If you follow POPSUGAR Fitness on Instagram, you may have come across LIT Method founders and married couple Justin and Taylor Norris hosting high-energy live workouts on the regular. If not, meet their program, LIT Method: a high-intensity, low-impact training style that typically involves a combination of rowing intervals and resistance band exercises.
In May 2020, the two former personal trainers decided to level-up their workouts with the launch of the LIT Strength Machine ($1,749, originally $2,099), a totally unique, multifunctional tool that allows you to do strength, cardio, and physical therapy all on one piece of equipment. How? It’s a water rower that also features a resistance-band training system — think of it like a rower and Pilates reformer hybrid.
When they first had the idea to create their own machine, the Norrises experimented with a variety of different cardio machines, including climbers and assault bikes, but “all these exercises were causing the shoulders to come forward, and our biggest philosophy when we were training as personal trainers was about retracting your shoulders and fixing your posture,” Justin says. Rowing activates all your posterior muslces (the muscles along the back of your body), he explains, which acts as an antidote to all the forward movement our bodies do on the daily (think: walking, sitting, etc.).
Not to mention, so many other low-impact cardio options, such as Spinning, target a limited group of muscles, whereas rowing activates 86 percent of the muscles in your body in one stroke, explains Taylor — and that’s how they landed on a rower. “But we don’t even like to call it a rower, because that serves as one modality, but we do multiple modalities, and all low-impact,” she says.
In case the backstory hasn’t piqued your interest, know that the LIT Strength Machine also counts Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter and five-time MLB All-Star Adrián González as fans and investors. All that said, it’s safe to say the duo have created a workout machine worthy of your attention. Here’s everything you need to know.
How the LIT Method Machine Works
Rowing, strength training, barre, physical therapy, and Pilates are all possible on this multipurpose machine — there’s a reason they market it as “the most versatile machine on the planet.”
When you buy the LIT Strength Machine, you also get resistance bands, handles, ankle cuffs, and a phone and tablet attachment (also called the Starter Package). You can attach the ankle cuffs and resistance bands to eight anchor points around the machine, which allows you to strength train in multiple planes of motion and do more than 500 different exercises. And because you can hook a resistance band onto the bottom of the seat, it allows you to use it like a Pilates reformer carriage, Justin says.
“We want to be affordable and accessible to everybody,” says Taylor. Training on a Pilates reformer comes with incredible benefits, but it’ll run you several thousand dollars to buy your own. “We can do the same movements on our machine, and we can also give you more modalities so [you don’t need to go] buy strength training equipment and then Pilates equipment and then something for cardio. That was the whole idea.”
The Starter Kit is the most basic and affordable option. You can also upgrade to the Strength Kit ($1699, originally $2355) or Performance Kit ($2,099, originally $2460), which come with extra gear like an additional set of resistance bands, a mat to place under the machine, a heart-rate monitor, and a strength bar. “The strength bar is one of my favorite pieces,” Justin says. It looks like a weighted bar, but has clips on either end so you can attach bands, which then hook up to the machine. You can use it to add resistance to moves like squats, presses, bent-over rows, kayaking movements, and more to create a total body workout, he says.
LIT Strength Machine: Easy Storage And Maintenance
Like other water rowers, the LIT Strength Machine uses a tank of water to add resistance while you row. (When you pull the rower handle, you’re working to spin a flywheel with paddles through the water in the tank.) However, other water rowers require you to add or remove water from the tank in order to change the amount of resistance. This machine has a special dual tank system where one tank holds the water and another scoops out the amount of water needed for your selected level of resistance or “LIT level,” which can be easily adjusted using a dial on top of the tank. To care for the tank, you just drop in a chlorine tablet every 12 months (purchase of the machine comes with a lifetime supply). You never have to change the water.
Many cardio machines such as bikes and treadmills can take up a lot of space. The LIT Strength Machine has built-in wheels and vertical storage, so when it’s not in use, it only takes up a two-by-two-foot area of the floor. It also requires no electricity, so it can be used outside (the digital classes can be viewed on a tablet or a phone that you can attach to the machine or play on your TV).
LIT Method Workouts and Streaming
The LIT Method on-demand platform gives users access to a library of 10- to 60-minute workouts. Take a strength-, rowing-, or Pilates-specific class, or opt for one that mixes the various modalities. There are also mat cardio, barre, ab-focused, and recovery classes that you can do without the machine (and because you stream the workouts on your phone or tablet and not the machine itself, you can take those classes anywhere). New live classes are added daily, so the content always feels fresh, and if you need a little more guidance, you can commit to one of the many 3- to 12-week workout programs offered in the app.
When you purchase the LIT Strength Machine, you automatically get a three-month membership to the platform. Otherwise, membership will run you about $25 per month, $72 for three months, or $240 annually.
LIT Strength Machine: What Editors Think
POPSUGAR associate fitness editor Angelica Wilson gave the machine a try with Justin and Taylor coaching her through a brief workout and says, “the LIT Method Strength Machine is so comfortable to use.” She says her hips and lower back usually feel achy after stepping off a traditional rower — something that didn’t happen when she tried out the LIT Strength Machine. Justin and Taylor say they intentionally set the foot placement a bit wider than the typical rower to help ease stress on the knees, low-back, and hip joints. (Having the feet set wider allows for the knees and hips to be in alignment when you’re rowing, making the machine more comfortable to use.)
Genevieve Farrell, POPSUGAR director of fitness and wellness video, also adds: “I’ve tried so many pieces of at-home workout equipment and this is by far the most versatile.” So there you have it.
– Additional reporting by Genevieve Farrell and Lauren Mazzo
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