Plank! Dish! Side bend! Leg lift! Now imagine GaGu is blowing his whistle at you and pulling a stern face. But Guru knows the look he’s getting in return. It’s the look of a sad puppy who wanted some gadget advice. A puppy who has spent a lot of time watching infomercials and shopping channels, who believes that true core strength comes from buying a weird vibrating gimmick rather than good old-fashioned hard work and bodyweight exercises. And who is Guru to argue?

The obvious news: most fitness gadgets are designed to mainly strengthen the wallets of their creators. Guru has trodden this ground so often that he’s starting to wear a hole in the carpet. Those that do work are generally based on classic exercise techniques. Crossrope’s weighted skipping rope ($69-$258) turns jump rope into jump very-heavy-thing, adding muscle training where you’d normally just be doing cardio. A gym ball — or, if you’re feeling flush, a Bosu Ball (from $39.95) — is a great way to add balanced-based unpredictability to standard exercise movements, forcing you to tighten those guts.

And now we come to the point at which Guru is forced to admit that there is a new-fangled device which could actually have a beneficial effect on your core. Yes, the TRX system (buy the pro version, which costs £188) mixes pro athletics and Navy SEAL training techniques, dangling bits of you from straps to enable some crazy exercises that wouldn’t be possible were you not strung up like a sweaty marionette. It could be a fad — the requisite gym classes are popping up all over the place — but if you’re desperate to have core that’s stronger than a concrete apple, this training is a strong choice. See also cheaper versions of the same thing: the WOSS Titan Pro comes in at under £50, and you could spend as little as £30 if you’re willing to suspend yourself from something which may snap at any time.

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