Lagree Method Workout: The Complete Guide

If you're a fitness fanatic, you've probably heard the Lagree method workout mentioned in casual conversation, and if you've never heard of it before, well, then you're in the right place.

Many might argue that the Lagree method workout is just another form of Pilates. Refinery29 reports that some even refer to it as "Pilates on steroids" (if you've ever lived through a Pilates class, you know just how loaded that phrase is). Celebrities like Chrissy Teigen, Meghan Markle, and Khloé Kardashian are all fans of this grueling workout method. So, what exactly does it entail? And why are celebrities such big fans of it?

First things first: The Lagree Fitness method is named after Sebastien Lagree, and as you've probably guessed, he's the mastermind behind this popular workout. These workouts have some things in common with Pilates, but the Lagree method has a style that's all its own (via Lagreefit415). Sebastien's goal with Lagree was to create an exercise method that gives people an effective full-body workout while using movements that are low-impact. Pretty cool, right? This means you can go hard without risking injury. Sebastien first started working on the Lagree method in 1998, and now people are starting to take to it like ducks to water. Are you curious yet? Read on for everything you need to know about this popular workout method.

How the Lagree method is different from Pilates

We won't deny that Lagree and Pilates seem very similar, but when you take a closer look, the differences between these two popular workout styles become more apparent. For starters, Lagree makes use of the Megformer, which is very different from the reformer used in Pilates classes, according to Lagreefit415. The Megaformer was designed to provide people with a wide range of tension features that allow for all workouts to be low-impact while still packing a punch. Even though the workout doesn't consist of high-impact movement, it's still a very effective way to build muscle. Sweet. Lagreefit415 notes that this combination is one of the things that set Lagree workouts apart from Pilates.

"It's not a form of Pilates. Lagree is a muscular endurance training program which originated from the reformer (the equipment; not the Pilates method)," Sebastien Lagree told Body+Soul. "We use bodybuilding techniques and principles. Pilates was never designed to change the body composition, but Lagree is different. ... They are two very different methods with different results." Sebastien added that he designed this workout to build muscle mass without causing additional bulk.

Alison Izzo, who is part of the Body+Soul editorial team, gave a Lagree class a try and reported back that this workout caused even more of a burn than Pilates, adding that she still felt stiff four days after her first class. If you love chasing the burn, there's a good chance you'll love Lagree.

The Lagree method combines different foundations of fitness

Speaking to Refinery29, Lagree instructor Nicole Byrnes explained that if you're looking for a complete full-body workout that's very likely to give you the results you seek, Lagree workouts might be the answer. "It is a total-body workout that improves endurance, flexibility, and strength," she explains, adding that this is one of the reasons it's so popular among celebrities. She says that you'll see the fruit of your labor pretty soon and that the classes are also easy to stick to because they're not super long — they usually range between 35 and 50 minutes.

According to The Lagree Method's website, these workouts will effectively push your body to the intensity threshold that produces results. Lagree incorporates various foundations of fitness, which include time under tension, slow movements, sensory-motor training, superset succession, rapid circuit training, and the famous mind/body connection. The time under tension for Lagree workouts is longer than typical workouts, with sets that continue for up to two minutes. You'll also be performing each movement for a count of eight or more (yikes!) and working on balance exercises to improve your sensory motor skills. As for supersets — different exercise movements that work the same muscles, performed in a row — you'll encounter them throughout your workout, along with circuit training, which means you'll be switching between exercises at breakneck speed (hello, cardio!). Last, but not least, Lagree workouts also focus on cultivating the mind/body connection by encouraging participants to stay focused on the muscles that are firing throughout each exercise.

Everything you need to know about the Megaformer

Lagree method classes require one piece of essential equipment: the Megaformer. And no, this machine is not the same as the reformer commonly used in Pilates classes. The Megaformer consists of three components: the platform, carriage, and handlebar (via Lagreefit415). According to Body+Soul, the Megaformer is basically a larger, more intimidating version of the Pilates reformer.

Lagreefit415 emphasizes that you can't do a Lagree class without this machine. The Megaformer is a complex piece of equipment that allows participants to perform the myriad movements that typically make up a Lagree class, and it's designed to be used comfortably and effectively by absolutely anyone, no matter your fitness level, age, or body type. The machine also includes special equipment that seasoned participants can use to amp up their workouts according to their fitness level and goals.

There are also various types of Megaformer machines, which each have different platforms, handlebars, and carriages. Don't let this intimidate you, though. Lagree instructor Nicole Byrnes told Refinery29 that consistent attendance will ensure you get to know the Megaformer like the palm of your hand in no time. The fact that you need this machine to do Lagree workouts means that you'll need to attend a few classes to learn how to use it. Classes can cost $36-$40 per session, so it can get expensive (but might also be totally worth it).

