There are plenty of fancy workouts and flashy fitness classes to choose from these days, but one that is quickly rising to the top is Solidcore. The name sounds appealing if you want to get in shape, and — even better — the principles that guide this workout make it both unique and effective.
Solidcore offers a high-intensity, low-impact, total-body 50-minute workout that features the Lagree Fitness method. Key to this is a contraption called a Megaformer — it’s similar to a spring-loaded Pilates reformer machines but more hardcore. Each training session involves slow, controlled movements that will leave your muscles screaming for mercy. Exercises work everything from the core and legs to the upper body, with an instructor and heart-pumping music motivating you through each session.
The principles that guide the Lagree Fitness method ensure that cardiorespiratory and muscular endurance, strength, body composition, core, balance and flexibility moves are incorporated into each workout. While all of these components are important, understanding the significance of doing slow, controlled movements, training to muscle failure and mixing up the exercises you do during each training session help explain why Solidcore workouts are so effective.
While there are many approaches you can take to strength and resistance training, slow and controlled movements have been shown to be particularly impactful. The idea here is that when you do exercises at a slow pace, you don’t receive any assistance from momentum. Consider a bench-press machine — pushing the weight quickly is a lot easier than pushing it slowly.
Slower movements create more tension, which requires you to recruit a greater number of muscle fibers as you work through each movement, allowing for the force to be evenly distributed. That means fewer injuries and a safer workout on the Megaformer when compared with just knocking out a bunch of quick reps on a traditional weight machine.
Another concept upon which Solidcore workouts focus is the idea of muscle failure. Training to failure means that you reach the point of fatigue where you can’t perform another repetition of a particular exercise. When you hear about the gut-busting, quad-burning nature of a Solidcore session, the moments of muscle failure are what many fitness fanatics are recalling.
By employing super-slow movements on the Megaformer, you train your slow-twitch muscles to failure, forcing your body to then recruit the fast-twitch fibers. You don’t need to do sprints and agility training to work those fast-twitch fibers — Solidcore workouts provide a more controlled approach to strength and endurance training.
While studies hint at the fact that doing too much of this type of training can hurt performance outcomes, there is plenty of research that demonstrates that, when done correctly, training to failure is effective. In addition to helping you access the various muscle fibers, it also means your muscles will produce more lactate. Pushing to the point of extreme fatigue and accumulating lactate can help prompt increased muscle growth over time.
Muscle confusion, muscle progression and periodization each describes an approach to fitness that varies in some ways, but they share an important truth: If you focus on the same muscle group or training component over and over again, your body eventually adapts and your fitness plateaus. Mixing up your workouts to include various intensity levels, muscle groups and exercises helps to keep your body guessing, thereby encouraging fitness gains.
Solidcore relies on this idea. Within each workout, participants work various muscle groups. Workouts also vary from one training session to the next. As you gain strength, you can challenge yourself further by adding sets, reps or resistance to prompt that upward trend of increased strength, endurance and overall fitness.
The importance of including a variety of components of fitness in your training regimen and taking a strategic approach to increasing the difficulty of your workout sessions is nothing new. Periodization has been shown to be effective when it comes to improving strength, athletic performance and body composition. Similarly, progressive overload in a resistance training program — adding incremental weight or resistance to exercises over time — has also been shown to be key in increasing strength.
In addition to helping you avoid mental and physical burnout, as well as subverting a fitness plateau, including variety in your workouts will also increase your enjoyment and the likelihood of you sticking with the workout over weeks, months and years. This is an important part of programs like Solidcore. By throwing something new at you each session, your body and mind stay engaged, eliciting better results.
While there’s no mimicking a Solidcore workout without actually signing up for a class and hopping on a Megaformer, here are several exercises that you can do at home to introduce you to this type of training. Doing these at home will give you a taste of how your body feels doing slow and controlled movements and training to failure.