The New York Times recently introduced all of us gym-averse slackers to a seven-minute exercise routine that science claims will make us fit and healthy, requiring nothing more than a chair and a wall. As anyone who has tried the dozen 30-second exercises, separated by 10 seconds of "rest," will tell you, it also requires a lot of pain.
Thankfully, the internet has rediscovered a much-less-painful exercise regimen from the 1980s. It was in 1989 that Florida resident Joanna Rohrback took some time off her job as a social worker to create Prancercise and a companion video, Funky Punky's Prancercise Program. It didn't take off. Then last December, she published her book, Prancercise: The Art of Physical and Spiritual Excellence, created a website, and posted some videos of her exercise routine on YouTube. (Watch above.)
What can you say about an exercise routine sold as "a springy, rhythmic way of moving forward, similar to a horse's gait and ideally induced by elation"? It's probably "the best and least effective exercise video of all time," says Louis Virtel at The Backlot. But Prancercise is "ridiculous and, frankly, mesmerizing."
Amazingly, Prancercise LLC is "a real company selling Rohrback's idea of imitating a horse to achieve your perfect bikini body," says Ciara LaVelle at the Miami New Times. But rather than a graceful horse, the videos look like "watching your awkward aunt Carol hit the dance floor at a family wedding." Rohrback even suits up for her prancing "in a tailored salmon jacket, white pants, pearls, and full makeup."
Her book is bolstered by two reviews on Amazon, one from a reviewer who swears Prancercise "finally let me experience my inner-horse," and the other from a guy who claims that after getting knocked into a coma, "an angel visited me in my hospital bed and commanded me to wake up and try Prancercise," which let him slim down from 340 pounds to 148 pounds. LaVelle notes some ridiculous legal disclaimers at Rohrback's site, then turns to her YouTube page:
But don't be fooled, Rohrback writes at YouTube. "This is not to be confused with the fad; "Gangnam Style Dance".... this is the real deal a fitness program for those serious about looking their best, not like a FAT KANGAROO!" I'm not making any of this up. I swear. [New Times]
Hopefully, if you decide to take Rohrback up on her offer, you'll prance around "in a completely deserted park where no one can point and laugh," says Jay Barmann at SFist. But the really amazing thing about Prancercise is "how it took this long for the internet to discover Joanna Rohrback and her inventive (and wildly hilarious) exercise method."
The video is so awesome, actually, that we thought it wasn't real. But it is!... This video has, remarkably, been online since December, only to be unearthed this week via the magic of blogging and social media.... We hope Joanna at least makes some money off this... [SFist]
If you doubt that the mockery will keep Rohrback from cashing in on Prancercise, consider that JCPenney's widely ridiculed "Hitler" tea kettle sold out within days of gaining infamy on Reddit. Thanks to the internet, says Derek Thompson at The Atlantic, "dozens of happy families are about to welcome a piece of mid-afternoon May 28 internet history and a confusing conversation piece for the kitchen — or a perfect gift for a 20th century history buff with a weird sense of humor."
As the New Times' LaVelle says, "Prance on, Joanna. Prance on."