a woman participating in a strange workout routine

The 5 Strangest Workout Routines

Workout fads come and go, and many of them without much notice. However, there are some exercise options out there that are just too weird to ignore. These five fitness trends, while providing you with some tangible health benefits, are sure to raise more than a few eyebrows if you break them out in your next gym session.

  1. Backwards Running
    Granted, backwards running does have some proven benefits, like using 30% more energy than regular running and reducing the stress on your knees, but seeing it in action is still a bit…odd. Of course, if you plan on backwards running, you’re going to need a trusty lookout who will make sure you won't trip over curbs, dogs, or (regular) runners.
  2. Prancercise
    In the 1980s, fitness guru Joanna Rohrback developed a charmingly bizarre exercise fad known simply as “Prancercise,” which is based around emulating a horse’s prance. What’s so fantastic about this hilarious workout is that, by the creator’s own admission, it’s all about having fun while you get fit. Unfortunately, Prancercise came about in the pre-Internet era, which means that it was cloaked in relative obscurity for most of the 90s. Thankfully, with the advent of social media, Prancercise is finally getting the attention it deserves. The workout has even been featured in places like the Today Show and the music video for John Mayer’s “Paper Doll.”
  3. Karaoke Cardio
    While people have been listening to music while they work out for years, it’s a bit odd to think about belting out tunes while you’re on the treadmill; that’s exactly what some exercise enthusiasts are doing. Singing takes your mind off the tedious parts of working out and causes your lungs and heart to exert more effort than they normally would. This means there is some benefit to adding it to your fitness routine—as long as you can overcome the stage fright!
  4. Doga
    Dog yoga, or “Doga”, adds a modern twist to the classical Indian tradition. Practitioners incorporate their canine friends by using them as props for deepening stretches, but the dogs are also called upon to strike a pose from time to time as well. While proponents argue that Doga brings humans and animals closer together, some people have criticized the practice for trivializing yoga. Still others worry about the negative health effects it may have on the dogs.
  5. Pilates
    Yes, Pilates is a widely popular workout choice, and yes it can do wonders for your flexibility and improving your core strength, but there’s just something disturbing about having to strap yourself into a machine that looks like it was taken straight out of a Medieval torture chamber. In addition to the weird gear, Pilates uses its own bizarre terminology like “knitting your ribs” and “bringing down your wings,” which gives it all the charm of a secretive cult.