I agreed to review the Leg Magic X Exercise Machine mainly because I wanted to confirm my assumptions that it’s more-or-less a one-hit wonder that isn’t worth the $150+ investment. And initially, that was my conclusion. In fact, I even put together a video review that said just that. But, then I put it to use in a different way that made me rethink my initial conclusion.
Watch our video review:
Leg Magic X Claims
Like all infomercial exercise equipment, the Leg Magic X has a lot of “scientific evidence” and health claims to back up their product. And while the science and claims of these types of products are always based on a measure of fact, they’re usually manipulated in a way that suits the product’s purposes. The claims of Leg Magic X include:
- Increases muscle activity in legs by 400% in just 60 seconds
- Increases blood flow in legs by as much as 77%
- Improves strength and fitness for a more vibrant, active lifestyle
It’s important to note that, for the most part, the Leg Magic X is being marketed to an older demographic, generally those in the 50+ age range, rather than younger, or more active individuals. This does make a difference when it comes to discussing the benefits of the equipment and the quality of the claims.
The truth of the scientific claims
I’m sure that the stats provided by Leg Magic X are true, but it’s easy to understand why they’re true when you think about how the studies were probably performed. First, I couldn’t find the actual studies themselves, so I wasn’t able to analyze how the stats were come by; that said, it’s safe to assume that the increase in muscle activity and blood flow were based on the difference between a resting state and an active state. If you’re sitting or lying, your muscles don’t have a lot going on, so to go from an inactive state to an active one is bound to result in a quick jump in muscular activity and blood flow. This would be true of any activity.
Also, there’s a graphic on the website that indicates the muscle activity increase seen when using the Leg Magic X is much greater than that of walking. There are two problems with this claim: First, it doesn’t say which muscles of the legs were being tested for activation during the EMG tests. Walking targets more of the large muscle groups of the lower body – the glutes, quads, calves – while the Leg Magic X is designed to target the smaller abductors and adductors. If the study was testing the activation of only the adductors and abductors, it makes perfect sense that walking would result in less activation of these muscles.
Second, the company is providing convoluted information. Walking is a form of cardiovascular exercise, but the Leg Magic X isn’t being touted as a piece of cardiovascular exercise equipment, but as a piece of strengthening equipment, so why would you compare the muscle activation of a cardiovascular exercise to a “strengthening” exercise? For a better comparison, the Leg Magic X should have been compared to other strengthening exercises that utilize the same muscle groups, such as the adductor and abdductor machines at the gym, or even a simple leg lift exercise. All-in-all, the science provided is… sketchy.
The truth of the real life claims
Despite my skepticism of the Leg Magic X’s scientific claims, I do think the product has some merit. First and foremost, most people don’t regularly perform exercises that target and strengthen the inner and outer thighs. Our bodies are designed to move in multiple planes of motion – forward, back, side-to-side, up and down – if we’re not regularly performing exercises that target, enhance and challenge range of motion in each of these planes, we’re doing ourselves a disservice.
Think about it – most of our daily action is performed in a single plane of motion (the sagittal plane) – we walk, run, cycle, swim. Each of these requires that our body moves forward – not much side-to-side or rotational action is necessary. Over time, the muscles used for side-to-side or rotational movement begin to atrophy. While this may not seem like a big deal, it can affect balance, coordination, flexibility and range of motion, all of which play an important role in healthy aging. The Leg Magic X provides an easy and relatively painless way to engage in more frontal plane, side-to-side motion, working the adductors and abductors to help maintain strength in the stabilizing muscles of the legs and hips.
My initial review
I don’t like exercise equipment that only has one purpose. I especially don’t like exercise equipment that costs more than $100 and only has one purpose. The Leg Magic X is designed to do one thing – allow you to move your legs in and out, engaging the abductors and adductors. If you want to work your inner and outer thighs, you can go to the gym and use the commercial adductor and abductor machines, or you can buy a $10 exercise band and perform the same type of exercises with it. Essentially, don’t waste your money unless you have a lot of money to waste and want the convenience of a simple tool.
My second review
Before posting my initial review, I got a standing desk. I’ve been wanting to sit less and stand more, so this was a positive step for me. After setting the desk up, I looked around my office and saw the Leg Magic X sitting there, and I thought, “Huh, I could set this up in front of my desk and use it while I work.” So I did. Now, while standing at my desk, I use the Leg Magic X to increase my NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) activity.
Think of NEAT activity as the calories burned from fidgeting and other “minor” movements. NEAT plays a huge role in total health, as studies have shown that individuals with the most NEAT activity are more likely to maintain healthy body stats (weight, BMI, body fat percentage).
Every single day now, I use the product exactly as it was intended, but I also use it to perform squats, side lunges, calf raises, “skaters,” and more. I can’t stand still, so I find myself constantly in motion while on the Leg Magic X. And because the foot platforms are on gliders, it’s actually a lot of fun to glide back and forth.
I don’t kid myself into thinking this activity substitutes as a regular workout – it doesn’t. But it does keep me moving throughout the day, and it does enhance my work experience. If you have a standing desk and want to exercise more, I see this as a reasonably-priced workplace exercise tool.
The Leg Magic X boasts lots of psuedo-science that overinflates its benefits. That said, there’s merit to regularly exercising the adductors and abductors, and if you’re looking for a way to add NEAT activity to your day, this isn’t a bad piece of equipment to use. Just understand what you’re really getting when you make your purchase: a one-hit wonder that won’t transform your body or substitute for other forms of exercise, but will keep you active while at work or watching TV, all while helping you exercise in the frontal plane of motion.