Class #994

Full-Body Wunda Chair

35 min - Class


Courtney brings you a great workout on the Wunda Chair. In her usual clear and concise manner, Courtney encourages you along the way while you thoroughly work the abdominals legs and even your arms (get out your hand weights or weighted balls as well as Reformer box and Pilates Pole for this class). You'll be all around the chair and fully worked out in under 40 minutes.
What You'll Need: Wunda Chair, Wunda Chair Handles, Hand Weights, Pilates Pole, Reformer Box

About This Video

Mar 12, 2013
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Hi, I'm Courtney Miller. I've got a great workout for you today on one of my favorite pieces of equipment. I feel like people have a love hate relationship with the chair. It really showcases where your weaknesses are, your muscle imbalances are. I think that's why people don't like it so much and that's why I as an instructor love it. It's got a small base of support. The pedals move independently. There's so many exercises you can do on it, on such a small piece of equipment and it's a very challenging piece, so have fun with me. If you need to modify anything, please listen to your body.

The chair is unique in that way. Gravity has a huge role to play in the exercises that we do, so I will suggest spring tensions, but it's totally normal for you to have to adjust, make things a little heavier or a little lighter and I'll give you the time to do that as well too, so it feels best for your body. Let's get started. I have a single spring on. I have a black spring and I have it loaded all the way to the top, so I would say it's on the lighter side for sure. Okay, I'm going to stand facing towards the chair. Never stand onto that wooden platform that through the pedal presses down.

My feet are hip distance apart. Parallel stance, find your vertical neutral, can even rock the weight forward and back a few times left to right. Find your center. Inhale arms lift up, arms by ears. Exhale, nod the chin, scoop the belly and round forward and take the hands onto the pedals. Don't be afraid of getting pinched by the springs. You won't keep your weight balanced on your feet. Inhale, press the pedal down. Forehead goes towards the thighs. Go as low as you can. Shoulders down the back.

Exhale, scoop the belly to lift up. We'll do five of these, so I'm inhaling to press and I'm exhaling to lift. I'm inhaling, depress, drawing my ribs up and in and inhaling. Shoulders, staying connected, pressing down, scooping up, pelvis rate over those feet. Guys, don't let the chair push you back into your heels. Notice how I can talk and breathe here. If my chin was jammed in towards my chest, I wouldn't be able to do that.

Hold the position on an inhale. Find your length. You may have to soften the knees a little bit. Shoulders down the back. Exhale, scoop and around in. He'll find your link and exhale scooping around. Inhale, I'm thinking about anteriorly tilting my pelvis. I'm lifting my toe shot, sliding my shoulders, lengthening my neck and ceiling.

One more time. Inhale and exhaling. Holding the position. Shoulders are right over risk. Take one hand off. Keep the elbow pointing in towards the body. Scoop from the center. Press down five. Just bringing that awareness into the shoulder. Stability for three.

Don't let it tilt you to the side to hold one. Take your time. Set the shoulder abs in for Rs. Five pointing the elbow towards the knee, not out to the side. Keep those shoulders down the back. Each exhale, deepen a little bit more through your center hold. Enjoy the stretch. Rebuild.

Soften the knees. Stand tall already. You should have more sense of center and balance. We're off to a good start and keep the feet where they are. Shift your weight to your right leg. Take your left foot onto the pedal in line with your hip high half toe.

Arms Extend. Belong, no extension here. Stay vertical. Pressing the pedal down. ABS in. Inhale, lifting it up five times, so this is not supposed to feel very heavy. It's not the pushing down. That's the challenge. It's the stain tall and long. Press five and adding the arms. As I press down, I reach up and lower to shoulder height. Try not to arch the spine here guys. Really work those obliques. Pull the ribs down as the arms reach overhead.

Q that standing leg long and strong. This is number five. Weights come together, Ben, the elbows. Lift the pedal app. Press up with the arms as you press down with the pedal and the reach. Keeping Pelvis level here. Shoulders over hips.

