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782 of 842 people found the following review helpful
The Flex Belt is an EMS device, designed to tone and strengthen your abs muscles. EMS stands for "electrical muscle stimulation" and it is what it sounds like. The Flexbelt sends an electrical signal to your abs that causes them to momentarily "clench" and then relax. You can follow a few different built-in training programs, but for the most part they all consist of putting on the belt, plugging it in, and then having it stimulate your abs for about half an hour while, in principle, you get to be working on something else. In practice, even after trying these out nearly every day for a couple of weeks, I found it to be too distracting to get much in the way of other work done - at least work that required any serious attention.

The whole package seems like it's professionally designed - it doesn't feel at all cheap. It looks like it will last for a few years, and everything fits in a convenient pouch (included). What you get is a belt that has three electrical nodes - one that goes roughly just below the navel, one that goes on the left and one to the right. It comes with a set of sticky gel pads that you place over the nodes. They stick to the nodes on one side, and they actually stick to your belly on the other. You can peel them off afterwards, and they come off clean, but with just a bit of sticky residue remaining on your abs. You are supposed to retain the plastic seals that cover up the gel pads, so that they don't accumulate debris or stick to each other in between uses. I've been told they are good for 30 to 50 uses and that sounds plausible to me. I've used it nearly twenty times, and they still seem to have their "stick." The belt, which secures via velcro, is big enough for fairly small to medium waisted people, but comes with an "extender" for those, like me, who are "bigger boned" (hey, I'm very tall, too - but I admit that I could stand to lose some weight).

Anyhow, you secure the belt with the velcro, and then plug in the battery pack, which needs to be charged up ahead of time. This will not run directly from an outlet - and that's probably a very valuable safety precaution in case there happened to be a power surge. You turn on the battery pack, select a program, and then boost up the intensity to get it started. It doesn't start up until you start to boost up the intensity. One minor flaw in the device seems to be that as you are boosting up the intensity - and you have independent left and right intensity controls - it gives you a continuous "jolt" until you stop at a certain level and it goes on and then off, giving a continuous stimulation for a few moments and then shutting off for some breathing room.

It has 150 different levels, ranging from a barely noticeable electrical stimulation at 1 to something I can only imagine is quite painful and cramping at 150. I generally have "trained" at around 75 and that feels like "easy" crunches. If I get up to 85 or so it is painful and feels like cramping. I imagine that I would build up a bit more resistance and be able to elevate my levels after some period of time.

So, how does it feel? At first it was very uncomfortable - I don't like the cold, sticky pads on my skin and then the steady electric shock feels strange. After a while it's not so bad - like everything, you get used to it, even though I still can't quite "study" anything while this is running. I have a hard time concentrating and can only do simple things. What really matters, though, are the results. I do feel like my muscles are getting a little bit of tone, and they feel a bit tightened, much like they do after a good abs workout for a few days. That's the thing, though: I have decided that I'd actually rather just work out. It feels better doing it, and I think the results are more impressive. According to research I've read, you don't burn a lot of calories doing this - what it does do is enhance tone, just like exercise would.

I was glad I got a chance to try this out. In fact, it reminded me that after a car accident when I was much younger I went to a physical therapist who applied a similar technique to some of the muscles of my back. What I've concluded, though, is that it is most likely to be beneficial for those who, for a variety of reasons such as back injuries, cannot engage in any kind of abs exercises. Of course, in that case it would be smart to consult a doctor before even considering this as a way of building muscle and tone.

Overall, this seems like a well-designed product, that could be useful for some. I'm dubious about any potential "weight-loss" claims - but I'm just as dubious about any program focused on abs that claims or implies it will give you good abs. To get good abs you need to eat well and the right amount, first, and work out, second. If you were doing all of that, but for some reason couldn't get definition in your abs - maybe because an injury made it impossible to exercise abs appropriately - and if a physician agreed, this would likely be a great tool. Also, if you don't mind the feel of this - I admit that's likely to be subjective - it couldn't hurt to add it to the routine - especially for days you couldn't get in other abs work.

Note: I was provided with this product by the manufacturer, with the understanding that I would try it and post an honest review. I hope that it is helpful.
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268 of 302 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2014
I purchased a belt from this company with a 2 year warranty. Their gel pads have to be purchased separately and I purchased 3 sets of these. After about 7 months using the belt, the belt stopped working. I thought it was the pads, so i bought more. They did not solve the issue either so i contacted customer service. Arthur was incredibly rude and would not help me. I tried to escalate to management but that is impossible. So i called in and was told to mail back the belt with the controller and they would send me a new one. I did so and about 2 weeks later I got a belt but no controller. the belt cannot work without the controller. I talked to arthur again in customer service who told me I did not send the controller back and refused to send me another one. I don't understand this company. They have a good product but they are not standing by their claim of 2 year warranty. Do NOT Buy this belt unless you want to keep dumping $200 into a new belt. the belt will not last more then one year and its one of these companies who when you go to claim the warranty, they give you a really hard time. Not worth it. The belt it not that great.
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215 of 251 people found the following review helpful
TOP 100 REVIEWERon June 26, 2013
I was a little bit skeptical when I was contacted to review this product, I don't usually go in for gimmicky exercise products, but I stopped by this page and saw some decent reviews. I was sent a sample by the manufacturer and decided to review it after giving it a try.

