Effective and Popular Old School Exercises You Want To Try Again

Effective and Popular Old School Exercises You Want To Try Again

Most people think that gyms, exercise classes and fitness products are a relatively new obsession in society.

When in reality, fitness started to grow in popularity all the way back in the late 70s and early 80s. This is when the sweat bands and track suits made their debut!

But it didn't start there! Physical exercise dates way back before we had treadmills with computers in them and mirrors that talked to us. However, back then, it wasn't really looked at as exercise, but more a way of life. Centuries ago, physical activity was ingrained in everyday activities.

If you think way back to the beginning of civilizations, they definitely weren't sitting at desks for work like we are today. Back then most of the "work" being done was some sort of physical labor, which gave people all the exercise they needed. Due to different landscapes, environments and challenges of the early days, in order to survive you had to be fit! 

Just think how far we have come... Now we have countless machines that can hit almost every muscle, multiple types of exercise, weights, resistance bands, classes, etc. The options are literally endless. So when did going to the gym and working out really become popular?  Are you starting to remember when the leg warmers and leotards came onto the scene? I give you, the 80s!

With the introduction of fitness videos, gym culture really started to develop. Before this, one's gym looked like a pool or tennis court. However with the growing popularity of wanting to look like the people in the fitness videos, one had to get themselves to the actual gym. And that is when gym culture was born.

Today, the fitness industry is a billion dollar industry!! The industry is now linked with apparel, food, drinks, equipment, clubs, gyms, etc. I bet they didn't think that when they first started. But hey, we all have to start somewhere!

What do you like to do for a workout? Do you do the same exercise routines every day? Every week? Maybe you have a few favorite videos on repeat - get ready to change up those workouts! Join our current monthly challenge now to begin trying new exercises and doing something new every day! By doing so, you will reboot your motivation and engage muscles that may otherwise be neglected. You’ll have more energy in different parts of your body and stimulate different neural connections by trying unfamiliar movements.

The workouts being performed back in the 80s started the craze and our obsession with looking and feeling good. Let's take a look at some of the effective and popular old school exercises that you should try again! 


Originally started in 1969 by Judi Sheppard Missett, jazzercise was born to stay fit by dancing off the extra weight. Back then, exercise wasn't geared towards women so when this fun new dancing workout came onto the scene, fitness was now fun and enjoyable. With the music and dance moves, jazzercise took off and took the 80s by storm by creating joy in working out. 

We can't talk about jazzercise without talking about leotards and leg warmers. Here ladies and gentlemen, the phenomenon was born. Women used to go to the gym with full makeup in all bright pastels. They say history repeats itself. What do we think?! Is this trend going to come back into style? After 2020, I think anything can happen. 

Jazzercise is a high intensity dance party that combines cardio, strength, Pilates and elements of yoga and kickboxing. Even if the leotards and leg warmers have faded out since the 80s, the workout and it benefits are very much so still effective. With the infectious music, this workout is bound to be a good time. Plus, you know me, I love a good dance party!

Buns of Steel

This was the beginning of no more soft tushies! Created by fitness and aerobics instructor Greg Smithey in 1987, the buns of steel workout got people in amazingly good shape, and all from workout out indoors. This workout style targets not just the booty, but also the abs, legs and thighs. Buns of steel is a tough series of exercises that strengthen, tighten & tone. Sounds like a win, win, win to me!

Building your glutes is very important because the gluteus maximus is the biggest muscle in your body! It is a powerhouse which gives shape to your butt and is activated when you raise your thigh to the side, rotate your leg, or thrust your hips forward. 

The medius and minimus work together and help the maximus with motions like lifting your leg to the side. These smaller glute muscles give you the ability to rotate your thigh outwards when your leg is straight and inwards when your hips are bent. This muscle group is critical for performing all kinds of physical activity!

Strengthening your glutes will improve speed, agility, and jumping skills. Every time you take a step, your gluteus maximus stabilizes the pelvis. When your pelvis isn't stable, it puts pressure on your knees and ankles to compensate. To learn more about strengthening your glutes, check out my blog on 4 Butt Building Myths You Never Knew.

Sweatin' to the Oldies

Richard Simmons became a national treasure with his disco dance themed workouts! This breakthrough workout style helped  many people lose tons of weight without feeling like they were actually exercising.

Do you see a theme here? People like to have fun when they exercise! By finding a workout routine that's fun and one that you enjoy, you are setting yourself up for success. Every day in the BTES App, you get a new workout, focused on a different body part. With all this variety, you are able to stay entertained all while reaching your fitness goals. 

Sweatin to the Oldies workouts were performed with the hits of the '50s and '60s. This music transformed the program into pure enjoyment because it was as if it was a party that improved your fitness! By combining cardio and toning, individuals were able to maximize their weight loss and burn lots of calories.

Did you know?!

Before the countless aerobic VHS tapes, dance fitness, gyms or any kind of machine, calisthenics were the workout to get fit. Also know as body weight exercises, calisthenics is a form of strength training consisting of a variety of movements that exercise the large muscle groups. These exercise moves develop strength, endurance, flexibility and coordination which is included in a lot of basic conditioning. 

Still popular today, calisthenics are found in many of the exercises we perform in the gyms and in our homes today. Common moves are:

  • Squats
  • Pull Ups
  • Push Ups
  • Crunches
  • Burpees

There are many benefits to performing multiple types of exercise. By keeping your routine fresh, you challenge your muscles in different ways. Each type of exercise has its unique benefits, so by combining multiple you allow yourself to develop a well rounded physical fitness experience. 

Every month I release a new challenge that targets a specific area on the body. From leaning out, to building muscle, to focusing on our glutes or cardio, you will never get bored with a new workout every day. Not to mention in our challenges we have entire mindset and motivation sections. This is not your average 30 day challenge. There are recipes, live workouts and meditations.  Well, what are you waiting for?! Join our currently monthly challenge now!


Working out doesn't need to be a chore, especially when you have so many options and chances to have fun with it! Keep it spicy and change things up. Try new workouts, add in new equipment. You never know what you might love doing until you give it a shot. 

Let me hear some of your favorite 80's workout moves and stories in the comments! I know some of you had leg warmers and pink spandex leotards!!

See you on the next live workout!

xoxo Rebecca

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Carson Maitland - Smith
Carson Maitland - Smith
September 06, 2022

80’s exercise is one of Emma Watkins’ new projects 💛

Denise Velazquez
Denise Velazquez
August 31, 2021

Had the buns of steel series and sweatin’ to the oldies! Great memories! Thank you

Margaret Miskelly
Margaret Miskelly
August 31, 2021

I loved working out to 70s/80s music Rebecca Louise and yes I did wear the bright pink leggings and ankle warmers at my aerobic classes can’t wait to get my groove on in the BTES GROUP the best community ever x I’m ready to sweat!

Cheryl Cunningham’s
Cheryl Cunningham’s
August 28, 2021

Would love to exercise to the oldies. Been working out since 1983 and still do step aerobics. Then tone up with Rebecca Louise. Love her videos.

Gail Vann
Gail Vann
August 28, 2021

Would love to join in for the 🤩 and Definitely getting my sweat on