“The Pilates Reformer on steroids” is what the online fitness community are calling the M3 Megaformers™ at Studio Lagree. Ashlie checked it out and her first words? “I can certainly vouch for the description!”
The first two Studio Lagree UK studios are now open to the public in central London and Guildford, bringing an innovative full body conditioning workout all the way from Los Angeles. The classes take place on machines specially designed by concept founder Sebastien Lagree.
On Saturday, Master Trainer Laurie Campbell was visiting the London City studio and I was lucky enough to attend a 50 minute class led by her.
I’ve always loved Pilates Reformer classes, so I was intrigued to see how different The Lagree Fitness Method was…completely different I can tell you! Whilst both workouts combine core strength, balance and flexibility, The Lagree Fitness Method also combines cardio into the workouts. The exercises in the 50 minute classes are performed at a slow and controlled pace, activating slow twitch muscle fibres to help build a long lean physique.
The London City studio has 10 Megaformers™ and was really spacious. Something I really dislike about most traditional Pilates Reformer classes is that they put too many reformers in one studio and you don’t have the space to perform the exercises fully. No problem with this at the Studio Lagree studio, there was plenty of space surrounding each Megaformer™, enough that in between exercises when we needed to move from the back of the machine to the front, we were instructed to run! The classes started with an intense warm up and the intensity didn’t decrease for the full 50 minutes. The lighting was dim and the music pumped like you were in a spin class. Laurie, miked up, began instructing us through each of the exercises. She actually told us ‘if you aren’t puking or crying, don’t stop!’ The class consisted of a complete mix of exercises that worked all major muscle groups.
Balance is usually a strong point of mine, however I really struggled at the start of the class as the pace was pretty fast, with no rest periods. I was reassured that you start to find your feet after a few classes, once you know the exercises and the transitions between. The machines have various handles, straps and strings to attach and you’re instructed throughout about feet placement, hand location and the strings which should be attached to achieve different resistances. I’m sure in the 50 minute class I attended, I only encountered a small percentage of the exercises possible, and I certainly worked muscles I never have before!
This really was a fully body workout. Although the exercises are performed slowly and controlled, as the pace of the class was fast and the intensity we worked our muscles was extreme, I was dripping in sweat by the end and I even had to stop during some of the exercises through pure exhaustion (something I never usually do). Laurie was a tough trainer and I like to think maybe the regular instructors wouldn’t be as tough, but I doubt it!
After one class I could see how the recommended 2-3 sessions a week could hugely not only improve muscle tone, strength and flexibility, but also cardiovascular fitness. I’ve just starting training for my first marathon and can see this low intensity workout complimenting my running training.
How much? Classes range from £15 for an introductory group class to £90 for personal training
When? Classes at various times, every day
Where? Studio Lagree London City, 35-37 Chiswell Street, (entrance on Lamb’s Passage), London, UK, EC1Y 4SE
Find out more: www.studiolagreeuk.com