Megaformers have been on an unstoppable rise recently. But if you’re not super familiar with the buzzy boutique fitness workout, one of the hallmarks you’ll notice when you take a class—be it at the OG Lagree studio in Los Angeles, the ever-expanding SLT empire in New York City, or any studio in between that utilizes the machine—is the tempo. It basically feels like you’re starring in your own slow-mo video.
So, what’s with the glacial pace? “In order to build strong, but dense and defined muscle, you have to make sure you keep constant tension while you’re working it,” explains Sebastien Lagree, CEO and founder of Lagree Fitness, which uses spring-based resistance on the Megaformer he invented for full-body sculpting. Fans of the method include Jennifer Aniston, Khloe Kardashian, and Meghan Markle—plus, thousands of other healthy gals (and guys!) looking for a hardcore workout that’ll tone you from head to toe.
“In order to build strong, but dense and defined muscle, you have to make sure you keep constant tension while you’re working it.”
Signature exercises are typically done for a full minute. And according to Lagree, each one’s conducted at a pace that works the eccentric muscle contraction (the lengthening motion) for four-seconds and the concentric muscle contraction (the shortening motion) for four-seconds, with zero rest or stops the entire time.
When you’re doing it right (read: slow) you’ll use the muscle for 100 percent of the movement, says Lagree. It also works your slow-twitch muscle fibers, which are used for endurance activities, improving their capacity for burning energy. So what happens if you speed up? “You’ll start to use momentum,” says Lagree. This taps into your fast-twitch muscle fibers, which work explosively to generate force and are naturally thicker. Fast-twitch muscle fibers also fatigue quickly—so, better to save those groups for shorter workouts like HIIT.