A client emailed me a few weeks ago with the following: “I could only afford to do this once a month, but this looks cray-cray! They just opened: solidcore. Two days later, I walked into another client’s house and she said to go easy on her because she couldn’t move. Why you ask? She had taken a class at solidcore the day before. Officially intrigued, I signed up for my first class. “Cray-cray” and “sore” are definitely words I too would use to describe my solidcore experience.
Solidcore is the first DC studio to practice Lagree Fitness, a method based on slow and controlled full-body movements. In a nutshell, you use a jacked-up Pilates reformer machine (the patented MegaFormer) to place constant tension on all muscle fibers. Each exercise requires that you perform the move until muscle failure. This, according to Solid Core’s website will “force your muscles to rebuild a more sculpted, stronger and [solid] you”. The resulting class is a combination of a Pilates reformer and a total body circuit training class.
All in all, I enjoyed the class and would definitely recommend it with one MAJOR caveat….you have to be in pretty excellent shape to even attempt to take a class. Balance is a huge aspect of using the MegaFormer and because of the way you use the MegaFormer, essentially one part of your body (arm or leg) is hooked to a band of sorts while the free body part moves. Because a part of your body is actually hooked to something, if you were to lose your balance, you could fairly easily get hurt. In the class I took, modifications were not offered up, but I assume this is not true for all classes. Furthermore, I am in excellent shape, and there were very few exercises I could actually fully stick with for the amount of time the instructor wanted. While I am very body aware, I fear many people would not acknowledge the fatigue and either hurt themselves or spend half the class in improper alignment or unable to continue. This leads me to the third part of my caveat, to do the exercises properly requires that you already have the ability to access your core (well) and maintain proper alignment; something in my years of experience as a trainer, most people do not have when they are starting a new exercise regime. There was a 30 second explanation of what a proper plank and proper lunge looked like, and that was all. I have to fix the form of clients I have been working with for months (even years) in a plank! Doing a proper plank is really hard and most people have a very hard time just feeling whether they are in proper alignment.
Another small warning for others intrigued is the price. Solid Core has jumped on the Soul Cycle bandwagon of pricing. $35 for a class…aka steep. I know that the machine is very expensive, and the class is limited to 10 people so you could certainly consider it semi-private, but for something I feel strongly would be most beneficial twice a week (similar to a barre class), your monthly expense will be high. I definitely felt like I was in a class, not a private training session. There were things that were easy for me and things that were virtually impossible. Classes are not designed for one person – they are designed to appeal to the AVERAGE person taking the class. But, as we all know, two people will never be alike so classes will never be personal training (despite this new model of expensive classes).
With all that being said, I was sore…very sore in fact. In places I obviously don’t focus on enough in my own training. I think the Lagree fitness method is excellent and women will achieve that long, lean, toned look if they stick with class several times a week and eat right! It is a welcome addition to the DC fitness scene and is rapidly expanding (with two new locations opening in the next few months) so check it out! But SIGN UP IN ADVANCE ONLINE! Classes book up crazy fast so don’t just show up expecting to take class…you won’t.