Class #5320

EXO Chair Lower Body Blast

30 min - Class


You will feel the burn in this action-packed EXO Chair workout by Amy Havens. She focuses on the lower body, adding creative exercises to mobilize and strengthen your ankles and legs. She also sprinkles spinal articulation, arm work, and back extension throughout class to leave you feeling fully worked out.
What You'll Need: EXO Chair, Slastix (3)

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Hi, everyone. Amy Havens here at Pilates Anytime. Thanks for joining me for another EXO chair class. Today, this is a little bit more lower body focus, but I'll sprinkle in a little bit of back and spinal articulation near the end and a little bit at the beginning, but primarily, it's the lower body. We're gonna have some fun.

We are using the Slastix with the arm handles, and we'll be using those mainly and only from the top. All right, and we are using the red Slastix at the very, very bottom hooks. So you'll wanna get that set right away. I'm just gonna organize the hook there. Yeah, and then also one bottom loaded spring, and then we'll make a one spring change during class, okay?

So let's get started, face your chair, get a little aligned here with your legs and parallel. Just feel your head over your shoulders, that nice stack of containers, if you like that image. I just saw a dolphin come out of the water, so that was really quite special. Let's take a lift of the arms as you inhale. Yes, and we're going to exhale and roll ourself down.

You are gonna take your hands to the pedal. And as you're there, let the head hang from the neck and it's so light, very easy to just bring that pedal down on purpose, so we don't strain any push, we're just stretching, right? Just get your arms solid. Get your lift of your tummy, let that head hang. Breathe in and let's pull the stomach up, exhale.

Ooh, pull in round the tailbone. Let your hands leave the pedal, roll yourself up. We'll do it again, inhale the arms up. I've been feeling those dolphins are, there it is again, jumping out of the water. They're probably happy to see the sunshine.

And coming down. Now this time, we're gonna add, lift just a little, everybody. Lift and lower your heels. So I'm not going into the highest tiptoe that I can, but I am just trying to feel the heels leave the floor three or four times and say four, here's four. I love the way that stretches my legs differently.

And then roll up. Again, round your tailbone down, pull the abdominals up the front, and then the next one, we have another change at the bottom. So we breathe in and round all the way over. Okay, so we'll take about three of those heel lifts again. They're tiny, let your head hang.

You are engaged in the abdominals inward upward. Okay, now on this third one, stay lifted with your heels. And I want you to very slowly bend your knees, point those knees toward the chair. Think of your rolling like a ball exercise, and see if you can make the shape of the ball, not plop the sit bones to the heels though getting kind of close. And then I want you to pulse real tiny.

What I'm thinking is pulse the tail under and stomach back. Okay, so it's pretty small for eight, seven, press the shoulders down, get some deep spinal flexion. And last two, and then from here, can everybody squat? If you cannot squat down, that's fine. Just meet me on the floor.

I'm just gonna squat here, it feels so good. And let the pedal go up and stay in that nice, rounded ball shape. Even here, you could aim that tailbone underneath toward those heels, and just feel the stretch that spring is providing your back and your arms, okay? I'm fortunate to have long Achilles tendons, so that's not hard for me to do. If that didn't work for you, I'm sorry.

Just meet me down here. So we're gonna come on down, and get into the floor, and we'll place the arches of the feet on the pedal. Little bit of a space between your ankles and your knees. If you have room, it feels really nice to open your arms out to a T, take in all of this space. If not, if you're in a small space, you just put your arms by your side.

So let's do a few little pelvic curls here, everybody. So deep breath in and feel your back, really meet and make contact to the floor, and roll yourself up. Okay, so start to concentrate a little more on muscles. Okay, let's roll down. Meaning, watch muscles.

I want you to start concentrating mostly around the sit bone area of your butt, the back of your thighs, let's go up again. Inner thighs close together, although the legs aren't touching. Right, that's all the muscle contraction. And then the front line is stretchy, right? Inhale at the top, exhale, let's come down.

