shoes," says Phillips.Fiction
"Now comes the 'stretch.' While a small increase in muscle recruitment may occur, the leap to claiming that it will 'trim and tone' the legs and recruit 'fat-burning slow-twitch fibers' has not been demonstrated with any clinical studies," says Phillips.
"It's unrealistic to expect a flip-flop to do everything this one is claiming (from improving posture to decreasing back pain to firming the butt)," says Dina Tsentserensky, DPM, a New York City podiatrist. And while these flip-flops are probably very comfortable, according to Tsentserensky it is likely that simply wearing a sneaker or any other comfortable flip-flop with a bit of arch support and a slight heel will give you the same results.Concerns
"While having arch support in a shoe is generally a good idea, having too much arch support can also lead to injuries of overuse in the foot. In addition, people have varying arch sizes, and what works for one person may lead to injury in another," says Tsentserensky.Bottom Line
It's a comfortable shoe that may promote a small increase in muscle recruitment, but it isn't likely to produce the type of results promoted by the manufacturer, says Phillips.
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