Fitness Class Review: Lagree Fitness Method at SolidCore

Work your muscles to failure on the MegaFormer at the new Adams Morgan studio.

Solidcore is the first fitness studio in DC to offer the Lagree Fitness Method on the MegaFormer. Founder Anne Mahlum claims it is the best workout your life. Photographs by Melissa Romero.

Anne Mahlum signs all of her e-mails as SolidCore’s CMO: Chief Motivation Officer.

And for good reason. After last night’s 50-minute class at her new Adams Morgan fitness studio, it was clear that class-goers need all the motivation they can get.

SolidCore is the first studio in Washington to offer the Lagree Fitness Method on the MegaFormer. The souped-up Pilates workout takes place on a large apparatus that looks like a Reformer machine on steroids. Each class aims to work the muscles to point of failure by performing controlled, full-body movements in two-minute increments on the MegaFormer. SolidCore has ten of the monstrous machines tucked into its 1,900-square-foot studio on Columbia Road, Northwest.

“It’s going to be the best workout of your life,” Mahlum said Tuesday night to ten of us, many of whom admitted, somewhat anxiously, that they had no idea what they’d signed up for.

After a quick introduction to each part of the MegaFormer (“This is the platform. Underneath are the spring-loads. Right here is the carriage.”), Mahlum had us jump into the workout, beginning with a “warmup” of leg lifts that had my core screaming within 30 seconds.

But it wasn’t all core work, which is typical of a regular Pilates class. From the warmup we moved onto leg exercises that involved squats and deep lunges while standing on the MegaFormer, moving the carriage back and forth with one leg. From there Mahlum coached us through sets of oblique work on the other side of the machine, shouting encouragement through her microphone over the music blaring through the speakers. “I know you probably think I don’t know what you’re going through, but believe me, I know,” she reassured us.

Mahlum, also the founder of running organization Back on My Feet, took her first Lagree Fitness Method last February in Los Angeles, where the workout first exploded onto the fitness scene. Its following has spread to the East Coast: Boston, New York, and now at SolidCore in DC. Since incorporating the MegaFormer into her workouts, Mahlum says she’s become stronger, more toned, and a better runner.

From obliques we turned to tricep dips and arm work while holding resistance bands attached to the MegaFormer, followed by planks to pikes, and—if our shaking arms could manage it—ten pushups to end the workout.

Performing squats and planks for two minutes may sound simple enough, but doing them on a MegaFormer—in slow, controlled movements as required of the Lagree Fitness Method—takes the workout to another level. And with classes capped at just ten students and both walls lined with mirrors, there’s no getting away with slacking off during the last few excruciating seconds of squat pulses.

As we wiped down our respective MegaFormers and gave our aching hip flexors and hamstrings a quick stretch, I was relieved to see that the male class-goer’s face next to me said the same thing I was thinking: “What the heck just happened?”

“This was my first class,” he told me, shaking his head in shock. “And I haven’t worked out in a long time.”

Well, I told him, you couldn’t have chosen a harder workout in DC.

SolidCore. 1841 Columbia Rd., NW; 267-455-6457. First class is $17. SolidCore officially opens November 2, but the studio is hosting free trial classes for the next two weeks. There is a waiting list.

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