Class #5322

Feel-Good EXO Chair

35 min - Class


You will feel so good after this full-body EXO Chair workout by Amy Havens. She uses the Slastix to help you build coordination, stability, and mobility throughout the class. She keeps it simple but makes sure to fit in everything you need.
What You'll Need: EXO Chair, Slastix (3)

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

Hi, everybody. Amy Havens here at Pilates Anytime. So excited to be here. And I'm doing a kind of a beginning level EXO chair workout all over, feel good everything in your body. We will be using two of this elastic cords or two of the tensions.

So we'll be using one of the red or the red. You can set it up, so on top of your chair to begin. And then the yellow with the handles, and I have them mounted at the top. Okay, so that's what this elastic setup is. And then on the one to chair or the EXO chair, you'll need to start with one spring on the low cactus arm, one low.

Okay? Here we go. Enjoy. This is to feel good, really good. Nothing too fancy, but everything is in there.

Let's take a nice deep breath in just to relax the arms by the sides. Feel tall from the feet all the way to the top of the head. And we're gonna start with a really easy standing roll down. Just nice and easy. No spring yet.

Feeling the top of the head, initiate the direction you're going. Lifting in opposition. The abdominals are coming up as we're going over. I want you all to bend your knees. Point those knees straight ahead.

Take your time. How can you really, really get that tailbone to go down toward the mat between your heels in that direction anyway? And then rolling back up. All right, same movement. This step a little bit closer to your pedal.

Reach your arms forward. Inhale. Same movement, everybody. And then we'll just get the hands on the pedal. It's a nice light spring.

It'll be very easy to move. Continue moving it down. Let's get the crown of the head to face the pedal. Stay upside down for a moment. Can you pick up your tummy a little for your abs?

Bend those knees again. I want you to round your tail, really see if you can get more curl of it underneath you. Stay with that shape and then press the pedal back down again. It might feel nice to straighten your knees as you go lower. Pull the abdominals up.

So we're trying to get that C curve shape here of our spine right from the tail, low back, middle, back, even in through the neck. One more time, maybe two. Straighten the legs as you stretch the spring down. Let's take a breath. Exhale.

Bending the knees. If you allow the spring kind of pulls your body into more flexion, feel good. And let's go one more time. Straighten the arms and straighten the knees. Breathe in and then exhale.

We can bend the knees. And then what I like to do here is go into even more of a... I'm gonna step back for it too, even lower. And let that spring pull your arms forward. And if it feels okay, crouching down into a little low, kind of rolling like a ball shape.

All right. And you can take one hand to the floor and then find yourself just sitting. Yeah. Okay. Open the knees here and the legs around the chair.

We're gonna do a spine stretch forward. We've just done it, but we're doing it from seated now. You can take your hands right on top of your pedal and wrap your whole hand across the pedal. And just for a moment, sit tall. You can flex your ankles.

It's nice to have the energy all the way through from hip to heel. Let's take a breath. I want you to exhale and let the pedal pull you and the spring pull you up. Let's work on opposition. So right, we're gonna pull the abdominals way back as much as you can away from the chair.

Inhale, lower the spring. Pull on it as you sit up. So rather than exhale down, we're exhaling right here. I want you to get the flexion of your lower back and inhale, pull down. Feel free to move back a little bit away from this chair.

I'm gonna try that now. I just feel like I wanna feel a little more feedback. I know that's gonna feel nice and exhale. Yep, I can already tell. So I've just created a little more distance to travel where I can actually think up with my ribs back here and wide.

Let's try do it two more times. It's okay that your shoulders aren't over your hips. I want you to feel your spine stretching. There's forward, but also the lumbar is stretching back. Okay.

And one more time, everybody, inhale and exhale. Yeah, lengthen the waistline. Pull the lumbar back, back, back and lift. Good. Pull your legs together.

You'll probably need to move your hips forward. We're coming down on our back. We'll be doing some pelvic curls. So let's put the arches of our feet on the pedal. Arms can be by your sides or out to a T.

And it kind of feels nice to do the T. I'm gonna turn my palm's face up and take a breath. Let's do three pelvic curls. How does that spine feel against that mat rolling? So we're really connected to articulated quality here.

