Steroids not the only gear in town

Supplement sellers are telling us we don't need roids to get ripped, bulked, and massive: those 5kg tubs of protein powder and creatine are just the trick for serious muscle builders, they say.

Now exercise equipment manufacturers are getting in the on the act with some bold claims of new 'gear' to get you steroid huge.

The Cooling Glove has been hailed by some as better than steroids, and was developed by biologists at Stanford University. The idea is simple: cool your hand, and increase your strength – massively. Over a six week period during lab trials, a member increased his max pull-ups in one session from 180 to 620.

The science: Increased activity within muscle cells causes the body to heat up, resulting in a weakened body. When you cool the muscle cell during a period of rest, you can essentially end the muscle's state of fatigue and start with renewed energy.

Our Verdict: Wait and see. After all, a single glove caused MJ do to do some unforgettable dance moves and another helped OJ receive an acquittal. Further, Stanford is a reputable university, so let's stay tuned 'til it hits our local gyms and sporting fields.

The Ab Doer Twist ($200) was invented by John Abdo (Ab-do, no joke), and the website claims 3 million were sold around the world. If you haven't seen on the infomercials, The Ab Doer Twist is a chair with a bar at shoulder length, allowing you to 'twist your way into shape'.

The science: The Ab Doer Twist allows you to have a 360 degree ab workout all while providing aerobic training at the same time. Being seated means you're supported, stable, and aligned – allowing for an exhilarating workout in just minutes per day.

Our Verdict: Get fit, while you sit, smile, and watch TV? I don't (nor won't) buy it. And in my view, isolating the abdominals is not the best start for those starting their fitness journey.

The Perfect Pushup Elite ($US30) is a low-tech, rotating handle push up device, allowing the user to perform a push up the same way you throw a punch or press up a dumbbell.

The science: U.S. Navy Seal designed, the rotating handles allow your muscles to rotate to their natural arc, all while making push ups easier on the wrists and elbows. You engage more muscles during a simple push up, which means better results – faster.

Our Verdict: Big fan. I've used (non-rotating) push-up handles for years, and they are the business. The decreased load on the wrists is a plus for beginners and the seriously fit, and the height allows for a full-range of motion push up that even recruits back muscles at the end of the chest's eccentric and start of the concentric phase.

The Tower 200 ($188) is a Body by Jake device. Jake Steinfeld has been a fixture on American infomercials for years, and he also brings us Mario Lopez's The Solution ab workout – marketing at its finest. The Tower is an attach-to-your-door-frame-in-seconds type device with handles and bands.

The Science: There isn't much science detailed on the website. The Tower 200 is about getting 'Bigger, Harder, and Stronger' and working out just like 5-time MMA champ Randy Couture.

Our Verdict: Mixed. The Tower 200 emulates band and cable workouts which have been around for years and are very effective. However, bands might not be the best tool for hypertrophy sessions in getting bigger. And the 'Gotta Door? You Gotta Gym' claim sounds cool, until you're doing your workout and your partner's entrance into the living room sends you flying through your LCD television.

Beetroot juice: We're finally smartening up and noticing that nature provides organic steroids that benefit young and old.

British athlete David Weir's haul of four Paralympic gold medals was powered by a special ingredient that is completely legal, scientifically proven to improve sporting performance, and has even been referred to as 'legal blood doping'.

The Science: Beetroot juice increases blood flow, reducing the oxygen needed by muscles, which enables them to work more efficiently.

Our verdict: Love it. Thanks Mother Nature.