Class #5283

Unilateral EXO Chair

40 min - Class
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You will work your body side to side with this beginning EXO Chair workout by Meredith Rogers. She focuses on unilateral work so you can notice the differences between the two sides of your body. She includes a mix of strengthening and stretching so that your body feels balanced by the end of the class.
What You'll Need: EXO Chair

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Hi, thank you for joining me here today for this basic level EXO Chair workout. We're gonna be focusing today on working the body side to side, doing a little unilateral work. So here we go. Let's stand and face the chair. The spring setting that I have chosen for the first part of the class is one spring on the second hook.

And we are standing tall, feeling the arms just reach back towards the center of the thighs, feeling the arms reach down the sides of the thighs. So just creating a little activity in the body without actually moving too much yet. We're gonna take the arms out to the side. And what I want us to think about as we do that is filling up the lungs. So breathing the lungs side to side.

Lift the arms overhead. Reaching up, letting the back take a little bit of extension. Right away, reach the arms wide, feel the arm stretched side to side, and allow that arm movement to stretch the muscles of the chest, of the shoulders. The arms come down. We inhale and take the head down and begin rolling down towards the floor.

And as we roll down towards the floor, the arms are heavy. The collarbones remain open meaning we're not letting our shoulders hunch forward. We pause at the bottom to inhale. Push the floor away with your legs, with your feet. Roll through your spine.

Come all the way back up to standing up tall on your feet. Arms come first to the sides of the body as the head lifts up and then they reach out to the side. They reach up over the head. Spine takes that little bit of extension that we all need. Reach wide with the arms, stretching across the chest, reaching side to side with the arms.

Let them come down softly. And then bring the head down. And take the spine forward using the front of the body for support. So using the abdominal muscles to support that forward motion of the spine as we take our body all the way down. Let's bend the knees.

Straighten the legs. Take the legs back into a soft knee shape, and then push away, again, with your legs as you roll up through your spine. Come all the way up to standing. We're gonna repeat that one more time. Take the arms around and up. (inhales deeply) Lift your gaze.

Lift your heart. Active through the arms in this moment, active through the arms as the arms are reaching out. And then as they pass through that T shape, allow them to soften towards the legs. So just creating different energies in our body with our brain. Head goes down, body goes down.

It's always interesting to me. We can change the sensation in our bodies just by thinking about it differently. Let the knees bend. Let the legs straighten. Feel equal weight over both of your feet.

Let the knees soften. Roll through your spine. Come all the way up to standing. We're going to once again reach around and up. Once again, reach around and down.

Energy and softening. And we are ready to go to the chair. So we'll sit down on the mat. Take the feet and step towards. I have my heels hooked against the chair.

So they're in the space in the center of the chair and hooking the heels back. Taking the hands on the pedal. Lifting the spine tall. Just like we did with our arms before, we're gonna bend the arms and lift the spine. So up and back.

Thoracic extension. Lift the pedal. Lift the arms off the pedal. Roll through your spine to come down onto the mat, articulating all the way down. Let the arms reach back, the head go down.

Take the arms around to the side. Gather yourself back into flexion. Roll through your spine. So here's where we can use the hooking of the feet. Just to create a little stability, we're staying round as we bring the hands up to the pedal.

Press down on the pedal, lifting the spine tall, then bend the arms and lift the spine. Then straighten the arms and go back into your rounded spine, keeping the knees parallel to one another. Let the pedal go. Roll down. All the way.

Taking the arms back as the head goes down. Taking the arms around to the side. I'm really actively pressing against the chair with my feet all the time. That helps me to feel the backs of my legs. I recommend joining me in that endeavor.

Stay round as you come to the pedal. Press down on the pedal, lift up to a straight spine, bend the arms and take your spine into the extension. Take the arms back to straight. Make a round spine. Lift the arms off the pedal.