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CONSTRUCTION/DESIGN
Overall I was very surprised at how well the Flex Belt is made. Of course, this isn't an inexpensive product but that wouldn't make it the first time a company sold second-rate exercise products at a first-rate price. The Flex Belt is well-constructed, and definitely looks like it will last the frequent wear-and-tear that will be put on the Velcro closing mechanism. The controller is a little bulky, but a pocket is provided on the Flex Belt itself to tuck it away during use. I was glad to see that the cable was long enough so that the controller could be kept in the pockets of my shorts/pants, a location I preferred so there wasn't a bulge under my t-shirt.

I found that the gel pads were easy to apply, and have stayed on very well. The plastic that protects them during shipping can be reapplied securely so that they don't get grimy when not in use. I should point out that they are FREEZING when you apply them. Nice during the summer...winter not so much!

The Flex belt comes with a proprietary charger that plugs directly into a wall socket. This is the first minor issue that I took with the Flex Belt - proprietary chargers annoy me to no end. Sure, they ensure that people don't fry their device by using the wrong voltage/amperage, but having to carry special chargers with me is a pet peeve of mine. If something happens to your charger, you're going to have to go through the company for a replacement.

Apart from the aforementioned caveat, I found that the Flex Belt was well-designed, comfortable to use, and overall of high quality. Included is a belt extender for people with broader waists, a thoughtful touch.

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USAGE/RESULTS
Now according to several studies (I did some research), electrical stimulation of muscles is a viable way to...well...stimulate muscles. We can safely assume that repeated stimulation of muscles will indeed cause them to grow stronger and firmer. That being understood, however, the question is not "will the Flex Belt stimulate my abs?", but is "how WELL will the Flex Belt stimulate my abs?" According to the FDA's website:

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"Q. These electrical muscle stimulators are advertised not only to tone, firm, and strengthen abdominal muscles, but also to provide weight loss, girth reduction, and "rock hard" abs. Do they really work?

A. While an EMS device may be able to temporarily strengthen, tone or firm a muscle, no EMS devices have been cleared at this time for weight loss, girth reduction, or for obtaining "rock hard" abs.

Q. If I use an electrical muscle stimulator that has met FDA regulatory requirements, will it give me the same kind of effect that lots of sit-ups, stomach crunches and other abdominal exercises will?

A. Using these devices alone will not give you "six-pack" abs. Applying electrical current to muscles may cause muscles to contract. Stimulating muscles repeatedly with electricity may eventually result in muscles that are strengthened and toned to some extent but will not, based on currently available data, create a major change in your appearance without the addition of diet and regular exercise."
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If you read behind the lines of the Flex Belt promotional catch-phrases, they aren't actually claiming visible changes to their customer's abdominal muscles. Sure they have some good-looking abs on the front of the package, but even according to their own studies users reported that their abs "FELT more firmed and toned" (emphasis added). What am I trying to say? I guess I'm commending for not being deceitful in their advertising, but also warning potential customers to make sure that their expectations are in the right place: big results come from big exercise, not electronic devices that you wear for a few hours a week.

Personally, I really didn't enjoy the feeling of electrical stimulation to my abs. This is probably just personal preference, but even at the medium settings I found the feeling to be uncomfortable, and frankly a little bit annoying. I spent about two weeks using it on a regular basis, and I'm not going to say "it didn't work" after such a small evaluation period. I simply discontinued use because to be quite honest, I prefer the discomfort from doing crunches than I do from electrical stimulation to my stomach.

All of that said, the Flex Belt sure can pack a punch as you get to the higher levels. Intensity levels vary from a slight tingling, to noticeable contractions, to, finally what I assume can be likened to the feeling that comes with severe food poisoning. In short, it DOES make your abdominal muscles contract, and it does feel as though you've just worked out, but when it really comes down to it, the majority of people will buy a product like this for VISIBLE changes. Having strong abdominal muscles increases posture, reduces likeliness of injury and can even help improve endurance, but I don't think I would be too far off the mark to assume that many people looking at the Flex Belt are going to pick it up because they want to look like the front of the packaging.

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OVERALL
For those looking for a viable way to strengthen their abdominal muscles regardless of visible changes, this may actually be a decent product. It also has some therapeutic uses - a fact that might alone induce someone to buy a Flex Belt. That said, I'm not convinced that the cost is fully justified. If you're really serious about toning, strengthening and seeing visible results would be a bonus, there are better ways (and FASTER ways) to do so without spending nearly the same amount, if any money at all.