Lots to think about when you're on the chair on the fifth one. Hold Palms that changed your bicep curl series five and a four three, two, one. This whole series could be done on Relevate. Okay, but I'm not going to do it other side, but comes on. Bind your stability arms long. Exhale as you press down, inhale up.

So we learn the lower body first before we integrate the upper body three. Try not to lean back too. Now that we know what's happening, we can add a little more coordination. Reach up. Exhale. Inhale down. Let me show you what can go wrong.

That right to stay strong through the front of the body. Hold it weights together, bend the elbows, find that lift leg. Now you're ready to go. Oh, okay. Standing leg is strong. Changed your bicep. Curls. Bend in, prs reach.

So this is a great exercise to start with. It brings a lot of awareness to my whole body, my feet, my ankles, my core, my hips. Okay, leaving the arms long. Remember we could have done this on relevant and releasing down. Now we're warmed up and ready for the fun stuff.

I'm going to add some more resistance. So I'm doing a moderately weighted pedal. I've got both black springs on and I have them third from the bottom or second from the top. I have the handles on in the high position or level three. Your equipment might be a little bit different, but you might have to play with it and just make sure it's right for you. I'll take my hands onto the handles. Chris may feet onto the pedal.

Push it all the way down. Toes are on, feet, hip distance apart, shoulders over, hips, abs in. Let's start with some calf raises, so enjoy that. Great stretch. Just don't dump the stomach forward when you do it. Pull it in. We'll lift up down an inch. Three little pulses. One, two, three. Take a stretch, lift up three little pulses. One, two, and I really think about lengthening through the crown in my head. One more, three little pulses, two, three down for the stretch. Lift one foot forward toes right at the edge.

You will have a little bit of a lean forward, very light on the hands. Rise up, pull the knee in towards the chest. This is why we are practicing the first exercise. Stay Square through your hips. Work that standing leg. Find the pedal and take your time as you go down. 10 lifts. Exhale up. Inhale down. Exhale.

Inhale down. As I lift my leg, I'm using abdominals. I'm not in a rush. I'm not trying to use momentum. Lots of energy through my standing heel on this leg. Shoulders are back one more and I'll go halfway down. Now option to keep the hands on, but if you do, they've got to be late. It's not a tricep exercise, not yet. Or to reach the arms. Jeanie are reaching 10 little up presses. One, two, shoulders back, collarbone, open. That's three four, five, six, seven, eight, nine hold 10 and resist it down.

Whew, it's running. Paul said three, two, one. Lower the heels. I can instantly feel the difference between my right and left side. Now left legs quite warm and lift. Last one.

Vertical abs connected and enjoy the stretch. Find the ankle stability on the pedal first. Even pressure to the big toe, baby toe. Take the foot off. Make sure that the alignment is there in line with your head. Anchor through your heel. Rise up. Draw the knee in, square the hips. Inhale, find the pedal go almost all the way, not quite 10 lifts. Exhale and inhale.

Exhale and inhale down. Lift, scoop, and lower with control. Try for more. Make sure that needs stays right over the midfoot here guys. Arches of the feet active. Don't collapse. Two and one halfway down.

Keep the hands here if you need to take them off if you'd like that additional challenge. It's an up, shoulders over hips, hips square. There's nothing to support that left side, so you've got to use your core in your obliques. Four, three, two, one. Take it down. Take both feet on and just go for a run for a second. Great way to warm up his larger muscles. So now that we know we can find vertical neutral, we can stabilize vertical neutral. Let's move out of vertical neutral into our c curve.

Taking the hands to the sides of his seat. I'll tell you a little trick. The closer your hands are to the handles, the more challenging the series will be. The smaller my base of support, the further the less challenging. So choose what's best for you. Chose her apart. Heels are together, legs are straight, so zip them up. Scoop the abdominals in and up. I've left the tension, the same. You may need to change the spring tension.

