We ranked popular lockdown exercise trends by how awful they made us feel

Put away that yoga mat

Flounder Magazine
Take care to avoid enjoying yourself when out for a run. Photo credit Unsplash

During lockdown many of us turned to on-trend workout regimes as a way to relieve our  boredom and keep fit when reasons to leave our house were far and few between. But we take the view that exercise is best seen as a necessary evil, not a fun form of escape. We’ve ranked the five worst lockdown exercise trends in order of how terrible they make you feel. 

Couch to 5K

This one is actually good – hear us out! . Couch to 5K’s steady yet challenging regime transformed this author from a run-phobic refusenik into a Saturday morning jogging enthusiast. Try the BBC app and select Laura as your instructor: her calm words of encouragement will sustain you through many-a-wet and windy run. Under no circumstances select Michael Johnson; his instructions are more akin to military basic training than a beginner’s programme.

Yoga with Adriene

To say that Yoga with Adriene is popular would be an understatement. She has over 9 million YouTube subscribers; ‘Breath – a 30 day Yoga journey’, a video posted on January 1, already has more than 2 million views. To some extent, Adriene represents all that is wrong with online wellness. She doles out vague messages relating to ‘energy’ and ‘flow’, blithely appropriating genuine philosophical concepts from East and South Asia. But yet her videos are strangely compelling, if for no other reason than to admire her majestically chilled out blue heeler, Benji, dubbed ‘the true hero of lockdown’ by VICE

Flounder magazine
Pro tip: You don’t need an expensive yoga mat to sit and eat pizza. Photo credit Unsplash.


High Intensity Interval Training was popular before lockdown, but seems to have taken on a new lease of life in our living rooms. In that respect, it makes sense. If you must workout, why buy expensive equipment with money you don’t have, taking up space you don’t have, when you could simply sweat your guts out using only your own body? It’s an efficient way to exercise, sure, but is it fun? Hell no. If you simply can’t stop yourself from engaging in a spot of self-hatred, a good tip is to remove any mirrors from nearby your workout area before you begin. That way, you won’t catch an accidental glimpse of your tomato red, blotchy face mid-workout, an image that will live rent-free in your mind forever. 

“Walking, that most basic of human instincts, is no longer the joyful adventure it once was”

Push up challenge

What exactly is the point of the push up challenge? The trend has been around for a long time already, perhaps as long as ten years, and fitness experts suggest focusing on a single set of muscles to the detriment of others is probably a bad idea. So why do we do it to ourselves? The push up challenge combines emotionally-repressed gym lad machismo with silly social media posturing. Those who have done the challenge say that once the carefully organised week was out of the way, the challenge made weekends “a nightmare.” In a world where every day is the same and weekends provide our only form of escape, that is simply not a risk worth taking.


Before the pandemic, walking was a welcome escape from the stress of everyday life. Many of us found solace in getting out into nature, breathing some fresh air, and clearing out the cobwebs. During the first lockdown, that stuck for a while. Parks and forest trails were overrun with groups of friends and couples enjoying the great outdoors, their faces lit up with wide smiles. But recently walking has become a chore. Where once we found little discoveries around the neighbourhood, that may have passed us by in busier times, now we only see irritants. Walking, the most basic of everyday instincts, is no longer the joyful adventure it once was.