Class #5345

Rotational EXO Chair

30 min - Class


You will challenge your brain and body with this creative EXO Chair workout by Maria Leone. She uses the split pedal to add rotational movements where possible so you can improve your strength and range of motion. She also includes unilateral exercises to find a balance between the two sides of your body.
What You'll Need: EXO Chair, Slastix (2)

About This Video

Sep 13, 2023
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Hi, I am Maria Leone, and today I am working with Miku, a lead teacher from my studio, and we're working on the EXO chair. Set your chair up with your two yellow Slastix on the machine with a loop on the end. Notice where we have it attached. Our paddle is split. That means the dowel is out and we have the springs down as low as they both will go.

Start standing facing the chair with your feet hip distance. Take a moment just to settle in space. Feel your feet grounding. Inhale here, and on an exhale, begin peeling yourself down. Bring the hands wide onto the paddle.

Pause here, really feeling this beautiful C shape. And then right from the center of the body, we're gonna exhale and push the chair all the way down to the ground. I really want that head to hang freely here. Take a breath into the back of the ribs and a long, slow exhale. Tuck the tailbone under, as if you had an anchor on the tailbone.

Peel yourself up. Rolling, rolling, rolling. Stay right there, don't lose the tension. Exhale, push right back down to the ground. Moving from the center of the body, take a moment to feel your weight slightly forward towards the front of the foot.

Tuck the tail and roll yourself back up, sequencing through the lower spine. And again pushing straight back down. And hold it here. The paddle stays nice and still. From here, we take a plie.

The legs bend, paddle doesn't move. The legs straight and the belly button pulls up into the lower back. Again, plie, feel those knees tracking forward over the toes. The belly lifts, the leg straighten, the paddle is still still. One more time here.

Plie, the knees track forward. And exhale, the belly pulls in, the legs straighten. And let's roll all the way up this time. All the way to standing. The arms lift up over the head.

The heart lifts to the ceiling as you fill the chest with air. Nod your chin, peel yourself right back down. Find that bottom position. And you wanna feel your weight distributed between your hands and your feet. The belly button lifts, the heels float up off the mat.

Trickier than you might think. Allow the heels to lower down. From the belly button, the belly pulls, you lift, you float the heels up, and you lower it down. One more time here. Belly button in, and float the heels right up.

Lower the heels down and stay here. Let's begin to bend and straighten those elbows, inhaling and exhaling. And really feeling this width here between the shoulder blades. And the head is just hanging nice and free. For three, take your time here connecting to your breath.

And one, let's peel all the way up. Nice heavy tailbone here. Peel all the way up. Take the chest to the ceiling, open the lungs, nod your chin, peel yourself right back down. Again, folding from the center of the body, the weight goes forward, and pause here.

Option to begin alternating the arms. Go ahead and start doing that, Miku. Alternating the arms, or just repeat again with the two arms. Remember where our focus is, which is right here. Really keeping those scapulas nice and still for me please.

For three, and two, and one. Take the paddle all the way down to the ground. Peel yourself up one more time. Let's take the arms up overhead again. Open the chest, circle the arms.

And this time open your feet wide, a little bit wider than the distance of the chair. You're gonna hinge forward at the hip. One foot comes to half of the paddle. The other arm goes side. I want your start position so that you're absolutely at tabletop.

Shoulder blades wide, front ribs closed. From here, you're gonna spin and rotate as you push the paddle down. Turn, turn, turn. Stay here. Keep taking that gaze up.

Check in with where your weight is on those two feet. And then just rotate back center. So really staying on one axis, right? The arm on the paddle stays straight and we just rotate around the axis, and we rotate right back to that flat position. And again, spine stays, the ribcage rotates around the spine, and we come right back to that nice long position.

Last time here, spinning around your axis. Back center. And two hands to the paddle. Arms are straight. The other arm lengthens out to the side.

And it's really an extension of that shoulder blade. And now rotating the other way. And rotating around your axis, taking your gaze up if that feels right. Come back center. Maintaining stability in the hips, rotate.

Equal weight on two feet. And coming right back to that center position. And rotate, breathing into that top lung here. And back center. And now the two hands go all the way down to the ground.

And peel yourself all the way up, hands by your side. And we're gonna transition to the other side of your chair. And we're gonna come up on top of the chair for swan. We haven't changed anything else yet. Press your arm straight.

And find yourself in that nice neutral position and there's energy out through the heels. On inhale, the chest goes forward and out and up. Inhale to come up. And lower it down. You might have to do this a couple of times and adjust your body.

Inhale to lift up. And then the head's gonna be the last thing to come back down. And again, inhale. Head and chest go forward. And all the way back down and into that nice neutral position again.

