The Best Retro Exercise Videos On YouTube

Screenshot: YouTube

When my treadmill broke down a few weeks ago, I wondered how I was going to get in some regular exercise at home during the winter. I texted a friend asking for advice and she sent me a slew of (old) Pilates workouts on YouTube with this note: “Sorry for the lack of modern suggestions. Apparently when I find something I like, I stick to the VHS tape.”

At the mention of a VHS tape, I remembered a favourite exercise tape from my high school days: Tae Bo with Billy Blanks. Heart already pounding with excitement, I did a quick search. And, sure enough, there was my guy:

Everything about this video is wonderful: the outfits, the hair, the way you won’t be able to move your arms or legs when you’re done. As one commenter, Evelyne, puts it: “This w/o is over 20 years old and I still haven’t found anything I LOVE more. It’s amazing and works everything!!! KICK ARSE.” Yes, Evelyne, exactly.

Billy got me thinking that YouTube might now be home to all of our favourite 90s (and older!) exercise videos. So, I asked some of the Lifehacker staff: Do you guys watch any oldies-but-goodies on YouTube?

“The 8-minute abs/8-minute arms/8-minute buns vids are also all on YouTube and I do them on the regular,” Managing Editor Virginia Smith says. The graphics and workout setting are good, but the music is even better:

One sceptical viewer (hi, Terry!) commented last year, asking “Who’s still watching in 2018?” To which a dozen people replied some version of “Meeeeee!”

Anyway, that got us thinking about another all-time classic: Buns of Steel. Don’t worry, it’s there:

Editor-in-chief Melissa Kirsch wanted to be sure we checked on Jane Fonda’s presence. After all, Melissa says she “found it so peaceful,” which we’re not sure is exactly the point of an exercise video but is, nonetheless, valid. Of course, Jane is there. There. Is. So. Much. Jane.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t include a little Denise Austin Power Pilates action, too. “Scoop in those abs now! Scoooop ‘em in!”

And last but never — ever — least: Richard Simmons. I’m not saying you should feel obligated to do this workout, but if you don’t at least watch the intro, you’re only doing yourself a disservice. (RICHARD, WE LOVE YOU.)

What would you add to this list? What other classics do we need to invite back into our lives?


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