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Shula's Athletic Club is located in beautiful Miami Lakes, Florida and has been one of South Florida's premier fitness and wellness centers since 1982. Our staff is dedicated to improving the “quality of life” of our members and the community of Miami Lakes. This is achieved every day by providing our members with a warm and welcoming environment, extensive programming, a team of caring professionals, and the best fitness equipment and sports facilities available.

What Happened to '80s Exercises?

The Top 10 Exercises of the 80s: Where Are They Now?

Still long for the days of Jane Fonda, leg warmers and coordinating leotards/scrunchies? Look no further -- these 10 workouts from the 1980s will have you wanting to blast "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" (on your modern-day iPod).

Step Classes

Step classes are the dinosaurs of the aerobics world for one reason: the knee joint. Repetitive flexion with impact is killer on this hinge joint. The knee is not a ball joint like the ankle, shoulder and hip, so it takes a lot of abuse. We all used to do pivots, reverses -- God, I loved these! -- and this added torque. Bottom line is that step class is like a hunky, bad boyfriend. You love it in the moment, but the next morning you can barely stand the pain.


Fire Hydrants, Pizza Lifts, Happy Boyfriend, Inner Thigh Flies, etc. Thank you, Judi Sheppard Missett, inventor of Jazzercise, for bringing us the burn. These new movements were the first time we learned to isolate a body part and tone it. Now we know better methods to work specific muscles like squats and lunges and we also know that adding heavier weights get better results faster, as well as the sad fact that there is no such thing as spot reducing.

Bridge Butt Sqeezes

See number two, although these are still the most effective way to tone the pelvic floor if you keep the glutes relaxed. This will keep you from peeing when you sneeze or cough.

Squat Thrusts

Great plyometrics -- leaps, hops, jumps -- but momentum + speed + full range of motion = high injury risk. Translation: great move for athletes in competitive training and for teens, but an accident waiting to happen for people 50 years-plus. Make that 40.


Envision a standing straddle, bend forward and alternate opposite hand to foot. Technically, this is called unsupported flexion with torque. You never see anyone doing this nowadays. Windmills are the free-radicals fo the exercise universe. If you are in a class and they are doing this, leave. It will increase your likelihood for low back pain and you could herniated a disk.

Ballistic Stretching

There are a few things that we used to do that we now know better than to do. Bloodletting is one. Ballistic -- or bouncing -- stretching is another. New science has discovered that if you lengthen a muscle then bounce into that stretch it actually makes the muscle contract rather than release. So you get less of what you want, not more.
Warm-Up Stretching

Don't bother. Studies have shown repeatedly that stretching prior to your exercise does not prevent injuries or improve performance. Lots of people still like to do it, so I will humor you and say go ahead. Really all you need to do is start your activity at half speed and gradually amp it up.

Jiggle Belts

Elaine Powers Toning Salons -- do you remember them? -- they had jiggle belts when I worked there in 1984. It turns out that there was science behind the flab-flapping. NASA scientists were researching ways to rebuild muscle and bone mass in atrophied astronauts returning to earth after extended time spent in zero-gravity. They found that vibration -- if it was really fast and irregular in it's pattern -- could stimulate both bone and muscle strength. Google the Power Plate.

High-Impact Aerobics

This is my favorite exercise of all. I loved the jumping jacks, the high knee jogs, the dancer leaps, jumps and bounds and I could kick higher than my head. We did kick-lines, the can-can, speed skater leaps. I was the highest jumper in the Elaine Powers health club chain. But the very part that I loved about it -- jumping up and down on concrete floors was the very thing that was destroying the cushioning in my hips and knees. We crammed 60 years of impact into 20. Do you remember the song "Pound, Pound, Pound"? That was our theme. Now, the former high-impact people are now spinning. We can still get that high-intensity cardio workout without the pounding.

Suicide Sprints

This takes me back to high school basketball practice. If I was talking instead of dribbling -- which was usually the case -- I had to run suicides. Sprinting to the 1/4 court line, touching it, racing back; sprinting to the half-court line, touching it, sprinting back; sprinting to 3/4 court line, touching it, racing back; sprinting to full-court line, touching it, racing back. AFAP -- As Fast As Possible. These movements are how young girls tear their ACLs if they are not taught how to get their body -- their center of gravity -- down low (by bending their knees, ironically) as they bend over while pivoting. Don't do these unless you have an educated coach interested in your long-term knee health.

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