Class #5317

EXO Chair Abs and Arms

30 min - Class


You will feel the burn in your abdominals and arms with this quick EXO Chair class by Amy Havens. She uses the Slastix to recreate exercises that are typically done on the Reformer. She finishes with Swan and a quick stretch to give you a well-rounded workout.
What You'll Need: EXO Chair, Slastix (2)

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Hi, everybody. Amy Havens here at Pilates Anytime. I'm so excited to be back. And I'm filming some exo-chair content this time. Very excited for this.

So, I wanna tell you how I'm setting up this class. We are using our Slastix in two different places today. I'm starting with them mounted down at the very bottom. About a quarter of the way through the class, we'll make a change and we'll be mounting them at the top eyebolt. And that's it.

So, I want you to come on down to the mat. Let's get started. This is really abs and arms focus, so hope you're ready for a nice workout. So, we'll take our Slastix in our hands and just, it's kind of a think reformer. A little bit of reformer work.

When you kind of have to size up or even on the Cadillac where your springs are. This is a little bit of that too. So, my head is pretty close to the edge of the chair but I'm not right against it but I'm certainly not too far away. Size this up. We're gonna start with a pelvic curl to get our body warmed up.

But go ahead and lower your arms, connect your back muscles, your arm muscles all the way down into your hands and feel your arms on the mat. Feet are a little bit apart. Let's take two or three deep breaths. So, a lot of this beginning work here, the start of the class is can keeping the arms at length. Those Slastix are kind of strong, right?

So they might start, woo, pulling your shoulders up. So we have to do all of this incredible strength and length to keep the arms long. Take a breath again. Let's go ahead guys. We're gonna pelvic curl, sink the tummy, feel your spine articulate, lengthening those arms, pressing those hips up.

Nice deep breath at the top. And as we exhale, it's from that upper back. Yeah, keep stretching the arms. So, I'm already gonna make a slight change of my position. I just feel like I wanna move down away from the chair a little bit.

Yep, make those discretions along the way. Take another breath (instructor breathing in) and again, (instructor breathing out) sinking through the abs. Feel the lumbar spine meet the mat and that beautiful articulation of your spine. Length of the arms, strength of the arms and back. Deep breath in.

And exhale as we come down. Really feeling for the mobility. All right. A lot of this is three repetitions. I'll kind of hint that along the way too.

So, here's the third one. Exhale coming up. (instructor breathing out) Stretch those arms. So, if your arms get tired at any point, make that choice to just take a little rest. I'm not gonna do that, I wanna work through this.

A feeling does work to stretch and stretch and stretch. Take a nice breath at the bottom. Okay, moving the upper spine, head, neck, thoracic, spine. I'm lifting the arms off the mat, really push through the knuckles. And then rolling back down.

Nice and basic. Let's get that upper spine mobile, (instructor breathing out) feeling the strength in the abdominals, the shoulders to fists. Rolling down. One more time. Exhale, (instructor breathing out) curling up.

Can you reach a little further? Stretch those Slastix, really stretch them. And then taking it back down. Now walk your ankles together, knees together. This is deep abdominals, everybody.

So, take a breath. You need to sink, sink, sink the stomach. Try to lift your feet, but don't yet. It's like an act as if you lift the feet, really feeling the abdominals. And then at some point the abdominals are gonna win and they sink the back down and the legs come up.

Breathe in. Same effort, exhale as you lower the legs. Feel the arms working. Feel the abdominals working. And lay the feet down.

Inhale, it's okay if your arms float up. It's okay if they stay down. Feel the work inside. Deepen the abdominals to keep the back down. Legs coming up.

Nice breath here. And exhale, (instructor breathing out) can you deepen the abdominals? Pull them up the front of your body. Stretch the arms along. One more.

