Most Ridiculous Exercise Trends of All Time

There are some useful ways to get in shape. Then there are bad ways that become exercise trends that do nothing to help. Check out the worst of these.

While some people enjoy exercise for exercise’s sake, most workouts are driven by more primal urges. Usually, it has to do with making the exercisers attractive enough to be sexually viable and improving health to stave off death and decrepitude. It is an understandable thing, so it’s not shocking that marketing companies played on it and helped start horrible exercise trends.

We all understand the need to be in proper shape, but there are ways to go about it that are not complete BS.

Have a laugh at some horrible exercise trends people thought could help them. We wish these were jokes, but they are all real exercise trends from the past.

15.) Dumbbell Utensil

dumbbell utensils among exercise trends

Craziest Gadgets

We’re baffled at how this became popular as a form of exercise because it does not make the least bit of sense. You want to eat. We’re all human. Naturally, if you eat and work out at the same time, it could be the best of both worlds, right?

The dumbbell utensil took absolute dumbbells for a ride when it came to its abilities. You did work out your wrist and forearm, perhaps even your biceps here and there. But it didn’t do much than a regular dumbbell could not already do.

14.) Weight Loss Shorts

Weight Loss Shorts-exercise trends


You might be thinking that we made this up, but we’re laughing out loud writing this. These shorts did exist, and people thought they could help them lose weight. The concept was that these shorts could become like compression pants.

The goal was to squeeze the legs, helping you lose fat off of them. In theory, it was like sweating out the fat and evening out the legs while they did it. This is total and complete nonsense, as squeezing skin moves blood differently through the legs. Once you take the shorts off for a bit, things go back to how they were before.

13.) Tae Bo

Tae Bo among exercise trends

Sports Illustrated

The Tae Bo workouts were massively popular back in the ’90s and beginning of the 2000s. The idea with Tae Bo was to watch videos and attempt to copy the workouts you saw the trainer and his team do. Billy Blanks, who invented the exercise, realized how athletes and martial artists remained in perfect shape.

He assumed that if the workouts those people did could be incorporated into daily life, it could be useful. To be fair, as exercise trends go, this wasn’t a horrible concept. The problem was that martial artists and athletes go through more than just their fight training to get into shape. Blanks himself used more than Tae Bo to get into shape, so it had flaws from the beginning.

12.) Thighmaster

Thighmaster among exercise trends

Twitter-Suzanne Somers

One of the best commercials on television for straight men around the world was anything that involved the Thighmaster. Those old enough to remember the ads know EXACTLY why. Actress and model Suzanne Somers was the main presenter and demonstrator for the product that was aimed at women.

The goal of the Thighmaster was to assist women in getting the legs and buttocks they wanted without having to do all the other regular, harder workouts. While Suzanne demonstrated the device, a man named Joshua Reynolds invented it. He’s the same man who invented mood rings, which were also a flawed concept. The funny thing is, the Thighmaster it is still sold today. The new one even vibrates. We wish we were joking.

11.) Power Balance

Power Balance among exercise trends


When you talk about dumb exercise trends, you cannot ever forget to talk about the Power Balance. Somehow, it became a popular form of exercise around the country. However, it was not even an exercise at all. The Power Balance claimed could “improve balance, strength, and flexibility through special hologram frequencies.”

However, it was a bracelet that you wore. It did none of the things it claimed. It was no better than a placebo for people who felt bad about their bodies and wanted to think they were doing something to better themselves.

10.) 8-Minute Abs

8-minute abs part of exercise trends


We all know you remember the commercials on television. Some of them would be longer infomercials that, during late nights, you’d see on your attempts to sleep. The concept of this invention was that you could have great abs like the people on screen with this one simple device.

You could do this in an eight-minute workout. Hence the name, 8-Minute Abs. This was incredibly stupid, but it became relatively popular with people for some time. It become part of a long line of ridiculous exercise trends that focused on the abdominal muscles.

9.) Sweatin’ to the Oldies With Richard Simmons

Richard Simmons among exercise trends

Washington Post

One of the most popular exercise video presenters in history is Richard Simmons. He was all over television for several years where he’d take part in several commercials for exercise videos he was leading. Simmons became so well-known from the videos that he’d be a popular guest on talk shows for several years.

