It’s easy to understand why devices which promise to improve your abs are often regarded with a mixture of hope and cynicism. On the one hand, getting better abs, or keeping abs in good shape, are common fitness goals. On the other hand, this fact has encouraged certain vendors to bring out low-quality products in the simple desire to cash in on the size of this market. We approached the WonderCore Smart System with an open mind and here are our findings in our full Wondercore review.
First impressions of the WonderCore Smart
In terms of size (H36.5, W54, D54cm) the WonderCore Smart could feasibly be carried home from a local shop, although it does come in at about 10kg (including the box) which means that delivery might be a more attractive option.
We like the fact that the WonderCore Smart comes ready-to-use, all you need to do is adjust the pressure to suit your needs, there is a range from 20lb to 50lb, which is generated by means of dual-resistance springs. Roughly translated, the springs work in two directions so you get resistance regardless of the direction of the exercise. Another plus point is that the WonderCore Smart System folds easily for storage.
What really matters, of course, is the build quality. Given that the WonderCore Smart System currently comes in at around £80, which is a fairly high price for such a small piece of equipment, you’d expect the build quality to be of the best and from what we saw that’s a reasonable expectation. We’re quite prepared to believe that the WonderCore Smart System will stand up to regular use over the long term.
WonderCore Smart System Review
Before we jump into our main review, we’d better mention up front that if you’re over 250lb or so, you’re going to find it difficult to impossible to use such a compact machine, likewise if you are large-framed, you may have difficulty physically fitting in to it.
The promise of the WonderCore Smart System – a total body workout, which can really improve muscle tone and help eliminate fat
The WonderCore Smart System arrives with a manual, which has clear, pictorial, instructions of how to use the WonderCore Smart System for:
Forearms and biceps
If you assume that a workout involving a mixture of these exercises is probably going to contain a decent level of cardio, then that probably does qualify as a total-body workout, which, pretty much by definition, is going to improve muscle tone and help shift fat.
The WonderCore Smart System also comes with two workout DVDs (of about half an hour each) and an exercise and nutrition guide. Both of these are pitched at beginners, which is understandable. Even though the WonderCore Smart System is designed to cover the sort of exercises with which most regular gym goers will already probably be thoroughly familiar, we’d suggest working along with a DVD at least once until you’re comfortable that you know how to use the WonderCore Smart System itself (although we have to say it is pretty intuitive).
If you think it’s “too easy” just put a bit more pressure on the springs. Beginners may well find the exercise and nutrition guide is also quite helpful, although we have to say, if you are looking for meaningful help with nutrition, you’d probably be better heading to the internet and as you’ve probably guessed from that comment, there’s nothing in this guide which is going to make anyone with a moderate knowledge of nutrition sit up and think “wow I never knew that”.
We’d describe the exercises as simple but effective, by simple, we mean straightforward, rather than just easy. For those of you looking at the WonderCore Smart System and thinking “you could do those exercise on a mat”, that is true but there are two ways the WonderCore Smart System adds value. The first is the element of resistance. We’ve yet to find any exercise mat (or floor), which can offer that. The second is the element of support. We would suspect this is particularly important for beginners and more vulnerable users (such as older people) but could also benefit more experienced users, since, let’s be honest, it’s easy to slip into bad habits if you’ve been involved in fitness for a while. If you suffer from pain in your neck and back, particularly your lower back, then this could be one of the best fitness-related buys you ever make. Even if you don’t, your neck and back are both well-worth protecting and the WonderCore Smart System is both affordable and compact and hence we would say certainly an option worth looking at.
WonderCore Review – Overall
Does the WonderCore Smart System live up to its marketing and the hype on the box? Honestly no, not in our opinion at any rate.
Is it a worthwhile purchase? Quite possibly yes, as always, depending on who you are and what you want.
Let’s start with some realities. If you want to push yourself to your limits, you need a proper gym, appropriate nutrition and probably a personal trainer as well. If you buy the WonderCore Smart System believing the marketing about it being the “ultimate workout”, able to replace all of the above, then you’re probably going to be very disappointed.
If, however, you look beyond the hype and accept the fact that if there was some sort of “magic bullet” for fitness, or even just for core fitness, we’d all be walking around with washboard abs and that hence, the most any piece of gym equipment can do is be a useful aid as you put in the work, then you could find the WonderCore Smart System a very useful fitness tool.
We can see two obvious target markets for the WonderCore Smart System
People starting out in fitness and/or with vulnerabilities (e.g. older people or those recovering from illness or injury).
In this scenario, the WonderCore Smart System may be all you need, to begin with at least. That element of support and protection for the neck and back could prove invaluable. Depending on your situation, you could opt to progress just by increasing the pressure on the springs, or you could look for alternative equipment to supplement your WonderCore Smart System, for example an indoor trampoline, which is gentle on the joints. You might also look at alternative aids on your journey (back) to full health and wellness, such as the use of saunas, steam showers, whirlpool baths etc.
People who lack the time, money and/or inclination to go to the gym regularly
It takes a certain level of commitment to go to a gym regularly and it can be hard to summon up that sort of commitment if a part of you is quietly resenting the fact that you’re spending your time and/or money on it or if you’re just the type of person who prefers to exercise in a more private environment. Alternatively, for all you may want to go, you may find it hard to put in the time and money when there are higher priorities for both, such as work and family commitments. In this situation, the WonderCore Smart System could form the focal point of a very effective mini-home-gym. Yes, it’s going to lack all the full features of a proper gym, but we think there’s a definite chance that if you’re in this situation, you can live without them, possibly quite happily.
If this is you, we’d partner up the WonderCore Smart System with an indoor skipping rope (i.e. one with weights instead of an actual rope), an inflatable exercise ball and some form of weights. For those in really tight spaces, remember that the fact that exercise balls are inflatable, means that they are also deflatable and hence can be stored away easily between uses. It may be a bit of an inconvenience to have to inflate them before each workout, but just look on it as an extra bit of warm-up. At current prices, we think you could feasibly buy all of this equipment for around the £100 mark, which translates to around two months’ gym membership (or even less). Buy a strong holdall or similar and you can put all of the above into it and stow it under the bed when it’s out of use. Even people in the likes of student halls, bedsits and studios should be able to fit the WonderCore Smart System into their life (literally). Likewise, renters will be able to take their equipment with them easily when it’s time to move.
Indoor skipping ropes are an excellent cardio tool and for those tight on space and/or budget, they can replace a treadmill. Yes, there’s less all-round functionality, but your heart will still get a good workout. Between them, the WonderCore Smart System and an exercise ball will probably target every muscle group you could possibly want and, of course, having some weights increases your options for making your exercises a bit more challenging.