Recommended for some with some strong reservations, I highly recommend reading up on independent research before purchasing any electrical abdominal stimulation product.
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191 of 226 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2013
It's does work but the product broke at 2 months. The agent I spoke to on the phone said that I needed to buy pads which I did, after just had my brand new gel pads for 1 week. When I got the pads, the belt still didn't work. The second guy said that is has to be the controller. Now 2 weeks after, they are going to replace the controller but not the belt. If the belt still doesn't work when I receive the controller, I have to call them back and get the whole thing replaced, wasting more time. First guy told me I was going to be getting en extra set of pads for free since they were making me buy an extra set that i did not need to purchase. When I spoke to the second customer service rep, he said that they never offer this to anyone. BAD BUSINESS AND BAD PRODUCT!!!
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219 of 260 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2014
Be aware folks that some of these 5 star ratings may be tainted by Flex Belt's marketing practices. When you buy one, you are encouraged to go to amazon and rate it 5 stars, and in return, you get free replacement gel pads. I'm not saying the belt doesn't work, the jury is still out for me. But when I go read reviews, I want to know that the reviews are honest and unbiased. These may not be, and for that, I give this product 1 star.
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108 of 128 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2014
Please save your money. This is the biggest waste of 200.00, the company should be ashamed... They never inform you when you buy this, that you are committed to a lifetime of purchasing the gel pads, which only last 2or 3 sessions.. And the worst part, is that it is uncomfortable, annoying and doesn't work...by the time I found this out, it was too late to return..now I am stuck with a 200.00 piece of nothing that I will not continue to use, because I am not buying anymore gel pads...terrible terrible product...
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186 of 234 people found the following review helpful
I'm probably the perfect candidate for a product like this since I'm tall & thin (6'7" / 215 lbs) without a lot of muscle definition.

Before I go into details, let me sum it up by saying that I've been using the Flex Belt for one month and have seen noticeable results. Don't get me wrong - I still don't look like a gym rat, or somebody out of the movie 300; but, my abs are more toned than they've been in 20 years!

Now, on to the details:

*** My Routine ***

Right from the start I decided I wasn't going to do any additional exercise while using the Flex Belt because I wanted to make sure any results were actually coming from this product. My normal routine is to ride an exercise bike every morning for 32 minutes - and that's about it.

I spend all day at work, so the best time for me to use the Flex Belt is in the 1 hour before bed when I generally relax to let my mind wind down from the day.

*** Flex Belt Setup ***

Right out of the box, the Flex Belt seemed like an extremely high quality device. I watched the video on their website, charged the controller unit, and got the gel pads placed on the belt.

The gel pads were a lot stickier than I had imagined; but, the overall setup process went very smoothly.

*** The Workouts ***

I'm sure everybody has different tolerances; but, I found I was able to go a lot higher on the levels than the intro video had led me to believe. In fact, I started the first workout at around 40 and ended up around 90 by the time the Level 2 program had ended.

Over the next few days, I found I was starting every workout at a higher level than the previous workout, and was always able to increment ~40 levels over the course of the workout. I also moved into the 'advanced' programs by the end of week 1.

After the first couple of workouts, I thought my abs were going to be sore; but, there wasn't any muscle soreness until after the third workout - and that was minimal. I have to say I was a little skeptical that the Flex Belt was working since I'm used to a lot more soreness when I work out. :)

By the end of week 2, I was hitting the maximum level on the belt - and have alternated between the 'advanced' programs ever since.

I should also mention that the Flex Belt instructions say to use it 5 days a week - and my intentions were to go ahead and do it 7 days a week (I mean, why not?). Needless to say, life got in the way and 5 days ended up being about what I was able to pull off anyway...

*** Mistakes ***

In my quest to be more efficient, I decided to just double up the Flex Belt with my normal exercise bike routine. That appeared to work fine until the next day, when I realized the gel pads were no longer as sticky. My suspicion is that the sweat from working out destroyed the gel pads...

That's when I learned how important those sticking gel pads are! :)

My next Flex Belt workout didn't feel as much like a workout as it did a shock torture session - which started me on a quest to get my gel pads back into working condition.

*** Gel Pad Tips ***

In order to keep the gel pads in tip-top condition, I started experimenting with Purrell hand sanitizer (which I read about in another review).

I tried applying hand sanitizer to the gel pads before putting them away, but found that didn't make any difference (at least it didn't for me).

What did work was applying hand sanitizer to the gel pads immediately before putting the belt on - which appears to improve the connection, so it works the muscles instead of just shocking you.

*** Design Problems ***

I'm not sure why; but, the Flex Belt has two controller settings - for the right and left. Personally, I can't think of a case where I wouldn't want them to be the same - and it's a pain to keep them in sync.

