There’s a whole lotta shaking going on during grueling Lagree Fitness workouts.
THE TREMBLING STARTED early. Just minutes before, I had chatted with a fellow student, who told me she was really sore after her first class at Inspire Seattle. I didn’t take her that seriously.
Then our teacher, Carly, put us in a plank on the Megaformer machine, our feet pulling the spring-loaded platform toward us. I know my core could use some work, and yet the trembling felt like a sign — one you could interpret as good, if you love a super-intense workout, or as a signal of rough roads ahead. I landed somewhere in the middle.
I had been hearing about the Lagree Fitness workout for some time. While it has similarities to Pilates, Lagree uses its own machine, the Megaformer, which also has springs and moving parts. Inspire Seattle says Lagree is a more intense workout, with no breaks, and incorporates strength and cardio, pushing slow- and fast-twitch muscles. I am generally a fast-twitch person, so perhaps it was my slow-twitch muscles that protested so much. Because my muscles objected for almost the whole class.
Lagree exercises move slowly, with some pulses at the end for more intensity. The idea is to work to muscle failure. It worked.
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We did planks far longer than I liked, moving our shoulders forward and back while maintaining the plank position, and going up and down from hands to elbows.
I was relieved to move into glute-strengthening. We placed one foot on the sliding carriage, and worked into lunges. Carly kept encouraging us to move as slowly as possible, and to press into our standing leg to make sure we worked our glutes, not our hip flexors. Even my legs, which usually feel strong, groaned and trembled during this exercise. I occasionally put my hand on the machine to take down the intensity.
We did another set of lunges at the back of the machine, then grabbed straps in a lunge position to add shoulder strengthening.
We went back to the machine, and turned sideways on our knees to work on our inner thighs, with one leg on the sliding carriage. For the first couple rounds, it was so intense, I thought I might have to bail. Then I saw other students grab a strap to help pull the sliding carriage in. I followed suit. Thank goodness.
We moved to the front of the machine and took down the resistance by one spring for another round of core. This time, I saw people taking breaks, so I did, too. I also took on modifications. For the side plank, I didn’t even consider the full position with my legs straight — one knee down all the way.
Finally, it was time to do the left side for lunges. I was more willing to pause at this point, though I tried to keep my movements slow, as Carly kept us focused on our form.
For our final exercises, we knelt down and used straps to pull the sliding carriage toward us to work lats and triceps. Carly added in resistance to the sliding carriage by hooking an additional spring during our lunges. I focused on breathing.
Suddenly, it was over. So many muscles were trembling. The student asked me whether I was hooked. Surprisingly, I wanted to go back. While shaking for 40-plus minutes isn’t always enjoyable, I know myself — whenever I spot weakness in my body, I want to make it stronger.
Apparently, my future holds a lot more planks.