The Lagree method workout has many benefits

As you've probably already guessed, a Lagree workout, while incredibly challenging, has many benefits if you do it consistently. According to Amanda Freeman, who is the founder and CEO of the workout studio SLT, you won't have to wait a long time to see results, in fact, you'll notice differences in your body after attending just a few sessions. "Obliques become more visible, glutes are lifted, and abs are flattened," Freeman told Glamour. Okay, now they have our attention.

According to Lagreefit415, you can expect way more than rock-hard abs after a few sessions. These workouts will promote muscle growth and bone health while also boosting your stamina and cardiovascular strength. Your flexibility will also improve and you might notice changes in your body composition. Additionally, these workouts combat poor posture and improve balance and coordination. It will also give your body image and self-esteem a boost. Lower stress levels and an overall better mood are also great side effects of this grueling workout. Another perk is an increased metabolic rate, so if weight loss is one of your goals, this workout method will definitely help you achieve it. Needless to say, as challenging as these workouts are, they sure work hard to help you get your body in the best shape it can be.

The reason this crazy hard workout actually works for many people

Not everyone's bodies respond the same way to certain workouts, but apparently the Lagree Method combines all the benefits of different types of exercise into one workout method, making it incredibly effective.

According to The Lagree Method's website, each Lagree class combines resistance, range of motion, angle, tempo, and duration to deliver a workout that challenges your body to the utmost. This combination effectively pushes the muscles to their maximum, leading to increased muscle tissue and reduced body fat. Springs are used to create resistance during these workouts. This is an extra safe way to do resistance training because it allows the muscles to contract without placing stress on your joints. Additionally, it allows your range of movement to stay within the threshold it needs to be to target a specific muscle group. As for using different angles, thanks to the Megaformer, you can do certain exercises in different planes of motion, which helps target various muscles.

Thanks to the super slow tempo Lagree workouts require, slow-twitch muscles are activated throughout the workout, which means you'll be burning more fat. You won't just target slow-twitch muscles, however. Each set, which typically consists of 60 seconds or more, works to activate the fast-twitch muscle fibers as well. Needless to say, you get a massively effective full-body workout. It's no wonder so many people are pleased with the results.

What you can expect during a Lagree class

Before you go to your first Lagree class, there's something you need to know: You're going to be challenged. You should also keep in mind that this is not Pilates, so even if you've been acing Pilates for ages, it doesn't mean this class won't be hard. In fact, Lagree instructor Nicole Byrnes told Refinery29 that you can expect to find some of "the most challenging elements of Pilates" combined with cardio and classic strength training. Our muscles are already burning just thinking about it.

"You transition quickly from one move to the next, but the exercises move at a very slow pace," Byrnes explains, adding that the Megaformer will challenge your body in ways you've never encountered. She also notes that the slow-paced movements will develop your stamina and activate your slow-twitch muscles. You can expect to encounter movements you've never seen before and will likely develop a newfound respect for your body after you make it through a class — Byrnes says the slow movements paired with the resistance of the Megaformer are "brutal."

According to The Lagree Method's website, you can expect a workout that's made up of low-impact exercises, but don't be fooled — you won't be getting any time to rest during transitions. You'll move smoothly from one exercise to the next, which means you'll be reaping all the benefits of a high-intensity workout.

It's a good idea to show up early if it's your first Lagree class

Because a Lagree method workout is done with a machine, it's important you show up bright and early to your first class so the instructor can show you around and familiarize you with how the Megaformer works. Self recommends you arrive at least 15 minutes ahead of time. The instructor will probably ask you to sign a waiver and inform you of the studio's policies before they explain the Megaformer's workings to you, so you want enough time to do all of that and still be able to ask any questions before class kicks off.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that just because you're familiar with a reformer, you'll be fine with the Megaformer. The two machines are not the same, and you'll likely end up feeling lost and frazzled during class — not exactly a positive experience. Women's Health also has a great tip — choose a Megaformer that's located in the middle of the class. This way, you'll be able to take a peek at the people next to you if you're unsure how to do a certain exercise (asking the instructor for help is also an option, of course). Most of the time, the instructor won't be demonstrating the movements on a machine, so having people on either side of you that you can follow along with can be a great help.

Don't rush the movements and take breaks if you need them

As you've probably realized by now, Lagree classes pack quite the punch, and here's the most startling part: There are no breaks between the exercises, according to Self. Yup, you heard that right. But before you decide never to set foot in a Lagree studio, keep in mind that just because there aren't any scheduled breaks doesn't mean that you can't rest when you need it. If you need a water break or know that your muscles need a quick rest, take a moment to do just that. You might be in a group class, but you still control your workout.

