It’s the secret to Michelle Obama’s toned arms. Kim Kardashian does it. Modern Family actress Sofia Vergara is so addicted she has a machine at home she works out on daily. It’s Lagree Fitness, and now that it’s arrived in Australia, the buzz is building here.

Lagree Fitness is often described as “Pilates on steroids”. It’s an intense total-body workout that leaves you dripping with sweat and aching (in a good way) for days afterwards.

How do classes work?
In a 45-minute session, a Lagree-certified trainer takes participants through a range of movements on the three-metre long “Megaformer” (like a traditional Pilates reformer machine but made more torturous, with extra resistance settings, cables, straps and pulleys).

Each movement is completed in a slow and controlled manner (at least four seconds in, four seconds out) to help activate slow-twitch, fat-burning muscle fibres. Exercises are performed from each end of the Megaformer’s platforms and test and build strength, endurance, cardio, balance, your core and flexibility in every move. And it promises results. Fast.

Can anyone do it?
Developed by trainer Sebastien Lagree in the early 2000s, the Lagree method was designed to bring extra exertion to Pilates and is suitable for all ages, sizes, genders and levels of athletic ability. There are modifications to suit nearly everyone’s needs – except perhaps for those with serious knee issues, because of all the lunges involved in the routine.

Working out with the Megaformer is low-impact and easy on the joints, but you can expect to feel your muscle groups shaking during the class. It’s recommended newcomers start with two to three classes a week to get the best results, but as with all exercise, it’s dependent on what other training you are doing.

Is Lagree the future of Pilates?
“I vividly remember my first class,” says Kylie Archer, who owns and runs K-Kore, one of Melbourne’s only Lagree studios.

She first discovered the workout while living in Hong Kong. “I was an avid CrossFitter at the time and found it so incredibly hard.”

From then on, Archer was hooked. Facing a move back to Australia but with nowhere to do her workout, she decided to open her own studio and so secured her Port Melbourne location. The last piece of the puzzle came when she flew Lagree master trainer Lucas Lombardi to Melbourne to certify K-Kore’s friendly, knowledgeable instructors.

Archer believes Lagree Fitness will dominate the Pilates scene down under as it has in the United States. “Hardly anyone does traditional reformer Pilates in the US anymore because Lagree gives you faster and better results,” she says. “Nothing else gives you results like Lagree.”

Anyone who remembers Ben Stiller’s bulging biceps in Tropic Thunder will probably agree with her. Yep, they were built on the Megaformer too.

Places to do Lagree Fitness in your city

Melbourne: K-Kore, Port Melbourne.
Sydney: Physiocore, Surry Hills, Paddington and Mosman
Brisbane: Studio 45 Fitness, Newstead
Perth: LA Fit, Subiaco and Highgate

Megan Gamble is Broadsheet’s “Movement” columnist. She’s a full-time mum to baby Flynn but likes to squeeze freelance writing and yoga teaching into her schedule. In Melbourne, join her classes at Kula Yoga in Hawthorn on Fridays and Sundays at 4.30pm and 6pm and Yoga Corner in Melbourne’s CBD on Mondays at 5.30 and 7pm.