What is the EXO Chair?

The EXO® Chair from Balanced Body® is a fun workout that will also help you build strength. A more versatile Pilates machine than some of the other options, this little giant can also be the most challenging

The EXO® Chair from Balanced Body® is a fun workout that will also help you build strength. It’s an excellent choice of equipment, especially if you don’t have a lot of room for bigger pieces of equipment like a Reformer. The EXO Chair is small and lightweight, but sturdy, and will help you with stability and balance. As a great upper and lower body strengthening tool, it is popular among athletes.

The chair tones the whole body and the wide range of options for workouts makes it a more versatile Pilates machine than some of the other options, and at the same time, one of the most challenging.

What makes it different from a Wunda Chair?


The first difference is the size of the pads on the pedals. The Exo chair’s pedals are 2 inches wider and higher than the Wunda chair. This makes it suitable for more people, especially for those with wide shoulders. For traditionalists, the Wunda chair’s dimensions are exactly as specified by Joe Pilates and it has one pedal located close to the seat.


There are two springs on both the Wunda chair and the EXO chair. The springs on the EXO chair are in the center of the chair, vs outside on the traditional Wunda chair. The center placement of the springs makes a difference in some exercises and hones in on the pelvis, but on the downside, it can be bothersome if you are used to keeping your feet together.


With the compact design, the chair can fit into smaller spaces without feeling cramped or limiting your exercise options. The Wunda chair can be flipped to use as a regular piece of furniture, such as a dining chair. On the other hand, the EXO Chair is lightweight and easier to maneuver compared to the Wunda chair as the EXO chair weighs 40 lbs while the Wunda is about 13 pounds heavier.


The EXO chair can be accessorized with the Functional Resistance Kit. This kit offers various resistance bands and upgrades for pushing and pulling, allowing for workouts that were previously limited to a Reformer.

The EXO chair combines full-body workouts with traditional functionality and is accessorized to allow for innovative new features such as the optional Slastix resistance system. This kit will double your exercise options and the benefits you reap from your workouts.

The Wunda chair has optional handles and a high back

Balanced Body’s Wunda chairs are entirely modular meaning there is room for upgrades later so the equipment can grow with you.

They also make a sitting box riser for the Exo Chair for students who can’t do movements like the “Swan” from the top without leg support.


The EXO chair costs a little less than the Wunda chair.

Which Pilates Chair is right for you?

The biggest difference between the two Pilates chairs that will likely affect your choice is whether you need the stability provided by the Wunda chair’s handles. If you are looking for a piece of Pilates equipment to add to your studio, the EXO chair would be a great choice, however, if you want the option of adding handles, the Wunda would be more suitable.

What type of workouts or exercises can I do on the EXO Chair?

An EXO chair offers a lot of exercise options that can help you with balance and body control by enhancing stability.

Because it can help with upper and lower body strengthening, it is a popular choice for athletes. It also offers options that could previously only be done with a Reformer.

It is a great exercise option for rehabilitation after injury or surgery.

Exercise Options:

Whether you are looking for a challenging cardio series for your morning routine, or want to use it in a studio with your students, this piece of Pilates equipment is suitable for users of all levels. Below are some suitable class options depending on your needs and level:

        Spine and lower body stretches

        Hips and Knees

        Brisk and Brief

        Strengthening Exercises

        Abs and Arms

        Full Body Routines

        Prenatal Exercise

The chair can be used for arms, legs (strengthen legs and ankles), footwork (pressing down on the pedals while sitting), stairs (stepping up from the pedal to the seat as if climbing stairs) and the range of exercises includes push-ups, pull-ups, leg pumps, lunges, etc. The options are endless.

What are the benefits of having/using an EXO or Wunda chair?

Both the EXO and Wunda chairs are particularly useful in challenging your balance, control, and strength. Out of all the pieces of Pilates equipment, the chairs offer the most athletic challenges for upper and lower body conditioning.

Therapeutic Applications

Because of its compact design, the EXO chair is useful as an at-home application to recover from injury. The pedal exercises are useful for knee injuries, improving range, motion, and strength, while working through rehabilitation.

Resistance Tailored for Success

The spring system is known as the Cactus Resistance System. The springs connect to the cactus stem at the back of the chair which allows the user to move the pedal at varying resistance to increase the intensity of the exercise. Replacement or moving springs is quick and easy, offering 20 different combinations for resistance settings.

Seat for Comfort and Variety

Unlike the traditional Pilates Reformer, the padded seat allows for a more comfortable routine. At the same time, because of the smaller size of the seat, it promotes core strength and balance.

Small Footprint

The tough but lightweight frame makes this a useful piece of home equipment because it is easy to move, store, or stack. Flipped on its side, it can double as a chair amongst other pieces of furniture. As new exercises are introduced, more and more can be done on the chair as opposed to needing a full Reformer.

Drawbacks and Considerations


Although both the EXO and Wunda Chairs are powerful workout tools, it may be a challenge for someone who is new to Pilates. Beginners do better or Reformers, or by taking some classes first before trying out the more advanced workouts that chairs are known for. Alternatively, they can start small and work their way through the more complex chair exercises.

What is your goal?

Are you looking for a workout that will help you lose weight? Or are you looking for leaner and more defined muscles? If you are solely looking to lose some extra pounds, this may not be the perfect choice. As with most exercise routines, you will likely lose a few pounds, but as you gain muscle (which weighs more than fat), you may find your weight increase instead. But if you are looking for some definition and longer, leaner muscle, this is an excellent choice for you.


If you are struggling with an injury, and/or use the chair the wrong way, it can be uncomfortable or even make an injury worse. If you are experiencing discomfort on the chair, it is a good idea to watch the instruction videos or find other videos online to make sure you are using it correctly. If you are recovering from an injury or surgery, it is always best to talk to your healthcare provider first before starting with this or any other exercise.

Fitness & Health Benefits

Originally designed with therapy in mind, the EXO chair is very useful in rehabilitation after an injury and is also a great tool to help with muscle pains. The seated design is especially useful when someone is recovering. Exercises can be done lying down, standing, or sitting either on top or in positions aside from the chair.

The biggest benefit of the EXO chair is the way it packs a great workout punch while helping the user gain balance and flexibility in the whole body by using added resistance, like a Reformer, but much more compact.

The structure of the chair itself provides great support to the body. Unlike mat Pilates, which uses gravity as resistance, the chair can offer more resistance. Just like in traditional Pilates, the more resistance you can provide during the workout, the more endurance is created.

With the EXO chair, you can focus on the upper body (next, arms, and shoulders) as well as the lower body (legs, hips, knees), and spine. In addition to increasing flexibility and range of motion, the EXO chair can help decrease tension throughout the whole body as well by offering intense workouts to core muscles.

Whether you are an athlete hoping for stronger legs, arms, and abs, a person recovering from a hip injury, or someone who is just looking to work on their physical fitness, the EXO chair is a powerful little giant when it comes to improving your core strength, balance, flexibility, pelvic stability, and range of motion.

Marchel Ackler
About the Author

Marchel Ackler

Marchel Ackler is a Marketing Associate at Pilates Anytime. She lives in Knightdale, NC. She enjoys cooking with loved ones, crocheting, and gardening, is currently learning how to play pool (billiards), and loves going on adventures with her husband and puppy.


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