Does It Really? We Test the Bender Ball


By: , SparkPeople Blogger

You may have seen late-night infomercials for the Bender Ball and its accompanying workout DVDs, which promise to deliver amazing results for your abs. In fact, one of their selling points is a big graph that says the Bender Ball is 408% more effective than crunches alone. So does it live up to its hype? Find out what I thought after putting it to the test this past weekend.

The Bender Ball is nothing more than a specifically-branded "mini ball," an inexpensive piece of equipment that has been used for years by exercise instructors and personal trainers. Just as a stability ball engages more core muscle fibers (since it's harder to balance on than a flat surface), a mini ball like the Bender Ball gives you workout options that you wouldn't have otherwise, and increases the challenge of an exercise. It's smaller than a stability ball (about 7 inches in diameter when inflated), but you use it in different ways: hold it between the thighs, knees or ankles or lie with it at the base of your spine, to name a few.

The Bender Ball comes with one instructional DVD that contains two different workout modes. The first is Core Training and it has three levels: 1 for beginners (less than 3 minutes long), 2 for intermediate exercisers (about 5 minutes long) and 3 for advanced exercisers (about 6 minutes long). I tried all three at once and felt my abs working during each one. But in workout 3, my abs were shaking like nothing I had felt before! Don't let the short length of these workouts fool you. I found them to be extremely effective and challenging. Remember that you don't need to do hundreds or thousands of repetitions to get a good workout. These short workouts get the job done!

Next I tried the second included workout: Buns and Thighs. It lasted about 22 minutes. I thought it had a great variety of exercises (including some that I had never seen before myself), and the same high-quality cues and instructions were very helpful. Overall, it was an excellent lower-body workout for people of many fitness levels.

Overall, I thought the Bender Ball was fun, different and effective. The workout instructions were clear, the exercises were safe, modifications were offered, and the participants were pretty relatable (middle-aged women), but men would find this workout just as challenging as women.

Do I recommend this product? Hands down, YES! The exercises on the DVD, in my opinion, are more effective than regular crunches alone, especially as there's a lot of variety and levels to choose from. The set is inexpensive (less than $15) to boot. If you're looking for a new abs challenge or enjoy Pilates (which this is strikingly similar to), then you'll like the Bender Ball. But remember: No amount of strength or toning exercises will get rid of the flab that covers your fabulous abs, so cardio is still essential!

Some customers have complained that when you buy the Bender Ball, they continue to ship and charge you for new DVDs later. Buyer beware, but according to their Satisfaction Guarantee, you can cancel anytime (like before additional products get shipped to you).

What do you think? Would you try the Bender Ball?

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  • 263
    Hmmmm. . . . interesting. I might just have to try this. I like new gadgets. - 10/2/2009   12:52:57 PM
  • 262
    I bought mine at Dick's and it really does work! I also bought some additional videos on line, not through the Bender website. - 10/2/2009   11:08:50 AM
  • 261
    Since reading this blog again, I've gotten my Bender ball back out and am using it. I had forgotten how much this helps. It supports your lower back so when you lean back, you have something there to lean against. This is great for people like me who have back issues. The core is really targetted. - 10/2/2009   11:04:24 AM
  • 260
    Thanks for the review! I had been debating on it since it looked like it would work but I wasn't sure it was worth the money. I think I've seen it at Walmart so that would eliminate the DVDs being shipped in the mail automatically. I am trying to strengthen my abs to improve my running so I think this would be great for me! Thanks again!
    ~Ang - 10/2/2009   10:56:09 AM
  • 259
    Sounds fun and that's an important aspect of exercise. Love to try it. Can it be shipped out to France? - 10/1/2009   5:28:07 PM
  • 258
    Yes, I will try the Bender Ball; it is on my list of purchases now. - 8/21/2009   6:26:02 PM
  • 257
    I'm excited to learn about this product. I very rarely watch tv, so I had never heard of it before.