We're gonna do that same rotation you just did. So from here, one elbow bends, the other one pushes. A push and a pull, and you turn, and you come back center and the paddle's in one piece. And then we turn the other way. There's a push and a pull, no extension.

And right back into one piece. And we rotate. Half of the ribs go one way, the other half go the other. And we come back center, legs are still glued, and we rotate right on that axis just like we've been doing, and we come back center. We're gonna go around the world now.

So we're gonna rotate to the right. From here, lift up into that beautiful swan, rotate as you come over to the other side, and then find center. The other elbow bends, you rotate. Push that bottom arm, lift up into that swan, rotate up and over to the other side, and come back center. This feels really great.

Rotate to the right, and lift up and over, and back center. Last time, and we're gonna rotate. And we're going to lift into swan. We rotate to the other side, and we come back center. And let's start swimming those legs.

And maybe she needed a break, I don't know. (laughs) Swim. Keep swimming. If you need a break at home, go ahead and take it, and you'll catch back up with us where Miku is doing this endless swim. And she's breathing in and out for five, for three, and two, and one. I'll give her a break now though.

So she's gonna scoot herself back. She's gonna push with her arms, the hands come to the chair, and she's gonna take a little down dog stretch. Yeah, just whatever feels right to you is fine. Deep breath in, (inhales) long exhale. And then right on top of the chair, we're gonna swim the arms now.

Her legs are gonna stay still. She's gonna be in that nice flat line and she's just gonna do a little pump of the arms. So the arms are never gonna make it straight. It's just this constant fluttering pattern of the arms. Breathing in for five.

And out for five, for three, and two, it's harder to do than you might think, one. And from here, put the paddle all the way down to the ground. Push yourself back and lower your feet to the ground. The spine is gonna stay flat here. Legs straight, feet wide.

We're gonna take a little push up here, pushing down and up, keeping those shoulder blades nice and wide. And then you have some options here also. You can go right into an alternating here, right and left. If you want a little bit more challenge, you could do like 10 on each side. So you choose which you wanna do.

For five, and four, and three, and two, and one. Go ahead and come back and take a stretch. From here, we're gonna begin to use those Slastix. So we're gonna attach the band down low to the front of the chair. You're gonna have a seat on the chair facing forward.

The loop is going over your foot, and you're gonna lay down on your back and take your two feet straight up to the ceiling. Flex the feet. The hands are behind the head. The free leg is gonna lower and exhale and pull up. Inhale lower, and exhale up, lowering down for three, and up.

And she's still in her ab curl here. And up. Last time, lower. And lift, lower the leg down and pause. And now that free leg does a tiny little circle right from the hip socket.

The hips are nice and still for three, and two, and one. Pull your knees in, rock yourself up. We're gonna give you a little second to regroup. Shake your neck out from side to side. And then come back onto your back and take those two legs straight up to the ceiling.

And it's helpful if you can get that Slastix to the outside of your leg. The loaded leg now is gonna move. It's going straight down and you're gonna exhale to draw it up. Inhaling down, exhale to draw it up. Last time here, exhale to draw it up.

If you need a little challenge, lower the free leg down. Same thing again. Down, two legs glued tight, and up. Lower it down for two, and up. There's a lot of heat coming off of Miku.

And up, two knees into your chest. Rock yourself up, give your head a little move around. Last thing here, onto your back. Take the two legs back up. Let's keep the feet flexed, hands behind the head, and we're gonna crisscross and scissor, beginning, rotating towards the loaded leg and away, taking a breath in and a breath out.

Taking a breath in and a breath out. Really anchoring yourself down into the chair, for three, and two, and one. Knees in, stand yourself up. And quarter turn in the direction of your paddle. We're gonna be standing now.

Keep that loop on your foot, dear. And you're gonna back yourself up. And where you place yourself will determine how much tension you have. We're gonna use the chair to rest. Both knees are bent, and that loaded leg pushes out and in, and two, and in.

And the spine is nice and long, pushing from that glute. And in, explosive. Out and in. Two more, out and in. Stay out, pause here.

A little toe tap. Down up, and two, and three, and four, and five, and six. Just two more, seven and eight. And let that leg release. We're going up and over for the other side.

So the loop is coming onto your foot. We're going onto your back. Two legs to the ceiling, hands are behind the head. We're gonna start with the free leg first. The leg lowers and it lifts.

And we inhale and we exhale. You're gonna feel vulnerable right now, right? There's not a lot supporting your back. And you got that strange load on one side. Last time here.