You will feel your body shift forward a little bit to initiate once the pedal lifts. However, try to lean your body weight back over your legs. Inhale down. Exhale up 10 times. Tuck the Chin in. Draw the ribs and abdominals up and in. With each lift. Try to round the spine a little bit more weight back over the feet here. That's key for four, three, two, one. Separate the heels. Deepen that c curve. You will feel a little bit of a transfer forward. Once the pedals up though, shift your weight back.

Inhale into a flat back position with the pedal lifted. Exhale, scoop. Lift. Inhale into a flat back. Exhale, scoop, lift and heroin to a flat back. Exhale, scoop. Lift. Inhale into your flat back and exhale. Take it down flat in the back.

Keep the pedal down so we can practice the elbows. We'll bend the elbows. We'll straighten one more time. Looks easy enough. It's a little harder when the pedals hovering and he'll get ready. Maintain your flat back position, lift the hips, bending the elbows and pressing. So just a little teeny tiny tricep. Press one shake down, one shape up, pressing for five and four, three, two, one, lower down and enjoy a stretch.

If you take your hands to the front and you lower your heels all the way down and offers you this great opportunity to stretch and breathe, you always rise up with caution. The pedals heavily weighted. So take your time and don't let it spring up too quickly on you. So that was a lot of power work. Let's go back to some precision again. I'm going to take some of the resistance off. So I've got one spring now completely off.

I only have one black spring on and it's loaded all the way to the top. I'm going to be using the box for this, placing it beside the chair. Quite close. Your choice. You could use hand weights or not. I'll use them. I'll go for it. So I stand up onto the box.

My standing leg is going to be towards the edge of the box. My other leg is going to be on the pedal and as I press it down, I might have to make some adjustments so that my feet are level, not staggered, and so that my feet are parallel. So there's a lot of balance already happening here. When I release the handle, I have to be ready to support myself on this leg. So you can keep your hands on the handbook you needed to in the beginning. Let's extend the arms out long and practice just the pedal leg. Inhale, I bend x, I press down.

So remembering back to the very first exercise we started with in today's class. Quite similar biomechanics. Yeah. Inhale and exhale down, leaving the pedal leg straight, bending the box, leg and lifting. Inhale, bend and lift. My knee tracks right over my mid foot and my hip. Stay Square. That's the challenge. It would be much easier to hike that hip up. Inhale down, exhale up. One more on this side. Inhale down, exhale them, putting them together, one and then the other.

So really good dynamic training right here, down and up, down and lower bend and press and press last time. Yes. Push and press that the paddle rise up and release the arms down. You could absolutely add something with the arms, a bicep curl, a tricep extension, arms out to sides, just like what we did on the other side. Let's turn around and try it again. From this angle you'll be able to see how square I can keep my hips or not.

So make sure that those feet are level. The tension is pushing my hip up like this. Okay. And just finding that stability might be a lot for some clients or for you at home. And that's okay. Use the handle if you need to. The arms extend long. I have the weights just for a little extra challenge and I'll start just with the pedal. Okay. As I pressed that pedal down, abs up and in five times [inaudible], chair leg Ben's or box leg and extends down. And I notice you might have one side that feels not only stronger but more coordinated. Okay. Knee, right over midfoot.

Put them together. Pedal first box, second pedal. Try to almost touch the ground but not quite. Pedal and box. Leg down and up, down. [inaudible] and up. Last time pedal first, buck second and or Elise.

Excellent. Rolling those shoulders out. It's a lot of work for the upper body as well. Speaking of upper body, let's continue. I'm going to move the handles down, so for my body I'm moving them down quite low. Feel free to adjust it so that it's proportional for you. I'm going to give myself a little bit more tension and this one heavier is more supportive. You're going to have to play with it and remember, quality of movement is so important here, so make sure it's adjusted right for you. Standing on the pedal, squeezing the heels together. Hold onto the handles. Lean the body forward. From the center I press up.