    - 8/21/2009   9:06:46 AM
  • 256
    I like stability balls. In fact, I like them so much that I have three of them. Two for myself and one for my little guy. If performed correctly, a stability ball could be a very effective tool for a good workout. - 8/20/2009   11:14:42 PM
  • FOX2566
    I want it, too! - 8/20/2009   8:00:07 PM
  • 254
    I think I would rather just buy a FitBall Mini (9" diameter). I trust the puncture resistance of that manufacturer and don't have to worry about possible scamming of auto-shipping schemes. - 8/20/2009   7:46:27 PM
    Bed Bath & Beyond sell it (along with other As Seen on TV stuff: Smooth Away, Strap Perfect, Ped Egg, etc.) for $19.95
    But, they also accept those blue 20% off coupons, [usually] regardless of the expiration date. I'm going to get it tomorrow! Pretty excited to try it out! - 8/3/2009   3:10:36 PM
    Thanks for the tip about looking at Wal-Mart. I will check there - I've been thinking about buying the Bender Ball and now I know that I need it!! - 7/7/2009   9:28:21 AM
  • 251
    Looks like a neat product :) - 6/27/2009   12:14:36 PM
  • 250
    I have one, I bought it a while back. I moved, just found it and did the routine last night. My abs sure are sore today!!! Regarding the automatic shipping of new items...I never had that problem. I called the 800 number and opted out of EVERYTHING that they were offering. My card never was charged for anything extra, and they never sent anything else after I got the ball. I highly suggest this product!!! I give it a 10+!!! - 6/22/2009   2:36:55 PM
  • 249
    Would love to get this equipment - 6/11/2009   12:58:19 PM
  • 248
    I had one and I loved it. I say had because it is now the property of my 3yr old. It's his little green ball and mommy can't squish it anymore. He even hides the thing. I've been looking for it for 2 weeks. Well, it works as they say it does. You don't have to do many sit ups to feel your abs wake up and start to burn. At first I thought the CD was a bit boring until I got to the 2nd and 3rd phase. I realized it wasn't boring we just got to the point and got it done. Which is what we all want right? I love it. I just need to get a new one! - 6/11/2009   12:07:30 PM
  • 247
    I wanted one of these and wal-mart didn't have it so I bought a stability ball. I love the stability ball and can do crunches on it so I guess what I am asking is, do you think it would it be a waste of money to get the bender ball also? - 6/10/2009   11:07:33 PM
  • 19ANNIE56
    you all have convinced me. i will try it. - 6/10/2009   1:40:21 PM
    It probably works but the tapes are really short and the ball is hard to keep fully inflated. Since my dog popped mine, I never missed it. - 6/8/2009   2:50:40 PM
  • 244
    I bought this when it first came out. I don't use it too much. When I do use it, it helps support my lower back, which I need b/c I have complex lower back surgery 2 years ago, so this helps protect it when I'm doing crunches on the floor. - 6/7/2009   8:19:01 PM
    My daughter bought me one. I really like mine. Plus I think it does work! - 6/5/2009   2:44:10 PM
    I saw this infomercial awhile back and had really given serious thought about buying the kit....seemed too gimicky at the time. I'm starting to have second thoughts about my second thought. - 6/5/2009   1:46:30 PM
  • 241
    oooooo this looks like fun! - 6/5/2009   12:11:55 PM
  • 240
    I use this ball at my pilates classes and love it,! It really works !! - 5/21/2009   10:21:50 PM
  • 239
    My boyfriends mother actually bought this and loves it... she made me try it cause I didn't believe that it actually worked.... It kicked my butt! (well abs actaully haha) But one thing that we have done that I actually recommend if you need to be a little more thrifty, is to buy the tie-dye looking kids kickballs at the dollar store... this is what we did so 3 people can exercise at same time.... they are about the same size and you get the same effect for a fraction of the price... and you might think "oh nooooo.... they are going to pop!!!".... they don't! so don't worry... - 4/22/2009   11:13:12 AM
  • 238
    I love this product. I bought it when it first came out and I use it for all kinds of moves. I use it in some way or another in just about every home workout. The buyer beware is true tho- they don't tell you that you will be getting more "stuff" and charged for it. Be sure to call them right after you receive your ball and cancel this right away. - 3/16/2009   1:39:35 PM
    i worry about the future offers and the products being sent...but it sound like a great little ball of fun! - 3/16/2009   5:23:10 AM
  • MARILYN8551
    I must admit I have been skeptical, but after this review I think it might be worth the money. - 3/15/2009   8:08:03 PM
  • 235
    I bought this a while back. It is pretty intense! So, I love it. Before purchasing it I did some research and found LOTS of complaints about auto shipments from the company. So I went to eBay and bought it. One shipment, one price, and zero complaints! :) Yeah, buy it!! - 3/14/2009   12:50:18 PM
  • GRANNY955
    My sister purchased the bender ball through an infomercial and she did not care for it so she passed it on to me,I have yet to try it since she ordered the vhs version and i do not have a vhs player so now after reading your review i am definitely going to purchase a vhs player! do they still sell them? - 3/14/2009   12:49:33 PM
    Alright, now I'm convinced. I needed to hear about this from people I can trust. I was a bit skeptical about it. I'm going to Modell's Sporting Equipment. Hopefully, they have them. Thanks for the info! - 3/13/2009   4:05:12 PM
  • 232
    Thanks for the review, I love learning about new things. Adding this to my wish list. But I resent that companies set up these extra shipments with purchase and so will hunt for mine in a store rather than on line. - 3/13/2009   3:19:22 PM
  • 231
  • 230
    I very happy you sent this....I really wanted to try it but wasn't sure. Now I well - 3/13/2009   12:52:17 PM
  • 229
    I like that the ab exercises were really short in time. I have been wanting to add a 15 workout after I get home and after I eat dinner. So this might do the trick. I definitely will look at the sporting goods stores like someone suggested. - 3/13/2009   12:39:49 PM
  • 228
    I love my Bender Ball. It works my abs like I have never felt before but I still also use my stability ball which works other spots. - 3/13/2009   12:12:33 PM
  • 227
    I find it hurts my lower back when I do regular crunches on a mat and that it helps if I put my hand under me, so this sounds like it would alleviate that problem for me. I will check it out! - 3/4/2009   8:42:36 AM
  • ALYZU1
    Just FYI, Leslie Bender is a Pilates instructor, and owns a studio in Nevada. (So if a lot of the moves are similar to Pilates, that's why, lol!) - 2/25/2009   4:12:02 PM
  • 225
    I am going to have to get one of these. I saw them at Dick's sporting goods but will also check walmart and kohls as they have some of the seen on tv things. - 2/23/2009   10:12:36 PM
  • 224
    I bought this ball when it first came out and although I haven't been consistent with using it, I know that it will work because the times that I did use, I felt every bit of the workout... There are workouts on the dvd, each getting progressively more difficult, but with modifications, any one can do these exercises.

