Exercise Trends From The '90s You Definitely Tried

by Kat George

The '90s was unique in a lot of ways, even in ways you might not really consider. We had unique technology, unique fashion and beauty trends, and unique pop culture. We also had unique exercises. Sure, you might do some iteration of these exercises now, but exercises from the '90s are their own special variety. There were some that emerged in that decade, or that already existed but didn't become super popular until the '90s, but these trends just go to show that there was literally nothing that could escape the influence of '90s style.

One thing about '90s exercise is that it was very aerobic. Gyms are gross, so that's lucky, because a lot of '90s exercise didn't involve actually touching a lot of equipment that other people have touched. Carrying on from the '80s, a lot of exercises were also video and cardio-based. Infomercials also became popular in the '90s, and lots of them would sell at home work out equipment that prompted lots of work out fads. Getting fit in the '90s really was a lot wackier than getting fit is today, which is a kind of shame. We should bring back some of the more fun exercises from the '90s, so here are nine of them to consider:

1. Step Aerobics

Step aerobics were huge in the '90s. My girlfriends and I used to go after school to the local gym to take a step class around 1998. It was hot. No — literally, really hot. You'd have to bounce up and down and kick your legs and pump your arms all on an exercise step. It was hardcore cardio with muscle building value too, and I'm sure still it exists, but isn't exactly the craze it was back in the '90s.

2. Tae Bo

"She checks out Mozart while she does Tae Bo" is a lyric from 2001, but Tae Bo is very much an exercise of the '90s. Tae Bo was developed by trained Billy Blanks in the '90s, and for those of you who are new, it's a combo of martial arts and kickboxing that, like everything in the '90s, is quite hardcore cardio. Of course, Blanks had a lot of Tae Bo infomercials, because it was the '90s, and if it existed, there was an infomercial selling it.

3. Eight Minute Videos

The "8 Minute" exercise craze in the '90s was the idea that you could tone an area of your body with just eight minutes of exercise a day. The videos for eight minutes were generic and lots of trainers had them, but they were all called dramatic things like "Ab Burner" and would claim by just doing the eight minutes exercises once a day, you could have rock hard abs. We were, apparently, super gullible in the '90s.

4. The Abdomenizer

Speaking of abs, in the '90s people really loved at home gym equipment, and the Abdomenizer was one of them. Yes, it's an overly complicated word. Yes, it sounds like something a magician would say at the end of a trick. No, I am not joking. The Abdomenizer kind of looked like a giant shoe horn that helped your rock about and "tone" your abs.

5. Buns of Steel

Buns of steel was a hang over from the '80s. The idea behind buns of steel was therefore pretty '80s, and involved a lot of lycra, and Pilates-style exercises that were meant to give you, well, steely buns.

6. The Thighmaster

The Thighmaster was another one of those things that came with an infomercial. It was basically a piece of resistance equipment you'd use between your thighs to build strength. It's as sexy as it sounds.

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7. Spinning

Soul Cycle might be all the rage now, but spin began in 1991 when some clever (and now rich) folk made up an indoor cycling system that involved routines and music. That was the birth of spinning, and it was a huge fad in the '90s. It's still a huge fad today too, so I guess some things are timeless.

8. Inline Skating

The '90s were all about rollerblades. Not roller skates, mind you. Four wheels set out like the wheels of a car were totally lame by the '90s, and anyone who was git was way into scooting around on a single line of wheels. Especially in a bikini. You can probably thank Baywatch for the addition of the swimwear.

9. Extreme Sports

In the '90s, we had the X Games and the Extreme Sports channel. Extreme sports weren't just extreme, they were XTREME. Exercise was, in the '90s, sometimes about doing weird tricks on a skateboard, rock climbing, surfing, or any matter of other activity that was deed XTREME. I'll take yoga over that era of exercise trends any day.

Images: Paramount Pictures; Giphy (4)