I may have to do some adjustments with my feet so I feel secure. Roll the shoulders down the back, pull the abdominals in, point the elbow straight back behind you and press lift. The lower I go, the harder it is for me to stabilize my shoulders. Inhale down and up. My goal is 10 I want you to have your goal and notice if after a few weeks that number increases. As you get stronger, hold on the top, stand on the seat and I can actually give my wrists a little decompression here.

If I hold on and I stretch up, I can pull the joint open round to and exercise, so nice. We'll do it twice facing the other direction, slightly different muscle emphasis, feet go on. Hold on. Squeeze those heels together. Now as I go down, my elbows point back and I get a little bit of a peck stretch 10 times keeping the body long. It's as if each time I lower, I actually try to stretch up a little bit more through my neck and crown in my head. Final three, two, one. Again, I stand on the seat and I can go ahead and give myself that great stretch. You can even lean from side to side. We're not done with those triceps yet though. Standing onto the pedal, pressing the pedal all the way down, taking a seat onto the chair. My heels are together.

My toes are apart and my plays V my hips move quite far. Forward. Hands go to the sides of the seat, keeping the pedal lifted as challenging, but that's your goal and lifting from the seat requires some hamstring and glute strength. Not only am I lifting my seat up, but I feel like I'm pressing it forward a little bit. From here, the pedal will lower as I bend my elbows and it'll lift quite similar to the flat back push ups that we just did earlier. 10 Times progress up. One to be careful. Those hips don't lower. Keep them up and press pressing for four three, two, one. Lift the hips an inch and release down different muscle focus, keeping the arms straight and using the hamstrings and glutes to press the pedal down. Next hands, go to the sides of the seat. Pedal is lifted.

My knees not too wide. It's not a flexibility exercise and he's over mid foot scooping. Lift, push down. Now let's keep the pedal down for a second. See if you can use your glutes to lift the hips a little bit higher. I aligned forward. Now the hips don't go down. The pedal lifts and you press from the power of your abdominals.

Keep those heels squeeze together with each lower of the pedal the buns. Lift a little bit higher and press two more, one more and take it all the way down. You may have to give the risks a little bit of a shakeout. Relax the shoulders ready to move forward, drying the pedal all the way down. Step your feet together for the next one, lifting up.

My heels are down so I have my balance. Again, this is one where I definitely want you to test the waters. Make sure the spring tension is appropriate for you. My hands will be on the side of the seat. You can use a sticky if you'd like. Ribs, draw up an in chin, tucks down, relevant. The thighs are lightly brushing the chair as I get into position and then they pull away scooping the abs in strong shoulders.

Strong core x heel to lift in our tendance stretch position. Inhale to lower straight arms. You'll remember this from the reformer. Yeah, three more. Two and one. That's a tough one. It takes a lot of balance and a lot of strength, but it feels great to do. Let the pedal rise. That quick little change of focus here, I'll take the handles off. Each chair operates a little bit differently, but on these balanced body wants, it's just a quick turn and lift.

Go ahead and adjust your attention accordingly. You're going to want slightly heavier for the support on this one. So heavier is not harder. Heavier is more supportive. I'm going to leave the tension where I have it. That's the two black springs second from the bottom, taking my hands to the side of the seat, pressing the pedal all the way down.

From here I spiral my feet and then I take my hands. Okay, so this exercise is done in a flat back position with your shoulders over your wrists. Hips need to lift. Let's practice lifting up and lowering down to more practice. Lift. I know what you're thinking. If this is the practice who are in trouble when it comes to the full exercise and you're right, it's a hard one. I bring my back foot forward a little bit. I take my top foot off, lift up and lower down, lift and lower.

Once I feel like I've got a good positioning, then I can go ahead and take that outside leg. The higher the leg, the more you're going to work your hip. Lift up and lower down 10 times, Huh? A Nice flat abs and hips all working for three. Okay, well one and take it down. Well done. Let's turn around for the other side, so all you have to do is pivot on my feet, find my hand position, and again, we'll practice flat back and lift up and lower down.

