The art of working out has evolved tremendously over the years, with old school calisthenics and aerobics taking a back seat to fitness crazes like Crossfit and Piloxing. But when it comes to reaping the most benefits from your routine, sometimes the best thing you can do for your body is to throw it back to the workout video world’s greatest hits. Here, we give you our top five favorite workout videos of all time, that remain totally relevant, despite the leotards.
1. 1982: Jane Fonda’s Complete Workout
If Jane Fonda’s goal-worthy body at 78 isn’t enough of a testament to the benefit of her early workouts, then the fact that this video went on to be the highest-selling workout video of all time should do the trick. In her original video, which is the first of a series of successful on-tape, do-it-at-home workout routines led by Fonda, the fitness icon leads viewers through two versions of the same workout – a beginner and an advanced – meant to improve flexibility, as well as shape and tone the muscles.
2. 1986: The Firm: Body-Sculpting Basics
Before The Firm debuted its first workout video in 1986, there weren’t a whole lot of options that offered a comprehensive workout that combined body weight and free weights. By bringing dumbbells into the mixture, the video combines effective cardio movements, like jogging in place, with strengthening exercises, like overhead dumbbell presses. In a sense, this was one of the earliest hybrid workouts that fitness enthusiasts could do at home. And even if you’re not particularly crazy about a jazz-style soundtrack, the workout results make up for it.
3. 1987: Buns of Steel
While there are plenty of workout videos that offer lofty promises in their titles and fail to deliver, Buns of Steel comes, surprisingly, pretty close to following through. With a series of hardcore sculpting moves, like leg-shaping leg lifters, the workout pushes your muscles to the max while challenging your body by switching up the routine often. And if you even think of quitting, instructor Greg Smithey will gladly remind you that you need to “squeeze those cheeseburgers out of your hips.” If that’s not motivation, we’re not entirely sure what is.
4. 1992: Shape Your Body
The prospect of even just coming close to looking like Cindy Crawford is one of the real draws here, but it comes in the company of other appeals, like the fact that Shape Your Body offers three different workouts in a single video. While two of the three workouts are longer and more difficult routines that you can do when you’ve got the time, the third of the bunch is a fast-paced, 10-minute workout that’s perfect when you’re a little pressed for time. And because Crawford has exercises to target just about every muscle in this workout, you can be sure that you’re getting a killer total body workout here.
5. 1994: Get Up and Dance!
Coming in at just under an hour long, Paula Abdul’s mid-90s workout video is all about putting a little life and party into your fitness routine, which we’re always open to. With a heart-pumping sequence of dances – you’ll get three segments, in total – and a designated ab series to more specifically target your core, Get Up and Dance! offers a fun way to tone your muscles and boost your cardio.