Like numerous folks, over the previous few years, I’ve considered bringing extra exercise tools into my residence now that I’ve adopted a hybrid health routine and spend about as a lot time figuring out in my front room as I do in a fitness center or studio. I stay in a 600-square-foot condo in New York Metropolis, so the thought of rearranging my furnishings to make room for an train machine is just not a choice to be taken possible. The one one I’d even consider ceding ground area to is a Pilates reformer.
At one level through the pandemic, I severely thought-about eliminating my sofa to make room for one in order that I might proceed the just about every day reformer follow I’ve had for the previous seven years. A six-month wait listing for the mannequin I wished stopped me, luckily—seems, I kinda like having one thing gentle to take a seat on.
Even after my studio reopened and I used to be in a position to return to taking reformer classes in individual, I nonetheless discovered the thought of getting a machine at residence interesting in order that I might check and develop new routines, since I train group reformer lessons a pair days per week.
So when my editor requested if I’d be desirous about attempting out LIT Axis, a sensible resistance band system designed to supply a Pilates reformer-esque expertise at residence—minus the big footprint, and for a fraction of the fee—I used to be intrigued… and a bit bit skeptical. There are such a lot of shifting elements to a Pilates reformer (which was initially developed by Joseph Pilates within the 1910s) that I couldn’t actually wrap my thoughts round how you might replicate it with out all of the pulleys and comes.
Unboxing the LIT Axis system
Once I received the monitoring replace that my LIT Axis system ($199) was out for supply, I made certain to be residence to obtain it as a result of I assumed the field could be large enough to dam the entryway in my constructing. After buzzing in my FedEx man, I opened my door and was shocked to be handed a package deal that wasn’t a lot greater than a shoebox and light-weight sufficient to carry in my palm.
Inside was a white, soft-shell case that contained two units of good resistance bands (15 and 30 kilos), a pair of ankle cuffs, two handles, and an anchor strap, which you might both wrap round a heavy, stationary object in your house or wedge into the hinge aspect of your doorframe.
To activate my system, I downloaded the LIT Technique app to my iPad (there’s solely an iOS model) and logged into the membership I’d be given as a part of my trial. Usually, along with the one-time value for buying the system, you’d additionally want a membership, which prices $10 a month or $80 a yr.
The resistance bands are bluetooth-enabled to allow them to observe your reps. There are tutorial movies within the app, in addition to a pamphlet contained in the field to assist stroll you thru the setup course of, which took me lower than 10 minutes.
From there, all that was left to do was hearth up one of many movies. There are dozens of follow-along exercises to select from, starting from 10 to half-hour and arranged by expertise degree: newbie, intermediate, or superior.
Relying on what exercise you select, you’ll have to both anchor the system at about ground degree (like across the leg of a desk) or hip peak. The primary video I queue up is a 10-minute, lower-body Pilates class that requires a ground anchor that I connect to the bottom of my lululemon Studio mirror because it’s the heaviest factor in my home.
After a fast dynamic warm-up, we connect our ankle cuffs, which I’ve linked to the 15-pound resistance bands, and get down on all fours for some glute work. We cycle via kickbacks (bending and increasing our legs behind us), adopted by leg lifts, after which end with some pulses earlier than shifting to the second aspect. It’s a sequence I’ve completed and taught a number of occasions, and feels the identical because it does on the reformer, with one exception: As a result of I’m performing the workout routines on the ground as an alternative of a shifting carriage, I don’t discover that it challenges my stability or core as a lot.
Subsequent, I strive a 10-minute, total-body Pilates class that requires a hip-height anchor, so I transfer over to my entrance door (the one one I’ve in my condo with a hinge). I really feel a bit bizarre about having half the anchor, which appears to be like like a black safety strap, hanging out into the hallway, but it surely feels far more safe to me than when it was across the base of my mirror.
This time, we begin with leg circles, an train anybody who practices reformer Pilates can be conversant in. After looping the ankle cuffs across the arches of my toes, I begin to attract giant circles with my legs in a single path, adopted by the opposite.
Subsequent, it’s on to double leg extensions. Beginning with my legs in tabletop, I prolong them to straight on a 45-degree angle urgent towards the resistance of the bands. I opted to stay with the 15-pound bands for this exercise as properly as a result of, whereas I really feel like I might have used the 30-pound ones for the lower-body portion, I knew they’d be too heavy to carry out arm work with, which we transfer on to subsequent.
Popping up on my knees and going through away from the door, I slip my arms into every ankle cuff, flip my palms up towards the ceiling, and start to bend and prolong my elbows, reaching my arms in entrance of me as if I’m serving somebody one thing on a platter. Once more, that is the precise sort of transfer I’d do on the reformer, and the one distinction is the shortage of instability afforded by the machine, which makes it tougher to maintain your steadiness as you progress backwards and forwards.
As soon as I’m completed, I pack all of the tools again into its case, transfer my furnishings again into place, and have my front room in a single piece once more in lower than 5 minutes.
How the LIT Axis system compares to a reformer
I’ve solely taken a pair lessons, however I can already inform that after I work out anchor system, I’m going to be utilizing the LIT Axis quite a bit at residence to follow my reformer approach. I’d not go as far as to say that it’s an ideal substitute for the actual factor, but it surely’s undoubtedly an ideal complement.
A lot of the formatting for LIT’s Pilates lessons is just like what I’d train on a reformer. In some methods although, I’d say it’s extra just like a Pilates cadillac than a reformer you’d discover in group lessons because it doesn’t have a shifting carriage.
On a reformer, resistance is set by spring selection: mild, medium, and heavy, or a combo thereof, which aren’t translated into weight measurements. By comparability, the LIT system solely has two resistance choices, which really feel to me like medium and heavy springs. The common individual will most likely be advantageous with simply these two ranges of resistance, however a lighter resistance choice could also be vital for people who find themselves new to Pilates and don’t have the power to maneuver as a lot load but. A lighter choice can be good for core work and single-arm actions that focus extra on smaller stabilizer muscle mass like our rotator cuffs, for instance, or mobility strikes that require a wide variety of movement (like arm circles).
Even at some extent the place it’s now potential to get your arms on Pilates reformers for residence use, I really feel like I’d choose to go along with the LIT Axis system since it’s also possible to use it as a cable system or suspension coach, so it actually feels such as you’re getting quite a bit out of one thing that takes up about as a lot area as a pair of dumbbells. Plus, it doesn’t require me eliminating any furnishings to make room for it.
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