As you find your balance, you can progress, but if you don't feel like you're ready to progress and keep going with the first variation I showed you, feet together. Slap back. Okay. The leg lifts height is important here, so lift it up nice and high. Tandem them two, three, four, five shoulder stability, six, seven, eight, nine and 10 to finish, turn back towards the chair and feel free to go into that stretch that I showed you earlier. Well done. Let's return the pedal up and give ourselves a little bit of a break for this one. Taking attention down lighter.

I've got one spring on, it's the black spring and it's loaded at the very bottom, so this is a lot less wristy because it's lighter, but it's more core. If you need more support for your core, you're going to want to move the tension up. You're going to want it to be heavier, but it'll be a little bit more challenging on your wrist. So choose what's best for you. I'm going to come to a side position on the chair. Finding my balance can be difficult.

The heel of the hand goes onto the pedal and the pedal goes down. I want my shoulder to be right over my wrist, my legs lifted. So if you have too much of your upper body coming off, it won't be possible. And if you have too much of your lower body coming off, it won't be effective. So find the right position for you. Legs up Parallon together. Hand Hovers.

Inhale to lift to the ankle. Exhale to lower down. Inhale up and exhale. Then let me show you the difference. Don't collapse. Stay connected. Inhale and exhale like you're going up and over a rainbow lift and lower. So what's picking me up are these muscles are right in here.

As I reached towards my knee and ankle, I can really judge my progression. How much am I laterally flexing? Okay, head in line with the spine. Four more and three, two and one. Arma huddled down when the pedal is down, add a twist. Ringing up the spine. When the arm is that with the body.

Pedal down, twist, huddle up, reach scroop. Keep both hips steady. Lift one more. Scroop and Oh lift. Give herself a stretch and try the other side. Great job. So turning around, find that stability. My hand is slightly in front of my shoulder here, so where the pedals connect, my hand is in front shoulder, right over my wrist, legs together and lifted. Once I've got that stability hand can go on the thigh. This would be incorrect. So don't let that shoulder droop. Inhale and exhale down laterally.

Flex and lower 10 times lift legs stay up the whole time. In fact, the higher your legs, the more you're going to get into those obliques. Lift and lower lift up and lower lift reach. Squeeze the knees, squeeze the ankles. It says if you have a Mermaid's tail last time here, lift up and take it down. When the pedal is down, you can twist when the pedal comes up. Lift, reach, pedals down, rotate, pedal up, lift, reach.

Take the twist and push, lift, rotate under and then up. One more time. Rotate under and up. Give yourself a great stretch. Had Verizon. The chair can also be used as a little mini mat. So what I want you to do is think outside the box.

There's a lot of great core work you can do seated on the chair, either rolling back into your c curve, going into teaser balance, etc. By lifting your torso up and creating a smaller base of support, you're going to be challenging those core muscles just a little bit more. So have fun playing with that. But we're going to move on to the next series. I'm gonna make the spring tension just a little bit heavier. So I'm doing both springs back on again and I have them loaded second from the bottom, pressing the pedal all the way down to rise up.

Your heels will have to be down, otherwise you'll feel very wobbly so your heels are down so that you can stand. This is a great stretch. Enjoy it. This is the calm before the storm arms that Ben Hill exhale as we started today. Flex the spine. Yep. Okay.

Take your time and mind your balance. As you roll forward. You may have to bend your knees to get here and that's okay because you will need your hands down. Keeping the pedal down. Walk the hands on. It takes about four steps to get to a plank. Like any plank, the shoulders are right over the wrist, fingers spread, scoop the abdominals in, set the shoulders. You'll shift your weight forward over your arms. Do you see that? That's what allows the pedal to rise up. Then I slightly shift my weight back and activate through my core, so it's almost as if you can't see that little bit of a rock forward to have the pedal lift with control.

And then a little bit of a rock back to press. Inhale, take your time and exhale. Okay, three more weight towards the fingertips. Last time and press. It feels great to walk back and get that stretch or decompression, but be careful of your balance as you roll back up.