Feel your feet firm across the pedal. Your abdominals pulled up the front and your tailbone aiming toward the knees. And then as we exhale coming down, the sternum comes down away from our chin, even on the right and the left side of the spine. And then find yourself to a level pelvis position. Take a breath.

Curl up again all the way. It's important to try to get length through the spaces here too between your pelvis and your rib cage all around you. Inhale and rolling down sternum from chin. Articulate. Moving this spine.

Let's take it one more time and we'll add a little at the top and curl. Okay. And you'll see it often where we try to keep this bridge position and take one leg up. You can think tabletop or just play with lifting a leg off. It doesn't even have to be a specific shape like degrees.

You can even just kind of unweight a foot. You'll get the point. You'll get to be where you feel it in your backside. But I like to make the shapes, too. It feels kind of nice.

There's some good function there. Let's do one more each leg. Okay, and pull up and step and up. And then as both feet are on the pedal, let's raise the arms all the way above the head and take a moment to really stretch, everybody. How long can you get from your fingers all the way through to your knees?

And as you roll down, just feel that nice, long extension of your spine. We're gonna stay right down at that level pelvis, keeping the pedal down. Interlace your hands and place those behind your head. Elevate your elbows so you can see them out of the corners of your eyes. Pedal is still down.

Take a breath. Lift the head, bend the spine. That's includes your neck and your upper spine. We wanna get that chest lifted position and then inhale as you come down. Nice and simple.

If you feel like you need your pelvis to lean back a little bit to get your back more in a comfort zone, that's fine. Some of us need a little bit of that bias where the two front hip bones here, kind of pull back a little bit. I want you to feel like you can get a pretty high chest lift and certainly feel your abdominal muscles working. Okay. Now, lower yourself back.

You'll raise your pedal and just try to keep it hovered. It's strangely hard to do that, so you have to keep some activity in your inner legs and your hamstrings. We're gonna do four more chest lifts and then we'll add a little bit of twist with your upper body. Just feeling that sinking the abdominals. Raise the head and shoulders.

I'm definitely thinking of funneling my rib cage toward my pelvis. Okay, we're gonna stay here. I want you to rotate toward either your right or left. Stay there and just do three or four little up and down pumps of the pedal. Intention to feel a little different aspect of your abdominal wall.

Come through the center. Do the other side. Four. We did four. Pretty easy to feel three, and two, and one.

I want you to come through the center and lower your head down. Take the pedal down. Inhale. Once again, chest lift. Pedal will float.

Now, rotate as you pull the pedal down. Hit center as you center your chest. Twist the other way as you press the pedal down and center. Just one more each direction. Rotate and pull the pedal down and center.

Last time. Okay. So what we get to do next is continue let the pedal go up, everybody. Continue feeling those abdominals, but we're going to come up and use the elastics now. So have a seat, get those.

And I'd love for us to start with bent knees. Your toes can be right near the front of this wood arms. How they feel comfortable for right now, this feels comfortable for me. My palms are facing into one another. Have a nice tall sitting position.

Take a breath. More curl of the spine. So we're taking the tailbone under, pulling those abdominals up the front. I want us to just go halfway back or basically get onto the base of your spine, the sacrum. Take a breath.

Now, let this elastic start pulling you forward. What we're doing is resisting that by pulling the abdominals back, back, back, back as much as you can. So once again, we're interested in this part of us. Woo, moving back any amount that you have. Inhale, same thing.

Curl, pulling the abdominals up the front, looking straight ahead. Inhale. Pull the stomach in. Let the crown of the head fall the the toward the pedal. Rounding through and rolling up.

We'll take it one more time. Inhale and curl. Curl, curl, curl. Inhale and coming forward. Okay.

So same theme to begin with. We'll roll back to that little halfway spot. But we're gonna add a little bit of rotation where, again, trying to feel these side abdominals, your obliques. So curl back, you're gonna get to your sacrum. So it could look like the arms power this movement, they're not.

I'm gonna use my abdominals and pull right here inward to slightly turn my torso and then the other side. (Amy breathing heavily) So working your internal and external oblique muscles. If you wanna go back a little further for the last four. So the arms and shoulders are moving relative to the work coming from inside. And you're gonna need that in for the next few exercises.

