The All-Time Most Effective Retro Workouts!

By Jenny Everett, SELF magazine

When we think about retro trends, we generally get a nostalgic twinge for fashion (leg warmers!), hairstyles (teased bangs), TV shows ("Growing Pains" and "Punky Brewster"), and toys (Cabbage Patch Dolls and Shrinky Dinks).

But recently, we read about an up-and-coming health club chain (60 locations and counting) called Retro Fitness, which is totally '80s-themed. Kind of brilliant (they play "Rocky" and "Sixteen Candles" on a big screen in the cardio room). This got us thinking about old-school, leotard-clad workouts.

Here's an homage to our faves (complete with hilarious video) and what you can learn from them:

Buns of Steel: Minimal equipment, mucho rhythmic movement and leg warmers. Oh, yeah, and if you're as bold as host Tamilee Webb, you can wear a belted THONG leotard. "You're seeing more of this calisthenics-style workout coming back into fitness," says Eric Casaburi, founder of Retro Fitness. "It's drills and constantly changing the workouts. Our trainers use this theory a lot to get Retro members the best workout by keeping the body guessing and progressing."

Move that works: Leg lifts. Variations of this move are now staples in Pilates classes-to achieve lean, dancer-like legs. For more inspiration check out Bridget Moynahan's Sexy Leg Workout. Eat your heart out, Tom Brady.

Related: SELF's Ultimate Retro Workout

Get in Shape Girl!:
The ad for this fitness kit aimed at young girls (cassette tape, streamers on sticks and, of course, pink sweatbands) would have us singing and dancing our way through "Smurfs" commercial breaks.

Move that works: Jumping rope. You can burn major calories (10 per minute!) while getting a great butt workout. Check out this jump rope routine from our fitness blogger Erin Kurdyla.

The Firm: When it debuted in 1979, The Firm (here's a link to a classic video) was one of the first workouts to combine aerobics AND weights for a complete cardio and strength workout. They call it "Synergy Training." These days, hybrid workouts--like Pilates/boxing (Piloxing) and Yoga/Spinning--are all the rage, and for good reason.

Why it works:
The hybrid approach not only keeps you more engaged, it also allows your heart rate to fluctuate, which boosts your metabolism more efficiently than, say, a long, slow slog on the treadmill. In addition, as we've said a bazillion times before: It's essential that women strength train to keep their bones strong and their bodies injury-proof.

See Also: Yoga With Weights: Take Years Off Your Body

Jane Fonda: The first lady of fitness deserves a category of her own. "Jane Fonda pioneered the workout movement with dancer-inspired exercises that create lean curves using only your body weight as resistance," says fitness legend Molly Fox of San Mateo, Calif. "The emphasis on posture and core strength was way ahead of its time.

Why it works: It's key to have an arsenal of no-equipment-required moves you can do ANYWHERE, whether you're at home, on vacation, or holed up in your office working into the wee hours of the night. Use SELF's Workout Builder to DIY your ultimate Fonda-approved body weight workout.

What's your favorite "vintage" workout? Jazzercise? Sweating to the Oldies? Do tell...

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