Back in February, my cousin told me that one of her good friends was an instructor for a new hard core pilates studio that just opened in Chicago called solidcore. Obviously, being the fitness class junkie that I’ve become, I wanted to try it immediately. A fast paced, super hard, unique version of a pilates reformer class? Umm… hell yeah, I want to try that!
Turns out, the class was even harder than I imagined it to be and I was sore for the next 3 days ? And by sore, I mean SORE. Honestly, feeling the results of the class made me even more motivated to go back, and back again, and back again… and now it’s one of my favorite workouts in the city!
[solidcore] is basically pilates on steroids. The whole class is centered around their own unique version of a reformer called sweatlana (pictured above!). Sweatlana creates tension with loaded springs that allow you to control the resistance depending on what exercises you are doing. Sometimes using less springs makes it way harder to stabilize on your legs. Other times, more springs makes the arm portion of class more challenging. It’s completely customizable, which is exactly why you’ll never plateau in a class like this. WIN!
I personally love that this is fast paced and high intensity, while also being low impact and heavily focused on slow and controlled movements. It seems like that sentence is totally contradictory, right?! Just you wait until you realize just how much it burns to move slowly… but as soon as that exercise is over, you have to transition to a plank as quickly as possible! While your muscles are shaking! Oh yeah, it’s good stuff.
I also love that there are only 15 machines in class, which means that your coach is able to learn your name and give you personal adjustments and encouragement. Especially when you’re doing something that your body isn’t used to, it’s really nice to get feedback to make sure that you are doing it as safely and efficiently as possible.
And in case you haven’t picked up on this yet, solidcore is not a sleepy class. I get yoga vibes from a lot of other pilates classes… but this one has loud music pumping and you will get sweaty. Just be ready for that ?
Keep scrolling to read my answers to your questions – but if you’ve already clicked over to solidcore’s website because you want to try it, that’s great! Use my code LAKESHORELADY to get $5 off their $39 New Client Package (2 classes).
Now let’s continue…
Your questions about solidcore:
This is basic but, what does it really consist of?
Usually the class starts with a core warm up. This usually has planks, plank crunches, plank up/downs… all the planks! Then the class moves into exercises that target the legs, booty, obliques, and upper/lower abs specifically. Occasionally arms are thrown in the middle, but most of the time the coaches finish with arm exercises.
For the most part, you will be ON sweatlana’s front platform, back platform, or moving carriage. One part of your body will be on a steady platform, while another part of your body is moving with the carriage. This, combined with the resistance springs, create the tension required to really burn your muscles out. There is also a strap underneath the front platform that you can hook around your foot for booty work, as well as two sets of cables near the back platform that you use for arm work.
Everyone says it’s super hard? Is that true?
Yup! Quite honestly, I think it’s the hardest workout I’ve ever done – besides classes that require a lot of running. But that’s probably because I HATE running ?
Tips for beginners:
Okay, yes… it’s hard. But beginners can still do it! My first recommendation would be to get there early and introduce yourself to your coach. They will show you how everything works before class anyway, but that extra touchpoint is a great way for them to learn your name and be aware of your nerves.
My second piece of advice would be to listen to their modification cues. Don’t zone out or give up or stop doing an exercise because it’s hard. That’s only going to make you feel defeated. Instead, listen to when they give you possible modifications, like dropping down to your knees in plank crunches. I do that ALL the time in these classes when I feel like my form is being compromised. No shame in that game!
And lastly, remember to breathe. Breath is literally the key to EVERYTHING. Breathe through each exercise. If you need to take a break – give yourself one good deep breath and then jump back in. Try to keep your breath steady and find some calm, even when you feel shaky AF. It will help, I promise!
Do you have to be flexible?
Nope! Some exercises might be easier if you are flexible, but that is definitely not a requirement. There’s actually very little stretching involved – something you should do yourself after every class though!
How many classes did it take for you to not feel like it was completely kicking your butt?
Girl, it STILL completely kicks my butt!! I will say though, I have definitely gotten stronger and exercises that used to kill me before are getting a little bit easier. That being said, I am no means a master – nor do I think I’ll ever be! I think that’s kind of the brilliance of this workout. It’s always going to be hard.
Do you see a difference in your body?
I have, actually. I’m aways reluctant to say that one thing has helped my body more than others – just because I go to different workouts, the way I’m eating affects my body in a major way, and I don’t weight myself. That being said, I did a photoshoot in another workout outfit the same day we shot this, and I couldn’t believe the photos when I got them back. I thought I’d look a little like I stuffed myself into it, but instead I saw someone really fit, with ABS (!!) in the photos and that was a really great feeling.
But beyond seeing a difference, I KNOW that I feel a difference. I have gotten way stronger since I started incorporating these classes into my routine. Weights that used to feel heavy to me aren’t as scary anymore, I can keep up with tough exercises longer, and push myself farther.
(PS. Hopefully I’ll post those pics I referenced next week. Just trying to figure out what I want to write about in the post. Any suggestions?)
How is solidcore different than Studio Lagree?
I am actually not the right person to answer this question because I’ve never been to Studio Lagree. I’ve heard they are similar though!
How often do you go to solidcore a week?
Well, I was trying to go 3 times a week before my move, but now I live a 25 minute brown line ride away from the studio, so I’m back to a more realistic goal of once a week. I heard that they are opening a new location on Boystown on their social media though, so I’m hoping that’s easier to get to… and that it opens SOON!
Have you tried solidcore?
Did this post make you want to try?! If so, use my code LAKESHORELADY to get $5 off their $39 New Client Package (2 classes). And if you go, be sure to let me know what you thought!