So curl yourself all the way back up. I like to call it round the world. We'll do it once with the knees bent and we'll start to straighten the legs. So here we go. Breathe.

Initiate by this side or your one side, rolling back. So you're gonna feel a little bias toward that side of your pelvis and spine. It's very subtle. I'm going to switch it and transfer it over to the other side, which will bring me up. And then center at the top.

Let's go the other way. So again, I'm gonna say the phrase relative. My upper body is moving relative to what's happening from inside. I think you know what I mean, right? Rather than me steering it from out here, it's happening from inside that abdominal wall.

Okay. Let's try it with straight legs and see what that feels like for you. So breathe, here we go. I'm gonna go all the way toward the base of that spine. It feels like it's really far away.

And then come all the way across to the other side and contract in on that side, which brings me up to the top, center at the top. Exhale from that second side. Kind of fun to feel that really specific area in the abdominals. We'll do one more little faster and roll. And across the middle, up on the other side to the top.

Breathe in and second side. So I'm not quite making it down to the rib cage. It's really right in that lower kind of lower trunk, lower core, lower tummy. Change your feet. We're doing something I like to call and is called diamond, soles of feet together.

Unfortunately, not the most flopped open legs. If you are really flexible and mobile and if your legs flopped open, we're not gonna let you use that. I want you to lift the knees a little. Press your feet together and you'll feel some muscular engagement here. We want that.

Okay. Keep that feeling and take a breath. Now, let's go through all the way down, all the way down the spine. Keep going, keep going. Feel your chest start to open, your collarbone expands and you land.

Ah, keep the feet pressed. Bring the head up round the neck and the upper spine. Just like we did before, let this elastic start pulling you. You resist with those abdominals. Let the crown of the head reach toward the chair.

You're gonna lose the tension. That's okay. Sit tall, inhaling there. Rolling back. So it kind of feels nice to change the leg position for these rolling back moves through the spine.

Ah, take a breath and roll back up. Okay. That's I think enough of that. But what I'd like you to do, everybody, sit tall, rotate your arms to your palms now, face back. And lower those elastics.

Take a breath, start to pull the arm bones down toward the floor and back, any amount. You're going to feel a lot of work in your arms, but also your back and your abdominals. Couple more just pulling down to go back. I'm just kind of made a goal for myself. A my, get your knuckles to touch the floor. It's a really nice marker.

One more there. And then we're going to add a little bit of movement for your upper back. So let's try this. Pull the arms down and lift your breast bone up. Look up the wall in front of you, maybe the ceiling.

And then return. This is more about that upper back. Maybe your arms don't travel as far. Can you get your sternum up out of your chest? Good.

And release. I think we've got one more, don't we, lift? Bring the waist up, bring the sternum up. Oh, and release, Everyone, flex your spine forward. Go ahead and lower your scholastic cords and then just roll up to sitting and close your knees.

We're going to come up to seated now on the chair, and we're gonna need a spring change. So all of that was on our low setting. We're about to do some seated leg pumps. I'm choosing for this class not to go really heavy. So one on the low hook and then one up on the second hook or even the low hook.

It's up to you, knowing there will be some single leg pump as well. So you may wanna set that appropriately. I've just done too low. That's okay. We are gonna use our red cord.

So let's do this. Place your feet on your pedal. I love having to sit close to the front. Right at the very front, so your sitting bones are right there at the at the edge. You're in your Pilates V.

Just take a moment to feel yourself tall. Now, we're going to do a few different things with the arms during these leg pumps. The first one, make a fist. Arms in front of shoulders. Pull out on the elastic just a tad so you feel the side of the shoulders connect.

Take a breath. I like to inhale when the springs are open right here. And as we exhale, pull the pedal up. Think of bringing your sitting bones in the direction or the heels in line with your sit bones. Adding a little arm work.

Raise your arms a tad. Exhale, pull the arms down as you pull the pedal up. Some coordination for you. Inhale. Exhale.

But it's still quite a lot about the abdominals, right? We know that. Every exhale, we pull in. Start to program this so that you are trying to bring your like heels up towards sit bones. Inhale, press and exhale, pull.