Something else to keep in mind is not to rush a Lagree workout. "With nearly everything we do in life, 'the faster, the better' is our motto. However, that doesn't apply to movements on the Megaformer," founder of SLT fitness studio, Amanda Freeman, told Popsugar. "When we move slowly, we engage our slow-twitch muscle fibers that lead to longer and leaner muscle development," she adds. Yes, the slower you move, the more that burn will set in, and the more intense your workout will be. Lagree is not about getting in as many reps as possible in the shortest amount of time. The focus is on making the muscle work as hard as possible, and that means slowing down the movement. Now you know.

Here's what you need to bring to class

First things first: Lagree workouts are intense, so make sure you bring enough water to class to stay hydrated. Lagreefit415 also recommends you wear the comfiest, most trustworthy workout gear you own. The last thing you want to be doing while figuring out a movement is trying to keep your sweatpants or leggings from sagging down (we've all been there). You should also bring sticky socks with you — they are a necessity. Not only will they provide you with additional grip, but they're also a great way to keep the machines more sanitary. If you don't own any, Lagree studios usually sell them for around $10-$15.

If a towel is something you use during your typical workouts, bringing one to a Lagree workout is a good idea — you'll likely sweat more, not less. Before you show up to class, make sure that you signed the waiver. Sometimes this can be done online, which means you can do it beforehand. This leaves you with more time to ask the instructor your burning questions before class starts.

Don't attempt Lagree on a full or empty stomach

Timing your meals right is imperative when you know you've scheduled a Lagree class for the day. According to Self, some of the movements you're likely to encounter during your workout won't agree with a full stomach, and you might find yourself feeling nauseated. At the same time, attempting a Lagree workout on an empty stomach is an equally bad idea — this grueling routine takes a lot out of your body, and you'll hardly be able to keep up if you haven't eaten anything. So, what should you do?

Speaking to Yahoo! Life, Lagree instructor Mary Miller recommended that you opt for a snack beforehand, like yogurt with granola, apple slices, peanut butter, or even a trail mix. Self recommends you eat your snacks no less than 30 minutes before class starts. If you're going to eat a full meal, do so at least two hours ahead of class to allow your body enough time to digest the food. And if you forget to eat well ahead of time, opt for a small snack rather than going in on an empty stomach — the latter will feel much worse.

Know that this workout is hard

As you've probably already gathered, a Lagree method workout is hard. There's no getting around that. And if you think that your years of strength training will make it a breeze, think again. According to Self, Lagree workouts focus on strengthening your stabilizing muscles, whereas strength training targets large muscle groups. This means you're going to be activating muscles that you probably didn't even know you had. So yes, prepare to be super sore the next day. "Your first few times may be hard and challenging and won't seem to get easier, but you will definitely feel yourself getting stronger, which will get you motivated to come back," Lagree instructor Mary Miller told Yahoo! Life, adding that you'll be surprised at how quickly you start to notice changes in your body.

Another reason Lagree workouts are so hard is because instructors constantly switch things up. "We pride ourselves on delivering a constantly changing workout that will continue to challenge and surprise your muscles," the founder and CEO of SLT studio, Amanda Freeman, told Nylon. This means that the chances of reaching a plateau are basically zero. Freeman says that as soon as you master a certain exercise, there's always a way to advance it even more. This means that Lagree workouts will always be tough, no matter how long you do them. If you're someone who loves to be challenged, this workout ticks all the boxes.

It's super important to stretch and rest afterward

It's incredibly important to stretch after any workout, and Lagree is no different. You might very well have a hard time walking the next day if you don't take a few minutes to show your muscles some love after an intense session on the Megaformer.

According to Women's Health, the Lagree instructor will usually guide the class through some stretches post-workout, but you should definitely not rely on that to keep you from walking like a robot the next day. Lagree instructor Cheri Byrd recommends you stay after class (if possible) and do some additional stretches before going about the rest of your day. "One of my favorite stretches is to just throw on a red and yellow spring, grab a foot strap, and lay down on the carriage while stretching out my leg," she says.

Something else to keep in mind is that Lagree is super intense, which means signing up for several classes on consecutive days is a bad idea. Two to three days a week are more than enough and will give your body enough time to recover between sessions. "We always suggest three times a week," Lagree instructor Mary Miller told Yahoo! Life, adding that she only recommends a fourth class to people who are seasoned Lagree students. "Your body does need to rest because your body is working up to 48 hours after you leave class, so you need a day to recover," Miller cautions.