Fitness pioneer Jack LaLanne opened the first American health club in Oakland, California in 1936. The health club had a juice bar and a gym with equipment that LaLanne invented herself, such as the first leg extension machine. In 1951, The Jack LaLanne Show became the first ever syndicated exercise television program. The program ran in syndication for more than 30 years.
When LaLanne first started, doctors generally advised against lifting weights because they were dangerous and did more harm than good. LaLanne was the first person to advise changing routines every 30 days and was a pioneer in promoting fitness for women. His wellness philosophies effectively spearheaded the American fitness revolution.
As the idea of ”fitness” has evolved dramatically over several decades, so has the popularity of exercise programs. Some laid the groundwork for techniques and routines that are still popular today, while others have proven to be little more than fads.
Ro has compiled information about the top fitness programs, trends and activities over the past 70 years to illustrate these developments in the United States. The research comes from news reports, reports from official fitness organizations, and historical texts. While trends take hold in different parts of the world at different times, this list, including dates, is specific to American training trends.
From Jazzercise’s neon leotards and spandex to people designing their own home gyms during the COVID-19 pandemic, the upcoming trends do more than isolated workout styles. They underscore America’s cultural shifts, ideals of beauty, and technological breakthroughs.