Class #5274

EXO Chair Progressions

30 min - Class
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Description

You will work your entire body, from your legs all the way up, with this flowing Wunda Chair workout by Gia Calhoun. Throughout the class, she teaches progressions that will help you prepare for the more challenging movements that follow. She also includes unilateral variations to help you find balance between both sides of your body.
What You'll Need: EXO Chair

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Transcript

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Hi, I'm Gia Calhoun. And today we're gonna do an intermediate exo chair class. We're gonna start with some legwork, and then work our way up through the body. So I'm starting, I do the springs from the bottom all the way up. So 1 is at the bottom, 4 is at the top.

So I'm starting on one spring at 1, and one spring at 3. So we're gonna start with some pumping. So you're gonna sit on the chair, I'm sitting about in the middle. If you wanna sit further close to the edge, you can. That's just gonna make it a little bit more unstable and a little bit more challenging.

We're gonna have our heels together, toes apart, and your Pilates V on balls of your feet. And then you can just hold onto the sides of the chair. If you wanna make it a little bit more challenging, you can also bring your arms up to your genie position. You're gonna take a deep inhale as you push the pedal down about halfway, and then exhale as you pull it all the way up. So you inhale and exhale.

Pulling into your abs every time, trying to make space for your legs to come up to your chest, sitting nice and tall on your sit bones, trying not to lean forward or backward. Four more. 3, 2, 1. You're gonna switch to your arches. Legs are gonna be glued together.

Wrap your toes around the bar. So you're almost like a bird on a perch, and you do the same thing. Pump down and up. Inhale, exhale. And up, and lift.

Four more. Three, two, and one. Come onto your heels right at the edge. Flex your feet all five toes back to your shins, pushing down and up. Think of pushing from the backs of the legs so it's not so quad-heavy.

Pulling up into your abdominals. Good. And watch your ribs, make sure they're not thrusting forward. Keep them right on top of your pelvis. We have 4, 3, 2, 1. We're gonna stay on your heels, we're gonna bring your feet to the edges of the pedal, then you're gonna turn your legs down into a little second position.

Sitting up nice and tall, you're gonna push down and lift. Good. Pulling all five toes back to your shins, trying to keep the knees in line with the toes. So you're not just turning out from the feet, it's from the hips. We have 4, 3, 2, 1. Bring your legs back to parallel on the balls of your feet.

Heels are lifted nice and high. You're gonna push it down and lift. Good. Trying to get the weight over the big toes and the second toes so you're not rolling out to your baby toes. Squeeze the inner thighs. 4, 3, 2, 1.

Pull it all the way up, we're gonna come to standing. We're gonna do a little standing tendon stretch. So you're gonna push the pedal all the way down. Stand on it with both feet parallel, hold onto the back of the chair, and you're gonna round your back. Heels are nice and high.

Find that nice round position. Keep your head between your arms. Keep your weight and your arms just a little bit so you're not gonna fall into your heels as you lower your heels down toward the floor, and then lift all the way up, lower down. So the pedal is staying down and lift. It's kinda like on the reformer when you do tendon stretch, you get a little bit extra stretch 'cause it can go further than just a flat floor position.

We have four more squeeze legs together. Lift up from the abdominals. Three more. And two. Lift.

Last one. Good. Bring one foot down to the floor, the other leg is gonna bring the pedal up with control, and we're gonna do our first spring change. So I'm gonna take one spring off. So I'm left with one spring at 3, and we're gonna do a little standing work still.

So I'm gonna stand about one foot distance away from the chair. I'm gonna bring one foot onto the pedal, right on the ball of the foot, and then heel is high. I'm gonna push the pedal down. I'm gonna keep my hands on the top of the chair, or wherever you can reach it, round spine, and I'm just gonna pull the pedal up into my abdominals and then push the back down. And up, and press.

With my standing leg, I'm trying to keep my weight even so I'm sitting back into my heel even on all parts of that foot. And lower. Lift up. And lower. Two more.

