The chain of fitness boutiques launched in the Washington, D.C. area a few years ago, and is quickly spreading across the Northeast. I was intrigued after reading an article in the Washington Post last year, in which a [solidcore] devotee told a reporter that she’d “rather run a marathon than take this class.”
The total body, 50-minute workout, done on a spring-based resistance machine called “Sweatlana,” promises to help you “create the strongest version of yourself,” aka [solidcore]’s motto. The whole point is to work your muscles until you literally cannot do another rep or crunch or lunge.
First Lady Michelle Obama is reportedly a fan.
Once Annapolis’ [solidcore] studio opened last month in the Annapolis Harbour Center, I knew I had to experience it. I mean, harder than running a marathon? Yeah, right.
After my 6 a.m. session was over, and I was completely drenched in sweat and almost fell off the machine at least once, I was convinced.
“It never gets easier,” coach Anna Barefoot told me. “I love the sustained burn.”
An attorney by day, Barefoot, who also teaches classes at the Pure Barre studio in Annapolis, began training at a D.C.-area [solidcore] early in 2015, and she became a coach about a year later.
“You will work your muscles to failure, and your muscles will build up stronger as you recover,” Barefoot said. “That’s what makes [solidcore] so different.”
Classes are limited to 12 to 14 clients, so you get a lot of one-on-one attention from your coach—and believe me, as a newbie, I needed it.
I’ve done many, many different types of planks, lunges and ab-targeted exercises in my kickboxing classes, but never on a big machine with straps that, let’s be honest, looks like something straight out of 50 Shades of Grey.
Just staying on it was a challenge, let alone staying on it in the correct form. Balancing on it was tough. Barefoot came by more than a few times to adjust me or remind me to raise my hips higher in the air or reposition my feet. The movements you do on Sweatlana are very slow and controlled, though the transitions between the moves are lightning fast.
Barefoot was a great motivator as she called out the seconds left until the next exercise.
“I know it sucks!” she said. “Stay with it! You’re crushing it!”
I don’t know if I crushed it, exactly, but I certainly left class feeling that I could handle anything else life threw at me that day.
New [solidcore] clients can choose to take their first class for $25 or purchase a two-class package for $34 total. Single classes are regularly $37, and class packages are available with monthly passes on offer for regulars. Sign up here.