Check out Lithe in Japan's Nikkei Woman (April, 2013). We've had it translated:
A “Flying” Exercise that Ups Girl Power.
The Lithe Method (an art that creates a flexible body) is a workout that uses a Higher Power Band System to incorporate cheerleading moves. Currently popular in the US, it has been featured in women’s fashion magazines including VOGUE and LUCKY, as well as women’s fitness magazine SHAPE.
An exercise that targets “trouble zones” like the waist and calves, the workout is popular among a wide age range of women 18 – 65 years old, but most popular among women in their twenties, thirties and forties. “There are even 2-3 brave men that show up to classes” (founder, Lauren Boggi), but the majority of the students are women.
On how she founded the method, Boggi says ‘I was looking for a workout that was fun and creative that yielded results, but couldn't find anything that met my needs. So I used my cheerleading experience from USC, a school that is well known for American Football, and created the “Cardio Cheer Sculpting” Lithe Method.’
“Cardio Cheer Sculpting” incorporates all three elements: 1) Cheerleading inspired aerobics; 2) Cardiovascular exercise that shakes the muscles; 3) Strength training.
“Lithe is not only fun and incorporates feminine movements, it is also intense and competitive. It is a full body workout. The cardiovascular aerobic exercise burns the fat and creates a lean and flexible body, so the results are two-fold—you can expect to lose weight as well as sculpt your muscles.
Basic cheerleading moves include: “V’s” --Raising both arms in a 45 degree angle creating a “V” shape; the “Touchdown”--raising both arms straight up; the “L’s”--raising one arm up and reaching one arm out straight to your side, creating 90 degree angle or “L” shape; kicking; balancing poses; stunts; and dancing. These are all incorporated in the workout. ‘To motivate students, we also cheer “We love it!,” “Hey!,” “Yeah,” and other things during the workout, like we do in cheerleading.’
This method utilizes the Higher Power Band System, created by Boggi. “By using this system, we can incorporate cheerleading stunts like flying in the air, so in this way, we can achieve things that other workout methods could not.”
There are three types of bands: one you hold with your hand, ones that wrap around your wrists and ankles, and one with a special handle. The blue bands that you use with gloves are geared toward beginners. You attach a 5.4 kg – 6.8 kg weight and increase resistance, burning fat with each move. When you remove the weight, you can fly higher by adjusting the force of your body weight.
One session is divided to into three parts to work out the core, the lower half , and upper half of the body, so that in the whole hour you get a full body workout. “We always incorporate new moves and use small props so students won’t get bored.”
There is talk of possibly including Japan into Lithe’s future international expansion. “I don’t think there is anything more American than cheerleading. It’s so fun, I feel Japanese women would love the workout too.” Currently, other than the workouts, Lithe offers “Lithe Food” and exercise wear “Lithe Wear,” with plans for further lines.
Images of Lithe Instructors via Dom and Lither Veronique Hooper via Lauren