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Lagree vs. Pilates: What’s the Difference?

Lagree vs Pilates

You might have heard whispers about this new Pilates-like workout craze but packs a much bigger punch. It’s called Lagree, and while some fitness buffs claim it’s a whole different beast, the similarities can’t be ignored. If you know a little about Reformer Pilates, you’ll find Lagree intriguingly familiar yet refreshingly different. Often linked with Pilates in discussions, Lagree is sometimes argued to be an entirely separate category of workout. Yet, it undeniably shares the same DNA—just supercharged.This article is your all-access pass to understanding what really sets Lagree apart from its fitness kin.



What is Lagree?

Lagree Fitness distinctively combines traditional Pilates principles with modern, high-intensity workout techniques, largely thanks to its innovative equipment, the Megaformer. Designed by Sebastien Lagree in 1998, this workout regime is renowned for its strength, endurance, core stability, and flexibility training—all while being low-impact on joints. The Megaformer is central to its uniqueness; it facilitates super-slow, precise movements that maximize muscle tension and fatigue without high-impact stress. This slow-motion methodology underpins the faster overall tempo of a Lagree session, where exercises transition quickly but are performed deliberately. This combination not only intensifies the workout but also significantly enhances calorie burning and muscle development, distinguishing Lagree from traditional types of Pilates.



Lagree vs. Pilates Principles

Both Pilates and Lagree focus on core strength, flexibility, and body awareness, employing controlled movements and specialized equipment to achieve fitness goals. However, the principles that guide each method underscore unique approaches and intents, shaping distinctly different workout experiences.


Pilates Principles:

  • Control: Each exercise is executed with complete muscular control, eliminating unnecessary movement.
  • Precision: Focuses on precise movements to maximize the effectiveness of each exercise.
  • Breath: Uses breathing techniques to coordinate with movements, enhancing concentration and control.
  • Flow: Emphasizes smooth, continuous motion to increase the elegance and effectiveness of each workout.
  • Concentration: Requires intense focus on each movement to maintain form and alignment.
  • Centering: Movements originate from the core, building central body strength and stability.

Lagree Principles:

  • Effective Resistance: Exercises incorporate resistance that maximizes muscular effort, enhancing endurance and strength.
  • Range of Motion: Encourages full range of motion to engage muscles thoroughly throughout each exercise.
  • Tempo: Exercises are performed slowly to maximize time under tension, significantly enhancing muscle fatigue and endurance.
  • Duration: Focuses on the length of time each exercise is held, which is long enough to reach the point of effective muscle stimulation but short enough to maintain form and safety.
  • Sequencing: Orders exercises to work the muscles to fatigue, then shifts focus to another group to optimize workout efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Effective Form: Maintains strict form to ensure each exercise is done correctly and safely, maximizing the benefit and minimizing risk of injury.
  • Transition: Ensures seamless movement from one exercise to the next without downtime, maintaining workout intensity and flow.

Equipment: Reformer vs. Megaformer

When exploring the world of Pilates and Lagree, one cannot overlook the central role that equipment plays in defining each method. The Reformer and the Megaformer are more than just tools; they are integral to the unique experiences offered by these fitness regimens.


Pilates Reformer

  • Design: The Pilates Reformer is a sleek, bed-like frame with a flat platform (the carriage) that rolls back and forth on wheels within the frame. The user can adjust the resistance provided by springs, which can be hooked or unhooked to vary the intensity of the exercise.
  • Functionality: This equipment supports a variety of exercises that promote flexibility, balance, and core strength. The movements on a Reformer are fluid and controlled, focusing on precision and the alignment of the body.
  • Impact on Exercise: The Reformer enhances traditional Pilates exercises by adding resistance, which helps develop good posture and lean muscle without bulk. Its versatility allows for modifications that can cater to different levels of fitness and rehabilitation needs.
  • Cost: The cost of a Pilates Reformer typically ranges from $2,500 to $5,000, depending on the model and additional features. See Reformer pricing on Amazon and Pilates Reformers Plus

Lagree Megaformer

  • Design: The Megaformer is larger and more complex than the Reformer. It is designed for higher-intensity workouts and features various handles, straps, and a gliding carriage that can be adjusted to varying degrees of resistance more quickly than the Reformer. For those seeking a more compact option for home use, there’s also the Microformer, a budget-friendly, space-efficient alternative.
  • Functionality: The Megaformer facilitates a range of high-intensity, low-impact exercises that target not just flexibility and balance but also cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength and endurance.
  • Impact on Exercise: The design of the Megaformer allows for quick transitions between exercises, maintaining a high heart rate and burning calories efficiently. Its robust setup supports longer durations under tension, making it suitable for pushing the body to its anaerobic limits.
  • Cost: The Megaformer typically ranges from $10,000 to $15,000. For those on a budget, the Microformers (about $1000) offers a more affordable option, providing many of the same benefits in a compact design. See Microformer pricing on Amazon and Pilates Reformers Plus. And for Megaformers, check out Pilates Reformers Plus.

