Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

We tried it: MegaFormer class at Plank Studio

You know that feeling you get after a hard workout and you immediately know it was worth every sweaty second? That's the exact feeling I reveled in after I tried a MegaFormer Signature Class at Wayne's new Plank Studio.

We tried it: MegaFormer class at Plank Studio

Have you ever seen a MegaFormer? Wayne’s new Plank Studio carries 10 of the 10-foot-long, 250-pound machines created by industry-renowned Sebastien Lagree. The machine itself looks more like a medieval torture device than gym equipment — and at times, it felt like it to.

You know that feeling you get after a tough workout and you immediately know it was worth every sweaty second? That’s the exact feeling I reveled in after I tried a MegaFormer Signature Class at Plank Studio.

“I tell beginners that come into our studio that it’s just like driving a car,” said owner Hilary Ryan. “It’s intimidating and it’s scary at first, but once you figure out the weight of the machine, you’ll feel more comfortable operating it.”

The MegaFormer itself requires maximum exertion and allows your body to shift quickly and smoothly from one exercise to the next. You use the machine to sit, stand, kneel and lay in a range of positions and exercises that burn the muscles in your core, legs and arms. Sounds simple, right?

The individual movements of each one or two-minute exercise are slow (think four counts on lunges, pikes and overhead presses). Yet, the pace of the overall class is consistently fast, accounting for the cardio component of the workout that is said to burn up to 600 calories in just 50 minutes. 

“A lot of people call it Pilates on crack because it just takes the intensity to a whole new level,” said Ryan, who has many clients that are veterans of the Pilates discipline and looking to change up their routine.

The real beauty of the MegaFormer though, is that you're rarely ever working just one muscle group. For example, we did biceps curls with the resistance straps while adding in a squat with each curl.

Plus, the high-intensity, low-impact workout is great for all types of athletes or people just looking to start an exercise plan.

We have people with knee injuries that come in and fall in love with the workout because it’s easy on their joints but at the same time, they still get the intensity of a regular cardio session,” said Ryan.

The classes are meant to be taught in a group environment but with only 10 seats in each class, you are guaranteed a little more personal attention than usual.

“In class, you feed off of the people around you and it gets a little competitive,” said Ryan. “As instructors, we kind of fuel the fire and push you get into a new position before the person next to you.

For me personaly, as an avid boot camper and Pure Barre girl, the best thing about this class is that it feels like two disciplines rolled into one hardcore workout. (And then just multiply the intensity by about 10 — because guys, I won’t sugar coat it, I was very sore the next day.)

We did a variation of the burpess that I’ve grown to love at boot camp and some amped up donkey kicks that I do regularly at the barre. Yet, on the MegaFormer, the basics that I thought I had mastered were suddenly like a brand new exercise. By the end of the class, I was struggling to hold the 60-second planks that I usually breeze through.

“On the MegaFormer, you really learn how to change your body and break through the rut that your muscles often get into,” said Ryan.

And that’s exactly what the class was — a challenge that I didn't realize I even needed.

Plank Studio also offers private sessions on the MegaFormer, plus TRX and mat classes and a “bounce back” class for new moms will be on the schedule soon. Classes are $30 each with package pricing options also available.

532 West Lancaster Avenue (2nd Floor), Wayne Pa. 610-688-0107, plankstudioml.com.


Have a fitness class we should try? E-mail sportsdoc@philly.com.

Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.

Kelly O'Shea Senior Health Producer, Philly.com
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Kelly O'Shea Senior Health Producer, Philly.com
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