And now the leg stays down, the free leg stays down. We do a little circle, super challenging. Looks like nothing. It's very, very challenging. Three, two, one.

Pull the knees in, rock yourself up, and give the head a little moment to relax. And back onto your back. Legs to the ceiling. Keep that Slastix on the outside of the leg. Hands behind the head.

Now the loaded leg moves. We take it down and up, for three, and two, last time, one. For challenge, the free leg goes down, the free leg goes down, and then the two legs meet and up. Squeeze your legs tight. And up.

And lower. And lift knees in. Rock yourself up. Move your head from side to side. Grand finale is the crisscross.

You already know this. Come onto your back. The legs go up, hands behind the head, the elbows are nice and wide. Begin rotating to the loaded leg. The other leg goes down.

And here we go. And we change using that breath, taking an inhale and then an exhale. Inhale and exhale for three, two, one. Knees in, rock yourself up, and set up for the leg extension. The knees are bent.

You might wanna scoot back. And then from that hip, explosive, out and in. And two, and in. And three, and in. And four, and in.

Really giving me that nice plumb line from the crown of the head to the tail, moving right from that glute. You can always try taking that hand away or being light on that hand. (laughs) Last time, and now the leg stays out and that leg goes down, up, down, up. Maybe we just keep the hand on the chair. Maybe we just do that. That's fine.

Three, and four, pelvis stays still, for five, and six, two more, and seven, and eight, and release your Slastix. Have a seat facing me on the chair. You're gonna pick up that front loop. And the left leg goes to the side as if you're about to do mermaid. But we're gonna be really seated right up on two hips.

The two hands come in front of you. And you're gonna rotate away from the paddle and back center, and across. And we can go all the way to the right, as long as you don't lose tension, all the way across, and come back. So keeping the tension for as long as we can. And we're in that perfect plumb line again.

You have the chair underneath your hips. It gives you a little feedback as to whether or not you're rocking around. Last one here. And then we're gonna let that Slastix go to the floor. We're going into a little mermaid.

So reach the arms out east and west. Notice Miku backed yourself up a little bit on the chair. Your hand's gonna land on whichever paddle works for you. Just one. We side bend up and over, pushing that paddle down, taking a breath into this top lung for me.

And coming up. And again, up and over, really lengthening through this leg, feeling the stretch in the oblique and the QL. And come up. Moving on this time, we're gonna go up and over. We're gonna stay here.

And now we're gonna rotate to the paddle. The paddle comes up to meet you, and you go right back side. Notice she's staying in one line. So her body rotates, the paddle comes into her. She pushes the paddle away, just one more here, rotating to that paddle, rotating away, and everything comes up.

And quarter turn, and face the back of your machine. The hands are coming back behind you onto the paddle. Tuck your tail, bring your legs to tabletop, and hold it here. From here, simple toe tap, down and up. And two, and up, keeping that spine nice and still.

Inhale and exhale. Inhale and exhale. Inhale and exhale. And come on up. Okay, we got a second side to do.

So turn and face the other side of your machine. Remember, you're seated right up on two sit bones now. Arms in front of you. And from here, we rotate across and back center. Tailbone stays heavy, rotating across and back center.

Crown of the head lengthening to the sky. So no different than what you do on the reformer, right? It's just a little different setup. And we're very upright and the shoulder blades are wide for me. About two or three more here.

Feeling waistline length. Last one like that. And let that loop go to the ground. Open your arms to a beautiful T. And from here, we'd side bend up and over into our mermaid.

And making sure you're not rolling forward at all, Miku. And breathing into this top lung, enjoying that stretch in the lat. And coming up. Let's do that again, really carving through space with the fingertips. Breathing into that top lung here.

And all the way up. Last time here. And taking it up and over. Now let's add that little rotation. So turn to the paddle, let the paddle come up.

And then the paddle moves away as you go back to the side bend. Let the paddle come up as you rotate, feel the width between the shoulder blades, and back to the side bend. And again, rotate to the paddle, and back to the side bend, and come all the way up and turn and face the back again. The hands are coming back behind you. You can repeat what we did on the first set.

So legs to tabletop. Maybe you stay here. Maybe you take those legs out straight. Maybe you have a nice teacher that comes and helps you a little bit. (laughs) And we take one leg down, and it comes up. See how nice I am?

And the other leg goes down and up. Plus I get to admire her legs. And inhale down, exhale up. Inhale down, exhale up. One more each way.

Inhale, and exhale. And last time, inhale, and exhale. The knees come into the chest, and rock yourself up. We're gonna do a spring change. We're gonna do some leg pumps.

