Class #3997

Athletic Wunda Chair

30 min - Class


You will work your entire body with this athletic Wunda Chair workout by Maria Leone. She uses minimal spring changes to keep the class flowing from one movement to the next. She also includes creative variations and transitions that use elements from her dance and martial arts background.
What You'll Need: Wunda Chair, Wunda Chair Handles

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

Hi everybody. I'm Maria, and today we're going to do an athletic chair workout, whereas doing the whole thing on just three spring settings, go ahead and stand facing your chair. And I'm starting with the chair at sort of a medium tension. Go ahead and bring your hands onto the chair. Round the back. Lift the abdominals. Inhale here. Exhale, push the pedal stray down. Tuck the tailbone under, peel yourself up halfway. Inhale and exhale.

Push Down

Push down and the tension isn't really very heavy, but I do feel it a bit so it's enhancing the stretch on the lower back. Keep the hips right over the heels that stay at the bottom. Hold the paddle down. Equal weight on two hands, two feet. Take a plea, a the paddle doesn't move. Stretch the legs and now lift the hips. Sort of like a pike prep and lower the heels down. Take a plea, a stretch the leg straight.

Hamstring Stretch w/ Pile and Releve

Wrap the triceps, lift the heels, the belly button pulls up into the spine and lower down. One more time. Plea a and stretch. Think pike. Push through the hands. Equal weight on two hands, two feet. Take a soft bend in the knees. Peel yourself slowly, all the way up. Release the panel. Take the arms up. Inhale, open the chest.

Take that nice extension. Okay. And to standing. Open the feet a little bit wider than your chair. Bring one hand to center. One hand side back is flat from here. Turn the rib cage to take the paddle down again.

Wide Leg Rotation Push Down

Equal weight on all of your limbs, two feet and one hand. Now come back center and again, push the paddle down. Open the chest. Send your two sit bones straight back and back. Center one more like that and twist long spine.

Come back sooner. Take the other hand off. Rotate to that opposite side. Push down to the bottom. Hams on rotate as you come flat and center. Twist the rib cage to move the paddle. And then on twist center.

And again rotate to move the paddle and back center. Last time. Equal weight, two feet and open. Feel that stretch through the front of the chest. Two hands down. Bend your knees, peel all the way up. Take the arms up over the head. Open the chest, open the arms and come back center. Come over to the back of your chair.

Set up for Swan hips near the edge. Take the arms straight, find a straight line crown of the head to the toes. Inhale, lift the chest up. Heart goes forward and lower right back to that flat. And again, moving from the upper back. Notice my paddle never really touches the ground. And again, inhale, lift. So we're reaching out to that nice flat position and inhale shoulders out of the ears. Keep energy in those legs. Last time. Inhale back to the flatline pause and into swimming vigorously in for five and out for five. You can add the extension if you'd like.


And now part of the goal is to really hold that paddle still, but keep it vigorous. Vigorous in the legs, vigorous with the breath. Two more full rounds of breath here and lower down. It's again out. I kind of scoot myself back like that. Removing to side bend. Come onto your side. Hand in the center, right in line with the shoulder. Two legs straight. Set yourself up in an absolute straight line. And I'm going to recommend you start with your hand here on your handles from here. Side bend, straight up, sandwich the legs, reach back to the start position, side lift, and then shooting out to the straight line.


Continue like this and begin to play around with this top hand so maybe the hand reaches to the feet. Keep your body in one straight plane or maybe the hand even comes up over the head. Two more control lowering. Last one and lift. Find center hand back to the bar, maybe flex both feet and begin to do just a simple leg lift and I do find it's a little easier on the neck but also somehow a little bit more challenging.

Side Bend

If you take your gaze down, watch that paddle, don't let it bounce around. Keep stabilizing that bottom shoulder blade. Last one. Let's take a big mermaid stretch up and over and come all the way up for a side arm. Twist the legs go straight. You might need to maneuver around a little bit here to figure out your right distance. One hand up, rotate, reach back, tuck the tail and then reach way far out to the opposite corner.

Side Leg Lifts

Squeeze the legs and then straight up in one piece. I'm going to stay on the paddle, reach yourself out and pay attention to that lower back. There's a real tendency for the lower back to compress here, so I almost need to think of a little tuck to get myself back. One more here. Reach, reach, reach, squeeze the legs come all the way up and let's go to the other side. Beginning with the side, Ben, my shoulder is over my wrist, my legs are glued hand on the handle to begin with and then a nice clean side bend. Feel open through the front of the hips, fit that body between two planes, the glass.