You gotta control the spring as you do that, or as an invitation from me to control the springs as you do that. Take the head down. Arms come around to the side, collecting energy through the body, energy through the abdominals. Find your chest, lift. Roll from there to come all the way up to take the pedal, to press down and lift, to bend the elbow elbows and lift the spine, to take the arms back straight as we go back into a rounded spine.

Lifting the arms soft and roll down. We're gonna repeat this one more time. Arms reach up. Head goes down. Arms come with the head, then the arms circle around.

Head and chest come up. Roll through the spine. Bring the hands onto the pedal. Press the pedal down, lift the spine, bend the elbows wide, lifting the upper back into extension. Letting the pedal come all the way up.

Scoot a little closer to the chair. Press the pedal down so that you can bring your feet up onto the front edge of the chair. Take the spine into a rounded shape. So now in this exercise, we try to hold this shape absolutely still as we draw deeper into the abdominals to press down on the arms. Doesn't look like much, but it feels like a lot.

Inhale, lift the arms. And exhale, deepen, so it's like you're trying to make more of a round spine as you're pressing with your arms. And lift. And dig deep. Pull back, notice if your stomach muscles are pushing out.

That's not what we're looking for. We're looking for the abdominals to really press back against the spine. That's what makes it difficult. If it doesn't feel like you're doing anything, try using your abdominals more. Three more, press and release.

Keeping the shape consistent. Press and release. And press and release. Bending the knees to lift the pedal. Stepping down, and coming up to standing.

We're gonna change the weight of the spring for some leg work. You can choose. You can put the second spring on the same level, the two level, or the three level. Three would be a little bit harder. We are gonna do some single leg work.

I'm gonna do two springs on the second level because I'm not gonna change springs in between. Here we go. So having a seat on the chair. Another option here is to hold the hands behind you, so just creating some support with the heels on the chair in parallel. So there's one option if you feel like you want some support.

An interesting option in my opinion is to take the hands onto the pelvis and feel as the legs are moving up and down. Can we keep perfect stability there? Inhale, lift. And exhale, press. And inhale, lift.

And feel the spine lifting up as the pedal presses down. And inhale, lift. And exhale, press. And inhale, lift. And exhale, press.

I'm gonna take my hands behind me. Step onto the toes, keeping the hands there, or returning back to the pelvis. I just like to have a little support as I change feet positions. Lifting the knees and press. Feeling the body, the center of the body, holding, creating stability.

So we're focusing on not changing the orientation of the pelvis, not changing the orientation of the spine as the legs are moving up and down. And down and up and two and up. Feeling equal weight over the sitting bones, one. Holding the arms back. Changing the foot position so that the heels are coming together to touch.

Keep your hands there or let go. And lift. Feel the hips working as you press. Feel the center of the body working to lift the pedal and press, keeping the heels connected to one another all the time. And press and lift.

And press and lift. Let's do four and lift. And three and lift. And two and lift. And one, taking the hands back, stepping the feet out to the outsides of the pedal.

And we go up and down. You choose where you want your arms to be. And up and down. And up and lift the spine. And up and feel the spine lifting.

We're doing two more here. And reach and lift. And reach, place the hands back. Here's where we take our first unilateral challenge. So we go back onto the heels in the center of the chair, lift the left foot up, keeping the knee bent, and press.

Five and four, and keeping the pelvis squared, three, and two. This is where I'm happy I don't have a heavier spring. And one. Place the left heel down, reorganize, or give me a moment to reorganize and stabilize. We lift the right leg, keep it bent.

Left leg goes, press, and two and three and four and five. Both feet down. Both feet up. And take the legs down. We're gonna stand up and turn around.

Placing the hands down on the chair, put the toes of the right foot on the pedal, and the knee of the right foot on the edge of the chair and have the fingertips down for support. Square the pelvis, lift the spine, and move the foot. So we point and flex. Feel the back of the leg engage. So what it feels like to me in order to do that is that as I'm pressing down onto my toes, I'm trying to push the pedal towards my back foot.

