Tutorial #2418

High Chair Tutorial

25 min - Tutorial


Learn about the history and evolution of the High Chair with Deborah Lessen. She tells us how this Chair has changed over the years while she teaches exercises that are unique to it. You will see exercises like Horseback, Rowing, and many more!

This was filmed at the 2015 PMA Conference in Denver, Colorado.
For more information about the High Chair used in this video go to deborahlessenpilates.com
What You'll Need: High Chair

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

My name is Debra lessen. And this is Sarah Calhoun who's going to demonstrate today on the high chair. So first we're going to do double leg pumps. Sarah will sit right on the edge of the chair with four springs balls of the feet on the pump. Now originally this was done with the magic circle, but we're going to do it without, but you can use the magic circle or a ball.

So round back, the hands are under the front edge of the seat and she's going to hang way back into her upper body exactly the same way that you would for stomach control. So she's going to open just a little bit. Inhale raising the pedal up and exhale, stepping down into the heels. So keep the heels down as if you're standing on the entire foot. So this chair actually is the third generation of Joe's original chair, which was in fact a wheelchair.

The chair leaned back and he had this frame above with springs attached to it, so that injured people that he was working with could move their limbs while sitting. But it's much more versatile than just that. The second iteration was not a wheelchair, but it was this shape. Still leaning back a little bit. And this is the third generation. So now you're going to come on the heels. Same thing. So what she's doing here is pressing down with her hamstrings to get deeper in the abdominals.

This is essential to most PyLadies exercise. It's exactly the same thing that you do in knee stretch on the reformer. Okay? And now you're going to go into forced arch, toes apart, heels together. And now sit high up. So this is straight back. And take your hands beside you, pressing up if you can keep your pelvis stable, you can take your hands behind your back. You can hold a distractor above your head. And this is small.

So heels high up. Yes. So stay for a minute. Come as high as you can. That's it. Small range of motion, because you don't want the pelvis to tip forward or back. Okay? And now Sarah, if you could just swing your legs to the left for a minute. I'm going to take off a spring for single leg and come right to the edge of the seat. Again. Hip with the part, hands underneath, hanging way back. And this time you're going to take one leg high up. So think of your pelvis scooping under and lifting that leg up.

And now she down in the other leg. Good. So let's do five. Excellent. And use your little toe out through the heel. And now let's do heel on the other side. Good. So you're weightbearing through the knife edge of the foot.

The insite ankle is supported. Good. Okay. And you may dismount. Okay, so now we're going to do standing leg and foot press. This is the way I learned it from Corolla. I just have to add a couple of props. Well one, so Sarah's going to stand facing the chair, hip with the part, big toes, right up to the wood and take the bar down with one foot. Okay. And use the pillow for balance.

Now she's vertical all the way up to her bottom ribs. So if you can imagine the position of the body and the hundred, this is exactly the same thing, only she's in a standing posture. So she's going to take the heel down, scoop in the pelvis and straighten the leg completely. And what she's trying to do is scoop enough that this hip doesn't elevate when she straightens her leg, much more difficult than it looks on camera. Now Bend only the knee.

Keep the heel dropped when you can't go any farther. Roll up to force arch and lift the bar up, keeping the pelvis square. Press down through for Starch Dome in the foot as you bring the heel straight back, scoop and straighten the leg. Bend just the knee roll through the foot and lift the pedal. So she's working to stay level in her sit bones, no rotation in the pelvis. Good.

And after this repetition, you can bring your knee against the edge of the seat. So just lean to stabilize your thigh. And now she's just going to flex and point. But this isn't only flexing point, the action actually is doming and controlling the pedal in both directions. Good. So those of you at home do the other side.

Okay. And you may dismount. All right. And now we're going to take the same leg alignment all the way up onto the top of the chair. Okay, so next we're going to take that same leg alignment all the way up onto the top of the chair. This is similar to mountain climber on the one to chair, but we called this arabesque at Corollas. So Sarah's going to come hip with the part and always be a little generous with hip with the part. Good. And bring the bar down. Take the other leg all the way up. So you want your big toe against the back of the seat. Good.

Alright, so let's start taking the heel straight back behind. You. Get a good stretch. Come up to forest arch and now we want her to go straight up from underneath her right sit bone, shifting forward onto her leg and directly up to Relevate. Good. And as she comes back to play, she's going to find the bar with her back foot. Keep that foot and forced arch.

And if you don't have the range of motion she has, you can prop the bar up from underneath with the foot bar. That's it. So once more, all the way through, plead a knee against the seed as you come down and reach that heel way back at the bottom length and through the outside edge of the foot and press up this time she'll go up and balance at the top. Good. Okay. Now Sarah is going to go on to facing me sideways.