(instructor breathing in) Getting connected, exhale. (instructor breathing out) Just pull into the center of the body. I haven't widened my collarbone yet or given you the cue, but I'm sure everybody's programmed to do that, automatically. So, you don't need that cue, right? Okay, let's take a breath.

I want you to lift one arm up. It doesn't matter which one, you're gonna lift your body, exhale, reach that arm toward the opposite knee and stretch the other arm also. So, really push through your fists. Feel the oblique contraction here. And then roll back down, raise that arm.

Exhale, same thing. Some chest lift with rotation. Reach in the arms, pushing through the fists. And then come back up. You can stay there or add a leg lift.

I'm going tabletop leg. Two more, exhale, reach. So, I'm going on the outside of that knee. I've got to reach, really reach and curl. And then come on, back down.

Again exhale, curl. (instructor breathing out) Stay in your lane. Don't go too far out of the corners of your mat. And then come on down. We're gonna add a little leg extension with that.

So, reach and extend your leg. Keep those arms long and then lower once more. Exhale, same thing. (instructor breathing out) Hold, hold, hold. Can you stretch the elastic cords a little bit more?

And release, okay? Same pattern on the other side. So, the down arm is working just as much as the other arm if you didn't already figure that out, take a breath. Ready, exhale. First is just chest lift with rotation, reaching toward the knee, opposite knee, breathing in.

Exhale again, (instructor breathing out) toward the top of that knee. The other arm is long. Now we raise the leg. We do it two more times with the leg up, (instructor breathing) outside of the knee which you'll feel makes you twist a little more. And (instructor breathing out) right.

And everyone knows their shoulder blades, are down their back on all this. Now extend the leg as you reach the arm, point your feet. Reach those arms. Inhale, back it in. And again, exhale and reach.

Stretch the leg, reach those arms, feel those abdominals. And then everybody come all the way down. And then just restroom and arms out to a T. Ankles can come together. Knees together.

Inhale, let's do a chest lift, lat engagement. Curl yourself up. Palms facing in. Open back out as you breathe in. (instructor breathing in) Two more there.

Exhale. Really get into the center of that body. I think you are, lower down. Ready to stay up. We're gonna curl the body up.

We've already warmed up, bringing the legs up. So, let's palms down. Exhale, fold those legs. We all know the a hundred. Let's go, take your legs where you'd like to put them.

Pump in, two, three, four, five. So I really am liking the Slastix cords. I can really feel if one arm is not reaching as much as the other one. So, connect to evening the reach of your arms, right? Those cords are strong, so they're wanting to pull us backward.

We have to stay folded forward, curled forward. In, (instructor breathing out) inhale, all of your cues for your a hundred, legs together. I've got my Pilate stance. Deep, deep, deep belly. (instructor breathing out) Two more cycles.

(instructor breathing out) Really lengthen your neck up, up, up. And everybody folded in. Good, how you feeling? Tuck your elbows in. We're going into coordination three times just like reformer.

Here we go. Lengthen up, open, close. Pull the knees in deeply. Fold your elbows deeply. Let your head stay up and stretch.

Make sure when you're stretching these Slastix, they're not messy. Keep the tension. Yeah, okay? Bring it down. Raise your arms up.

This is a combination. It's called reaching in and out. So bring your body the to the hundred. (instructor breathing out) Open the legs, reach between and reach, reach, reach. Close your hundred.

Bring everything down. Two more, (instructor breathing out) reach out, reach in, reach out. Lower back. Last one, make it count, two and three and release. Elbows down.

I'm coming here up to the a hundred position again, as you exhale. So, put yourself in the snow. Maybe make an angel in the snow. So, I've externally rotated my legs, my palms are facing my hips. And I'm gonna open to an X position.

And I'm closing, without coming down two more. Can you curl any higher in your chest lift. That was also for me. One more time. Open and close.

Let's give our neck a little rest. Give your abdominals a little rest, but not for long. Grab those handles, take a breath, curl up to the chest of position. Lengthen your arms long. You know a single leg stretch from the mat.