So we have a nice light spring, so it's pretty easy to keep the pedal down, lucky us. Let's take one more inhale. Woo, just as I say that, then I let the pedal go up, and then everybody lift. Okay, so are you in your best plank line that you can get? I think you probably are.

Let's go ahead and pulse a 10 little pulses. I'm really thinking right around my sitting bones, contract and try to get the pelvis a skosh bit higher, for five and four, how are your feet feeling on that pedal? Should feel pretty good. And last two, last one, and everyone roll down, right? So hello to the glutes, right around the booty.

Come into level, take an inhale, going up again, exhale curl up. Okay, so now let's get the hamstrings a little more involved in this party. We're gonna exhale and take a leg to tabletop and down. We'll change eight times, each leg gets four rounds. So my queuing in myself, "Amy, lift your pelvis before you lift the leg." Lift the pelvis to put the leg back down, just so that I don't lose the line.

Here's three, the glutes have to contract. You're standing on a single leg right there, right? One more, single leg standing, lift, lower roll back down. All right, how are you feeling back there? Inhale, back here, and roll back up, exhaling.

Whew. Okay, pick one leg to lift to that tabletop position. We're gonna do four times lower your pelvis, you can lower neutral, you don't have to roll, and then press back up, just four. Which is plenty, right? We have a lot to do, so I don't wanna overdo at the beginning, but I know you're feeling a pretty specific area.

Last one, set your foot down, we won't come down, lift the other, and four times, and down. Lift, lower in neutral. Feel how your foot is solid on that step. Contract those glutes to extend your pelvis once again. And now, we'll put the foot down.

We get a breath in at the top and we roll all the way down. Good, okay, now moving into a little more of hamstring curls. So everyone, set your heels parallel on your pedal. I'm just gonna take a look to make sure I'm centered. I'm known to go a little scoochy on on my alignment.

All right, it's so light. For two heels on here, it's not a big deal, but let's move it with ease, eight times, relatively neutral spine and pelvis. If you like a little more imprinted lumbar, take that for yourself. I think about pulling my shin bones down. Try to keep my femurs relatively vertical, so I'm not moving a lot in the hip joint.

Think just from the knee to the foot. Okay, so that was eight. We're gonna do four with one leg. You'd get to choose which one starts. Now it's a little more of an interesting feel.

Oh, single leg, what's this got? Inner thigh, back of thigh. Yeah, they don't have to be big. Control is the name of the game and strength, right? Keep things organized here, we've got one.

Hello, single leg, two, three, that feels so good. Hello, single leg, two, three, that feels so good. And four, set both down. Okay, now it's the arches again, let's come all the way adducted. Ankles touching, knees touching.

And for just a moment, press those legs together, and start to let the pedal lift up to the arches of the foot. Make your feet work, everybody, right? That's all, that's it, I don't need to go any higher. I don't wanna lose that bird on a perch foot. Use the arches.

The muscles in the bottom of the body there, the foot are related, we know that all the way up the back of the leg to the tush and up to the head. All right, now keep going like we've been doing, single leg. How about this one to a teaser line? Yeah, why not, let's do four. One, keep your foot doming over the pedal.

And three. Of course, you know how to count to four, other side, ready? Woo, and four, they're small. Three and two. Lovely, and one, set your foot down, and then the transition out of this, lift your pedal.

You may wanna choose your heels, straighten your legs. Those hamstrings are gonna enjoy that stretch and do what you need to do to make that a nice quiet. Exit, okay, knees to chest. Just give yourself a quick hug, everybody. And we're about to come up to standing, and then work on some soleus press.

And then that's a nice preparation for some relevé work, okay? So we need a spring change. That was one low. I like to do the other side either on the second or third cactus arm up, knowing we have seated leg pumps coming soon, make what you wanna choose. I'm not telling you what I'm doing.

No one needs to know. No, I put it on the one second one, so you know. Okay, soleus press, face your chair, pick a foot, bring a foot ball a foot up on the pedal. You're on the metatarsal arches. Press it down, lean the bottom of your kneecap right on that spongy edge of the chair, standing leg back a little bit, so you get some stretch in the calves, some stretch in your hip flexors, and the body should be in a diagonal line, okay?