Now I can't actually do that, but just the intention of it will create sensation in the back of the leg. And up and four and up and three and up and two and up and one and up. Lift the pedal. Step the right foot down. Lift the left leg, placing the left toes onto the pedal, the left knee on the chair, finding alignment, squaring the pelvis, lifting the spine.

And then once we have all those pieces in place, we just move that foot down and up. Feeling that the leg on the ground behind us is actively reaching down and back. Lift and press and lift and press and four. Sometimes the way up is equally as hard as the way down. And three, I don't mind admitting that I'm shaking a little bit.

So if you are too, we're in this together. And last time. And last time. And lift the pedal and stand on both feet and come all the way up to standing. We're gonna come around to the opposite side of the chair now and do a little bit of stretching.

So when standing in this direction, place the right foot up on the chair. Take the hands to the right knee. So I have the foot just a little bit towards the top of my arch. And what we're gonna do here is press the knee into the hands and the hands back into the knee and we're gonna round. Round the spine.

A little bit of balance and stand up. All the way tall and spine flexed. So drawing the abdominals back in, use the knee into the hand, and the hand into the knee. And lift up tall. And round and lift up tall.

Take the arms out to the side. Round your spine, so the same action, but this time reach out towards straight with that front leg. Oh, big stretch. Take the arms back out to the side as you lunge forward into that hip flexor stretch. Start to bring the arms forward as you stretch back through that front leg.

It doesn't matter if your leg gets all the way straight. What matters is well, that you're doing your best and looking for a stretch. I have to think about what matters there. What matters is that you're having fun, first and foremost. Lean in.

Feel that stretch,. Reach the arms forward. Stretch that leg back. Come back, lean in, take the arms down, and step down. So we do the same thing on the other side.

So left foot is on the chair. We've got our body stacked up over that right leg. You're gonna want a little bit of glute support with that standing leg, pressing the knee against the hand, and the hand against the knees, round the spine. And lift the spine all the way up. And round the spine.

And allow the spine to stretch back upright using the support from the arms. And round the spine. And stretch the spine. And from there, take the arms out to the side, round the spine, and stretch that leg out towards straight. You can put your hands down if you can reach, trying to square the pelvis.

I'm trying hard to square my pelvis, but I can't see myself. So if I'm not perfect, I'm sure you'll forgive me. Arms come out. Lean in to that hip flexor stretch and reach forwards. Stretching that leg long.

Energy out through the arms. Bending the front knee, arms come out to the side. Lean in, lean in, press through that back heel. One more time. Stretch forwards.

Really get that leg to lengthen. Come back out. Lean in. Energy through the back leg is always helpful to get more of a stretch through the front of the hip. Step off and bring the arms down.

Okay, so that spring's a little too heavy for what's coming next. So I'm just gonna kneel down and remove one of the springs. I'm back down to one spring on the second hook from bottom. And then we're gonna step in towards the chair. We're gonna bring the right leg up onto the chair in, say, like a figure four shape or maybe you know it as a pigeon shape.

Take a moment, square the pelvis, lift the spine, arms reach forwards. We're gonna round down over that leg. Take the hands to the pedal. Deepen into that pike shape. So that's what we did earlier when we were sitting on the mat.

Then reach down with the spine. Coming down into that nice deep glute stretch. Push down into the pedal as you lift up through the center of your body. Let's try to make this an abdominal exercise as well as a stretch. And reach down.

Down, maybe we go a little further every time. I don't know about you, but I am not an extremely flexible person. So this to me feels like a very nice deep stretch. We're gonna stay at the bottom. We're gonna try to lengthen the spine out flat.

(exhales sharply) Breathing as a reminder to everyone, including myself. Reach back down, round. Roll up and come all the way up. That leg can now come down. The other leg can come up.

What do you know? We have just discovered my tighter hip. How exciting for everyone. So we're standing up tall. I've got my right side pressing up against the chair just to help me square.

Arms are reaching forward, we're gonna round the spine down. Remember, this is an abdominal exercise in theory. Not in theory, create an abdominal exercise. Press the pedal down. Take your time.

