Updated: Jul 10
From just reading the title of this blog alone, you might be thinking “Oh great, another physical therapist diatribe to convince me that I shouldn’t run 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Good luck sister.”
I get it. As a runner, you just want to run. Running challenges both your mind and body, but also allows a certain freedom and escape from the day to day that is nearly impossible to replicate in any other form of exercise. And obviously, if the endorphin buzz or “runner’s high” after a run could be bottled, it be harder to get a hold of than Taylor Swift’s Eras tour tickets.
However, what if I told you there exits another workout that requires just as much physical and mental stamina and resolve as running? A workout that is an excellent compliment to running as it is low impact yet high intensity, and strengthens those key muscle groups that promote running economy and stability, and prevent injury (so you can keep running)?
Cue Lagree Pilates.
What is Lagree Pilates?
As physical therapist by day, and Lagree Pilates instructor by night, I often describe Lagree pilates as “pilates on steroids.” Yes, there is a difference between traditional reformer pilates, and Lagree pilates. Lagree pilates takes the foundations of pilates- low impact flexibility training combined with restorative strength and stability and a focus on the “mind body” connection- and makes it a hellish workout that leaves you feeling exhausted yet invigorated, and accomplished yet wanting more. Both traditional pilates and Lagree Pilates required slow, controlled movements, however in Lagree Pilates, transitions are performed quickly to maintain an elevated heart rate and decrease rest time between exercises to promote muscular fatigue and thus strength.
Lagree Pilates is performed on a machine known as the “megaformer.” The megaformer has two platforms on either end of the machine, and a spring loaded carriage that moves in between each platform. Each platform has handlebars, and there are two different sets of straps, and bungee cord that can all be utilized to challenge and strengthen the core, upper and lower body.
10 Reasons Runners Should add Lagree Pilates to their Cross Training
There is a heavy emphasis on strengthening those infamous gluteus muscles that your PT talks about ad nauseam. The glutes work with the core to stabilize and control side to side and rotational focus through the entire leg when running. Stronger glutes=decreased injury risk and more effacious running.
The majority of the lower body exercises are performed unilaterally. Aka single leg strengthening and stability is emphasized which is necessary for runners given that its a single leg sport.
HOLY CORE. The effective and intense core work Lagree offers might be what it is best known for. With the appropriate breathing sequencing and posture, Lagree is extremely effective at training the deep core muscles. The stronger your deep core is, the less like you are to become injured running and the more efficiently you will run.
Lagree is low impact. This makes it an excellent compliment to the high impact, repetitive nature of running.
It is mentally and physically challenging. Runners love running for the physical and mental resilience it builds, and Lagree is no different.
The sense of community. Given that Lagree is a form of group exercise, it is easy to make friends with other studio members. There no bonding like the bonding that occurs when you work you butt of with the same people on a regular basis.
Much of the upper body work focuses on the upper back, and scapular stabilizing muscles which helps maintain good running form and the shoulder strength and mobility required for strong arm swing when running
HOLY OBLIQUES. It is not just the deep and central core that is required for good running form. The oblique muscles help control rotation through the trunk which again makes you more efficient and decreased injury risk.
It never gets easy- much like running- so you will never get bored. I don’t have to explain this to anyone who willingly choose to spend their Saturday morning running 12+ miles.
Your physical therapy exercises will feel a lot easier. Why? Because Lagree works all those muscles in a similar fashion to your PT exercises. Who doesn’t love impressing their PT?
After reading this blog, you may be thinking that Lagree sounds too good to be true. But I can assure you as a runner and a Lagree instructor, it simply is not. Run don’t walk to your nearest Lagree studio and check out a class for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.
As always, thanks for reading!
Dr. Melissa Kolazyk PT, DPT, CMTPT