Dorsey flex the ankle. I want you to feel for a moment how you get to contract the front of the shin to stretch the back, and let's press, we'll do 10. Now again, these don't have to be large range of movement. I want you to feel that you have balance from the big toe across all those metatarsal bones to the pinky toe, right? When we relevé, we know we don't wanna roll off the ankle.

So this is a preparation, I'll show you what I mean. That's not it, not great. I wouldn't wanna go to tippy-toe like that. I don't think you would either. Where can you control, right?

Check those abdominals inward, upward, and one more on this foot. Yes, and then you can just simply take the foot down. No fancy transitions with it today. I could, but I'm not going to. Is at the bottom of your kneecap on the edge.

Check that you're even, standing leg is straight and parallel. Those abdominals are inward, upward, that diagonal line. Here we go. Yeah, we are gonna do some relevés, and rolling through this part of the foot quite a bit for 15 minutes or so, getting that prepped. So when that foot is in dorsiflexion, the front of your shin is contracting, we really want that.

We also want the back of the shin and calf to stretch. All right, and last two and last one, and then let's take the foot down. I have a feeling too, some of you felt your quads getting work there. Maybe even a pretty interesting spot around your sitting bone, and that's really nice to help power the foot. We need that now, all right, so grab your Slastix.

Okay, I will preface this by if you're standing on a mat, kudos to you, that's so much harder than a hardwood floor. If you wanted to try that, you could. And let's go ahead and hold your hands in the handles. Organize your shoulders. Not a really big Pilates V.

We're not dancers here with this today. We're not in ballet class, so go to your narrower stance. Here we go, we're gonna rise up, lower down. And we're doing four of these, rise and lower. So I'm pulling on these Slastix just a little bit.

Just a little bit, hold this one. Now, bend the knees, lower your pelvis. We're gonna do the things in fours here, okay? All the way up and down, right? Manage your knees.

If this bothers anybody's knees, go real tiny range of movement, that's usually a good way through. And then one more, we're going to stay. I want you to do some pulses here. Eight, seven, six, four, three, two, and one, and hold. Eight, seven, six, four, three, two, and one, and hold.

And try to press the arms back while you're in that... Well, in dance, we used to call it a forced arch. I'm still in my plié up on my toes. Just four, let's do eight more pulses. And one, two, three, stare at something in front of you.

It really helps your balance staying steady hold. Four pulses of the arms, two, three, and four. Everyone rise, lower your heels, and then pivot to a parallel position. We're going to roll down here. When you get to the bottom, I want you to bend your knees, roll yourself up to stand.

At the top, arch your back, stick your booty out, and roll down with an arch. Like that beautiful wave-like motion, one more time. You'll get a chance to do this again, don't worry. It feels so good. All right, so all of that standing plié work happens again in parallel.

I'm gonna move back an inch or two. Make a chain with the arms. So elbows are bent, you're holding. Same thing, we rise, we lower. Rise...

and lower. So although our legs are not touching, work the inner thighs towards one another. Hold here. Four, bending of the knees. Remember, you are in control of how low you go.

Lower, you're gonna feel more muscle work. Don't let it hurt your knees, of course not, right? Eight little pulses. One, this is a chance to spread your toes. Make the base of the foot wide.

It's easier to balance on a wide base. That was eight, try to row for four. I can tell you, I need to move away from the chair to get a little more row out of that. If anyone wants that, you can join me. Holy cow, and eight, seven, why'd I do that?

Six, five, and four, three. Last two, hold it down and row for four. Use your back muscles. Bring those shoulder blades together. Stomach up the front.

That's it, rise, heels down, roll down. Oh, bend your knees at the bottom. You get that wonderful roll up. Want you to do that at the top? Lift your tailbone out and up, lift your sternum up, and it's like a wave down.

We'll do it again. And let it feel good. Okay, staying with that theme of bending the knees, heel lifting, et cetera, we're standing wider. I cannot tell you how close or far away to be to the chair. You'll decide, right?

