The Stealth core trainer makes planking (dare I say) fun
When I got an offer to try the Stealth Core Trainer, I thought, sure, this is why I do product reviews; to test intriguing gadgets I’d probably never treat myself to, and that there’s a good chance I’ll only use once. I move a lot so only the best products make their way into my home. And to my own surprise, the Stealth Core Trainer has so far proven a product I’d actually want to keep using.
A rigorous • yet fun • workout • Can do at home
Bulky appearance • Best for those with good balance
The Stealth Core Trainer is a refreshingly fun and challenging workout, especially for those whose home fitness routines have plateaued. It may not be great if you have limited space or are easily injured.
The idea behind this piece of fitness equipment is relatively simple: It’s a balance board surface to do a plank on. Because of the balance component, you have to engage your abs, glutes, calves, arms, shoulders, obliques, and even more micro muscles to stay at its center. This alone is relatively challenging for some, especially if you stay off your knees in a full plank. It runs $149 right now.
The idea was in the fitness industry who sought to “make planking fun.” And indeed, they might have actually succeeded. Tested against by Penn State kinesiologists, the Stealth Core Trainer was rated as the most enjoyable one, with less feeling of exertion — yet was found to elicit the most muscle activity. The secret is the same as the one that distracts you and toddlers alike: phone gaming.
The board supports up to 300 pounds, and the arm pads are quite comfortable. The pads and the balancing work together to help you maintain better form than you might have in a traditional on-the-floor plank. What makes the Stealth Core Trainer more unique, though, is that there’s a slot for your phone. You can distract yourself by watching TV as you plank, sure, but what’s even more captivating and fun are the games you can play on the Stealth Core app.
Its interactive game distracts you from the fact that you are… well, planking
Using the highly-addictive dopamine-producing principles of any driving, flying, or Candy-Crush type game, you can pick from a few different game choices and “steer” your board as you go. So, for example, if you want to drive on a racetrack and need to get around obstacles, your method of steering is the board itself, and as you make the often-sudden oblique movements to steer, you are engaging all kinds of muscles in your forearms, abs, shoulders, waist, and more. Because your head is looking down at the board, you’re encouraged to keep your spine neutral and aligned.
The result leaves you a little pleasantly sore, and feeling like you got a good workout in just a few minutes.
There are different fitness levels, durations, and games to choose from on the app; four free games and another 16 for premium members (if you want to pay $24 a year). The app keeps a log of your stats and workouts, and allows you to join group competitions all over the world, which can be fun if you enjoy a little competition in your at-home workouts.
I had the most fun going head-to-head with my boyfriend at home. We took turns playing the same game at the same level for the same amount of time, and whoever had scored the most points at the end won. If anyone dropped to their knees for more than a few seconds, they lost. (That’s pretty challenging, but you do you.) We both work out pretty much every day, so we were maybe a little cocky going in thinking it wouldn’t be that challenging.
But after 10 minutes on the advanced level, we were both sweating so this gadget may be especially good for people who exercise regularly but have issues with plateauing. It’s hard to always remember to mix it up, especially during a pandemic when you’re working out at home. The Stealth Core Trainer is nearly guaranteed to make you do different micro-movements every time you play a game — most you likely wouldn’t do otherwise. The result leaves you a little pleasantly sore, and feeling like you got a good workout in just a few minutes.
Balance is key
I love that it’s designed to work on your balance, something that is especially important to keep maintaining as you age. I’ve personally found that this can often be a neglected area of fitness for even the most athletic people.
Also wonderful about this toy — and it does feel like a toy — is that my boyfriend and I kept cracking up as we watched the other play it. This is a lot of fun as a game to play together, and works all kinds of laugh muscles while you’re in plank. It’s also rather comical to watch another person struggle to steer the game or heckle them, and pretty laugh-inducing to do it yourself as well.
Consider your space as it’s a bit bulky
Contrary to the popular aesthetically pleasing at-home fitness products (hi, mirror), this one is a bulky, not beautiful, product. Unless you have a home gym space or don’t care about having a big plastic board in the corner, this is going in the closet where you might sometimes forget to take it out. That said, I did appreciate that it came fully assembled and is lightweight to move around. It’s bulky, but easy to move.
Add to cart?
The Stealth Core Trainer is a great investment for those who have room for it, enjoy addictive phone games, and potentially want something they can use to compete with friends and family at home. It is certainly challenging enough for those of all fitness levels.
While this gadget is good for building and maintaining balance, I do think the potential for injury for some people could be high if they do not already have a baseline of solid core strength. I recommend doing it with a mat underneath for extra support. With 60-day hassle-free returns (they’ll send a shipping label, which I always appreciate) and no assembly required, it’s a relatively low commitment if you’re tempted to try this piece of fitness gear out.
Does it need to be $149? I’m not sure, but it does seem to be sturdy and well-made, and the app games are fantastic, so… maybe. It also appears to be regularly on sale for $99 so keep an eye out for that. I certainly think that for someone who ends up making a habit of using it, The Stealth Core Trainer will be well worth the investment. And pay obvious physical dividends.