Why Not Practice With a Vintage Jane Fonda?

As I explore the world of home workouts, I keep thinking about the rules of the VHS era. In the past, buying Jane Fonda’s feed was much more of a commitment than watching one of the countless free videos that are now clogging up online influencers’ social channels. ( Jane herself, by the way , is on TikTok .) In fuzzy video and lifeless color, Jane has become your cheerleader, educator and coach. And one cassette could be your only workout for months on end.

In the one I tried, a 1988 gemavailable on YouTube , Fonda starts by explaining the workout and then does a five-minute warm-up. After that, the video is split into three segments:

  • 10 minutes upper body strength training
  • 30 minutes of aerobics
  • 10 minutes lower body strength training

There are conversations and transitions between sections, so this is an approximate time. Fonda invites you to either do all videos every other day, or just aerobics snippets on weekends; or do upper body aerobics one day and lower body aerobics the next day.

Beyond just doing a workout, Fonda explains how you will progress over time – using heavier weights, for example – and the purpose of each exercise. She doesn’t spend any time teaching you aerobic movements; she just says, “Next time you’ll get it,” and you know what? You’ll. You will watch this tape every day for several months. You can handle it.

I recorded the entire tape, except that I quickly rewound part of the aerobics section because my daughter was under my feet and I was also a little bored and annoyed. Hey, this is probably part of the real experience too. With a lot of weight, this is probably a sensible workout for most people.

Fonda offers beginners one and three pound dumbbells, as well as additional one pound ankle weights. If you are strong, perhaps your dumbbells will lift up to 10 pounds and your ankle weights up to five. Typically, you do each exercise for two sets of 8-12 reps, as Fonda assures you that you will not become unwieldy; rather, this exercise creates a beautiful “contour” on a particular part of the body. As a workout, this is fine. And as a showcase for 80s fitness fashion, it’s superb.

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