Lagree vs. Pilates: What Are They Best At?

While you can certainly tone muscle and lose weight with Reformer Pilates, and similarly improve flexibility and core strength with Lagree, the nuances of each method come into play depending on what you are looking to achieve. Whether it’s sculpting a lean physique or pushing your endurance, each method has its star qualities. Below, we uncover their unique strengths.


Benefits of Pilates

  • Core Strengthening and Stability: Pilates focuses intensely on the core muscles (the muscles of the abdomen and lower back). This is ideal for improving overall stability, posture, and alignment.
  • Flexibility and Joint Health: Regular Pilates practice increases flexibility and promotes healthier joints by strengthening the muscles around them. This makes it excellent for injury prevention and rehabilitation.
  • Mind-Body Connection: Pilates requires concentration and precise control over breathing and movement, which enhances mindfulness and reduces stress.
  • Adaptability: Pilates exercises can be modified to meet individual needs, making it suitable for all ages and fitness levels, including those recovering from injuries.

Benefits of Lagree

  • Efficient Calorie Burning: Due to its high-intensity nature, Lagree is superior at burning calories quickly. If weight loss or improving body composition is your goal, Lagree might be the more effective choice.
  • Muscle Tone and Definition: Lagree targets slow-twitch muscle fibers, which are crucial for building lean muscle. The continuous tension and prolonged muscle fatigue promote a sculpted, toned appearance without bulk.
  • Cardiovascular Fitness: The quick pace and minimal downtime between exercises in a Lagree workout keep your heart rate elevated, offering a cardiovascular benefit that is not as pronounced in traditional Pilates.
  • Strength and Endurance: The intense resistance and unique sequencing of exercises in Lagree develop both strength and endurance, making it ideal for those looking to enhance athletic performance.

Can You Do Reformer Pilates on a Megaformer?

The short answer is yes, you can perform some Reformer Pilates exercises on a Megaformer, but it’s important to note that the Megaformer isn’t specifically built for Pilates. It’s a bit like using a sports car for a leisurely cruise—possible, but not quite what it’s built for. Both machines were ingeniously crafted with their foundational principles in mind: the Reformer with its zen-like focus on precision and control encourages controlled movements that focus on alignment and balance and the Megaformer, with its robust design for power and intensity, is tailored more for high-intensity, low-impact workouts that challenge both endurance and strength. 


Adapting Reformer Pilates exercises to a Megaformer doesn’t have to be a stretch—just a tweak here and there. Start by dialing down the resistance settings to mimic the gentler tension of a Reformer. This can help replicate the subtlety of Pilates movements. Utilize the Megaformer’s various grips and platforms strategically; position yourself to maintain the core alignment and precision that Pilates demands. And always keep the movements slow and controlled, even if the machine beckons for speed.



Key Takeaways: What Makes Lagree Different from Pilates

  • Intensity and Pace: While Pilates focuses on slow, controlled movements to enhance precision and alignment, Lagree pushes the intensity with exercises designed to quickly bring muscles to fatigue. This creates a dynamic, high-energy environment that contrasts with the typically calm Pilates session.
  • Equipment Design: The Megaformer, central to Lagree, is built to facilitate quick transitions and sustain high-intensity workouts with its diverse grips, platforms, and adjustable resistance. In contrast, the Pilates Reformer emphasizes controlled, precise movements conducive to rehabilitation and core strengthening.
  • Workout Impact: Lagree’s design and workout structure are geared towards maximum calorie burning and muscle endurance within a shorter time frame. Pilates, while also effective for muscle toning and weight loss, generally focuses more on improving flexibility, joint health, and the mind-body connection.
  • Exercise Adaptability: The versatility of the Megaformer allows for a broader range of motion and more varied exercise angles, which can target multiple muscle groups simultaneously and more intensely than the Reformer.
  • Philosophical Approach: The foundational principles of each method guide their respective workouts—Lagree is about maximizing efficiency and intensity to achieve quick physical results, whereas Pilates emphasizes mindfulness, precision, and the gradual strengthening of muscles.
  • Cross-Training Potential: Although not designed for Pilates, the Megaformer can adapt some Reformer exercises, provided adjustments are made to accommodate the differences in machine dynamics and exercise intent.
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