Like a lot of individuals, over the previous few years, I’ve thought of bringing extra exercise tools into my house now that I’ve adopted a hybrid health routine and spend about as a lot time figuring out in my lounge as I do in a gymnasium or studio. I dwell in a 600-square-foot house in New York Metropolis, so the concept of rearranging my furnishings to make room for an train machine shouldn’t be a choice to be taken doubtless. The one one I’d even consider ceding ground house to is a Pilates reformer.
At one level in the course of the pandemic, I severely thought of eliminating my sofa to make room for one in order that I might proceed the just about every day reformer observe I’ve had for the previous seven years. A six-month wait record for the mannequin I needed stopped me, thankfully—seems, I kinda like having one thing delicate to sit down 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 concept of getting a machine at house 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 excited about making an attempt out LIT Axis, a wise resistance band system designed to supply a Pilates reformer-esque expertise at house—minus the big footprint, and for a fraction of the fee—I used to be intrigued… and slightly bit skeptical. There are such a lot of transferring 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 is derived.
Unboxing the LIT Axis system
Once I received the monitoring replace that my LIT Axis system ($199) was out for supply, I made positive to be house to obtain it as a result of I assumed the field can be sufficiently big to dam the entryway in my constructing. After buzzing in my FedEx man, I opened my door and was stunned to be handed a bundle that wasn’t a lot larger than a shoebox and lightweight 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 Methodology 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 monitor 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 fireplace 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 stage: newbie, intermediate, or superior.
Relying on what exercise you select, you’ll must both anchor the system at about ground stage (like across the leg of a desk) or hip top. 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 related to the 15-pound resistance bands, and get down on all fours for some glute work. We cycle by means of kickbacks (bending and lengthening our legs behind us), adopted by leg lifts, after which end with some pulses earlier than transferring to the second aspect. It’s a collection I’ve carried out and taught a number of instances, 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 a substitute of a transferring carriage, I don’t discover that it challenges my stability or core as a lot.
Subsequent, I attempt 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 house with a hinge). I really feel slightly bizarre about having half the anchor, which appears like a black safety strap, hanging out into the hallway, however it 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 will likely be accustomed to. 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 nicely 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 fingers 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 kind of transfer I’d do on the reformer, and the one distinction is the shortage of instability afforded by the machine, which makes it more durable 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 lounge 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 a very good anchor system, I’m going to be utilizing the LIT Axis lots at house to observe my reformer approach. I’d not go as far as to say that it’s an ideal substitute for the true factor, however it’s positively an awesome 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 transferring 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 typical individual will in all probability be wonderful with simply these two ranges of resistance, however a lighter resistance possibility could also be obligatory for people who find themselves new to Pilates and don’t have the energy to maneuver as a lot load but. A lighter possibility can also be good for core work and single-arm actions that focus extra on smaller stabilizer muscle groups like our rotator cuffs, for instance, or mobility strikes that require a wide range of movement (like arm circles).
Even at a degree the place it’s now attainable to get your fingers on Pilates reformers for house use, I really feel like I’d decide to go along with the LIT Axis system since you can too use it as a cable system or suspension coach, so it actually feels such as you’re getting lots out of one thing that takes up about as a lot house as a pair of dumbbells. Plus, it doesn’t require me eliminating any furnishings to make room for it.
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