'Prancercise' workout goes back to the future

JENNA CLARKE
Last updated 11:42 11/06/2013
Prancercise

Joanna Rohrback demonstrates her horse-inspired exercise routine, Prancercise.

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A fitness programme from 1989 and inspired by horses has become an internet sensation - in 2013.

Judging by the video which has gone viral, star Australian thoroughbred Black Caviar is to "Prancercise" what Beyonce is to Zumba and other modern day dance based exercise routines. 

Created by 61-year-old social worker Joanna Rohrback, the program combines power walking with ankle weights and graceful galloping movements.

The five-minute, low impact routine is based on the "springy, rhythmic way of moving forward, similar to a horse's gait," Rohrback says. 

Her instructional video, which many commentators in the US thought was a Saturday Night Live skit, has received more than six million views on YouTube. 

Last week Rohrback's personal website crashed due to an influx of appearance and interview requests. 

Filmed in the same decade as Jane Fonda's home fitness regime and Olivia Newton-John's PhysicalPrancercise: The Art of Physical and Spiritual Exercise shows a fit looking and well-coiffed Rohrback, dressed in skin-tight white pants and salmon cardigan, walking, skipping and punching her way through a park. 

"We're gonna really cut the noose and let it loose, with the prancercise gallop," she says strapping the ankle weights to her legs. 

Following the warm up and leg work out she slips the weight around her wrists for the upper body portion of the short but stimulating (and amusing) workout. 

"It's better to be punching into space than in your face." 

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Rohrback said she came up with the idea of prancing as exercise when she was out power walking with her Walkman on one day when a she "must have heard a really good song I liked on the radio" (a Daryl Braithwaite hit presumedly).  

From there she decided to record a video of her moves as a permanent record of her invention and filed it in the US Library of Congress to ensure her moves weren't copied. 

"Things were different back then. Prancercising was developed before Zumba came out. If I had had the investors and everything back then, prancercising would have been a huge hit," she said. 

She was struck down with a "female health condition" shortly after she made the tape 24 years ago, which left her unable to prancercise for nine years. 

During that time she launched the Vegetarian's Advocate's Group in her hometown and wrote a book. 

She discovered she could prancercise again in July 2012 and began promoting her "spooky and goofy and weird and wacky" aerobic workout online.

- Sydney Morning Herald

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