The Pilates Chairs…You Will be Sweating, not Sitting!

The Pilates Chairs…You Will be Sweating, not Sitting!


Chairs in Pilates?  Chairs are designed for sitting, relaxing, chilling out, right?  No, not in this case.  These chairs will make you sweat, shake, challenge you, and make you stronger!  Not to mention they will keep that toosh tight, toned and lifted…bonus!

The two chairs I will dive into today are the Pilates Electric Chair and the Pilates Wunda chair.  I have both of these pieces of apparatus in my studio in the West Loop of Chicago and I incorporate them regularly into my clients’ routines.  They are essential for building strength where clients can be weak and they are essential to continually challenge clients where they are strong.  You should always be progressing in your fitness and Pilates workouts.


The Pilates Electric Chair (often called the High Chair) may look a bit medieval and sound a little intimidating but it was designed to build strength in the hips, glutes and legs.  The chair will also challenge balance and stability….both of which become very weak overtime with a sedentary lifestyle.  And as you all know, if you do not use it you will lose it.  Enter those golden years of your life minimizing the risk of falling and then having to sign up for hip replacement surgery!  The springs used on the Pilates Electric  Chair are the heaviest springs so clients quickly feel the work and load of the exercises.

Here are two moves on the Pilates Electric Chair:

  • Going Up Front
    • The goal is to not only strengthen the hips and thighs, but to stretch them as well.  Proper execution of the move requires balance and control.
    • The movement is to lift and lower the pedal ideally without holding on.

go up front

  • Side Pumping One Leg
    • The goal is to build strength in the hips, thighs and glutes and to stretch and open the hips.  The move also build strength in the alignment of the knee and ankle.
    • The movement is to lift and lower the pedal ideally with the heal lifted of the standing leg.

side leg pumping


The Wunda Chair has a fascinating history.  Joseph Pilates designed this apparatus for his New York City clients that wanted to exercise at home, but were limited on space.  The Wunda Chair can be turned over and will function as a chair to sit in and it was actually one of the first pieces of home fitness equipment.

The Wunda Chair challenging clients by making the spring load heavy or light…it just depends on the clients goals, size, strength, and abilities…but this is a fun way to demonstrate to clients that just because there is more tension it does not mean that the exercise will be harder.

Here are two moves on the Pilates Wunda Char:

  • Arm Frog Back
    • The goal is to strengthen the back, arms and side body.  It also opens the front of the shoulders and the chest.
    • The movement is to maintain the alignment and stability in the body while lowering and lifting the pedal with straight arms.  This is great to do with one arm at a time to challenge the weaker side of the body.

frog arms back

  • Teaser 1
    • The goal is to strengthen the abdominals and to open the front of the chest and shoulders.
    • The movement is to lower and lift the pedal with control and to keep the arms straight.  There is a teaser 2 and a teaser 3 and for those you will want to come in to the West Loop studio and try Pilates!

teaser 1

I love the Pilates chairs.  They are my favorites pieces of apparatus especially when I am short on time and I want to hit all the parts of my body and move in all the planes of motion our bodies are designed to move (flexion, extension, side bending, twisting).  If your goal is to become stronger, keep that lean muscle tissue on your body, keep the muscles toned and developed, then you will love how these chairs make your body feel!  Come over to the over-growing West Loop-Chi and try Pilates today!


Building A Stronger You-10