And lower. Now you're gonna hold the pedal down. I'm gonna keep the pedal down, I'm gonna lower my heel, and then lift it back up. And lower the heel, and lift. Lower.

Keep pulling into the abdominals, keeping that round spine. Two more. Last one. Now we're gonna do a combo. So you're gonna lift up, push down, 3, 2, 1, hold it down, lower the heel down, one, and lift it up again.

Lower for 3, 2, 1. Heel comes down and lifts up. Pedal lifts. Lower. Two, three.

Heel pushes down and lifts up. Last time. Lower, two, three, heel pushes down and lift. Lift the pedal up with control and we'll switch feet. So you're gonna have the ball of the other foot on the pedal, heel is lifted nice and high, rounding your spine, pulling into your abdominals, and you lower and lift the pedal.

And lower. So you might find this leg feels different. One side's always gonna have a little bit more control. And lift. Lower, and lift.

We're gonna do two more of these. Then weights even on that standing leg. Good. Now hold it down. Keep that pedal all the way down. You're gonna lower this heel down toward the floor, and lift up, and lower, and lift.

Lower. Good. Making sure you're getting that full range of motion in your foot. Lower. Really push that heel up. Lower and lift.

Two more. And up. Last one. Now we're gonna do our combo. So we lift, push down for 3, 2, 1, hold it down, lower the heel down, lift it back up and push down. Two, three, lower the heel and lift.

Lift, push down, two, three, lower the heel and lift. Last one. Down, two, three, and lower and lift. Bring the pedal all the way up with control, and then put your foot down onto the floor. Stand up nice and tall.

So now we're gonna go into the hundred. So we're gonna lie on your chair. Wanna lie long ways. Make sure you have enough space for your whole torso. Head is curled up nice and long, nice and tall.

And then you're gonna reach your legs out, if you wanna keep them in tabletop or lower them down further than I am, go for it. Arms are reaching long and pump the arms. Inhale, 2, 3, 4, 5. Exhale, 2, 3, 4, 5. Inhale.

Exhale. Now keep squeezing the legs together. You can have them in Pilates V or parallel. Inhale. And exhale.

Arms are pumping strong. Inhale. And exhale. This is six. Exhale. Keep working the glutes too.

So it's not just the abdominals, it's the legs, the glutes. Inhale. Exhale. Arms are pumping strong. Inhale. Exhale, curl up a little higher if you can.

Inhale. And exhale. And hug your knees into your chest and rest for a second. You can let your head go back if that feels okay to you. Take a deep breath in here.

As you exhale, curl back up. Elbows are gonna come into your side. We're gonna do a coordination like we do on the reformer. So you're gonna take a deep inhale here. As you exhale, reach your arms and legs out.

You're gonna open and close your legs. Bring your knees into your chest, arms come in. So we reach arms and legs out, open, close, knees come in, arms bend. Reach out, open, close, knees in, arms bend. Two more.

Out, open, close, knees, arms bend. Last one. Reach, open, close, in, bend the arms. Let your head go back one last time if that feels okay for you. And then when you're ready, you're gonna roll up to a seated position.

Come on up. And then we're gonna go into a standing press down. So again, you're standing about one foot distance away from the chair, you're gonna reach your arms up, take a deep inhale here. As you exhale, you're gonna round your back, roll forward, hands come onto the pedal, fingers face in. Keep your weight over the ball of the foot rather than your heel.

Try not to lock the knees. You can bend them if you have tight hamstrings, you're gonna reach your head down, push the pedal down with straight arms. And then as you lift the pedal up, keep the arms straight, pull into your abdominals so your head stays between your arms as you push down, and then abs pull you back up. Two more. Lower, and lift.

Last one. And lift. You're gonna lower and hold. Keep your upper body still. You're gonna bend your arms, elbows go out to the side, press your arms down.

So your spine doesn't move, it's just the arms bending and straightening. Head is still reaching down toward the pedal. Bend and stretch. Two more. Last one.