Let's go for it. We're gonna stretch and stretch and then quicker. four, three, two, one. Slow, slow and quick, quick, two more sets. Arms are gonna go open to a T and close to the body.

One more open to a T. And close, close, close, close, knees in, elbows bend, release. Scissor time, legs straight up. I'm gonna flex the ankles on this one for variation. It feels nice to stretch through the back of the legs.

Take a deep breath, stretch your arms long and curl that chest up. Reach those Slastix everybody. Push your arm bones to your knuckles. Lower a leg. Feel the glutes working and just change even tempo.

10, nine, eight, seven. Don't stop reaching, curl and reach. Good, here's four and three and two and one. And then just bring it in. Release and place your handles down.

Shake your hands. Rock your legs a little bit. Hope you're feeling great. We're gonna make a change now. Come on up.

Any way that serves you, turn yourself around. Okay, like on reformer, we'd go into rowing. So, we're gonna row here. I've brought my legs straight in front of me. My feet are right up to the frame of the chair.

I'm five, three. This seems to make sense for my height. If you're long-legged, this might feel like a lot of tension for you. So, you might wanna make a change and put your feet inside or just play and see. You can always make the change after trying one.

Okay everybody. So, bring your knuckles together, right in front of your sternum. Get organized. Pull your body up tall. Let the shoulders stay down.

Rowing, take a breath, curling back. Use your discretion how far you wanna take yourself into your flexion. I'd like you to press your arms out to a T, fingers really low. Stay in that position. Press your arm bones back then keep pulling them back as you dive forward.

And I'd like to ask everybody to place their fingertips right here on the floor and just stay. Just stay there. Can you stretch the cords any farther? Pull your stomach back. Now, I want you to raise your arms.

Stay in mind of the evenness of the arms, right? These Slastix like I said, are strong. Keep your rowing going. I wanted to have you linger in the stretch of your hamstrings and just round over your body. Okay, how'd it go?

Do you need to make any changes? Now, is the time to do that. So, I'm gonna go, I'm gonna keep myself right where I'm at. It's a nice deep breath. Knuckles to chest.

And exhale as we round. So, keep concentrating that the arms are equal effort, right? Pull on the Slastix. Keep pulling. Dive forward.

Now I want you to keep your arms low for a couple reasons. Safety, feeling it out. And also you can skim your fingernails on the mat. Pull your arms up evenly, pull your abdominals back more, round and open up your back. Keep your abdominals engaged.

Reach out to your toes. One more time. How you doing? Deep breath in. Rowing (instructor breathing out) and reach.

Who said it, just because it's a chair, we can't do arm work on it and reformer exercises on it. The genius of balanced body. Creating a piece of equipment that we can do this on. Thank you balanced body. And everybody roll back up.

Okay, good. Moving on with more arms and abs. So, walk it in. I do want us to bend our knees now everybody. And place your feet flat.

Okay, lifting your arms a little bit. You'll feel some of the tension in the elastic cords. Slastix, take a breath. We're gonna wrap our hands. Flex your spine.

Maybe come onto the end of your sacrum or at least the middle of your sacrum. And then lengthen the arms, we're gonna do three sets of bicep curls. So three of each. So, it's one and extend, (instructor breathing out) two, try to keep your spine designed in this flexion shape, throughout all of those curls. Keep your arms long and roll yourself to sitting.

You can just reach your arms straight here. Couple more, ready inhale. (instructor breathing out) curling back. Rotate those upper arms so palms face up, breathing in. It's more like deepen the abdominals and then bend the elbows.

Those are what I cue myself, those thoughts. (instructor breathing out) And again. (instructor breathing out) And rolling back up and yes, I'm inflection my lumbar, that's what I have, okay? And again, curling back. Feet are grounded, the head reaching upward, tailbone curling under, abdominals pulled up the front for our three.

