Technology might change, but our goals are still the same: can we find the secret to eternal youth? Fitness and diet trends are always cyclical, so if you’re looking for the next big thing in fitness, might as well check out the past for inspiration.
1. A woman uses a device for “slimming exercises” in 1934. This doesn’t look like a lot of fun.
2. 1925: Now we’re talking. No one should ever work out without an extra pair of X chromosomes and a mechanical horse.
3. This dude uses a “muscle developer” machine in 1932. This looks potentially fun, potentially like an evil government plot to get kids fit on playground equipment.
4. Two ladies use an exercise wheel in 1936. Not sure who is actually getting the workout here.
5. Here, a pack of shirtless bros launch sticks into the air. Presumably because some guy was like, “I bet I can throw a stick farther than you,” and then it turned into a thing.
6. 1930: Not sure how this one works, but you get to wear high heels while you do it. So maybe it’s kind of like strip aerobics.
7. Boys perform schoolyard exercises in 1925. Off-camera, the girls are peeing themselves and basking in the boys’ humiliation. It is a moment of glory.
8. A strongman poses in 1895 in a women’s bathing suit.
9. Aw! This mother-son team wins the 1959 Home Olympics.
10. Ha. Right. A women uses a vibrating “hip trimming” belt in 1928. Sports footwear by Mrs. Claus.
11. DdduuUUUUUUuuuudde. In 1945, a strongman proves his strength by having men pound hammers on the stone block on his chest. Hammers. Stone. Chest.
12. A group workout in 1925, swinging “Indian Clubs,” (their branding, not ours) a popular workout method of the era.
13. A cyclepram in 1926 proves those fancy Park Slope parents have been doing this for ages.
14. Oh, come on. Another supposed test of strength in 1938. Get a Shake Weight and call it a day!
15. In 1920, rowing machines were all the rage.
16. Formation hoop exercises in 1935. Hoop, there it is!
17. 1852: “A man exercising using two long weights across his back and chest.” Otherwise known as extra large back massagers purchased at Bed, Bath & Beyond.
18. 1921: SoulCycle 1.0.
19. One way to get moving and shaking in 1958 — hula hooping as demonstrated by Hula Hattie.
20. Jacobus Van Dyn aka “Tattoo Man,” lifts a human in 1936. Because he is clearly a hipster and traditional weights are totally passé.
So that was sweatin’ to the oldies. Granted…lot of good that did them as they still got old.
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