At 70 years old, he’s still exercising today. One of his most popular videos was called Sweatin’ to the Oldies. This video had him do exercises centered around the music of the past. How it became so popular, we’ll never know. However, Simmons is a great personality that people can’t get enough of.

8.) Sauna Suits

Sauna Suits among exercise trends


Along the same vein as the shorts mentioned earlier, Sauna Suits were made for sweating out excess weight. They looked like trash bags and trapped your body so that you could sweat out as you walked around the park. You could wear them around the house, to the store, or whatever else you wanted to do.

This wearable item became relatively popular, becoming part of the exercise trends we’ll never understand. The problem with this invention is that you gain back the things you sweat out. Drink or eat anything, and you’ll regain any fat you lost. This is ultimately why saunas are no longer considered weight loss facilities by anyone.

7.) The Free Flexor

Free Flexor among exercise trends


The Free Flexor is funny, yet intriguing at the same time. The concept of this device was to work out the arms by using circular motion technology. As you go up and down, weights at both ends circulate, force your arm to work out multiple areas.

As far as exercise trends go, it was not a crazy thing to see. It could work if you used it a lot. However, we recommend you try it in a basement where no one can see you. Just trust us there.

6.) Weight Loss Sunglasses

Sunglasses among exercise trends

Randolph Eyewear

We wish we were joking. You want to eat to survive, but you should turn on blue to stop those random cravings of food all day. The concept comes from a psychologically inaccurate theory that the color blue helps one have control over themselves, whereas red might be more about rage.

The color theory has been dead for years, but don’t tell that to the weight loss sunglasses who claimed their blue-colored frames will help people lose weight. If it is in the name, it must be real, right?

5.) Horse Riding Fitness Ace Power

Ace Power among exercise trends

99.9 The Point

Just when people were recovering from the pain in their side caused by laughing at the Shake Weight video, a South Korean company unveiled Horse Riding Fitness Ace Power. The apparatus is basically a bicycle seat on two legs that splay out and in as you move your pelvis up and down.

This action supposedly mimics riding a horse. The infomercials feature a series of close-ups of gyrating male and female groins.

4.) Shake Weight

Shake Weight among exercise trends


This oscillating dumbbell shot to fame not for its effectiveness but because of the (accidental?) suggestiveness of its sales video. The women demonstrating its use — clad in scanty exercise gear — appeared to be giving the weights hand jobs.

After the Saturday Night Live spoof of the infomercial, could anybody take the Shake Weight seriously? The Shake Weight has surprisingly remained popular, making it one of the top exercise trends of the 2000s.

3.) Face Trainer

Face Trainer among exercise trends

Incredible Things

This gear looks like an athletic manifestation of burka headgear. It claims to resistance train your sagging facial muscles. Wear the face trainer on your head and neck for 10 minutes a day while you do a series of bizarre looking facial exercises, and the manufacturer claims you will tone 44 muscles in your face and neck.

The idea is that when you build your facial muscles, your face fills from the inside out, rather than the outside in, as happens with injectable fillers. Participants in clinical trials claimed that their crow’s feet faded. What ridiculous-looking lengths will you go to so you can reclaim your youth?

2.) Electric Ab Belt

electric ab belt among exercise trends


A lazy person’s dream, the electric ab belt uses electrical stimulation to make your muscles contract, thereby strengthening them. Physical therapists have long used this electrical stimulation principle to help people recover muscle strength. However, if you’re capable of doing some crunches and planks, get off your butt and do so.

These traditional exercises are better than stimulating yourself electrically for half an hour a day. While the belt can strengthen your abs, it won’t do anything about your fat and is not going to give you a six-pack.

1.) Hawaii Chair

Hawaii Chair among exercise trends

HGH Energizer

Wouldn’t it be great to exercise without having to get out of your chair? That’s what inspired the creators of the Hawaii Chair to bring this insane concept to the market. In an insult to hula dancers everywhere, this chair is named for its hula motor.

Recommended for office use, the base of the chair swivels while you call clients on the phone or type on the computer. It’s supposed to work your abs. Motion sickness is the more likely result. It surprisingly did become part of the popular exercise trends list for far too long.

Want a way to lose weight that will work? Click next to read about a way to eat heathier meals easily.