Inhale, press and exhale, pull. Two more here. Press and pull. And last one, press and pull and make a relaxed arm position. Making a change to place your heels on your pedal in parallel.

Relax the shoulders for a second. And then once again reaching your arms straight in front of you. Feel strong as you reach your arms forward. A little outward pull on this elastic. Let's use this long and open position.

As we inhale, we'll start the arms a little up. Exhale and lift the pedal and bring the those arms down a tad. Inhale. So we're building a little coordination here as you're pumping the legs, working trunk stability, hip joint and shoulder mobility. A lot going on here.

Inhale. Now, when you press the pedal down, I want you to engage right around your sitting bones. Make some muscle connection there as you push and pull. We'll do two more, everybody, from this position. And press and pull.

Okay, relax the arms. Let's do go to toes parallel. Heels will just be slightly lifted. Take a look down at your feet and make sure that you're as wide across the fronts of your feet as you can be and that your toes aren't doing curl, you're not gripping the pedal with your toes. All right?

If your arms start getting tired, just you can let go of this or build endurance. Starting here. Breathe in. Exhale and pedal up. Arms down.

We'll do eight. It's what we've been working on. Stay focused on pressing for the muscles near your sit bones. There's a rhythm that the shoulder blades do on the ribs. They kind of do like a rotation.

The bottom tips of the shoulder blades rotate around the ribs. The side of the shoulder blades kind of following the hand. Last two. Yep. Last one.

Relax. We're gonna do one more set and that's gonna be heels on the corners of the pedal. EXO chair is so nice because it's pretty wide, which allows you to explore possibly a little further range of motion in your hips. Same arm work. Ready?

Pull out a little bit and raise those arms. This is our inhale. And exhale, we pull into the center of the body. Yeah, just moving arms and legs simultaneously. Press and pull.

Four more. Really nice to get those arms gliding up and down. You'll also feel those back muscles if you aren't feeling them already. Okay. And rest.

Now, making a change. It looks a little silly everybody. It's just what it is. You're gonna sit in the corner of the chair, put your heel on the corner of the pedal and push it down. Okay?

Take what you need to get there. Now, why I am doing this is just to get a little more external rotation, but also single laying a lot of quad and a lot of glute. Change of the arm position. So the elastic is in the palm, elbows are bent. And we're gonna push the arms up.

And then when we bring the pedal up, we'll pull it down. So it's a little push and pull game. So start with it up. Take an inhale as if this was pulled on the ceiling and you're pulling the arms down and pushing the arms up. We'll only do the heel of each foot, and we'll do eight.

Here's four and press and three. Really use a little extra muscle work. Pull it down, push it up, pull it down, push it up. And then you can just relax everything down. We're gonna change sides.

Just turn to the other corner. Get your heel on there and push down, everybody. Okay? Now, again, once in the corner, establish even weight on the sitting bones. Arms are forward.

We're gonna start with those arms up. Take a breath. As you lift the pedal, pull your arms down, push the arms up and pull the arms down and push. Once again, I'm really working from the sitting bone area of my butt. Push, getting some large muscle groups connecting together.

Yes. Then it's push and pull. Push and pull. Last two. And in last one.

And in and lower. Okay. Wow. How do you feel? My arms feel like they're getting a little work.

So just shake those arms out. And we're gonna put this elastic, the red one down. We don't need that anymore. So I'm gonna have you all come back behind the chair. Have a seat, look straight forward.

We're gonna take the arms behind us here. And just sit for a moment with your fingertips near the back edge of the chair. And it's not that I want you to really twist the arm bones for this one, but I do want you to feel like you're moving your shoulder blades closer together here. So what does that feel like for you? Just feel like you can pull your shoulder blades together and then let them go.

And pull them together and let them go. Okay. Just to feel that upper back muscle group again. If you already didn't feel it with the arm work before, you're gonna feel it now and release. And four and release.

And three, it's really tempting to push the ribs. It's not that it's shoulder blades, shoulder blades, shoulder blades and shoulder blades. And then relax your arms. Okay, change your spring, please. We're only gonna need one spring on the higher setting now.