Any amount of bending those elbows for bicep work. Two and three. Yes and rolling up. Relax your arms for a second. Good, how you doing?

Feeling work. Alright, I'm going to go into just staying seated up on my sitting bones, knees bent. Reach your arms forward. You might have to wiggle back actually for some rowing. A different kind of rowing.

This is gonna be a little hinge back everybody with your torso, right? So, I'm on the back edge of the sitting bones. Make sure your ribs aren't boo, right in there where they need to be. Bend your elbows, pull your elbows behind you, lift your sternum up and release. We'll do three sets of this.

So, here's two. This is an opportunity for us to really wrap our scapula behind us. Yeah, it feels so good to get in that upper back area. And then just sit back up, breathing in, hinging back. Keep that trunk stabilized and organized and you row.

You may want to let your gaze look up the wall, (instructor breathing out) it might help you lift your sternum in your chest. There's three. And we come back up for one more set of three. Breathe in, lean trusts those Slastix. They've gotcha, right?

You're not going anywhere. And then pull one and two, lengthen your waistline up. And three and everybody come on up. Okay, place your Slastix down, probably shake your hands. We're gonna come up and make a change now and move the attachments up, okay?

So, right on up here. And we are also coming up on our knees. So, we need the cords and the elastics in appropriate position. So, some kneeling arms, size it up. I'd like to bend my toes here.

You certainly can keep your toes down. Whatever feels best in your body. We're gonna go into some very mini, mini, mini thigh stretches everybody. So, connect your hamstrings right in there on your femurs. Feel long in your hips.

Here we go, real small. That same hinge you just did sitting. You're doing that in the torso here. And I'm letting my body lean and trust these. I like my palm's face down.

You can certainly have palm's faced in. I'll show it there also. And they're little. If you wanna go farther back, certainly can. Okay, but you're probably gonna wanna keep it small and stay right here.

We're going to add some bicep curl. Oh, can you bicep curl any amount, while you're in that thigh stretch? (instructor breathing out) Two, remember that abdominal contraction, before you bend your elbows, Here it is. Three, anyone wanna try that again? Let's come on up.

We'll try it once more. Ready, so lean right into it in curl. How about that one? Lean and curl. Mine are tiny, because I know that's what I can control right now.

(instructor breathing out) Okay, but that's enough 'cause we have a little combo. We're gonna add a tricep press with that. Lean back and press straight arms. Those arm bones are long down toward the knuckles. (instructor breathing out) Three and let's bring it up.

I'm gonna try standing with my ankles and just set that down and see if that feels different. Both feel good. One, (instructor breathing out) two and three. Okay, so we're about to do a little combination. Some coordination with your, one arm is going to bicep curl, while the other arm pulls straight behind while we're in thigh stretch, we'll do three and call it, okay?

So, I'm gonna re-tuck the toes. Feels better today. So, establish your connection in your torso. Take a deep breath, take that shape back and lean. Choose whichever arm you'd like to bicep, curl first and then tricep.

So, it's one of each. (instructor breathing out) We do two more sets. I wanna think my bicep arm, like I'm lifting the Slastix up a little bit. Lifting and curl and lift and curl, center both arms will come up. You get that one more chance everybody?

Where can you lengthen more in your body? Where can you find some ease in your body, right? Trust the Slastix. Perhaps that allows you to go a little bit farther back and maybe your sternum lifts a little more. Feel your strength in your biceps, your lats, your triceps, your torso, everything.

Your spirit. Exhale, right? One more. (instructor breathing out) And I can imagine a big group class doing all this. How fun would that be?

Okay and then everybody relax. Place those down for in just a minute. Come down, just let yourself shake off your knees. Shake your hands. We're still on kneeling.

We're gonna face out. So, think of these exercises. Rowing, front. Hug a tree and a little shave. We're gonna combine them, okay?