So I'm gonna take the springs and take them up to a heavy setting, which might mean a level three or a four for you. Have a seat facing forward. And we're gonna take the Slastix and place the loops up over your elbows. The feet are coming to the bar. And you're gonna hold your arms up at about the height of your shoulders with the hands behind the head.

Sit beautifully upright. You might have to fiddle around a little bit with the placement of the feet. And from here, let's start trying to press the two legs together. Down and up, down and up. Now this is gonna be slower than you would normally do this.

Keep moving for me. The brain has to figure this out now, right? And so this is gonna show if you continually use one side a little bit more than the other. And this might be a little frustrating for you as well. Last time here, we're gonna begin alternating, going right through, right, left.

And let's start slow, breathing in and breathing out, really working those two legs equally. And you're staying beautifully tall in the lower back, you are fine, Miku, and grounded through the sit bones. Now let's challenge the tempo, shall we? Breathing in for two and out for two. Almost to the point that you are doing a run for five, and four, really keeping that pace nice and quick, for three, and two, and one.

Bring the paddle up, step off of here. We're gonna move the Slastix to the back of the machine now. And you're gonna take your dowel and you're going to slide it in. So your paddle's in one piece. And we're gonna come into a 90/90 row.

So one foot steps to the edge of the chair, the other foot slides straight back. Bend both knees for me. Stay here. And from here, moving from those shoulder blades, pulling straight back and straight forward. And we exhale and we inhale.

If you need it a little easier, you'll come in a little closer. Really pull those shoulder blades in. Keep the pelvis nice and neutral. Feel equal weight on both feet. Keep moving.

Two more here. And last time. And from here, you're gonna step forward. The foot that was on the edge is coming up onto the paddle. The heel is gonna be lifted.

You're using the Slastix to help you with your balance. We're pushing that paddle straight down and straight up. Right back down, two, and up. Last time, three, and up. Press the paddle down, stay here.

And then step right up on top of the chair. Take a moment, make sure you feel secure. And from here, we come into front lunge. Pressing straight up, and straight down. Back up for two, and lowering it down.

Back up for three, and lowering it down. Halfway, tucking the tail. And now that back leg is gonna pump. Back, two, three, four, five, six, seven. That's it, paddle down, put your hands all the way down to the chair, and step down to the ground, and ease the paddle up.

We're gonna do all that on the other side. So to start, the Slastix will be on the outside of the chair. The other foot is on the edge of the chair. Find your 90/90 lunge. Bend both knees and pause.

And on an exhale, same row, straight back, straight forward, feeling the crown of the head heading up, feeling a nice neutral position in the pelvis, using that breath and staying deep in your legs if you can. Two more here. Last time. Here's that transition again. You step forward, the foot that was on the chair is coming up onto the paddle.

Take a moment to feel your balance. The heel is high. Pushing down through the ball of the foot, stamp the paddle down, hold it here, control it up. Back down for two. Hips stay nice and square.

Control the paddle up. Last time, push the paddle down, and take it up. We're gonna transition now, the paddle goes down. Tricky transition. We're stepping up onto the chair.

Take a second, get your bearings. You might even need to choke up a little bit on the Slastix to give you support. And now we change the Slastix to the front of the chair also. And we're gonna drive straight up, and straight down. And then straight up, and straight down.

Last one here, pushing through this front heel. And coming down. Pausing here, bending that back knee in and out into a mountain climber. Three, and four, and five, and six, and seven, and eight. Take the leg all the way down, hands go to the chair, take the foot all the way back to the ground, and ease the paddle up.

Take a little downward dog, hands stay there. Hands can just stay there. Yup, and just take your hips straight back. Hold it here, feeling that stretch in the hamstring. And then shifting your weight forward onto your hands and coming into an up dog.

Taking the chest up nice and high. And taking the hips back one more time. And then letting your hands go to the floor, dropping the head, softening the knees, peeling all the way up to the sky, taking the hands up over the head, opening the chest, and bringing the arms down by your side. And we are done for today. Thank you for joining us.


Lovely class, well designed and creative. Just a note about equipment- I don’t have an exo chair, but for many of the exo chair classes I have been able to approximate by positioning my chair in front of the tower and using tower springs. That didn’t work well for some of the series in this class, though perhaps with more experimentation I could get the right angle for the spring
I couldn’t LOVE this class more! Maria, you are amazing! Thank you!
Great class, loved the leg work in straps! Keep the exo classes coming!
Great class, loved the leg work in straps! Keep the exo classes coming!
Great class, loved the leg work in straps! Keep the exo classes coming!
I love the 30 minute format - great for lunch time when working from home. Great pace too; I look forward to doing it again!

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