If you’ve been on the hunt for the magic bullet for strengthening and toning your abdominals you may have come across the Flex Belt.
Promising to strengthen, tone, and add firmness to your abs, with little more than a push of a button, it sounds too good to be true. If all we had to do was strap a belt on, then why isn’t everyone using one?
Price, for one, is likely a barrier for many. Over the years many of us have become skeptical of the wild claims thrown around by supplement and equipment manufacturers. A lot of what is touted as fact turns out to be exaggerations or straight up bro-science.
Over the past month, I’ve taken the time to get to know this interesting device and now feel comfortable providing you with my take on it. To cut straight to the chase, I simply can’t recommend this product for most users.
Before we get to why, I’ve outlined for you what this device is exactly, and what it does in order to provide results.
Flex Belt Review
What is the Flex Belt?
The Flex Belt is an electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) ab toning belt. Through the use of electrodes which emit weak electric pulses, your abdominal muscles are made to contract. It is purported that as a result of the constant contractions of your ab muscles, you’ll end up with a stronger and more toned core.
The Flex Belt has been on the market for over 15 years now and is the market leader in EMS ab belts. Many fitness celebrities and television personalities have given this device their seal of approval, and claim to be regular users.
What the Flex Belt Got Right
One thing you need to realize about these devices is that while they do get your abs working, that doesn’t mean you’re going to lose any belly fat. You can’t spot-reduce fat. It’ll come off where it wants to, as a result of a caloric deficit. Anaerobic exercises, such as the crunches the Flex Built simulate, don’t burn that many calories.
If you think you can strap this on for 30 minutes a day without making any other changes to your diet or activity levels, you’re going to be disappointed.
Through the use of this device, you are able to get some easy ab work in, when you’d otherwise be sitting around doing nothing! The results you’ll get wont be as substantial as what you’d get from doing weighted ab work such as cable crunches or weighted crunches, but they’re better than none.
Pros of the Flex Belt:
- Over 15 years of experience in the industry
- Endorsed by industry experts
- Full 2-year warranty
- Made of quality materials
- Portable and lightweight
- 150 different intensity levels to choose from
- 10 different programs to choose from
- Has FDA approval
- Battery is rechargeable
What the Flex Belt Got Wrong
Much to my surprise, while doing my research on the Flex Belt I did not encounter much negative press. Once you realize what is possible, and what isn’t, when using an EMS belt they are hard to fault. They do provide results to an extent.
With all that being said, there are a few minor issues I have with the device. Namely, it’s not USB rechargeable, and it isn’t cheap. Also, the screen on the controller should have been backlit, in my opinion.
Cons of the Flex Belt:
- Not backlit, making it difficult to use in low-light
- Pads need to be replaced regularly
- Not USB-rechargeable
Features of The Flex Belt
The Flex Belt features 10 different “toning” programs to choose from. Beginning from P1, a basic beginner level, all the way up to P10. If you are new to ab work then I recommend starting at P1 and then slowly working your way through the programs.
This built-in progression is great and is what makes the Flex Belt standout amongst the throng of ab belts on the market. Without the option to increase the intensity, you’d quickly find your results stalling early on, making for an unworthy purchase.
The different programs featured in the Flex Belt differ in intensity level, duration, and length of contractions and rest periods.
Progressing with any exercise comes down to upping the difficulty and progressively overloading the muscles, so having the ability to fine-tune, and slowly increase the intensity, is very important.
Besides just giving you 10 different programs to choose from, the Flex Belt also offers 150 different intensity levels. I was not able to find any competitor that offered more.
Size and Weight
The Flex Belt claims to be able to accommodate users with waist measurements of between 24 and 52 inches. This gives you a lot of wiggle room, and most shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not the device is going to fit them.
The controller that comes along with the belt is handheld and is both light and small enough to be used comfortably.
Coming in at 12.6 ounces with the included carry bag makes this device easy to bring along with you wherever you go.
The Flex Belt uses a rechargeable battery so you don’t have to worry about carrying spare batteries around with you. Unfortunately, the device is not USB-rechargeable but comes with an adapter so you can plug it into your standard wall outlet.
The manual recommends the device be charged after every three uses, and touts a 2-3 hour charge time. I find that it takes the full 3 hours, at least, for the device to top off.