Then roll all the way up. Once the pedal's up, you're gonna release it, roll up, bring your arms with you, and we're gonna roll down again. Hands face in. You are gonna push the pedal down. Straight arms.

We're actually gonna turn the fingers to the face floor this time. We're gonna do a single arm. So we're gonna bring one arm out to the side. Try not to shift the weight in your feet. You're gonna roll up a straight arm, the other arm is out to the side.

Push the pedal back down. Just feel where you might wanna shift your weight. Just try to keep it as centered as you can. Two more. Push, back down.

Last one. Hold your body still, you're gonna bend the arm and straighten, and bend. So avoid the temptation to look at your hand, keep looking at your legs. Last one. Good. Keep the pedal down.

We're gonna switch hands. So the other arm's gonna go out to the side. Again, try to keep your weight even. Arms stay straight as you lift the pedal up, and then lower back down. And lift up, and lower.

Lift, and lower. One more. Still keeping my weight forward toward the balls of my feet. Lower. Keep your body still, bend the arm, and stretch.

Bend and stretch. Two more. Stretch. Last one. Good. Bring that hand back down to the pedal.

You're gonna roll up one bone at a time. Once the pedal's all the way up, arms come with you. Push arms down by your sides, and we'll walk to the other side of the chair. So you're gonna stand fairly close to the back. Arms are gonna come up again.

You're gonna round over. Reach for the pedal, fingers facing front, again, just like before, you're gonna reach your head down toward the pedal, round your back, and then coming back up. So this is kind of a preparation for the exercise that's coming. So you wanna get used to this movement of pushing down, using your abdominals to pull you up, keeping your head between your arms and lift. Two more.

Last one. Hold it down and little pumps and stretch, bend and stretch. Again, try not to look at your hands. Keep eyes on your navel or on your legs. Reaching the top of the head down toward the pedal so you can have lengthen your neck.

One more. With control, pull the pedal all the way up, reach the arms up and then push the arms down. We're gonna come onto the chair now. So you're gonna be fairly close to the front of the chair with your knees. You can adjust as you go, and then you're gonna sit back on your heels.

So we're gonna do a modified version of the cat. So you're gonna have your hands on the pedal about shoulder distance apart, fingers facing forward. You're gonna round your spine. Again, think of reaching your head toward the pedal. As you push it down, you don't have to touch the floor completely, and then you're gonna round back and sit back towards your heels.

So you're gonna roll forward, trying to get to parallel where your legs are perpendicular to the floor I should say. So you're trying to get to a nice long position without letting your shins come off the chair. So keep pushing the shins on the chair, use the backs of your legs for support. And just go as far as you feel comfortable. This one can be a little bit scary if you feel like you're gonna fall on your head.

But make sure you're doing what you're comfortable with. Two more. And try not to look down. You wanna look at your legs. One more.

And then roll all the way up. And then we're gonna stand up. We're gonna lower the spring down just one notch. So I'm gonna go to one spring at 2, and we're gonna go into a little swan. So you're gonna lie on your stomach.

We're gonna find the placement for your body. I usually like my shoulders to be right over my wrist, right when the pedals all the way down. But sometimes depending on your body, you might wanna be a little further back. So legs are gonna be straight, about hip distance apart or together, whatever feels better for you. And we're gonna keep the body in a neutral position.

You're just gonna bend your arms and push down. Bend to pull up in your abdominals to support your back so you're not hanging. And think of the shoulder blades coming down the back, lengthening the neck, still reaching through the top of your head just like you were before. Two more. Last one.

Now keep the arms straight. You're gonna lift your chest up, and then lower your chest back down. So reaching out through the legs, trying to lengthen the spine. Two more like this. And lower.

Last one. Then we're gonna do a single arm. So we're gonna have one arm out to the side, the other arm are gonna stay in the pedal. We do the same thing with just a single arm. So you're gonna bend the arm that's there and push.

And bend. Now watch your opposite. The hand that's on the pedal, watch that hip might wanna lift up so you feel twisted. So try to keep weight even on both hips. One more.

