Workout Videos (and DVDs) for Dummies

workout video, workout DVD
Thousands of workout videos and DVDs
are available at retail stores and online.

Exercise videos have been around since the 1980’s.  Jane Fonda made “at home fitness” popular with her series of workout videos (22 titles released from 1982 to 1995) that got women of all ages and abilities clearing out the living room and moving in front of their television sets.  In fact, Jane has recently released “AM/PM Yoga for Beginners” in 2012, the newest addition to her active aging series.  

Although Jane Fonda has been recognized as the first mainstream fitness celebrity, exercise shows have been around for a long time.  In fact, men were the first to showcase fitness and exercise for the “at home” participant!  Jack LaLanne, also known as the “Godfather of Fitness”, hosted the first fitness television show on ABC (“The Jack LaLanne Show” aired from 1953 to 1985) and Gilad Janklowicz, the face of the longest running fitness television show on ESPN (“Bodies in Motion” aired from 1985 to 1996), brought fitness into the homes of millions of people (primarily women) each week.  Richard Simmons, with this “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” videos in the 1980’s and early 1990’s, provided an alternative offering to the Jane Fonda Workout.

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Workout videos and DVDs include
challenging workouts for both men and women.

Although exercising at home had traditionally been targeted towards women, guys are getting into the action at an increasing rate!  In the past, workout videos were limited to aerobics and cardio, yoga, pilates and dance-inspired activities.  Now, the workout selection has expanded to include strength training, interval training, sports performance, and workouts perceived to be more “intense” than traditional home workouts.  Role models and celebrities like Tony Horton, Shaun T and Georges St. Pierre have made home workouts appealing and a realistic alternative to a gym membership.

With thousands of workout DVDs on store shelves and streaming online there is something for just about anyone!  But with anything, there are both pros and cons to consider:

Workout DVDs – Pros

  • Can do workouts from the comfort of your own home.
    • Privacy
    • Convenience (no need to travel)
  • Saves time and money.
    • No need to drive to the gym (or find parking)
    • DVDs cost an average of $10-20/each
  • Wide variety of workouts available.DVDs may contain several shorter workouts and/or bonus workouts.
    • Aerobics & Cardio
    • Yoga & Pilates
    • Dance (Zumba)
    • Strength
    • Total Body Conditioning
    • Kickboxing
  • Workouts do not require large pieces of fitness equipment.
  • Workouts incorporate more functional, multi-joint exercises and movements.
  • Complete workout programs (DVD sets) provide a wide variety of workouts from beginner to advanced.
  • DVDs are inexpensive (in comparison to the cost of a monthly gym membership or personal training).

Workout DVDs – Cons

  • Requires a DVD player (or computer connected to an LCD screen).
  • Requires an open space (free of furniture and clutter).
  • You have to buy the DVD before you can try it.
  • You may not like the DVD after you’ve bought it.Workouts may require additional equipment.
    • The level of difficulty isn’t right (too easy or too hard).
    • The exercises aren’t safe or effective.
    • The workout isn’t motivating.
    • You don’t like the instructor.
    • You don’t like the music.
    • The workout is too short/too long
  • The workouts are the same every time (lack of variety; need to purchase several DVDs).

Below is a list of websites that provide valuable tools in your workout DVD search:

Workout DVDs for Men and Women

Popular Workout DVDs – Men

Popular Workout DVDs – Women

Workout DVDs – Alternative Options

Buying workout videos or DVDs are not your only options.  There are several ways to access quality workouts that won’t “break the bank”:

  • Visit your local library and borrow workout videos and DVDs.
  • Sign up for Netflix and access the workout videos and exercise programs.
  • Buy used workout videos and DVDs.
  • Sign up for an online fitness video membership.
Online Workout Video Libraries (Monthly Membership)

Online memberships are becoming more and more popular as people are relying more on the convenience of streaming video versus traditional videos and DVDs.  Below are a list of websites that offer monthly streaming video content at a reasonable monthly cost: