6 Unusual Exercise Programs Worth Trying

If you're looking to change up your workout, one of these trending exercise programs just might be for you.

View as Slideshow


Described by 61-year-old creator Joanna Rohrback as a "springy, rhythmic way of moving forward, similar to a horse's gait and ideally induced by elation," Prancercise swept the nation after a 5-minute video tutorial went viral in May 2013. Rohrback credits the exercise program for her toned abs and glutes. "I've been Prancercising since '89," she said. "I was walking with my headphones on and heard some really good music that got me goin'."

Paleo Fitness!

A companion to the Paleo diet—the meat- and veggie-heavy eating plan based on hunter-gatherer diets—Paleo fitness also looks to our predecessors for "primal" ways to stay in shape. Various versions of the exercise program have evolved around the country and the world, but the basic forms of building strength are the same, such as hanging from tree branches, carrying boulders, lifting logs, and increasing your cardiovascular fitness by walking and running outside.

Surfset Fitness!

Fitness buffs in search of a creative way to burn fat, improve balance and build lean muscle should "ride the waves" at Surfset Fitness, the brainchild of professional hockey player Mike Hartwick, who spends the off-season surfing in California. The exercise program takes place on a machine that looks like a miniature surfboard and simulates the instability of waves. "No other workout I tried helped me maintain my lean and toned physique," Hartwick has said.

Content continues below ad

Cycle Karaoke!

Cycle Karaoke!
The seemingly endless trend of combining stationary cycling with other forms of entertainment continues with Cycle Karaoke, available at many Crunch gyms across the country. This exercise program challenges your legs, gluteus ... and lungs. Each fearless soloist belts out the words to his or her favorite song from the gym's collection, while the rest of the class pedals along. 

Minimalist Fitness!

Research suggests that short, intense workouts may improve aerobic fitness and muscle strength more quickly than longer bouts of moderate exercise. A study from McMaster University in Ontario found that four to six rounds of a high intensity workout on a stationary bike—30 seconds of sprinting, followed by a brief rest—improved muscle conditioning as much as 90 to 120 minutes of cycling at a moderate pace. In other research, Norwegian scientists found that three intense four-minute runs per week improved volunteers' endurance by 10 percent after 10 weeks. So, whether you're cycling, running or torturing yourself with 15 rounds of pull-ups, pushups and squats, short workouts could be the key for ultimate fitness. 


JumpLife!Melanie Fidler for The New York Times
Trampoline workouts have been around for a while, but JumpLife in New York City combines mini trampolines, disco balls, and neon lights for an effect that's more like a dance party and less like an exercise program. Montserrat Markou, a massage therapist, created the routines—one focused on cardio, the other on toning—to make working out easier on the joints than high-impact exercise such as running. "I wanted to make the workout hard and safe at the same time," Markou told the New York Times in May.

Want to stay smart and healthy?

Get our weekly Health Reads newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you the newsletter each week, and we may also send you occasional special offers from Reader's Digest. For more information please read our privacy policy.

6 thoughts on “6 Unusual Exercise Programs Worth Trying

  1. This would be great exercise if you live out in the country and no one can see you
    prancing around otherwise someone might stop and haul you off to the nut house.
    Also those ankle weights especially on a beginner could give you a bad case of shin splints. Skip the ankle weights.

  2. I think this is worth of a try since I am quite busy with my everyday schedule and have no time for doing extreme workouts. This is easier and can spend just a little time. Thank you for sharing this. Can you recommend also simple exercise that can I also do even I am at the office?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram


A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Funny Jokes

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.


Funny Jokes

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.

From clientsfromhell.net

Funny Jokes

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”


Funny Jokes

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

Funny Jokes

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Funny Jokes

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.

Fields marked with an * are required
Foods That Harm Foods That HealWant a Free eBook?
FOODS THAT HARM, FOODS THAT HEAL offers important information about the role diet plays in the struggle against heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other serious illnesses. Answer the question below to receive your FREE digital eBook.

Someone in my household experiences the following conditions:

Send me a link to download FOODS THAT HARM, FOODS THAT HEAL:
By clicking below, I agree to the Trusted Media Brands Privacy Policy