Sometime last year, I invested in a stationary bike. Though I knew it would be an eyesore in the living room I spent an embarrassing amount of time decorating, spending less money was my ultimate goal. After a few months of actually using a gym membership, I almost forgot I had it. I was convinced that putting a cardio machine next to the TV would motivate me to keep working out, along with saving $20 per month. I couldn’t have been more wrong (sans the money-saving part: that definitely worked). After a few weeks, the bike started to gather dust because one, it was flimsy and didn’t live up to the reviews that convinced me to buy it, and two, it didn’t challenge me in the least bit, unlike my current obsession: The DB Method (subject of my latest review). It’s quite literally the space-saving, muscle toning booster of my dreams with a slightly perkier butt to look back at, too.
So how did I get here? About two months ago, the allure of free online workouts wore off and the onslaught of summer reignited my outdoor runs. Long-distance running is my jam. Strength training is not. I also know that strength training makes me a stronger runner and healthier overall. See my conundrum?
Dumbbells? No thanks. Pilates? Eh, I’ll pass. Yoga? Fun, but too slow-paced. I like sweating, but when gyms are open, I also avoid the weight machines as much as possible. This is why I love The DB Method, whose celebrity fans include two of my absolute faves, Tracee Ellis Ross and Ayesha Curry. For lack of better words, I’d describe it as an elite squatting machine that targets booty muscles in a way I’ve never been able to achieve on my own.
“It may be obvious but it’s important to remember that the glutes are muscles of the hip joint. What that means is that to make the glutes work effectively you have to load the hips. Classic multi-joint movements like squats, deadlifts, and kettlebells do this but require a tremendous amount of technical skill and body awareness to perform correctly,” says Adam Swartz, Chief Fitness Officer for The DB Method. “What the DB Method machine does is support and guide the client’s weight back and in line with the hip. This position keeps the work primarily focused around the hip joint, thus allowing easier access to glute activation.”
I’m not gonna lie—I thought this would be easy peasy because I’m in generally good shape. However, once I spent some time ensuring that my form was correct, all it took was a five-minute warmup to feel everything and then some. Lining my heels with the back of the foot pedals is what bruised my ego and caused every muscle in my backside and thighs to activate so quickly. Keeping your back straight and lightly gripping the handles matter, too. Please don’t sleep on the time it takes to get yourself acclimated, especially as you begin to play with different levels of squats. (You really feel the burn when doing the mid or lower-range ones.)
“The lower ranges of the machine are the most advanced/difficult because the gluteals are being stretched more the deeper you go. There is less leverage at the lowest ranges and therefore the glutes must work much harder to pull the body out of that position,” adds Swartz. “It’s important to emphasize that the deep ranges are for clients who have already learned to engage their glutes in the higher ranges.”
Another reason I’m obsessed with this machine is that you don’t have to spend all day on it to see and feel a difference. It’s recommended that you spend just 10 minutes per day putting your legs to work. With about one month of consistent, almost daily use, my thighs are noticeably firmer, my arms are leaner and though a before-and-after picture wouldn’t be that impressive right now, my butt has lifted just a little. (I may or may not spend more time than usual checking myself out in the mirror.) Every once in a while, I stop and ask myself if I’m clenching my butt on purpose. Nope, the glutes are just fully activated all the time now. TBH, I’m still getting used to it.
Sometimes, I’ll just listen to one of my favorite playlists and squat until I can’t squat anymore, depending on my mood. But I mostly stick to The DB Method YouTube page which houses a treasure trove of quick-hit workouts focused on different goals. Anything focused on the booty is my fave, but I’m also expanding my repertoire with workouts focused on the arms, stomach, or full body with the assistance of accessories that definitely level up my efforts.
I have The Dreamband (there are two options), a “form fixer” that provides a mental cue to keep your knees properly aligned while squatting, and The Dreambelt, a 10-pound weighted belt I wear around my waist while squatting and as a hand weight (in place of dumbbells) while working on my arms. Eventually, I plan on getting The Dreamlets for my arms, too.
Finally, what brings my obsession full circle and makes this a worthy investment is the fact that it requires no tools to assemble and can be flattened and stored away when needed. That’s a game-changer for someone like me who lives in a small space. Full body workout—check. Affordable price—check. Juicy thighs—check, check. Learn more about The DB Method here. If you’re like me and don’t plan on going back to the gym whether social distancing rules are in place or not, this is a safer and more satisfying option.
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