Release the hand when and if you feel comfortable, feel the ribs drawing to the hipbone on the upside. If you can, the hand can go up over the head, keep reaching through your limbs, it's going to help give you stabilization. The more you reach through each end and let's go to that leg lift. Flex the feet and the body is straight. Take that leg straight up and lower the leg isn't really going to be able to go too high because the pelvis is staying still. Maybe the hand off, maybe turn the head, wrap that left shoulder blade out of your ear. Okay, last one like that.

Side Arm Twist

Hold yourself steady and then a big mermaid stretch here and then all the way up for sidearm twist. Find your star position length in the spine before you move. Nice clean rotation. A little feel of a tuck here and then reach way far out on that diagonal and lift again. I'm going to stay on the paddle cause I got a big way to go to get to the paddle and all the way up. Keep both hips really grounded.

Side Bend

Open the chest. That should feel pretty good. Keep the hand over the head if you can, uh, lifting in one piece last time like that, up and over and then all the way up. Okay, moving on. Come on to your back. I'm going to go to a little supine series. Notice we haven't changed that spring again yet. You're on your back.

Side Leg Lifts

We're going to begin with bridging two feet on top of the panel. Paddle is still go ahead and bridge your hips up and then articulate down and back up to really opening the front of the hip sockets and peel down, back up, talk and bridge and roll it down to more. Use this to really warm up that back and last time. Say at the top for me now from here, little pumps of the legs. Ouch. He owes to the sit bones, waking up those hamstrings, commit to it, commit to it. Whatever that tension is, you can probably handle it. Uh, one more.


Stay there. Roll yourself down. Scoot back just a little bit on your mat so that you can get the feet all the way down to the mat. Now hold that paddle steady and float one leg to tabletop and lower it right back down. And really using the center of the body to hold the shapes still. So less about the gluten, the hamstring there, and particularly as you're changing legs. Oh, that's where the tendency is to let the paddle kind of pop one more each way.

Side Arm Twist

Again, looking for that sensation. All in the core. Stay here. Turn out the legs. Flex the feet so you're in first position. Pry the knees open. You're in a frog now. Front ribs to back ribs. Nothing changes in the spine. The paddle goes up. Press the knees open. Take the paddle down and let the paddle float up.


Press the knees wide. Draw the paddle down. Inhale on the up. Exhale, pull down. Inhale Tacoma up. Exhale, pull down. Two more here. Inhale and exhale. Last one. Inhale, and exhale. Hold it here.

Hamstring Curls

Pull your knees together and release the paddle. Sit yourself up. We're going to do our first spring change. I have one heavy spring on. I'm going to add another one up, so I have a four and three on this machine. You do want to feel pretty hefty resistance. We're going to start with some footwork. The hails come wide on your panel.


Sit yourself right at the edge of the machine arms. Come forward and begin a pump. Okay, so it's truly a pumping action equal up, equal down the spine is absolutely still for three two, one and that's changed to first position. Squeeze the heels and here we go. Down up to three and again, where the paddle goes is irrelative is that pump of the five bone that we're looking for an absolute stability here of the pelvis. Five four squeeze the heels to on and onto the heels for me.


I'm going to work hip distance today and here we go. Down and up. Check in with your spine. Check in with the ribcage. Keep it continuous. Equal parts up and down for three, two, one. Okay, so now we spice it up. Feet to first position. We're going to start with the hands at the front edge of the chair.

Second Position Heels

Lift your hips, push down through the hands. Open the heart. And here we do that same pump. It's going to be slower though. Think hamstring curl right now. Open the heart. Lift the chest. The pelvis is still for three and two and one have a seat. Come onto your arches. Hands forward into tendon stretch.

Pilates Stance

Round your back. Pull yourself up, tuck and push the paddle down, and then lift, lift, lift, tuck, and push the pedal down. Again, lift, be active on the descent. The legs are straight. I don't really care where you are with your feet on the paddle. As long as you're secure, focus on that lift. Lift the center of the body. Last one, have a seat. Back to first position. How do we take the hands back? Same thing. Slide the knees forward, lift the chest, really use your arms guys and push down and up.


So the more you push that chair away with the upper body, the easier this is going to be for you. I almost feel like I'm tucking the tail as I push down through my legs. And three, two, one, have a seat. The hands come back forward, front or side. Take your tail off the mat. Spine is neutral. Inhale and exhale.


And of course this can be as big or as small as you'd like. Keep your quality here. Inhale and exhale. The elbow should go straight back. The distance between the heels and the sit bones does not change. Spine is absolutely still two more.

Tendon Stretch

Last one and have a seat. Moving onto our pike series. Step in front of your machine. Again, I have a heavy ish tension. The hands come to the front of the chair. Start by just pressing that paddle down. Come to a really strong cap position. Use your arms like crazy.