    Regarding being charged for other dvds, etc... I never had that problem; I ordered on-line... I have forgotten if there were any pop ups on the way to check out, but if you are asked if you want something, just click "no".... At the end of the process, what you ordered is clearly on your order form... but all I received as my ball and videos and no solicitation for any other products...

    I highly recommend this product... also, it is not meant to replace the stability ball, each method of exercise offers its own unique advantages. I would incorporate the bender ball with pilates, using the stability ball, standard core exercises, like crunches, etc.... The more variety you have in your workouts the less likely your body is to plateau and keeps things fresh... ~ Dee ~ - 2/23/2009   8:56:50 PM
  • 223
    I thought I saw it at Wal-Mart and that way you don't get sucked into buying more of their DVD'S. - 2/17/2009   12:58:16 PM
    I bought one of the Bender Ball kits and LOVE it. You can totally feel the workout and wow...what a difference! Yes, you are sucked into a monthly contract for more videos, but I didn't have a problem canceling it. You just have to be firm with them. - 2/17/2009   10:52:32 AM
    wow! that's a great deal! if it works even better! - 2/15/2009   1:32:44 PM
    Yipee! another fitness tool I know works & is worth the money. I figured if a huge stability ball worked? why not a little smaller ball too? - 2/8/2009   1:27:53 AM
  • 219

    I recently purchased the bender ball from Walmart for 19.99. It came with 3dvd's. My husband was interested in it. Glad I was able to get ball and dvds with no strings attached. - 2/5/2009   8:34:20 PM
    Again, always check out other places (like Walmart, or Amazon) Before buying. Most times you can find it cheaper else where and without the "extra" fees and add-on's. Always read the fine print before checkout, a lot of them have hidden messages! A co-worker has this and loves it, I'm not into this type of workout and would rather stick with the Wii Fit instead. - 2/3/2009   12:41:38 PM
    I'm going to give this a try! - 2/3/2009   6:12:26 AM
    I've been wondering. Thanks for the review! I may look into one. Or get one second hand from someone who decided it wasn't for them. - 2/2/2009   9:32:36 PM
  • 215
    Yes I like my Bender Ball, but because of the automatic sign up of other items I decided to only purchase the ball itself. I now wish I would have purchased the videos as a set and cancelled all other orders later. I do not know of a variety of workouts to do with the Bender Ball so I only use it with crunches. I also find that my lower back does not hurt using the Bender Ball as it does if I'm on the floor doing crunches. I'm happy to know you gave this a hands down. - 2/1/2009   8:42:05 PM
  • 214
    Thanks for this because I was wondering if it was worth the wild! - 1/31/2009   11:51:16 PM

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