And round the spine as you lift the pedal back up. And press the pedal down. Now maybe we can go a little deeper into the stretch each time. What do you think? And round, pushing the pedal away.

So that's just activity, energetic activity to create opposition for the abdominals. One more time, reach down. This time we try to lengthen the spine out. Oh, that's a much bigger stretch. Pause and breathe.

Round the spine back down and roll back up all the way. We'll take that leg down. And stand up. What we're gonna do next is a little bit of arm work. So what I am going to do is I'm gonna bend down again.

I'm gonna place the second spring on the first hook. So, and now I have one on the very most bottom and one on the second to most bottom. Now we're gonna do some arm work. This is a tough spring, so if you need to make it lighter, you could do two springs on the first hook or one spring on the fourth hook at the top. I think I can do this.

So let's see. We're gonna find out together. Come onto the chair. Press down on the pedal. So it feels heavy, but it will be fine.

We're gonna turn the fingers in to face one another. So now I'm just using my body weight essentially to hold the pedal on the ground, organizing the body, reaching actively through the legs, finding some abdominal support. Lift partway up, not very much. So basically, trying to create a straight line in your body, then bend your elbows to the sides and straighten and bend the elbows to the sides of the body and straighten. Really feeling that movement coming from the upper back and from the center of the body.

The legs behind you are hugging towards one another. And press and inhale and exhale. And two more. And exhale. And inhale.

And exhale. Let the pedal come all the way down. Reorient your arms so that your fingers are facing straight ahead. Lift the spine back into the original position and bend the elbows towards the sides of the body. And straighten and bend in towards the sides of the body.

Great preparation for pushups, particularly on this heavy spring. And reach. And bend. And reach. And three, and press.

I personally like a little bit of an arm challenge so that's why I went this heavy. And two and bend and press. Take your body down so the pedal's gonna come to the ground. We're gonna slide back just enough so you've got a lot of support. Then lift the pedal then continue to slide back the springs.

Push me right off, and then come up to standing up on your feet. Roll all the way up through your spine to standing, and then bend down and take... If you had two springs like I did, take one of the springs away. I'm going back to that light spring that I've been using throughout all the light exercises, which is one spring on the second hook. We're gonna come up from there.

We're gonna sit on the chair on our side. So instead of sitting completely upright in the spine, we're gonna lean over onto the side of the hip. The opposite leg, the one that we're not sitting on, is reaching long. Reach down and place that inside arm on the pedal and bring your arm up towards your ear. And then from there, we go.

Inhale as we bend into that side stretch. Oh, you are welcome. And exhale as you come up, creating a straight line. So straight diagonal line rather. And reach down, stretching.

With any stretch, we can look for a little bit more range every time. And come back up. And reach down. Oh yes. And come back up.

Take the upper arm out to the side. Take your body into that same side stretch you just did. But now, let the body rotate. And as that upper arm comes around, let the opposite shoulder, the one on the pedal, pull up. So you're basically trying to square your shoulders.

So in order to do that, I've gotta lift the pedal a little bit. We're going back out to the side with the arm and up and down. And we take rotation, letting the shoulder of the hand on the pedal pull up and back. Go back around and come back to that straight line and go down. Nice big side stretch there.

And take the pedal up as you take your body around. And let the pedal go down as you bring your body back to the original shape. Come all the way up. Sit all the way up. Bringing that...

Bringing that outside leg in, so it's bent. I have my front foot just hooked around the edge of the chair. We're gonna lift this arm up and we're gonna side stretch this way. And back and side stretch this way. Just have my hand resting on my opposite leg.

Maybe I'm holding it still from shaking, you'll never know. And one more. Actually I am. And take rotation in this direction and come back around. And all the way up.

Let's turn around. So the body is positioned on the side of the hip. The opposite leg is out straight. The arm reaches up towards the ear. And as we lean into the side stretch, we create active reaching through the straight leg, and then lift up.

