Crash Course: SolidCore is the first studio in DC to offer the Lagree Fitness Method, a high-energy, low-impact, full-body workout done on a monster spring-loaded pilates machine called the MegaFormer. The classes are small, the teachers are motivational, and the playlists are rockin – which is good, because you’ll need to muster all the extra oomph you can during this crazy sweat sesh. The class is a megawatt combination of pilates, barre, yoga, and body pump, sprinkled with a little zen and then doused in a pool of awesome. Click here for a full schedule of class times at SolidCore. [line] [left]where: 1841 Columbia Road/Adams Morgan
perks: small class size
sweat score: 9 out of 10 [/left][right]wear: whatever you’re comfortable sweating in
SolidCore studio opened this past weekend in Adams Morgan on the same block as neighborhood favorites Mintwood restaurant and Fleet Feet running store. It’s the brainchild of Back On My Feet founder Anne Mahlum, who fell in love with the Lagree Method in LA and New York and decided DC needed to be in on the fun. And we are so glad she did, because this monster workout is the perfect match for DC’s slightly crazed, uber competitive, type-A intensity.
The SolidCore website describes the method as:
using slow and controlled full-body movements with constant muscle tension [to work] all muscle fibers to failure leaving them no choice but to rebuild, which leaves you with a more defined, toned and stronger body.
Let’s go over that again: Slow, low-impact movements + Failing muscle fibers = Toned body. Seems so civilized when you put it that way. But when Lorde is blaring over the loud speaker, the instructor is urging you to lunge a little deeper, the clock mocks you with a full minute to go, and your legs are simultaneously seizing and shaking…civilized is the last thing that comes to mind. More like: Challenging. Insane. Badass. Definitely badass.
The megaformer may look like a pilates machine, but let me be the first to tell you that this ain’t your momma’s pilates class. It’s the younger, hipper, crazier cousin from California. The one with the enviable tan and Jennifer Aniston arms.
While all of the pilates classes I’ve been to focus on posture, grace, and building lean muscles, this class is focused on making your muscles cry for mercy. All of them. All at once. And if pilates classes are soflty playing Norah Jones and Sara Barielles in the background, SolidCore is blasting rock while the instructor coaxes you into another round through his Janet Jackson headset microphone.
How was the workout? Really fun. It’s engaging from start to finish and there was never one moment when I was bored or unmotivated. Which is good, because if you haven’t caught on yet, the detail that stands out most in my mind is this: SolidCore is really, really challenging. Honed athletes and weekend warriors were struggling hand in hand. Which is awesome, because it shows the impressive versatility and accessibility of this workout for every fitness level. But it’s also awesome because I have never seen a class humble every fitness type, across the board, from start to finish.
Yes it’s hard. Yes it’s unlike anything you’ve tried before. Yes you will be sore in weird places for days after you walk out the door. But don’t let the workout itself intimidate you, because I can honestly say it is one of the most effective things I’ve ever done. As someone who injured themselves with too many high-impact miles on DC pavement, a low-impact, super high-intensity workout like this is a godsend. Not only does it scratch the masochistic itch to put yourself through the wringer, it also delivers the safe body strengthening benefits of a barre method or mat pilates class. I’m sold. Now, there’s only one problem…
The price. At $35 per drop-in class, SolidCore is hitting the top tier of high-end boutique studio pricing in DC. [Note: sessions are less expensive if you buy a package deal.] On my current budget, it’s is just not something I can realistically do all the time. Which is a shame, because I’d love to go multiple times a week and make it part of my normal routine. Yes, I liked it that much. As a fit crasher, that’s saying something. I ran into the same problem after falling in love with Capital Gyrotonic and Georgetown Pilates, both of which charge over $40 per session. Guess I have expensive taste in sweat.