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New High Back Chair at WAP

In November 2014 at the Pilates Method Alliance Conference in San Diego a few of the WAP Girls went to a workshop by Deborah Lessen. It was on the High Back Chair which we have in our studio now.

What we didn't know was the chair being used was designed by Deborah and based off Joseph Pilates original chair and springs. The excitement we felt watching her go through exercises using not only the chair but, arm and leg springs attached was hard to control. Each of us had different clients running in our heads that this chair could help in terms of strength, stability, flexibility and connection and awareness.

We knew this chair had to be at WAP. 

Some clients who have issues in their lumbar spine are unable to do Teaser and we watched as the back of the chair with the springs attached could get the client to get the Teaser work and the benefits and strength but, the back was protected. The ab work and having that connection while using the springs tension to really feel the work was exciting.

What about the rowing work on the Reformer? This chair gives your body  feedback about what your upper back is doing. You can feel the connection while using the springs.

We have been working with Deborah as she makes sure the springs and the resistance is perfect and finally it is on its way to our studio! We will now have 2 High Back Chairs and 2 Wunda Chairs with one having a split pedal. Each has a use that is unique for the client.

The Wunda Chair was developed in the 1940s as the original portable home gym. In addition to performing as exercise equipment, the original chair doubled as a piece of furniture. The chair was developed to assure correct symmetry while developing and toning the body at the same time. The exercises performed on the Wunda chair are considered to be very challenging, as the Wunda Chair requires balance and stabilization of the body as well as huge recruitment of the neuromuscular system.While many Pilates exercises are performed seated on top and pressing down on the step/pedal with your feet, others entail lying on the floor, standing straight up, lunging forward or doing push-up like moves with the arms.

The Wunda Chair offers greater balance and control of the body. It offers a whole range of activities including stretching the spine and hamstrings, and strengthening the Powerhouse, legs, feet, calves, Achilles tendon, gluteal muscles, and arms.

We have found our clients have a love/hate relationship with the Chair. You can see it in the eyes as you announce "we are heading to the Wunda Chair". Yet, they follow and do the work. It is hard but, when they are done they feel challenged and proud of what they did.

If you are not familiar with this great apparatus, it is a very versatile piece in the Pilates studio. Many of the exercises are sitting down, it is the Chair right? Pressing the pedal up and down? Wait..now you are lying down on it, you are lying on the floor in front of it, you are standing on it and doing lunges and tricep dips, pushups and doing an upside down Teaser? what?


The Chair has adjustable resistance that makes this a very challenging apparatus. There is a lot of stabilization work for the torso while pressing down on the pedal with arms and legs. If you were watching someone on this you would think...well, that looks easy. It is much harder and when we first demo you can see the client nodding and thinking "sure, I can do that" That tune quickly changes.

The Chair works the lower back, glutes, shoulders, abs and pelvis region of your body. It gives great feedback and is also effective in stretching and rebalancing muscles.

The addition of the leg and arm springs will take our clients Chair workout to a whole new level. We are ready! Sure hope they are!