Take this foot slightly forward, open and second. And you can adjust this arm however you need it. Go into Demi ple a. All right, so the alignment for this is not the same as the photographs you see of Joe on the one to chair. We want this leg turned out so she's going into second position with her pelvis. Very Square. Can you go a little deeper in you second? You can shift that set and stay and play a on the left leg and straighten. So this also looks very easy, but it's very difficult to find center in this position with this amount of resistance. Good. One more.

And rise up. Use the inside of the standing leg and take that like off. Excellent. Okay. And now you can turn parallel again. Come all the way down. Um, and you could step off. Okay.

Okay. Now let's have you this way. A in front, I'm sorry. Yes, that's it. So you're gonna bring your left foot onto the bar. Bring it all the way down. Good. Bring your right foot just behind it in third position. Okay.

If you need me to help balance, I'm here. You can also hold on here. Bring your standing leg forward just a little bit. Okay. So she's trying to do the same thing here. Keeping the pelvis very square and staying on the inside of her standing leg. So as she inhales, she's going to bring the pedal up, but her hip is rotating and dropping down and stepped down through the outside edge of the foot and cross at the bottom.

So what this really feels like when you're doing it is not only are you crossing the heels at the bottom, but you're crossing underneath your legs at the top. Good. Come down one more time and come into demi please. [inaudible] and she's going to do the same thing. Just be careful that you don't lean back. That's it. Now if she were to try to round her pelvis under, she would lose her standing leg. So this is definitely done in neutral spine as it was originally good. Okay, hold it down now. Straight in the standing leg. This let me hold onto you.

You're going to come up to Relevate for starch on the left foot that sit and inhale up and exhale, press good. Hold, lower the heel and come down and you may dismount. Okay, that was beautifully done if I may say so myself. Okay, so now let's have you sit here and hook your feet underneath. All right, so this is a version of torso press set as I learned it from Corolla on this chair. You're going to take your hands on the handles behind you here or you can turn out and hook your feet onto the sides wherever you feel the most stable and take your hands all the way out on the handles. Okay. These handles are wonderful because for most people their shoulder with is at least as wide as the foot bar. So you're gonna start straight arms, head into the knees, start from the pelvis and scoop under. As you're pressing down, roll all the way back.

Open the chest. Good. She's going to lift her chest high up and stay. Increase that arch and go up and back. Good. Round the head and the pelvis toward each other. Roll the head all the way in between the knees. Good.

Exhale as you roll down. Inhale open and stretch. High Up. She's really opening the chest and getting a good pectoral stretch up and back. Round in. Come all the way up. Excellent little veins of pop-in. Okay.

Take your right hand here and your left hand behind you. Okay. And now you're going to rotate towards your left hand. Take that right arm overhead and arch up and over. Good. Now this is not a huge range of motion. I want her to lift up through her right ribs. Inhale, come up, exhale, increase the spiral and side bend. Good.

And inhale high up and press up and over to go down. One more time. Come high up and let's hold on here and change to the other side and just do a couple on the other side. Okay, so you want to get a secure grip on the foot bar before you start. This is a very intense stretch and you have to start a little bit at a time. Good.

So she's really rotating her ribcage on her pelvis. Good. Inhale high up and you can grab onto the bar and dismount. Okay. Okay, so now we're going to go on to use the upper frame and I'm going to take her down to two springs and Sarah come sit up on the seat. So the weight is light because she's just going to use her legs to stabilize the pedal. All right. And we're going to give her the arm springs and she's going to do rowing. So start with your arms open.

You're going to bring them down by your sides. As you scoop under the arms. Come forward, palms up to the ceiling. That's okay. Stay turnover and deepen the back. Sit Tall. Bring the arms up to the end of the spring and then open wide. So scoop as you bring the arms down, arms forward, palms up to the ceiling, her pelvis is under.

Turn the palms over deep in the whole curve of the spine. Sit Tall, arms forward and open and let's reverse it. Arms forward, scoop round. Good luck. Just to hear, this is in most of the rowing exercises. Sit Tall and from there just open second position. Arms forward. Exhale, scoop.

Leave the arms there. Sit Tall, arms open. One more time. Arms forward, scoop. Sit Tall and open. Excellent. Okay, so let's turn you around facing backwards. We're going to do horseback. She could do horseback facing forward also, but this is more spectacular.

Okay, so she's going to start with her arms forward scoop and bring the arms back behind you. If you're not ready to rise up, you can wait until the next one. Okay. Sit Tall, arms come through. Second position and forward scoop. Under and back. That's it. There she goes. Rise up. Sit. Yup. Come down and arms forward again.

Scoop arms go back. Excellent. Come high up. Sit back and down through the pelvis and forward. Let's do one more cause that was gorgeous. Scoop under, rise up through the spine. Sit back and down and rest.