So feeling that side body working to bring us back into the first position, original position. So this basically, what I like to think about, is the same muscles that are getting that gorgeous stretch are the ones that are gonna bring us back into our position. One more time like that. Reaching over and coming back. Taking the arm out to the side.

Take your side stretch. I like this breath pattern. Inhale. As you exhale, let that pedal lift up. So we square the shoulders.

Exhale. Inhale as we come back around and exhale as we lift up. And inhale as we reach up and over. And exhale as we ring out the spine, taking rotation. And inhale as we unwind.

And exhale as we come up, up, up, up. Create a long line. I'm lifting all the way off the spring there. And inhale, last one, and exhale. (exhales sharply) And inhale. And exhale, coming all the way up, this time to sitting up.

All the way onto the hip, bending the leg that was straight. Lifting this arm up. Now just allowing the hand to rest on the thigh as you take a side stretch in the opposite direction. I just caught myself trying to lift the side of the pelvis that I'm stretching towards. So what I'm gonna encourage us all to do is feel with your hand on your thigh.

If your thigh and your pelvis is staying still as you lean, a little more challenging. And up. Here's the one where we first go over, and then inter rotation and then back out of rotation. And all the way up to bring the arm down. Okay, we're gonna stand up.

We're gonna come around to the back of the chair again, keeping the same springs. We want a light spring here. Come on to the chair. Let the pedal come all the way down. Position the pelvis just behind the front edge of the chair so that you're actively standing in your arms.

So just creating some support there. And then feel, before we lift the pedal off the floor, a little backward pressure through the shoulder blades. Look where you're going. You're looking towards the front of the mat. Come all the way up into spinal extension, and then reverse articulate, the low back goes down, the middle back goes down.

The eyes start to travel down towards the mat, and we take the pedal to a hover. Look towards the mat or towards a little bit forward. Let the shoulder blades glide back as we stay supported through the front of the body, bringing us all the way back into the center. Meaning after all that side to side work, unilateral work, were finishing strong. Right in the middle, shoulder blades drawn down.

Spine lifts, abdominal support. You feel like you're floating up off the pedal. Oh, can you lift it all the way up to the top of the spring? That was a question for me. And the answer is yes.

But it took some work. So you don't have to do that. But you could. Shoulder blades go down, legs stay still, spine floats. It was the idea of floating that allowed me to get there, all the way to the top of the spring and down.

But what I think is more important is that you choose last time a range of motion that feels good for you. Reaching up, reaching up, reaching up, and down. Letting the pedal come all the way down. Press back, let the feet come to the ground, and lift the pedal up. Use your arms to help you press up off the chair.

Stand on your feet and roll up. Step a little closer in towards the chair. Once again, standing tall and round down. Taking the hands to the pedal, keeping the pelvis over the feet, and take the body down. So long spine, let the pelvis reach up and back.

Go for it, go for it. Go for it, go for it. And then round the spine, push the pedal away. Finding a deep curvature in the spine. And then reach down, allowing the spine to elongate, allowing the back to stretch, the legs to stretch.

Keep the collarbones open. And round. And reach. So not staying round this time, but rounding in. Rounding in.

Flattening. One more. Down we go. And back. As you prepare to bring your hands off the pedal, stand on your feet, get connected.

Lift up to standing. Come around the chair. Find a place where you have some room to roll forwards. Stand tall. Notice any changes in sensation in your body.

How do you feel? Take the arms around and up. Lift the eyes. Lift the chest. Take the arms around.

Bring the head down. Roll through the spine. Let the knees soften. Just checking in, pausing at the bottom, lifting up. (inhales deeply) Mobilizing through the spine and bring the arms around and up.

And bring the arms around and down, bringing the body into an upright shape. And bring the head down and roll down. Nice way to bookmark the beginning and the end of a session. Checking in in the beginning, checking in in the end. Rolling back up.

Feeling the mind, the body connection. This time take the arms up with you, straight up the front of the body and into the air and all the way down. Thank you for joining me.

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