Keep the arm straight. You're gonna lift your spine up, and then lower back down. And lift up, and lower. Reach out through both legs evenly, lift. And lower, keep reaching out to the arm.

And lift. Lower. Bring that hand down, reach the other arm out to the side, and we'll pump the arm. Bend and stretch. Again, watch your hips, check to see if they're even, and stretch.

Bend. Stretch. Two more. Last one. Keep the arm straight and lift the chest up, and then lower back down. And lift.

Lower. Two more. Reach out through that arm. Reach out through your legs. Last one.

Good, bring that hand down, come up with both hands. You can bring one hand onto the top of the chair to help you off, and then take a little breath. So we're gonna go into a teaser now. I'm gonna do a modified teaser, but if you wanna have your legs straight either at the diagonal or straight out in front of you, you can do that. I'm gonna sit all the way at the front, legs in tabletop for me, and then hands on the pedal.

I like my fingers facing front. Arms stay straight. You're not using your arms to move the pedal, you're using your abdominals and your spine. So you're gonna roll back to move the pedal down, trying to get your low back on the top of the chair, and then curl back up to lift the pedal up. So you're gonna round to roll back, and then lift back up.

Doesn't have to be a big movement. One more. Roll back. And then lift up. Now you're gonna roll back and hold.

Stay in that round position, and I'm gonna pump the arms so you bend, and stretch. Again, it can be small. Bend, stretch. Two more. Last one.

And then you're gonna roll up. Come on up, and take a breath. So we're gonna go into mermaid. So you're gonna sit in the middle of the chair. Today, we're gonna have the legs straight out.

If it feels better to have one leg out to the side, you can do that. The leg that's closest to the pedal, that's gonna cross on top. Just reach both legs long, sit up nice and tall on your sit bones. We're gonna bring your arms up by your ears. The arm closest to the pedal is gonna reach down for it, and then you're just gonna reach over into a side bend.

Try to keep both sit bones on the chair, and then lift back up. Again. Pushing down, reach those legs long and lift. Two more. And lift back up. Last one.

And lift up. Reach an arm up by your ears, and then lower both arms down, and we're gonna turn to the other side. So again, the leg that's closest to the pedal is gonna go on top, both legs are reaching long, arms up by your ears. You're gonna reach the hand closest to the pedal down for it, and then you're gonna lift up and over. And then back up tall.

And reach. And lift. Two more. Try to keep that opposite sit bone down on the chair, don't let it go with you. And lift.

So come on down. We're gonna come to the front of the chair. We're gonna do an arm frog variation. So again, I'm about one foot distance away from the chair. I'm gonna come to a little Pilates V where my heels are together, toes apart.

Arms are gonna reach out in front of you, and I'm gonna come down into a little grand plie or what be like a deep squat. So you're not sitting on your heels, you're still lifted up. So you're using your glutes, you're using your legs. And from here, holding this position, you're just gonna push the pedal down and lift. Push down and lift.

Feel free to adjust your position if you need to. Try not to pull on the pedal. You wanna think of pushing from your lats, and then you are using your legs to hold you still. Two more. Good.

Now here's the hard part. You're gonna try not to lean forward. You're gonna go straight up, push the heels down, try to keep your spine tall. So we're gonna do that again. This time, we're gonna do a single arm.

If you prefer to do the double arm, you can do that variation again. So keeping the spine vertical, you're gonna lower down, arms reach out. Again, you're not sitting on your heels, you're lifted up. One arm out to the side, you're gonna push the arms down and lift. Down.

Lift. Two more. Good. Other side. Push down. Lift. Trying to keep the arms straight using the lats.

Good. Both arms in front. Push the heels down, try to keep the spine nice and tall, and then rest. So we're gonna come to the other side of the chair again. We're gonna do a similar exercise to our teaser this summer, adding a bit of rotation.

So I'm gonna keep my legs in tabletop again. If you'd like to keep your legs straight out or even at a diagonal, you can do that. So legs up into the position that you prefer. You're sitting toward the front of the chair. Arms are gonna come up toward your ears.