In my opinion, it would make a lot more sense to have a single button with a single level for the entire unit...

It would also be nice if there were a backlight on the controller display when changing the settings. I mostly used it while watching TV in the dark, which makes it hard to tell if the two sides are sync'd up.

*** Conclusion ***

If you're thinking about getting the Flex Belt to lose weight, I would say you should look elsewhere. I could probably burn just as many calories reading a book.

If, on the other hand, you want to increase muscle definition in your abs, but don't like working out, then this is an excellent option!

My abs look more defined than they have in years, and I haven't had to change my daily routine at all.

NOTE: This Flex Belt unit was provided by the manufacturer for review.
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110 of 141 people found the following review helpful
UPDATE: 8/16/2013 - Since writing my review, I've lost an additional 16 pounds by following WeightWatchers and lots of cycling. I am now definitely seeing more definition in my abs and I attribute that primarily to the Flex Belt since cycling does not really work your core too much. The definition is becoming more apparent because I'm losing a lot of the belly fat that I had before. I'm really enjoying using the Flex Belt and don't find it uncomfortable at all. Yes, it takes some getting used to, but one you are used to it it's a unique yet enjoyable experience.

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I've been using The Flex Belt for a month. It's been quite fun and I feel but don't quite yet see the results.

I'm 6'2", 205 lbs and except for my mid-section, quite lean. I'm an active cyclist and XC Skier and am quite active. My age is 59 and I"ve got a common issue... a rather significant amount of belly fat that is really really difficult to get rid of. I'm in Weight Watchers and am trying to lose the belly fat. It's tough. I know that once the warm weather arrives, I'll be able to put some serious road miles on my bike and I'll start dropping weight but that's not now.

I want to be clear about one thing... I did not think that The Flex Belt would do anything to help reduce my belly fat. And if you think that it will, then you'd be getting it for the wrong reasons. This won't do diddly to help you lose fat.

What The Flex Belt will do is assist you in toning your abdominal muscles. It's a really weird, at first, experience. After charging the controller and applying the gel pads properly to the Flex Belt you wrap it around your waist. Once you place the belt around your waist and turn it on you select the first program by pushing the "P" button on the controller. Then you begin to manually increase the current by pushing the 2-up arrow buttons (or hold the "i" button while simultaneously pushing the 2-up arrow buttons for a rapid and synchronized increase or decrease of current.)

Very soon you begin to feel a slight tingle or tickle. As you increase the current, that feeling becomes more pronounced and at some point you may reach a point where you may feel enough is enough. So that's where you begin the session. The controller rhythmically gives you a series of pulses. Each pulse slowly ramps up then down in intensity. Each pulse causes a muscle contraction that is involuntary. That's so weird to get used to at first. But after a few sessions its fine.

I honestly felt the next day as if I had done a bunch of crunches or situps. My muscles were feeling like they had been worked out and they had... except it was by the Flex Belt contractions, not by me actually doing any physical exercise.

It is definitely hard to describe but suffice to say, your aps do get exercised and you do feel the result.

As you progress upwards through the sessions over the course of weeks, the intensities and pulses change. The reason for that is muscles begin to learn the same pattern and thus you have to change things up for maximum benefit. That's true for any exercise regimine you are in. Variety of exercise is important to keep your muscles confused.

So it's now 30 days. Do I have 6-pack abs and no more belly fat? Heck no, but my wife does tell me that she can see more definition of my abs underneath my fat and I feel pretty confident that I can sense a difference in how I feel. If I can lose the fat over the summer, I'm sure my abs will be better defined.

So does this work? I'd have to say yes. But remember, it won't turn you in to the hot looking guy and girl on the box...unless you already look that way before you start. But it will exercise your abs via it's method of electrical stimulation which causes the muscle contractions. And you willl ultimately have better toned abs.

This won't replace regular workouts, but it's certainly a supplement to them.

I wear mine at different times of the day, once a day. Usually I just wear it while I'm doing something else, like working at my desk.

One more thing... you do have to replace the 3 gel pads after every 20-30 sessions. They simply wear out. So that is an ongoing expense you need to take into consideration.

I like The Flex Belt and . I'll continue to use it.

I was provided a sample of the Flex Belt so I could use it and write my unbiased review.
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114 of 146 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2010
The flex belt is fantastic. I have back problems and it is tightening my abs and relieving pressure on my spine. I feel healthier and look forward to my belt sessions. Try it. You have 6 wks to see if it works. I saw it working before then.
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83 of 107 people found the following review helpful
I loved it while it lasted - the charging system connectors physically broke and the control mechanism started freaking out on me. By the time I ordered my 3rd set of replacement pads my flexbelt was useless. Now I have 2 sets of pads and no flexbelt.
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