Feel free to add more reps there and even add a pushup in that position, maybe not into our hamstrings. And we're almost done taking the paddle out. We'll use that in a second. So line down arches of the feet onto the pedals. You can play with heels versus arches. If you tend to cramp in your calves, you might prefer the heels. Hands are down beside you. Palms down. Inhale as you prepare. Exhale, roll through the spine. Lift that inhale as you stay.

Squeeze into those glutes and hamstrings. Don't forget about the glutes. This is not correct. So the pelvis is in a post. Airier tilt the front of the thighs or opening, pressing the pedal down in three small pulses. One hold two, three. Your goal is not to touch the ground, but instead of staying in a hover, one, two, three and yeah. Okay. And last time, one to three and uh, rolling the spine down.

You're trying to keep both paddles moving in this identical position. It's hard though. Like I said, the chair showcases where your imbalances or your weaknesses are. Exhale, scoop and roll. Chin away from chest. Find that strong bridge. Three, two, one and up. Three, two, one and up. Squeeze more, more, most and up. Three, two, one and up. Roll the spine down. Okay. You have one more exercise to do in this position. Single leg presses. Exhale, scoop can track those obliques. Roll through the spine, right leg only five no wiggling. Four three, two and one other leg. Five four, three.

Reach to the fingers. Your arms are working. Two, two and one lifting, inch roll down, extending the legs long. Definitely feel how that's working in the feet. Calves and hamstrings. Reaching for the Dowel, extending the arms back. Keep the legs heavy onto the pedal. Only lower the arms as low as you can. Maintain rib cage connection. Inhale, the head lifts, the della reaches to the thighs, glue those inner thighs together. Exhale, roll to the ankles. Inhale the arms lift, annex, heel back so we lower lift and control. It feels great on the spine and I can definitely feel my abdominals. Lift and release.

Arms down, body up, arms that last time. Really try to articulate here. Roll up, lift up and take the whole thing down. Bend the knees in, give yourself a little hug. Rise up and let's finish. But just a Neely mermaid, a well deserved stretch. Dabbles in a lighter spring tension. I've got one spring on, arms out like a t. Hips forward, abs in windmill, the arms breathe in.

Exhale laterally. Flex the spine. Breathe in, Chin up, chest open, and exhale as you arise back up. Keep that outside knee anchored. Inhale, just the Arms XCO. Be careful of those pecks. Keep them open and rise up. Inhale as we wind meal. Exhale, stretch, reach, hips forward, hips squared, Chin open and rise up. Other side and then you're done. We did a great job today.

We worked the whole body. Lots of stability. [inaudible] lots of balance. Inhale, windmill, the arms. Find your length. You go up and over. Push that outside, knee down. Lengthen the arm, rise up, and last time, exhale, reach and rise all the way up. I hope that you love the chair. I love the chair. It's very hard. Stay with it. Make sure the tension is right for you and have fun.

Thanks for watching.


Phew! Felt like I was at the playground with all my toys! This was a tough but awesome workout. I liked using the handles as well as the box. I'll be dong this one again and again. Thank you Courtney! I love your classes:)
*doing this one rather.
3 people like this.
Added this to my list of favorites. Very inventive, challenging and interesting using the box and handles in new ways. Thank you for a great workout!
3 people like this.
Excellent class! I am trying to love the's a love hate relationship but I will embrace this workout today! Thank you and I love your classes.
3 people like this.
Fun! Thanks for sharing your amazing talent. My hams thank you also!
8 people like this.
I'll say it again, you are the best instructor on Pilates Anytime. You are so articulate and fun to watch. Your cueing is impeccable. As always, a well thought out class and plenty of variety. Thank you!
Kathy P
2 people like this.
LOVE! LOVE! LOVE IT. Can't wait to share it with clients. Thanks for another great workout.
Great routine, Courtney! Love the bilateral work.
3 people like this.
Great class, strong cueing and wonderful workout!
2 people like this.
Courtney you are the reason I joined Pilates Anytime. I love your cueing, choreography and challenging workouts. Thank you again XXOOO
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