5 Pieces of Vintage Exercise Equipment We’re So Glad Don’t Exist Anymore

Here’s a hobby of mine: I’m obsessed with looking at antiquated things. I’m that one sucker that always gets pulled into BuzzFeed articles and sponsored blogs about “All the Toys You Definitely Owned if You Were a 90’s Kid” or “The Best Disney Channel Movies from the 2000’s: Ranked” and will scroll endlessly in a fit of pure nostalgia. There’s just something entertaining about the act of looking back at the past and reminiscing about how things used to be. Ah, the good ol’ days.

Which is why I’d be remiss, as an avid exerciser and class attendee, if I didn’t do a little research on some of the exercise equipment of the past. With advertisements doting ridiculous promises and machines that totally didn’t do a thing (besides giving us a laugh decades later), it’s hard not to enjoy taking a look back at how people used to work out. Keep reading for a hilarious peek into what exercising looked like back in the day.

Courtesy of Pinterest

1. The Molby Revolving Hammock

This piece of exercise equipment, promising to give you a “full chest and small waist” by simply lying face down on a hammock, sounds like a workout we can get behind. We’re not sure how long this one lasted, however, before being recognized as one big napping machine.

2. Single-Speed Roller Massager

Can you imagine only having to roll your body on a vibrating machine to achieve a toned back, core and arms? In what sounds like a vintage full body foam roller, this exercise equipment was either extremely painful, or a great way to sneak a massage into your workout.

Courtesy of Pinterest

3. Inches Away Reducing Belt

In what looks like a vintage form of a waist trainer (which by the way, can we please put this outdated and totally ridiculous idea to bed once and for all?), this belt promises to “take inches from stomach without exercise or special diet.” Mhmmm… right.

4. Vita Master

To “exercise” on this particular machine, all you had to do was place a wide band around your waist, thighs, hips or arms and it will — get this — vibrate your body to help build muscle. For some reason, this style of workout was fairly popular back in the day. Perhaps this antiquated idea helped inspire the resistance bands we use to tone our muscles in class today?

5. Vintage Treadmill

Okay, this exercise machine turned out to be a pretty good idea. But what’s even more admirable than a piece of workout equipment making it through a few more decades is that these women were able to exercise wearing what looks like patent leather flats and doily socks. Let’s all take a moment to feel grateful for modern-day leggings and sneakers.


Stephanie Limiti is a born and raised New Yorker living out her dreams of palm trees and sunshine in Los Angeles. When she's not zenned out in yoga class, she's reading biographies and volunteering at dog rescue shelter. Follow her on Instagram.