Pull the belly button in and float the hips up off the mat. You might need to adjust the feet at the top. From there, push the paddle back down. Hover that's not touch and pull yourself up. Wrap the biceps forward. Drop the head, stay there. One leg lifts, hold it and lower and the other leg lifts. Hold it. Push through the arms and lower.

Frog Facing Out

Take the panel down, but hover, hover, hover, hover. Pubic bone points forward from back to the very top of your shape. Lift. Drop the head. Come back halfway down. Pause from here. Nice. Fly in and out. So this is like your knee. Stretch your lifted knee stretch.

Pull Up w/ Leg Lift

Try to keep some weight on those legs. Really talk and fly the thigh bones into your chest to last one. One. Let's take a stretch. Heels down in the hips. Go back, deep breath in through the nose. Long exhale out through the mouth. We got one more thing to do here. Come back up. Reset that star position. Pubic bone points forward.

Double Knee Stretch

Lift from the center of the body. Pull yourself up just the feed. If you need one knee in tight, tight to the chest. Now push the paddle down, but lift that knee up higher and then back to your start. Push down like you're trying to step over the chair with that foot. So again, this is more about the leg that's bent than the leg that straight.

Single Leg Pull Up Variation

One more come into the top. Other leg in, in, in. Push the paddle in that lets the knee float up higher and lift again. The knee comes in, spin the biceps and lift. Last one needle lifts two feet on.

Ride the paddle down. Take a little stretch deep breath in through the nose. Exhale out through the mouth and we're going to go to a lunge series. So one foot on top of the chair. Go ahead and ride the carriage up. I usually will take a second here at the top to kind of reset and you'll see that my distance is a little bit big here.

From here you're going to take the paddle down. I'm going to try to stay as vertical as I can, pressing through that leg to lift straight down and straight up. As soon as you have your bearings, remove the hands and I'm keeping myself on the paddle for right now so as much as I can, straight down, straight up. Think vertical jump, press through the whole soul of that foot. The knee is traveling a little bit forward over my ankle. Now from here, come all the way up.

Going Up Front

Reach that leg back behind you. Put your fingertips to your handles and just a little pulse here. Not a bad idea to soften this bottom leg. Make sure the abdominals are lifted for five, four, three, two, one real fun. Transition knee up into the chest. Pull the other knee up to join it and hold so you're in your ball shape and then your other side. Here we go. Straight down.

Arabesque Pulses

Straight up. I always like to start just getting my bearings, even if it's just my fingertips on the handles before the hands come off. And again, real vertical here and if it's too light, you might need to spring up next time and it's jolting you up. You might need to go lighter next time. So nice supported tension. Make sure you're not falling on the down. Work on the down, work on the up last time.

Floating Ball

Everyone knee right over the big toe and then come straight vertical to take that leg off. Reach the leg back behind you into arabesque. I'm going to keep it turned out and a little pulse here, but I'm not taking this into my full arabesque, right? I'm just reaching that turned out leg straight back to the back wall. Keeping the abdominals lifted. I hope a little crack maybe on that bottom leg. Oh am I going to do that same transition cause it's so much fun.

Going Up Front

It really is actually. Bring the other knee and shoulders out of the ears. Hold, hold old. Come out. Quarter turn. We're going to do a side lunge. We're going to add a little karate thing here. So the leg on the machine is turned out, the other leg is parallel. Heel to arch. Set up, take the paddle down, stand yourself all the way up. Lift that leg straight side into a sidekick, lower down.

Arabesque Pulses

So here's our ballet portion of the exercise into the martial arts portion of the exercise and lower with control. Press yourself up. Minimize what you're doing with the hands, but on holding off and again and lift. Press through that heel. Nice straight line. And again, inhale and lift. Okay, more fun. Here we go, little kicks, we go low, we go high. And once you get that coordination, see if you can pick up the tempo of that leg.

Floating Ball

Second side, again, heel to arch alignment. You might need to play around a little bit with your placement. Lower it down, press to lift up, and then lift that leg. Open that hip. Turn the head even lower the foot down. Make sure that, Ooh, that leg is going side. Hold it side as you lift, lift the leg up and lower and lift and lower with ease. Make it effortless. Listen for your breath. [inaudible] two more here. Feel with that right knees headed.

Going Up Side w/ Leg Kick

Send it in line with your toe. Last one, hold it. Let's add those kicks low, high, and then once you get the coordination, pick it up. The faster the kick is, the harder it's going to be for you to stay still. How's that entering faced forward until a little bit of mountain climber. So one foot back to the paddle. I like to set up like so.