That was beautiful. Okay, so let's have you come. I'm sitting facing front now let me just take this down. So there are four bottom springs on this chair. So you have lots of opportunity and sometimes we just need to get the pedal out of the way. So you're going to come sit here and we're going to put the legs springs on foot number one. I'll come around and help you.

Okay. Alright, so you're gonna start feet together. Hands under the front edge of the seats scooping. Now start with the legs low. Just go straight forward and scoop more and bring those knees right in towards your shoulders. And exhale, stretch and inhale, bend. Exhale, stretch. Now let's do a small circle down through center.

Open second. Take the legs as high as you're comfortable. Good down through center. Open and up and down through center. Open and up. And let's reverse. So you can basically do all the leg work here sitting.

This is fantastic for anyone, but particularly people who can't do this work lying down. Good. All right, now come up one more time and stay and I'm going to give you the roll down bar. You're going to stay inflection. Press you straight, legs down, go as low as you dare. Bring you straight. Arms down and hold two, three arms up and let the legs rise up. Exhale, press down, arms down, hold two, three, arms up.

So this is exactly the breathing exercise on the trapeze table. Arms down, hold two, three, arms up and lift. Good. And let me get you out of here. Your new necklace. Okay, thank you. All Right, so Sarah, let's now have you shift over to the left side. I'm going to bring this up and give you just two springs again, she's just using the bar to stabilize.

So you want that foot right in front of your hip. Just press halfway down. You're going to take the arm spring in your left arm and the left leg is back knee event. Okay. So first let's just take that arm straight forward and open the elbow and Ben back in and stretch and Ben back in. Now we're going to stretch and then add rotation. So stretch. Now we want her to stay right on her two sit bones and just rotate to the right.

Good and come back to center and open the elbow and stretch. Lift and rotate. Good. Center and bend. Now let's take your left arm down by your side. You're going to scoop and take the arm forward. Good.

Turn over, straight in the back and reach your spiral and come back to center the arm up and open. Wide and scoop under. Turn the palm over and reach. Now you can go forward if you want and rotate. Come back to center. Rise up, arm up and open. Now she's very daring. She can lean farther forward and take the back leg off.

You can try turnover, reach, spiral first. Come back to center and now see if you can balance there. Rise up and open. Good. You can put your foot back down. One more time. Scoop under, turn the palm over. Reach way out, spiral first and then balanced. So come back to center. Good.

And lift up and open. So this is extremely challenging. Okay, so you can dismount. So now Sarah is going to demonstrate chest expansion on the chair. She's on three springs and I'm bringing the bar down for her. Now you can use the handles so you have a wider grip.

Traditionally the hands are a thumbs back, but if you're more comfortable, you're welcome to turn the hands around. But let's start thumbs back for now. Uh, Sarah, the other way. There you go. Okay, so she's sitting up on the foot bar. I want her to stay as high through her sternum and open through the chest as possible on her inhalation. She's going to bring the bar up only as high as she can.

Keep this stretch through the shoulder and then lift the chest higher and press back down and inhale up and exhale, press. So for people that are Chi photic or they just don't lift an open through the chest enough, this is an amazing stretch and you're powering it completely yourself. Inhale up [inaudible] and exhale down. And I'll take it for you. Good. Okay. And now I'm taking this down again to two springs and Sarah is going to come on her stomach.

Come a little forward. Hands on the handles. Um, come forward until your elbows are wide. That's it. And forehead down. Okay. Now if you can see her upper back, I want you to see that her shoulders are very low to the floor, her shoulder blades are open and she's going to maintain this as she outward rotates and lets the bar come up and hopefully she can go up high enough to straighten her arms. But she's going to keep her shoulder blades in that same position. And now bring the elbows forward toward the floor and press down chest.

Nice and open. Beautiful and extend. So Sarah's doing this beautifully. This really is a great exercise for men. Good. One more time. Inhale as you exhale, extend and exhale, open wide and press the palms down to the floor and I'll take the bar and you can come up. Okay. So thank you Sarah.

There are many more things that you can do on this chair. All of your one to chair exercises, but I wanted to show you the things that are more unique to the high chair. Thank you very much.


1 person likes this.
Deborah, thank you for presenting such a great assortment of exercises. It really does nighlight the versatility of this version of the high chair. Love the springs coming from behind.
1 person likes this.
Wonderful tutorial! Who is the manufacturer of the chair you are showing in the video?
Hi Teresa, you can find the chair at www.deborahlessenpilates.com
Thank you for your interest!
1 person likes this.
This is exciting! I love this chair! Thank you Deborah!
Bonnie H
1 person likes this.
Outstanding ! I can't wait to try these, and I want a chair!!
I wanna vacation at Green Street studio! I WILL vacation at Greene Street Studio this year!
Thank you! Interesting... Beautifully taught and demonstrated
1 person likes this.
Thank you Deborah. So nice to play with something old and new!

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