Health These Old-Timey Photos of Women Working Out Prove Going To The Gym Has Sucked For Centuries  

Erin McCann
15 items

For as long as there have been fad exercise routines and crazy contraptions to help people get in shape, there have been women at the gym. However, ladies getting swole in the past looks a little bit different than the profile cut by today's lady gym rats. Worry not, though; thanks to the existence of vintage photos of women working out, the Zumba lovers of today can see what their female predecessors had to put up with to get their sweat on – including bizarre equipment and wearing high heels while exercising. Like looking at pictures of old timey mountain climbers, this collection of vintage fitness photos illustrates an intriguing history of exercise, long before pilates and barre yoga were trendy.

The early 1900s featured many machines used to maintain fitness, but instead of Ab Rollers and Bowflex contraptions, there was a vibrating belt-machine known as Vibro-Slim, thought to massage the fat right off of you. Rowing machines and stationary bikes were popular, as was the classic exercise of stretching. The glamour girl workouts of the 1930s and '40s became more focused on moving one's body and in the 1980s, almost every woman owned some version of an aerobics outfit. These old-timey photos of people exercising are as hilarious as photos of old timey strongmen, and will make you glad you didn't have to work out back then.

Without Workout Wear From Prana, Women Had To Make Due In Swimsuits And High Heels

Without Workout Wear From Pran... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list These Old-Timey Photos of Women Working Out Prove Going To The Gym Has Sucked For Centuries
Photo: Vintage Fashions/YouTube

These Ladies Were Talkin' About Gains Before You Were Even Born

These Ladies Were Talkin' Abou... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list These Old-Timey Photos of Women Working Out Prove Going To The Gym Has Sucked For Centuries
Photo: Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/PD-US

What Leg Day Looked Like In The 1930s

What Leg Day Looked Like In Th... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list These Old-Timey Photos of Women Working Out Prove Going To The Gym Has Sucked For Centuries
Photo: Vintage Fashions/YouTube

Before Thigh Master, There Were Child Torture Devices

Before Thigh Master, There Wer... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list These Old-Timey Photos of Women Working Out Prove Going To The Gym Has Sucked For Centuries
Photo: Wellcome Images/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 4.0