The machine might appear a bit intimidating at first, but surely if Kim Kardashian, Sofia Vergara, Michelle Obama, Vanessa Hudgens, Calvin Harris, and Victoria's Secret model Alessandra Ambrosio can master it, the Lagree Fitness Method must be worth it, right?!
Meet the Megaformer, the machine behind the innovative workout that is shaping bodies all over Hollywood.
Developed by Sebastien Lagree, a self-described former chubby kid who wanted to merge the nurturing approach of Pilates with the more rigorous approach of bodybuilding, the Megaformer was originally developed in 2005 after two years of working with an engineering team.
"I needed to devise a workout that's going to give you the same kind of result [as high-impact activities like weightlifting and running] — it's going to chisel you and sculpt you and tone you — but it's not going to destroy you," Lagree said of the high-intensity, low-impact workout that the Megaformer is designed for.
"Physical fitness is more than being able to run a long distance or lift heavy weights at the gym; or how long you worked out or at what intensity," according to Lagree's website. "While these are important measures of fitness, they only address single areas. Physical fitness is made up of five basic elements: cardio, strength, endurance, body composition, and flexibility." And Legree's workouts address all five elements in well under an hour.
How Does the Workout Work?
So how exactly does the Megaformer allow users to address all five basic elements of fitness without necessitating joint-damaging high-impact movements? The machine was carefully constructed to precisely enact effective resistance, range of motion, and angle, and the specific workouts that Lagree has designed adhere to strict tempo and duration standards to ensure that users reach the proper threshold of exercise intensity to stimulate the body's adaptive changes.
The machine uses adjustable spring-loaded resistance to allow for a customisable resistance load that is engaged via slow, deliberate movements that activate slow-twitch muscle fibres, increasing stamina and oxygen capacity of your muscles and allowing the body to burn energy for longer periods of time. That last part is the major key to how Lagree's 40-minute workouts produce rapid changes in his clients' physiques — while slow-twitch muscle fibres are not prone to hypertrophy (bulking up) like fast-twitch fibres, they are better suited for burning fat. Simply put, working out on the Megaformer will turn your body into a lean, fat-burning machine. No wonder it's so popular.
What to Expect in a Megaformer Class
A typical 40-minute routine will consist of a core warmup comprised of movements with wacky names like "catfish," "spoon," and "wheelbarrow" (picture an ab rollout performed against spring-loaded resistance), about 20 minutes of lower-body exercises like "skater," "spider lunge," and "mega donkey" (like a quadruped banded hip extension), and a series of upper-body moves that might include "swimmer," "mega preacher curl," and "sexy back" (think of a modified triceps kickback that works the back of the arms as well as the entire back). So yeah, in case the exercise names didn't give it away, it's unlike anything you've ever done before.