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5 Megaformer moves you can do anywhere (no machine necessary)


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Photo: Getty Images/jacoblund

The Megaformer’s moment in the fitness spotlight shows no signs of fading—it certainly doesn’t hurt that Meghan Markle professed her love for the inventive and challenging piece of workout equipment before becoming the Duchess of Sussex. Devotees flock to classes that feature it at places like Lagree Fitness Studio (its founder designed at patented the machine) and SLT. But if Megaformers have yet to show up in your city, or you just can’t seem to get off the waitlist at your local studio, there’s a way to still get the muscle shaking, abs tightening benefits of its slow-motion moves at home. 

You’ll need a tile or hardwood floor, two small towels, and some pro tips from Dede Lagree, owner and head instructor of Lagree Fitness Studio, who’s trained celebs like Rihanna, Ashley Graham, and Bella Thorne. “The towels mimic the movement of the carriage, which forces your muscles to stabilize,” she explains.

Keeping the muscle under tension for a longer amount of time is an effective method to strengthen, tighten, and tone.

And unlike many workouts that use reps and sets to measure how long each move is performed for, this routine uses a concept called “time under tension.” Keeping muscles active and engaged for a longer amount of time is an effective method to strengthen, tighten, and build muscle, she says. 

This toning workout will hit just about every part of your body, but especially the deep abdominal muscles, says Lagree. Move quickly between exercises to keep your heart rate up, adding a cardiovascular component to the workout. Do the exercises in order, then repeat two more times.

Keep reading for Dede Lagree’s do-anywhere Megaformer workout.

1. Bear

Targets: arms, lats, abs

Start in a plank on your palms with shoulders directly over wrists, one towel under your feet. Keeping a flat back, engage through your abs and lats to draw your knees under your hips, then extend them back out. Continue this movement with a slow 4-count in and 4-count out for 2 minutes.

2. French twist

Targets: shoulders, arms, abs, obliques

Start in a plank on your palms with shoulders directly over wrists, a towel under each foot. Rotate hips slightly right, bringing left foot forward to towel on right side and right foot backward to towel on left side. Feet should be positioned one in front of the other, pointing in the same direction, chest should be facing the ground. Use your abs and obliques to pull your legs in toward your hands, piking the hips up. Push through the feet to extend legs straight out behind you. Continue this movement with a slow 4-count out and 4-count in for at least 60 seconds on each side.

3. Donkey kicks

Targets: shoulders, triceps, abs, glutes, hamstrings

Start in tabletop position with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Lift the right leg up, maintaining its 90-degree-angle shape, foot flexed, and pinky toe toward the ceiling. Then, fully extend the leg straight back. Slowly bend the leg at the knee to bring it back in. Continue for 2 minutes on each side.

4. Wheelbarrow

Targets: shoulders, triceps, chest, back, abs

Start in a plank on your palms with shoulders directly over wrists, a towel under each hand. Drop your knees to the floor, creating a 45-degree angle between your core and the ground in a kneeling plank position. When you inhale, slowly push through your palms to extend your arms out in front of you. On the exhale, pull your arms back underneath your shoulders. Continue for 1–2 minutes.

5. Plank to pike

Targets: core, lower abs, obliques

Start in a plank on your palms with shoulders directly over wrists, one towel under your feet. Rise up to the balls of your feet and engage through your abs to pull your feet toward your chest, keeping legs as straight as possible. Push through the balls of your feet to return your lower body back to plank position. Continue this movement with a slow 4-count in and 4-count out for 1–2 minutes.

What’s the deal with Megaformer anyway? Here’s the backstory. And if at-home exercises are your thing, you’re in luck because it’s the era of the on-demand workout.

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