Yes, that's what I wanted to do. Okay, one on high and the other one goes away. Doo-doo-doo. I'm gonna do a lateral flexion series. So I'm gonna face you first and just hit one knee over the edge.

The opposite leg is stretched out to the side. I love a flat foot. If you like to go up and toes, that's fine. Flat's kind of nice 'cause you can anchor into the floor. So I'd like you to take this outside arm and reach up by your ear.

Let this scapula come up. Breathe here. As you exhale, go into a side bend and really let your neck also come into the bend. The whole trunk is doing a curve to the side. Bring it up more to a diagonal line.

We'll do it two more times. So it's a curve to the side and a lift to a diagonal line. One more. And we're gonna spice it up with some of those rotation elements again. So like you felt on the floor, I'm going to activate into here and let that turn my rib cage. The opposite arm just kind of falls down here.

And then I reach around. Let's do that again. So it's an exhale, which initiates the trunk movement. Inhale to reach. And one more exhale and inhale.

Same focus, but now the rotation will go up. So exhale and turn your chest to the ceiling. Inhale to the side. Exhale, turn to the ceiling, inhale to the side. And once again, turn to the ceiling and turn to the side.

And let's enjoy that on the other side. So just flip right around. Lateral flexion. Great way to move the spine, isn't it? So arms come back, this outside arm really reach.

How stretch can you get? Bend your whole torso then includes your head and your neck. Want you to curve. Mobilize into that curve shape. And then as we inhale, we're kind of more in a diagonal for a moment.

Twice more. So I've focused this quite a lot in my rib cage, part of my spine, kind of my chest ribs, in fact, to try to get those to bend. Pausing their breathe. Now, we move the ribs into rotation. Exhale toward the pedal.

Inhale toward the side. Exhale toward the pedal. Pull it from the stomach muscles. Inhale toward the side. I feel so darn good.

Keep that breathing going, but now we rotate toward the ceiling. I'm really just focusing it from my chest, part of my spine. Once again, pull it up and then toward the side. And everyone, come all the way up. And then we're going to actually change those springs again back down to the low spring.

If we wouldn't have changed it, you wouldn't have gotten that much feedback if we stayed on low for the side bends. So here we go. Back down to low one side only. We're gonna come onto the floor. That arm behind our back movement when we did sitting, we're gonna use it now.

So I want you to place your hands up on the pedal. Fingertips towards your pelvis. Knees are bent, feet are flat. And just check in for a moment. So I always do this with with myself and say, okay, my elbows are wide.

That's not quite what I need here. So I want to take a moment. Glide the shoulder blades back behind me. Usually brings my arm bones a little narrower, too. Use your hands.

Okay. And contract between your shoulder blades. So that's that same sh movement we did. Now, lean back on your arms a little. You're gonna bear weight on your arms, lift your hips up and everyone do a tailbone curl.

And see if you can just suspend your body up on your arms. I've got a curl, my abdominals are in, holding. Feel those arms nice and strong. Now, when we come down, I need you to stay curled as much as you can. Bend your elbows a little bit and then set your hips down with consciousness.

No plops. And again, shoulder blades together. Lift and curl. Now, you might feel like, okay, Amy, what else can I do? Could I do something else?

I wanna maybe bring the hips a little higher. That's a bigger load. So if you're like that, go ahead and work with that. And then round yourself down. Keep your shoulder blades back, everybody.

You've gotta land with safety. It's interesting when the arms are behind us. Let's do it once more. Take a breath. Shoulder blades together.

Lean and lift. That's fine. You could even go side to side here. Anything goes, anything goes, but it's also kind of nice to curl. It's kind of a nice prep for some of those back-supported movements and Pilates.

And open and curling down. Curling down. Okay, to get out of that lean forward, move your fingertips to face back. And then just carefully let that pedal come up. It's another shoulder stretch.

We're gonna come around and hit a mermaid sit. Okay, so here I am in a mermaid. External rotation, internal rotation. We're gonna do side bend again. It feels great.

Elbow on your pedal, hand behind your head, side bend. Now, I want you to get yourself down so the pedal is down. And just open these ribs again. Inhaling and rotate. Yes, we're doing a lot of the same theme because it's important to mobilize the spine.