We're gonna bring one hand to the pedal, this time, fingers facing back, you're gonna roll back just like we did with our teaser. You're gonna add a little bit of a rotation with it, and then come back up. So again, it's not your arm moving it, it's your spine and your abdominals. So you're rolling back. Both hips are on the chair, you're not rolling to one side, and then lift back up.

You're just using your obliques a little bit more. Twist as you roll, and lift. One more. Twist as you roll, try not to lock that arm. Good. Other side.

So we're bringing the arms up to the ears, other arm's gonna go back down. You're gonna twist and roll. You might find one side easier than the other. And twist and roll. And lift.

Two more. And lift. Last one. Good. Come on up.

So we're gonna change the spring. I'm gonna go from one at 2 to one at 3, just to make it a little bit heavier. And then I'm gonna stand in front of the chair about one foot distance away. I'm gonna bring my hands on my hips, but you can bring yours where you'd like. One foot's gonna come onto the pedal, right on the ball of your foot, you want your heel nice and high, and just make sure your hips are even.

Oh, watch that bounce. From here, keeping the heel nice and high, you're just gonna push the pedal down, and then lift back up. So I'm trying to keep my weight even on my foot, not back toward my heel or not too far forward over my toes, I'm just right in the center. I'm trying not to lean my torso as well. And lower.

And lift. Lower. Pull into the abdominals to lift. Two more. And lift. Last one.

And lift. So we're gonna lift with control, bring that foot down, bring the other foot onto the pedal. Heel is nice and higher on the ball of your foot, and then keep that heel up as you lower and lift. We're just prepping our legs for the next few exercises. And lower.

And lift. Pulling up in this back leg. So even though the one on the pedal is the one moving, you're still working the standing leg just as much or maybe even more. And lift. Two more.

And then bring it up with control. Bring that foot down. We're gonna make the springs a little bit heavier. So we're going up front next. So you're gonna want a little bit of weight to help you.

I'm gonna do one at 2 and one in 3. You can do heavier if you want, or if you wanna make it a little more challenging, you can make it a little bit lighter. So hands onto the chair. You're gonna put your foot onto the pedal. One foot all the way down, and we're bring the other foot to the back of the chair.

So the foot on the pedal is on the ball of your foot, you want that heel lifted nice and high, and then the foot on the chair is all the way toward the end. Both legs are parallel. Pull up in your glutes, pull up in your quads. I'm gonna reach my arms forward today. Pull up in your abdominals, you're gonna push down in that heel on the chair to lift the pedal up.

Just floating up as high as you can, and then lower back down, and lift all the way up, and lower. So think of going up more than you're going out to diagonal. So I know you're not going straight up. There is a bit of a angle happening because of the way the chair is designed, but my intention is to go straight up so that way I feel nice and stable and centered. Two more.

And lower. Last one. All the way down. Bring your hands down. We'll switch sides.

So this back foot's gonna be on the ball of your foot. Heel is nice and high. The front foot's gonna be right at the edge. Both legs are parallel, pulling up. I'm almost thinking of bringing my inner thighs together even though my legs are apart.

And then lifting up, pushing down into that heel, and then lower back down. And pushing down to lift up, and lower. And if you do struggle with balance, if you don't have something to hold onto, you can also find something that's not moving to look at. So that way, that's your stability point, and it just helps you keep your balance a little bit better. Make sure that back heel's not going up and down.

Staying nice and lifted. One more. And lower all the way down. We're gonna switch legs again for a mountain climber. So this back heel's gonna be lifted up again.

Same position, we'll even keep the arms the same. This time you're only gonna lift the pedal up just a few inches. Keep this front leg still. You're gonna bend the back leg and push down. Back leg and push.

Three. Four. Trying to keep the hip square. Five, six. Two more. And then push the pedal all the way down.

And then we'll switch legs. So same position. Pulling up in your abdominals. Float that pedal up just a few inches. Keep this front leg still, back like bends, and stretch.

