There have been some funny fitness fads over the years. Who thinks these should make a comeback?
Our readers come from all walks of fitness life. Some of you might have been training for decades. Chances are, you’ve tried out some home fitness fads in your time. We look back at some of the most popular, some of the strangest, and even some one-hit wonders. Where are they now?
This series of home workout DVDs remains hugely popular with people who want a really challenging home workout system. P90X fans tend to like feeling totally beasted by their choice of exercise, and P90X delivers! It’s designed to transform your body over just 90 days.
Shaun T’s distinctive brand of motivation pushed millions of home exercisers through the Insanity workout system. As the name suggests, this DVD series is crazy-tough – and crazy-popular. Marketed as the toughest workout on DVD, it’s currently the leading home workout system of its kind in the USA (and has a huge following here in the UK, too).
Who remembers punching and kicking along to Billy Blanks in the 90s? Tae Bo was a hugely popular home workout based on martial arts and boxing. It certainly helped you work up a sweat and was a valid form of cardio exercise for home workout enthusiasts. Blanks and his Tae Bo brand had a massive following.
This little gadget promised to firm up your abductors as you squeezed and flexed your way to toned thighs. Did it work? Who knows, but ThighMaster has sold more than 10 million units over the years, and the kit is still available!
The Ab Roller was a familiar sight in home gyms, often tucked away against the wall. It tapped into our obsession with doing hundreds of sit-ups daily, and was designed to make them easier, supporting your head and giving you something to hold on to. It’s still available for purchase, and you can even find it in some commercial gyms.
This vibrating dumbbell-type fitness gadget lent itself so well to spoofs, memes, and jokes that it went viral. They’re still available, and are pretty low-cost. But whether sales are due to people buying into the joke, or actually using them to tone their arms, is anyone’s guess.
Another star of the 90s home fitness revolution, the Bodyblade was a long weighted blade-shaped bit of kit that was thought to tone your body through its wobbling vibration, which you had to work hard to counteract. A predecessor to the Shake Weight maybe?
The Bowflex worked along similar lines to the Bodyblade, providing you with resistance training through the tension of its rod-like structure. It was marketed as an entire gym in one piece of kit, but we’re not too sure about that.
Hands up who bought a Slendertone belt? This vibrating belt was marketed as a weight-loss toning belt that shaped up your waist and abs by using electronic pulses to stimulate the muscles. The idea was that you could pop the belt on and let it do the work for you. It’s still available and has its share of die-hard fans.
Do They Work?
Do we think any of these fads, gadgets, and fan favourites work? Some of them have merit, and we can certainly see how an intense focus on a structured workout programme will have short-term results.
But for a well-rounded training approach, and long-term results, we still think the good old tools of barbells, dumbbells, cables or resistance bands, and your favourite form of cardio, will work best.