Pros: It's fun; it works.
Cons: It's way too expensive.
When I heard that someone in New York City had bought the Panasonic Core Trainer I had to see it and use it. I couldn’t believe that anyone would pay $2,000 to work their abdominal area. However money is relative so I am trying not to judge this couple’s choice.
What it is and the claims:
After using the Core Trainer I went to the website (www.panasonic.com/coretrainer) to see the claims made. In 15 minutes I would build core (The mid section of the body which encompasses the abdominal and oblique muscles.) strength, thigh strength and I would burn calories. I would get a low aerobic and joint impact experience and my heart rate would not increase much.
The point of this machine is to throw the rider off balance which makes the rider use the core muscles.
This machine has more to offer than a stability ball but the premise is the same. However sitting on a stability ball and lifting my legs off the ground thus engaging my core is easier said than done.
The machine is 29 A? inches high by 16 A? inches wide by 34 inches deep. It weighs 82 pounds. It has wheels and is easily movable. I was surprised to see the relatively low user weight. It is 265 pounds.
It has a handle; comes with a mat to put under it; has two footrests (It’s hard not to think of them as stirrups.); and two footrest brackets. The reason for the brackets is to make the footrests adjustable. So I could put it in four holes depending on my height. The machine is made for people 5 feet 1 inch to 6 feet 1 inch. At 5 feet 4 inches I was on the third highest hole. It’s actually more a hook that the opening on the bracket goes onto.
You won’t do better than Panasonic’s warranty. The Core Trainer is guaranteed for life under standard, non-commercial use.
I can’t help but think of this as riding a horse and I never have been a fan of horses! That’s not to say horseback riding isn’t a good form of exercise. Essentially you get bounced around and you have to keep your core tight to stay on. Rather than reins I held onto a handle and sat on a very comfortable saddle. It was already plugged in so I just got on.
I remember the first time I went horseback riding. I had a hard time walking for days. There is no question that my upper thighs, glutes, abs and lower back felt this machine. There is no question it was an interesting device. There is no question that I could work these muscles easier than on a stability ball. There is no question there was little pressure on my joints.
For a saddle this had a fairly sophisticated console. Of course for $2,000 I would expect it to be set in gold. The console displayed pre-set programs; a side to side workout; a forward tilt for my waist and back and tilt for my hips. I found one slow speed level and nine fast ones all of which showed up on a speed control display. The seat angled forward and back. The console had buttons that allowed me to angle the seat while on it. There was a time indicator display as well.
I found that with my feet in different positions - on the floor, in the footrests or suspended - I felt the movement in different parts of my legs.
I played with the console. Like any machine the manual control let me adjust the speed level and the tilting of the seat myself. The pre-set programs automatically switched the speed level and the tilting of the seat.
I played with the options. I pushed the forward tilt waist program and went up and back working what seemed to be my waist and abs which was fun. Obviously the faster I went the more motion I got.
The machine shuts off after 15 minutes. I guess they figure by then the average person would be dizzy.
At no time was I out of breath or did I feel that I got any kind of aerobic exercise.
There are times that I must rate something based on the price. I would give a $5000 treadmill 5 stars if it was a terrific machine. I just cannot recommend spending $2,000 for this device. I almost found it silly and felt like a kid at a carousel in front of a department store.
Does it work? Sure. Is it fun? Yes. Is it worth the money? No. Unless you are rich or equipping a gym and want something novel then skip this one. Just to note though that the warranty is for non-commercial use.
Please let me know if you have any comments or questions.
All my fitness equipment reviews can be found here.