Wacky and Wild Exercise Equipment that Has Come and (Luckily) Gone

There are good ideas in fitness—things like interval training and kettlebells—and then there are… interesting ideas. Gadgets, fitness styles, and overall trends that seem a little strange from the start. Maybe the advertising was bad, maybe the spokesperson didn’t do a great job conveying the goal of the product, maybe the idea just seemed totally bogus. Yet, somehow these wacky trends caught on, at least for a while.

Here’s a look back at a few silly trends that have come and gone in past years and decades. (Aka, more reasons to be glad straightforward workouts like indoor cycling and cross fit are popular today!)


The Shake Weight
More than two million Shake Weights were sold its first year on the market, though I will never understand the appeal of it. It looks like a spoof on exercise equipment, rather than a good idea. (No wonder “Saturday Night Live” had so much fun covering it!) Hilarious.


Vibrating Belts
In the 60s, vibrating belts were all the rage because it was a promise to “work out” without actually having to work out. All you had to do was wrap the belt around your waist and hope that the vibrations would shake the fat right off of you. This lady’s smile looks pretty big, considering the ongoing earthquake her body is experiencing!



Exercise Wheels
Yep. Like a human hamster.



The Thighmaster
Suzanne Somers certainly has great thighs, but all that squeezing seemed a bit repetitive. Plus, we all know that spot training doesn’t actually work—thinner thighs aren’t going to be the result of strengthening a single muscle.



Toning Shoes/Clothing
Reebok, Sketchers, New Balance and the like released toning sneakers to “increase workout power,” but the shoes were nothing more than a curved sole that just made the wearer kind of wobbly. No surprise they’ve all since settled lawsuits about marketing claims made about the shoes.



The Hawaii Chair
It seems like a normal ol’ office chair, but the “benefit” of the Hawaii Chair is the constant movement that replicated the motion of a hula dancer. So you could lose weight while working at your desk, basically. Needless to say, it wasn’t the most effective product of all time. We’ll take a walking desk over a dancing desk any day.


Also Read: 

Study Casts ‘Good Vibrations’ on New Fitness Method

The Hottest Fitness Trends of 2023—and a Preview of 

Hybrid Workouts and Nike + Top List of Fitness Trends for 2023

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