Palms facing each other is fine. You could even be in here and hold your hips. I'll show a few like this, okay? And we bend, straighten. And bend, straight, and we'll do four, just nice and plain.

And then we'll do four. Starting here, adding an alternating heel. So one, mindful of how your foot is on the floor. Big toe to pinky toe, not too high of a heel. Okay, we're going over to the right foot and keep it up pulse three, two, one, and stand.

Alternate. Right, other side again, if you can go lower with your hips, try it out. And pulse, two and three. Now, stay nice and low for eight heels are flat. Two and three, don't grip your toes, that was for me.

And six, and seven, and eight, okay, let's test it out. Heel up, eight. Five, six, all of our bar gals are probably like, "That's easy, Amy." Three, this is easy. Five, six, seven, eight, we're done with that, okay? Now, plié, stand up, step back, close your legs parallel.

Ooh, it feels good. Now, let's take a slight split stance position. Okay, parallel, back heel is lifted. Let's bend the knees and row and stretch. And row and stretch.

Row, stretch. I was thinking eight each side here. The next set of eight, we'll do a little different arm. Go as low as you feel like you want to go. My front heel really driving into the floor.

Step. Step back, that's a whole thing there. And then bend. Bicep curls with your knee bending. Three.

And four, trying to keep both hip bones facing that chair. Five. Six, lift that stomach. How you feeling, everybody? Good?

Okay, we're done with that business. We're gonna put these Slastix down. Ah, take a nice deep breath. We're seated. Check that you're on the springs that you want for seated pumps, knowing how your quads feel right now, okay?

Make a change if you need to. I'm one low, one second, just so to tell you, okay? So place your hands right here by your hips, Pilates V on your chair, take a breath. Exhale and pull that up, we'll do eight. Nice and basic.

Accent the exhale coming up, let's fold the elbows, four. And three and two, nice and simple. And one, stay down, hovered a little bit. I'm gonna pulse down, 10, little pulses down, contract around your sitting bones, and grow tall. And six, we'll stay with eight.

Actually, phrasing is better. Parallel heels, breathe in, let's exhaling up. And two. So I am still contracting around my sit bone, and trying to get the back of the thigh active, which is really what's bending my knees. And I'm trying to pull my heels to my sitting bones every time.

Seven and eight. Stay down, little pulses down. Eight, seven, six. Good, four, three, two, one. And we'll go parallel toes, here we go.

Same choreography, keeping it simple there, and may wanna try change arms. Spread your toes. Spread the base of your foot nice and wide. Your heels not too high. Heels towards sitting bones.

Feels so good to work the legs pulse down. And eight, seven, six, four. How you feeling, guys? Warm like I am, can you see my sweat? Okay, we're gonna go heels wide.

This time, let's change the arms. Open that body, take a breath, pull up. You might feel your glutes a little differently. How high can you get that pedal? Some of you are gonna feel a huge stretch in the adductors.

Not a bad thing. That base of that pelvis, all that musculature there. We wanna stretch it. Okay, hold it down. Use back here, please, to push not your knees, the big muscles.

And five, six, seven, and eight, okay, relax for a minute. You might need a deep breath of air Okay, balls of feet on, pedal down on this sitting bones. I'm real close to this seat. Hold here if you want. You could even hold here, I'll show it this way.

Want you to take one leg out in front of you. Turned out, flex the foot, use this line of your leg, and pulse up. Uh-oh, here it is three, yes, your hip flexors. It's okay, five, six, seven, and eight. Point the foot for eight, seven, six.

Wipe the sweat, and four, three, oh my goodness. Two and one, other side. Pedals down. This leg is working to keep it down. Flex, you wanna lift here, use that inner line.

Two, three, right up into the stomach, right? Hip flexors, your spine, we've got eight more. Point the foot, two, three, reach out long, everybody. Five, six, and seven, and eight. What I would like you to do is place the feet down, one round, flex your foot, pull the pedal up.

Two, three, I'm gonna hold my elbows. Four, five, seven, and eight. And then hold it down for those pulses down. Two, you can extend your foot, two, four, five. I told you, it was a lot of lower body.