The Flex Belt comes with a generous 2-year warranty, so if you have any issues with the device’s operation you can get your money back. These days, it’s hard to find companies that stand behind their products, so reading this was a pleasant surprise!
Money Back Guarantee
In addition to the generous 2-year warranty, you also have a 60-day window where you can return the device, no questions asked.
Their claim is that you should see results within this time frame. If you aren’t happy with the product, they say you can simply return it to them for a full refund.
Flex Belt Pricing
Included in the box are the belt a rechargeable power supply, belt extender, three gel pads, and an instruction manual.
They incentivize buying multiple devices, and so if you buy more than one you can get yourself a nice discount.
Also included in your order are a few extras:
- A free one-year subscription to one of these magazines – Maxim, Elle, or Fitness
- A meal planner – Free 30-day access to their meal planner
Flex Belt FAQs
Have Studies Been Done On Ab Belts?
Several studies have been done which show modest results being gained from the use of these types of devices. In one such study, done by Dr John P. Porcari, from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, 100% of participants reported more firm and toned abdominals. Using a few different tests, they noted participants’ abdominal strength and endurance had improved noticeably.
How Do I Incorporate The Flex Belt Into My Routine?
The manufacturer recommends that you use the Flex Belt on a daily basis for between 20 and 40 minutes for between 6 and 8 weeks to start. Following a few months on consistent use, they recommend scaling back the work to only two to three times per week to maintain your progress.
Can I Use the Flex Belt Every Day?
While you can use the device daily if you want, you’ll likely have better results if you give your abs some time to recover. In general, the abs can really take a beating, and frequently working them is to your benefit, but never taking a day off will likely impede your results.
What’s the Deal With The Gel Pads?
The Flex Belt uses medical grade gel pads which utilize a coating to stick to your skin. Through this adhesion, the device is able to safely conduct weak electrical impulses into your ab muscles.
The pads are designed to be large enough to ensure comfort for most users, and they are rated to last roughly 30 sessions. I recommend purchasing a couple of extra sets right off the bat so you don’t end up out in the cold with no way to work your abs when the first set expires.
Can I Order Replacement Pads?
Replacement pads are available on the manufacturer’s website and start at $14.99. As mentioned previously, you can buy them at a discounted price when you purchase multiple sets.
Can Multiple Users Use 1 Flex Belt?
While you can share the device with another, the way the gel pads fit to the belt can make this less than ideal. Since the positioning of the pads is dependent on the user’s waist size, they will likely need to be adjusted to work properly with different users.
The manufacturer states that having to reposition the gel pads constantly to accommodate another user may result in the pads wearing out quicker. This means you’ll have to replace the pads more frequently, and that can add up fast!
If you do the math, you’ll find that it ends up actually being more cost effective to simply purchase an additional belt. The choice is yours. If it were me, I’d opt for the second belt.
Does the Flex Belt Have FDA Approval?
Yes. The Flex Belt is approved for sale by the FDA. It is, in fact, the first ab belt to attain FDA approval!
Final Thoughts & My Recommendation
After reading through all this you’re likely wondering how I feel about this product. Do I think you should buy a Flex Belt? Is it worth the money?
While I do find this product to be interesting, and I can’t fault the results it offers, I simply can’t recommend this sort of product to anyone serious their health and fitness.
If you are a gym veteran, who’s done their fair share of ab-work, I think you’re going to be disappointed and warn you to stay away from these sorts of products.
Much better results can be had by simply doing bodyweight ab exercises, though for even better results I still stand by my recommendation of doing weighted ab work if possible.
If you’re looking to lose that stubborn belly fat, and have 6-pack abs, sticking to a proper diet and workout routine will get you much farther.
If you are dead-set on purchasing a device such as the Flex Belt, compared to the competition, I can say that it is definitely worth the extra bit of dough you’re going to shell out to get it. It offers enough variation to keep it usable for long enough for a beginner to see some gains. If you’re new to working out, you’ll likely be pleased with the results.
I am a guitar player and avid lifter with a passion for health and fitness. When I’m not working out or playing the guitar, I’m probably either writing or reading about fitness and nutrition. I love this stuff and just can’t get enough of it!
I worked in IT throughout the majority of my twenties and have an Associate Degree in Computer Science but decided it wasn’t for me.
I decided to take my chances on a career as a writer and couldn’t be happier!