Really important. We do lots of flexion. We need a lot of rotation as well. We need lateral flexion and of course extension. Once again.

Eric Franklin says, "Move your spine every day in every way." And I just really love that Franklinism he calls it. But it's also nice to feel some muscles too associated. Let's do some triceps kneeling. One handle on this elastic cord. Other hand on your pedal.

You're just gonna power this arm back about eight reps. Who doesn't like to have worked their triceps? Three, and four, five, collarbone is wide. Six, seven, and eight. Okay, everyone, we're going back around for mermaid on the other side.

Get cozy in that position. Lean over. Get that arm on the pedal elbow and hand, bringing it down, hand behind head. And then crown to the side. If you need to shift position a little bit, take that time to do so.

Take a breath and let's rotate. I'm trying to turn the ribs around through my shoulder girdle. So it's whoop, really rib cagey. Mobility. And again.

And open. And I think I might be throwing one extra in, but that's okay because it feels pretty darn good. And then bring your pedal up and then we'll go into that tricep kneeling here. Elbow is bent near your ribs and your working elbow extension. Two, three, and four.

Neck is long. Five, and six, and seven. So we're gonna come up now into chest expansion. Pretty well ready for it. Get the other handle on this elastic cord.

You can be up on your knees with your feet flat or your toes tucked. I'm gonna tuck the toes. And I just wanna do maybe four rounds. We've already done a lot of this theme. Pull back a little bit.

Rotate your head to one shoulder. Rotate it to the other shoulder. Look to the chair and release the arms. Pull and hold. Rotate to the second side first.

Use your neck muscles. Look front and release. Again, pull and turn and turn. And one more. And then we're going to go all the way full circle back to nearly the beginning of class four.

A little more rollback because I really think it feels nice to do a few spinal rollings and a stretchy, stretchy move after some of that extension work. We'll do two. All right, breathe. Nothing fancy. You're rolling back.

You're rolling back. Enjoying how your spine feels, how your body feels, how your mind feels. Lift the head. Start using that neck. Pull those abdominals back.

Remember, we're resisting this elastics, but they are giving us some help. Crown ahead toward the pedal, abdominals pull back in opposition. And one more time to come tall. And then rounding down. And I have got a great yummy stretch to finish class with everybody.

I think it's yummy. And we rail up. And that also kind of evens out the spine. And then some come to sitting tall. So this last stretch, you turn yourself around.

Lie back. I like to aim my arms just so I feel like I'm pretty far away from the chair an arm length distance. Arms out to a T, cross a knee over the knee. I'm gonna use my other leg first. Cross this way first.

Lean your knees toward that side. Roll over to your side. Your arms have to get out of the way. You're gonna take your arms above your head and interlace your thumbs. Stretch your arms.

And then just look up. It's like you're doing a back bend with your head, stretching and looking into the chair. And then that's it. You unwind. Before we do the other side, pick up both legs and just fold them towards you.

Oh, so good. Just give those legs a squeeze. Oh my gosh, that feels so good. And then the other side. What other exercise?

It feels so good. Turn to the side with the knees. Arms come up out of the way. You get to hook your thumbs. You're looking up with your eyes and your neck.

Little upper back bend if you will, coming over to the side and then over to your back. Bringing both knees toward your chest, arms can help. You can give yourself this hug. And then I love to finish, finish, finish that with two knees toward chest. Head comes up.

And just a really nice. Thank yourself for showing up and giving yourself some exercise. And thank you for joining me for this Wonder Chair Class on the EXO chair. Let me know how it goes for you. I'll see you next time.


Thanks for some different twists on chair work! I always enjoy your creativity in you videos. 
Great class Amy. It's gone straight to my Favorites!
Ramona P
Really enjoyed this one, will do again Thursday!
Carla R
What a lovely class! Thank you Amy!
Loved the creativity Amy! Thank you
Loved the creativity Amy! Thank you
Corinna S
Thanks Amy, it felt great. I enjoyed a lot the creative slastik sequences 
Love Amy’s cues and my spine felt amazing after this work.
Love Amy’s cues and my spine felt amazing after this work.
Rachel J
That was fabulous.  Thank you so much Amy :)

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