A few days ago, I limped out of the sports medicine clinic and tried to wrap my head around the devastating news: I had torn my soleus, the deeper calf muscle that connects to the Achilles’ tendon and would not make a full recovery for about three months.
As a high-energy athlete who relies on running to cope with all of life’s stresses, I couldn’t comprehend the notion of not running for more than a few consecutive days — much less for 12 whole weeks in a row.
Fortunately, my physician didn’t dare utter the rest word, which would have been a cardinal sin. Instead, he encouraged me to seek out low-impact workouts that wouldn’t exacerbate my injury and might even strengthen my muscle fibers.
The problem was that his suggestions, while better than nothing, seemed painstakingly boring. No disrespect to the elliptical — it’s the perfect piece of equipment if you’re starting a beginner workout plan — but I’m incredibly high sensation seeking, and plodding back and forth on a machine excites me as much as undergoing a root canal. (Plus, as I recently discovered, the single plane of motion gives me a bit of vertigo.)
I decided it was time to branch out and step a little outside of my comfort zone. I signed up for ClassPass, a subscription to structured workouts at various nearby studios, and began to scroll for something that might pique my interest.
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High-intensity interval training? Sounds like fun, but I can’t put pressure on my calf muscle. Yoga, pilates, or barre class? Too molasses-paced for this gal (at least right now). CycleBar in the spin studio? Certainly worth a try, though the saddle bruises my butt.
One by one, I checked off every excuse I could conjure as I contemplated the most seductive solution: push through the pain and run through my injury, while my logical brain grimaced in the background.
Just as I was about to make a decision I’d surely regret, an unfamiliar workout caught my eye: the Lagree Method, offered at studios across the country. As a self-proclaimed fitness junkie, I was surprised I’d never heard of this exercise routine. So, instead of bolting off the couch to grab my running shoes, I decided to click through the description and learn a little bit more. Here’s what I found out.
What Is The Lagree Method?
According to its official website, “The Lagree Method, unlike Pilates, is unique in that it is the only workout to effectively balance high intensity with low-impact movements.” The workout’s founder and CEO, Sebastien Lagree, invented the method to increase core, strength, and endurance in as few as 25 minutes.
A typical Lagree class combines bodybuilding techniques and Pilates reformer training with disciplines like yoga, stretching and mobility, and interval training, explains Brett Durney, a personal trainer and running coach. The constantly changing movements make Lagree an eclectic workout that appeals to beginners and gym rats alike — especially if (like me) you become easily bored with cardio machines.
What Kind Of Movement Does A Lagree Workout Use?
Any bodyweight exercise you can do at home or at the gym can be incorporated into a Lagree workout — think push-ups, lunges, and planks (oh, my!). The twist is that you’ll perform these movements on a reformer machine that helps build flexibility and balance in addition to stability and strength.
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The high-intensity, endurance-boosting part of the workout? Unlike a traditional Pilates class, in which there’s usually a long rest period after each set, a Lagree class will have you moving between exercises without any structured break. That means your heart rate will stay sky-high for the entire workout, and you’ll get your cardio fix — without spending hours in the studio.
How Does A Lagree Reformer Differ From A Pilates Reformer?
Chances are you’ve seen a Pilates reformer, the adjustable bed-like frame with springs that moves back and forth on wheels. But there’s a reason the Lagree Method is often dubbed “Pilates on steroids”: the equipment for this workout is fancier than the Pilates machine you can plop down in your home gym.
Confidently called the Megaformer, the Lagree reformer has a wider and lighter carriage and is even more adjustable, explains Tyler Read, a NASM-certified personal trainer. “It has a wider range of motion and provides more resistance than Pilates,” he points out.
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What Are The Benefits Of A Lagree Workout?
For those of us who lament that Pilates moves too slowly, the Lagree Method kicks it up a notch or two, without having students rush through the various exercises. “One of the main benefits of Lagree is that it’s high intensity, so it gets your heart pumping. But because the exercises are done slowly and with control, the chances of injury are much less compared to other high-intensity workouts,” Read explains.
So far, so good, says this injured runner. But does Lagree live up to its lofty claims of dramatic fitness gains in such a short time? According to Durney, it sure can — as long as it’s part of a well-rounded workout regimen.
“The Lagree Method can assist with overall strength and fitness development; flexibility and mobility development; and aesthetic goals such as fat loss, weight loss, sculpting, and toning when combined with the right nutritional protocols,” Durney confirms. “All in all, I am a fan.”
You know what they say: Maybe she’s born with it; maybe it’s Lagree.
Have you tried the Lagree Method workout? What did you think? Tell us in the comments below!
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