So you don't have to just do one of each and all that. Come on up. Now I know I have my toes back pretty close to the chair, because this is extreme tension, meaning strength on the Slastix. If it's too much, that's where you can go, right? You do all that space for your feet to go in, play with it.

Place your hands palms face forward. I'm gonna wrap my hands and I'm just gonna hold. Oh boy, I can see how I'm shaking. I'm working so hard right now. So, I wanna take my rowing arms, right?

I'm gonna row forward, reach my arms up. I've gotta lean into the shape a bit. So, I'm taking this combo a little slower, so we can really connect. Keep the arms moving evenly. Find your hug a tree and do it, your hug a tree.

Ooh and then open. Okay, triceps above the head. I'm gonna interlace my hands and I'm gonna stretch the arms up and bring it back down. That was one combo. We've got two more.

Reach front rowing, arms come up, keep your trunk organized. Arms lower toward the hug a tree. I can still see my hands in my peripheral. And close and open. Arms come up.

You've got your triceps. Really use them to extend your elbows. How we doing? One more and reach and up lower to the T. And hug and open above the head.

Use your triceps and then release and rest, right? Okay, turning sideways. We're still on knees. We've got a little side arm and a little prone. You guys we're doing great.

So, inside hand think, draw a sword. I like this on the chair. It's there for that reason. Size it up. Make your decisions, relax your shoulders down.

Let's do three. Breathe in first. Exhale as you extend, feel strong and connected. (instructor breathing out) We know Pilates, even though these are arm exercises, it's whole body, isn't it, right? Can you get taller here?

(instructor breathing out) I wear my bun for that reason. Okay, change your hand, inside hand. This arm here. Shave this side of your head any amount. I can't go very high.

I'm more interested in keeping organized in my torso, my alignment. Maybe on the reformer, I could go farther, but I don't need to here. Change hands, arm overhead. Yes, more triceps. Okay, but before we do this, you might wanna walk away, lift your chest, open up and then press your hand to the sky.

Press the other arm straight. Now everybody, you're gonna do a little variation. Open that in a little arm circle. Connect your shoulder blade on your back. It's a glorious neck stretch I think.

Repeat arm above your head, breathe and press the arm straight up, circle, stretch that elastic cord, that Slastix. And then return your arm above your head once more and stretch. Feel how both arms are stretching, so healthy. And we have that on the other side. Okay, so we have sword, we have statue of liberty is what I learned.

And then arm overhead. Here we go. All right. Ease your shoulders down. Abdominals in up tail to the heels.

All of your trunk organized. Breathe in and (instructor breathing out) stretch. Arm bone is really strongly reaching, through to the fist out your knuckles and bring it in. Third one and, (instructor breathing out) got a lot of weather here today. Change hands.

Any amount of reaching up, you'll probably have one arm that reaches more than the other. That's fairly common. It's okay. Try keep some resistance in that Slastix cord, right? Okay, third one, change hands again.

Hand on the pedal. You might wanna walk away. Side bend your trunk, arm comes above head, ready, extend your elbow, those triceps again. Now I've just pushed my hand against the pedal of the wonder chair, the exo-chair. Circle that arm and then return that arm above head.

Elbow is bent, ready. And press your hand to the sky. Stretch that Slastix, stay in control of it. It's pretty mighty but we're more mighty than it, stretching up. We're using it, combining our strengths to make beautiful movement.

Okay, wow. We're about to go prone. All we need on the chair is one spring on the low setting. Okay, mine's already set that way for you. You just reach in real quick.

I'm giving you a moment to do that. And then we're coming back down on our stomach for a couple of exercises here in a beautiful stretch. Here we go. So swan, front, reach your hands up on that beautiful wide pedal and just reach and hold it with your fingers, your palm and your fingers. I like to start my head right between my arms.

Take a moment. Let your shoulder blades also stretch up towards your head. Stretch your stomach. So, everybody take a breath here. Just let the exhale go.