Change sides, the leg is low, I'm flexed. We're gonna pull up for eight. Keep thinking heel to sit bone, five, six. Get the counting and pulse it down. Two.

And four. And six, we've got two more, seven and eight. And place the feet, everybody rise. Good, how you feeling? We're almost there, we're coming around to the back of the chair, everybody.

We get to use our red Slastix now. I love this for cat. You know those days where you want someone to help you with holding your ankles down? Well, Balanced Body has come up with this wonderful assist. Depending on your comfort level of fear of rolling forward, you can have your knees in the middle back here or all the way at the front.

Let it be what makes you feel the best and most successful with your cat. But notice how wonderful the hamstrings feel here. Pull your heels up a little bit. Ready, bring your arms up, we're gonna breathe. Rounding down, use the red Slastix, use it, dive your head.

Breathe in as you stretch this springs, let the head drop down toward the springs and the pedal. Exhale, pull your stomach up. I'm gonna scoot a little, and again, push it down by breathing in. Exhale, as you pull it up, can we widen the scapula? Couple more.

Pull yourself up. We're actually gonna stay down like this. And then go into a little bit of extension. We'll use your eyes to look forward. I'm pulling the pedal with my arms pulling back and I'm gonna round forward.

And extend. You can lift your tail, that's fine, arch. Do whatever feels good, round. Okay, one more time, and arch. Yup, and then round, we're gonna flex this spine to come all the way up.

Keep using the Slastix at the very bottom here of the movement, meaning, the pedals up. Feel those hamstrings, use them, use them, use them. And that strap is so wonderful to give us that support, so that we're building more confidence in that cat going upside down inversion with the support. It's a great tool, but let's step out of that. And then lastly, not quite last, we're coming to swan.

Okay, so when you come into your swan here, we're gonna combine a little bit of double leg kick-ish from mat class with our back extension with the swan. So first, just settle into your plank line. Make sure your stomach is pulled up the front of the chair of your body, and then turn your head to one direction, right? We're gonna kick the heels to the booty three times, one, two, three. And as the legs go down, use your back to lift.

You don't have to go too high, but you certainly can really get that up. As you come down, hit a plank line, turn your head, and kicks, three, two, one. I'm using my arms and trying to pull them back. But the heavy springs are really doing quite a lot of the lift for me. I'm working with that, not against it, working with it.

One, two, three, feel the breath. Work with the breath and down. And kicks, one, two, three. We've got one more set each side. Oh and I do like to add, most of you know me with my swan.

I love the cervical extension. Use it, look, I love to look up, use that. It's part of our spine, the neck. Two, three, and let's go and go and go. All right, everyone.

Now, the last exercise is hamstring stretch two from back here, okay? Get pretty close to the chair. Reach your arms up, take an inhale, and then here we go rounding forward. Before you move the springs down, is your tail curled as much as it can be, let the head hang as much as it can be. If you've got a ponytail like me, let it hang.

Stretch the springs. Let's widen our back with a big breath in. And as we exhale, slowly resist the springs. I wanted to do five of those. Inhale, no need to go very far down.

It's about widening your back. It's about stretching that skin. Stretch. Feeling how your muscles might be kind of shaky, that's good. We worked.

I love a good 30-minute class, sometimes, to focus on just lower half. Sometimes, just upper half. Sometimes, just abs and back, you all know that. Go ahead and roll yourself up. Before we finish, just close your eyes just for a second.

Let's take a nice, deep breath. Aren't you happy you know about Pilates? This is so great. Thanks for joining me. I'll see you next time for another EXO chair class.



1 person likes this.
Loved the lower body work and the swan variation!  My legs are worked.
1 person likes this.
I liked the parts where we didn’t have to use the slastics. Unfortunately, I don’t have an exo  chair.  I do have slastics  so I tried using my tower and I guess it worked OK. I’m wondering if I can add the little  round  things to my split pedal  chair. Thanks Amy! 
Wowee that was great! Thank you Amy🌸

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