About a quarter of the way through my 40-minute class at Method 10533 (49 Main St, Irvington 914-693-6020; www.method10533.com), my legs were shaking so uncontrollably, I swore I’d collapse any second. As a dedicated, daily runner, I’d thought of myself as “in shape.” But the methodically slow, controlled series of movements had my legs and abs feeling a burn even my longest runs never give me—and it has me hooked.
Walking into the quaint but airy space on Irvington’s Main Street and seeing the Megaformer 3s—machines that incorporate two solid platforms on either end and a sliding carriage between them, with an easily adjustable spring system to increase or decrease resistance—I thought to myself, “How hard could this be?” I ate those words immediately. Owner and instructor Dawn Grande started the class with front lunge-like movements, with my right foot on the front platform of the Megaformer, my back leg extended a few inches behind on the sliding carriage. Slowly and deliberately bending the right knee, I used my left foot to slide the carriage out as far as possible—counting to four on the way down, back to four coming up. I was stretching my muscles more than I probably ever had, and the burn was instant. That burn—and the twitching—would last throughout the series of lower-body exercises (think lots of front, back, and side lunges and leg extensions).
Just when I started praying that my dripping sweat would mask the tears I was sure would start flowing, we switched over to core-intensive exercises. There were a lot of planks, reverse crunches, and wheelbarrows—sets where your knees stay on the platform, and you slide the carriage out in front of you. Perhaps the toughest was the reverse bear crawl—a movement in which your toes stay on the platform, arms are outstretched on the carriage, and you slide the carriage back and forth, twisting your knees side-to-side at the hips in a crunch-like motion. Not only is there a burn in your lower and upper abdominals, but in your shoulders, triceps, and oblique muscles. Another advantage was that, even with a full class, Grande was able to stick close to me and a few other newbies, making sure each movement was done correctly. And, although each separate movement is slow, the transitions between the movements are so quick that your heart rate stays up, giving you a cardiovascular kick. The thumping music didn’t hurt, either.
One of the only gyms in the area with the updated Megaformer 3 (there are two older, less advanced models), Method 10533 offers daily, small classes (up to 10 people). Prices range from $35 for a single class to $400 for a monthly unlimited package.