The Beginners Guide to Solidcore

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The Beginners Guide to Solidcore

There are plenty of fancy workouts and flashy fitness classes to choose from these days, but one that is quickly rising to the top is Solidcore. The name sounds appealing if you want to get in shape, and — even better — the principles that guide this workout make it both unique and effective.

Solidcore offers a high-intensity, low-impact, total-body 50-minute workout. Key to this is a resistance-based machine similar to a spring-loaded Pilates reformer machines but more hardcore. Each training session involves slow, controlled movements that will leave your muscles screaming for mercy. Exercises work everything from the core and legs to the upper body, with an instructor and heart-pumping music motivating you through each session.

The principles that guide Solidcore workouts ensure that cardiorespiratory and muscular endurance, strength, body composition, core, balance and flexibility moves are incorporated into each workout. While all of these components are important, understanding the significance of doing slow, controlled movements, training to muscle failure and mixing up the exercises you do during each training session help explain why Solidcore workouts are so effective.

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While there are many approaches you can take to strength and resistance training, slow and controlled movements have been shown to be particularly impactful. The idea here is that when you do exercises at a slow pace, you don’t receive any assistance from momentum. Consider a bench-press machine — pushing the weight quickly is a lot easier than pushing it slowly.

Slower movements create more tension, which requires you to recruit a greater number of muscle fibers as you work through each movement, allowing for the force to be evenly distributed. That means fewer injuries and a safer workout on the resistance-based machine when compared with just knocking out a bunch of quick reps on a traditional weight machine.

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Another concept upon which Solidcore workouts focus is the idea of muscle failure. Training to failure means that you reach the point of fatigue where you can’t perform another repetition of a particular exercise. When you hear about the gut-busting, quad-burning nature of a Solidcore session, the moments of muscle failure are what many fitness fanatics are recalling.

By employing super-slow movements on the resistance-based machine, you train your slow-twitch muscles to failure, forcing your body to then recruit the fast-twitch fibers. You don’t need to do sprints and agility training to work those fast-twitch fibers — Solidcore workouts provide a more controlled approach to strength and endurance training.

While studies hint at the fact that doing too much of this type of training can hurt performance outcomes, there is plenty of research that demonstrates that, when done correctly, training to failure is effective. In addition to helping you access the various muscle fibers, it also means your muscles will produce more lactate. Pushing to the point of extreme fatigue and accumulating lactate can help prompt increased muscle growth over time.  

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Muscle confusion, muscle progression and periodization each describes an approach to fitness that varies in some ways, but they share an important truth: If you focus on the same muscle group or training component over and over again, your body eventually adapts and your fitness plateaus. Mixing up your workouts to include various intensity levels, muscle groups and exercises helps to keep your body guessing, thereby encouraging fitness gains.

Solidcore relies on this idea. Within each workout, participants work various muscle groups. Workouts also vary from one training session to the next. As you gain strength, you can challenge yourself further by adding sets, reps or resistance to prompt that upward trend of increased strength, endurance and overall fitness.

The importance of including a variety of components of fitness in your training regimen and taking a strategic approach to increasing the difficulty of your workout sessions is nothing new. Periodization has been shown to be effective when it comes to improving strength, athletic performance and body composition. Similarly, progressive overload in a resistance training program — adding incremental weight or resistance to exercises over time — has also been shown to be key in increasing strength.

In addition to helping you avoid mental and physical burnout, as well as subverting a fitness plateau, including variety in your workouts will also increase your enjoyment and the likelihood of you sticking with the workout over weeks, months and years. This is an important part of programs like Solidcore. By throwing something new at you each session, your body and mind stay engaged, eliciting better results.

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While there’s no mimicking a Solidcore workout without actually signing up for a class, here are several exercises that you can do at home to introduce you to this type of training. Doing these at home will give you a taste of how your body feels doing slow and controlled movements and training to failure.

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  • Special K

    From the Solidcore website – “[solidcore] is unlike any workout you’ve ever done before. It’s a high-intensity, low-impact 50-minute session that is done as slow as possible to lengthen and tone your body.”

    I thought the “lengthen” and “tone” buzzwords died in the 80’s? The website is full of hype words like that that are either meaningless or impossible to accomplish. That immediately makes me skeptical.

    • robinbishop34

      Agreed. There is no such thing as “toning” a muscle. That said, the exercises listed (along w/planks) are a great way to strengthen the core in preparation of a much more effective 5×5 routine… if wanting to build muscle AFTER fat loss. I would suggest simply doing the routine, focusing on form and technique and forget about going “super slow,” unless it’s what you enjoy.

      Working a muscle group to failure, unless lifting very heavy weights with limited reps, can actually be counter productive. Prolonged, rigorous activity will result in the body utilizing amino acids rather than stored fat or glucose/glycogen as a fuel source –which inhibits muscle growth. Either way, a fast-digesting, high protein meal post workout is vital.

  • Manuel Feliz

    I believe this is a workout that can help anyone, regardless of the level of fitness. It is a great workout.

  • grace

    Take some time and learn about Pilates. Pilates is a thorough and more complete workout. Find a class and take a lesson. It works on core strength and alignment.

  • Faith Wano

    This sounds like Simon Lagree’s Megaformer workout. The Megaformer looks like a Pilates reformer but it is not Pilates. Movements are slow and muscle groups are worked to exhaustion while core strength is emphasized. Why not review Megaformer?

  • smaktcat

    a printable format would be cool..

  • collaroygal

    Crunchs???? Really, those are so bad for you and so last century.

  • Ann Purdy

    I am grateful for MFP. I love weight Training i g and walking but I’m limited by joint and muscle pain
    (Fibromialgia) and I am 70 and seven months. Now, recuperating from
    Shoulder surgery. Will you kindly recommend whatever exercise you
    Think it can hold me while I heal.
    I walk every day, I garden every day.
    Thank you so much.

  • Marie

    SolidCore is a complete ripoff of Lagree Fitness. She knocked off the founder’s machine and method and now tries to pass it as her own. Do yourself a favor and take class at a real deal Megaformer studio instead.