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What Is a Torso Track?

By Mirissa Armstrong
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A Torso Track is a type of stand-alone exercise equipment intended to help users define their abdominal muscles in a short amount of time and without a lot of effort. It’s basically a device made from a series of pulleys connected to handles with tension-controlled belts. No electricity is required, which theoretically makes the device useable almost anywhere. It folds for easy storage, and can be pulled out when needed. Getting started isn’t usually difficult, as the exercise usually involves little more than a crouch followed by torso extension, with the arms pushing away from the bent knees. Results usually depend on increased tension and multiple repetitions in a set. This machine was most popular in the United States in the mid-1990s, and most models were sold via infomercial. Torso Tracks are still produced today though in fewer numbers, and sales are almost entirely online.

Basic Idea

The Torso Track is an abdominal-only machine and does not offer a full-body workout. It targets the upper, middle, and lower abdominal muscles, and can also be used to tone and shape the oblique, back, shoulder, and arm muscles. Favored for its convenient portability, the machine weighs only 13 pounds (5.9 kg), and assembles and stores quickly and easily. Each one is typically sold with an instructional video that covers everything from assembly to instructions for proper use. Some demo videos and materials are online, too.

It was invented by American physician Larry Barnett and for the first decade or so of its existence was sold only through infomercials, which are feature-length commercials that air on certain television channels and offer in-depth demonstrations and reviews of products. The machine gained its greatest popularity once actress Suzanne Somers offered her endorsement and began appearing in advertisements.

How It Works

The workout is generally pretty simple. It requires the user to get down on all fours, place both hands on the machine's handle bars, place the knees on the cushioned knee pad, and work the body back and forth in a repetitive up and back movement. It offers multiple resistance levels. Since the regimen is generally considered comfortable to use and requires the user to exercise for only a few minutes a day, this abdominal machine may appeal to those who dislike exercise.

Reviews and Results

Machine reviews are mixed and a variety of results have been reported. Most consumers report that the machine is comfortable to use, but some have complained that it is difficult to keep the body in proper form, which can lead to pulled muscles and lower back pain. While some users assert that the regimen has helped them to tone and strengthen their upper bodies more quickly and easily than other exercises, others claim that the workout produces results that similar to traditional crunches and sit-ups.

Getting results typically also takes a lot of time. Simply doing a few easy repetitions isn’t likely to do much of anything; achieving the tones abs that made the original infomercials famous usually takes a lot of dedication and a commitment to intense resistance increases and interval training.

Importance of Healthy Lifestyle Overall

It’s important to note that the device's manufacturers and endorsers don’t claim that consumers can get immediate results, or even that the machine will lead to weight loss. Muscle toning and weight loss, particularly in the upper body, usually requires a combined approach that draws together a couple of different elements. Eating a healthy diet, staying active, and refraining from things like excessive alcohol consumption and tobacco are often thought to be just as important to weight loss as time on a machine like the Torso Track. Under ideal circumstances, this, like any exercise plan, should be just part of a larger healthy living plan.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon997817 — On Mar 04, 2017

I had one for years and loved my torso track. Where can I get one?

By anon994846 — On Mar 12, 2016

Who manufacturers the torso-track and where can I find it?

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