Bend, stretch. We have four more. 3, 2, 1. Push it all the way down, and then we're gonna come all off. One foot onto the floor, slowly bring that pedal up, shake out your legs, and we're gonna do some pull-ups.

So same beginning. I'm gonna push the pedal down with one foot. This time, you're gonna stand on it with both feet. I like to have my heels together, toes apart. If you wanna have your legs parallel, even hip distance apart, you can.

Do what works for your body. I like to wrap my legs around back, squeeze my glutes, and then I'm holding onto the back. If you wanna hold onto the side, that's also an option. Your weight is over your arms, head is between your hands. It's almost like you're gonna do a handstand.

So you're gonna pull up in your abdominal so much that it just floats the pedal up. Head is staying down, eyes are on your legs or your navel, and then lower the pedal down. And then floating the pedal up, keeping those heels glued together if you're in a Pilates V like me, lower the pedal down. And lift. Trying to keep all five toes on that pedal.

Oops. Lift. Keeping your weight over your arms. You're not going back towards your heels. Two more.

And lower. Last one. Push it all the way down. We're gonna turn to the side. So we're gonna have this side closest to the chair and back.

The leg away from the chair is gonna go on front. We're gonna hold onto the two sides of the chair. Still round your back eyes are on your navel. Your weight's gonna come over your arms, and you're gonna use your obliques to lift the pedal up, and then lower back down. So as your upper body is twisted, I'm trying to keep my hip squared to the front.

Two more. Last one. Good. Push it down for a second. So you can keep going like this, or we're gonna make it a little more challenging. So I'm gonna bring my back leg forward just a little bit so it's closer to the center.

The other leg is gonna reach out to the side. Doesn't have to be too high. Reach that leg long. Same position with the round spine. Wait over your arms and you float the pedal up here.

And then lower. And then float it up. And lower. Two more. Last one.

Good. Shake out your wrist one at a time just 'cause it can be a little risky, and we're gonna turn to the other side. So again, the leg closer to the chair is behind, the leg in front is gonna be further away from the chair. Hands are on each side. Your weight is over your arms, back is rounded and your hips are facing front.

You're gonna float that pedal up with control. Head stays down and then lower the pedal. And lift. And lower. Two more like this.

Lift, and lower. Last one. Good. Push the pedal all the way down, bring that back leg a little further forward, and then the other leg is gonna come out to the side. Still keep your spine rounded, your weight over your arms, and you're gonna float up one leg and lower.

And lift. Lower. Two more. Last one. Good. Now we're gonna stand on the pedal, both feet parallel.

Hands on the back of the chair or onto the side if that feels better. Weights over your arms still. We're gonna lower one heel, and then lift both heels up and then switch. And lift to little running in place. Lower.

Lift. Lower. Lift. We switch. And switch.

You can go a little faster. Making sure you stop with both heels at the top each time. Trying to switch your feet in both directions. We have 4, 3, 2, 1. Both heels up, lower one foot down to the floor, control that pedal up.

Bring your other foot to the floor. Roll up, push your arms down, grow your spine a little taller, and you're all finished. I hope you enjoyed this class, and I'll see you next time.

Comments

1 person likes this.
Hi Gia- your heel cue for step ups - “push the heel down” on the top-of-chair was a game- changer- opened a whole new level of ability to do the exercise w more control. Thank you so much! Great class
was in the mood for some chair progressions, thanks!
Jacquie W
1 person likes this.
Thanks, Gia! Another great class, it's always a pleasure to do your classes!
Michele M
1 person likes this.
Thanks Gia for another amazing class on the chair!  I feel nice is tall plus stronger after this short practice! Looking forward to your next class:D
Gianna  A
1 person likes this.
I loved the single arm swan variation and the preparatory heel rises before stomach pull! This was such a great class!
I'm so glad that cue helped you, Patti S! Thank you all for your great feedback! I'm glad this class has been helpful for all of you!
Wow, the running in place at the end was much needed!

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