(instructor breathing out) Diaphragmatic breath. Inhale as you really lift your body to swan. If the pedal comes, great. I'm lifting my body. If the pedal comes, it's just coming.

I don't want to even work my arm, so much as work my back, okay? Just use your breath here. The breath will take you there. Breathe, I took a bigger breath. I got a little more lift, exhale.

And the last one. That's it. We have three. Inhale, can you breathe big? (instructor breathing in) Yeah and (instructor breathing out) that's all we're doing there.

Three, you can always do more later. Roll over. We are doing a rollover. Why? Well, why not?

Okay, this one I would like you to put your hands on the edges of the chair, so you can feel that amount of distance. And we're gonna hold lightly with the hands. You can do straight legs or bent legs whatever you need for you to do a rollover successfully, okay? It's abdominals. Yes, right?

So, as we start the rollover, imprint your low back, rolling up, we're gonna take those toes all the way to the top of the chair. Just stay there for a breath (instructor breathing out) and roll down. I'm trying not to do any extra hip flexion. I'm trying to roll the spine, so that when I land my legs are in 90 degrees above my hips relatively. Twice more, resist the urge to hip flex everybody and curl up, (instructor breathing out) over the chair.

Can you widen your back? Yeah, you can take a breath. Roll down again. (instructor breathing out) It's like I'm painting the ceiling with those toes. One more, (instructor breathing) even here.

My arms are still connected to my trunk. Yours are too. Rolling down, feeling that beautiful articulated spine. Okay, from here, everybody bend those knees, place your feet down. Take your arms though to a T.

Breathe in. We're gonna cool this down with a little crossover. And I'm leaning my knees toward you and taking my arms above my head. I'm going to roll onto my side and just kind of look up, interlace your thumbs. And you can just look up and do a little upper back extension and say thanks, chair.

That was awesome. And then roll onto your back. We're gonna do one more on that side and just roll over. I think the chair, it's a great place to go to fantastic workout. These Slastix are awesome, right?

You can put them on those hooks in various places and mix things up. Think outside the box. Sometimes, other leg crossing over. So, you let your knees be heavy and you fall to the side. Roll over to your side.

Your arms are above. You kind of hook your thumbs. And I'm stretching and looking up to my fingertips as I arch the back a little bit. And then roll back over, (instructor breathing out) once again. (instructor breathing in) Ah, let it go.

(instructor breathing out) Stretch all those muscles. We really contracted a lot. Yeah, rolling onto your back. And then everybody hug your knees, bring your head up. And I want you to roll up to a seated position.

I'm gonna face you for this. And just cross your arms over. Hug yourself. Why not? And just hold your shoulders.

They did so much in this class. Your arms and your body did, take a nice breath again. And then we're gonna soften, soften, soften, soften into your body. Just round as much as feels comfortable. See if you can let your neck go.

And then roll yourself back up and switch the leg cross and the arm cross for the other side, right? Take a breath. Nicely done, don't you think? I think that feels great. Nice way to vary up the programming a little bit.

I've got some other things in the hopper. So, this was upper body, arms and abs. And be ready for some leg stuff too, as always. Thank you. I'll see you next time.


1 person likes this.
Amy, your class reminded me how much I enjoy using the slastix withe EXO chair!  Thank you
Gisela G
1 person likes this.
I loved this class. Great combination of arm work and abs, and a nice creative use of the slastix. This definitely makes me use them more in the future! Thank you!
1 person likes this.
Amazing class! I really appreciate every session with you Amy, always joyful for the whole body! So rewarding!
1 person likes this.
Wowsers, felt every bit of that! Thnks Amy for your wonderful clear guidance as always, loving my slastix!
1 person likes this.
Lynn B Gisela G Claudia F Deirdre H Thank you gals for your feedback from this EXO chair class!  More on the way so keep an eye out!!  Some traditional ways of using the Slastix and some not so much!  I appreciate you!!

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