Side Kicks

Fingertips on the chair around the back. Begin pumping that back leg. And then if you're steady, take the hands off. Ooh, no banging of that machine like mine. Try to control it. Lift the belly off the thigh. From here the hands come to the handles, right leg forward, left foot, back to an old fashioned stag jump. And let's go to your other side. Set yourself up. Bend both knees, fingertips down. Begin the pump.

Going Up Side w/ Leg Kick

Maybe stay here the first couple of times. Once you're comfortable, take the hands off, drop the shoulders. Remember effortless effort and into that stag leap. Split the legs, shoulders out of the ears. Step the two feet together. Take your two feet back to your bar and lift the chest up. Squeeze the legs, bend the elbows, take it up and again, elbows go straight back and lift. This feels a little like down. Stretch to me and lift. Take that heart up last time. See here, maybe float the legs off, knees back to the chest and lower down.

Side Kicks

We're going to ride this paddle down. Hands to the chair. Always careful on that dismount. We're doing our last spring change. You're going to go to your lightest setting and then you might need to play around with this a little bit depending on your size and your shape. Have a seat on your chair. Step the panel down. Hold it here. Take your body forward, drop the heels so we get a little stretch in the, and again, weight forward on the ball of the foot.

Mountain Climber

Walk yourself out into a perfect clink position. Bring the hips in, line paddle still in an up and two and I like this. Syncopated rhythm three so we can hold, push, hold, push, hold, push. Last time, hold, push. Walk your hands back. Drop your head, have a seat, ring the paddle up.

Floating Stag

Okay. We're going to try handstand, which is pretty advanced. Might take you a few times to get it. It might need to do a spring change as well as the paddle down. Bring your hands down. You got to judge for yourself how wide to go. Not that wide, not as wide as you certainly would do an elephant round the back.

Mountain Climber

The first moment is the scariest. You gotta take the hips over the shoulders and you might actually need to do a little bit of a jump there to get up. Once you get up, take the hips, try to stack them up over the shoulders. Now from here I'm thinking post a tilt and a tuck. The heels go back. I'm going to push the carriage down. It's gonna float though. I don't want it to fall. Please don't fall and then right back up.

Floating Stag

Big XL contract and push from the abdominal. Spin the biceps forward. I feel like I'm going to lose it and back up. Okay. Last time. Tuck. Push. Hover. Oh shit. I lost it. That's okay. I'm going to walk it back. Have a seat. I'm bringing the paddle up. Okay, one more thing there.

Tricep Press w/ Extension

Push the panel down. Come back. And I'm not really sure if this is harder or easier to tell you the truth. Press do the knuckles around the back. Here's that really tough transition. Maybe a little top up. Push with the arms. Push, push, push. Take the hips over the shoulders. One leg off.

Floating Ball

Be really strong through the arms. Deep breath in, lower the leg. Push with the arms. I can't tell you how important it is to keep those arms foot down. Control it. [inaudible] okay, that's all right. Walk back, have a seat. Cross one leg over the other. But the paddle come up. Ah, start to slow down your breathing. Oh, enjoy the stretch in that hip. Remembering that the breath is the key to the stretch. Oh, let's change the other leg comes over.

Push Up Front

You know it's, my hips are pretty tight. So if this isn't enough stretch for you, you know what else to do can always deepen the stretch. Don't force the stretch. It has to be something that you can relax. And you can breathe into, ah, cross your ankles on the paddle that the panel come up and let the legs just drop palms up on the knees. I just take the next few moments to calm your nervous system.

Handstand w/ Double Leg Press

[inaudible] feel where you are in space. Notice the energy you just created in your body. Notice the stillness in your mind and take that with you throughout the rest of your day today. Oh, thank you for joining me, guys. We're done.


I was just thinking last night that I wish you'd do a chair workout! 👏😀
Thank you!
Thank you Maria! The handstand at end was a fun challenge I need to practice. You also made me want to get a chair with handles so I could do the fun transitions. I always love learning from you.
Okay, Maria, I have to update. Came home from work & did this workout. Remember when Eddie Murphy described his aunt falling down the steps? "Oh, Lord Jesus help me, Jesus help me Lord, please!"
That was me most of this workout. Loved it!! 😄💃
You are cracking me up!!! It was hard for me too.  I remember perspiring a lot thru filming.  Hopefully not too much of it showed.
I just watched this and I can’t wait to try it! Looks challenging and fun. Will let you know :)
fabulous class, thank you.
2 people like this.
Mat class please!
2 people like this.
20-40 min advanced mat class?  love your work
Ann C
Oh my gosh...that was crazy!  You are so funny....can't wait to get on my chair!
1 person likes this.
I love it when a good chair class comes up. Mine tends to get under used. Great class!
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