Why this New resurgence of the Wunda Chair?

Posted by Marjolein Brugman on Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Pilates chair—or “wunda chair,” as Joseph Pilates called it was designed specifically to challenge athletes and dancers by building even more core, upper and lower body strength. In my studio it is favored by my male clients because it is difficult to use but effective in its pursuit.

Joe lived in a tiny NY apartment where space was premium so his "chair" had a dual use for seating as well as exercise. 

Today the Wunda Chair is one of many traditional Pilates apparatus and despite its limited range of exercises it is most often used to perform foot work in a seated position and then challenge the body in a more vertical position either seated or standing. It consists of a seat, a pedal that may be split, and resistance that can be altered by the user.

Chairs today are lighter in weight and slightly more versatile than his original but the work is challenging. In the studio it is very effective for creating sport-specific programs for skiers, runners, bikers, soccer players and basketball players, as it develops explosive leg power integrated with core strength and good biomechanics.

While it was originally one of Joe's protégés, Kathleen Stanford Grant who brought the chair back into vogue there are today a few teachers who continue to focus on its use.

Master instructor Elizabeth Larkam, director of Pilates and Beyond at Western Athletic Clubs, San Francisco, teaches an innovative program to clients recovering from hip and knee replacement, and athletes and dancers who want to perfect their performance.

Valentin, of Pilates Body by Valentin in Dublin, California, teaches men-only classes who love the physical challenge and can achieve remarkable upper body strength without requiring the flexibility needed on other Pilates equipment.offered by this equipment.

Tom McCook, director and co-owner of Center of Balance in Mountain View, California, uses the chair to train Olympic Gold Medal swimmer Natalie Coughlin. 

Rachel Battaglia, group exercise director for Triton Sports Center in San Antonio, launched a very successful EXO® Chair group program in June 2008 offers eight classes weekly, with eight to 10 participants in each class. 

I am sure that Joseph Pilates would agree with me that the magic of Pilates occurs first on the reformer where your imbalances, and imperfections in movement patterns become immediately apparent and remedied.  Once your body is corrected, strong, balanced and flexible the Chair, Barrels and Spine Correctors are tremendous accessories used to target specific body parts and achieve more elaborate physical goals.


Pilates Articles

Pilates FAQs

    You've got questions? We've got answers.

    Check out our frequently asked questions answered by Marjolein Brugman. Still need help, or maybe some support? Visit our community and connect with thousands of other lighterliving™ members.
Join for free
Already a member? Login:
E-mail address Password  
forgot your password?    Remember me

Community Benefits

  • Health and nutrition tips by Marjolein Brugman
  • Free Pilates training downloads
  • Share stories with other members
  • Messageboards for advice and support
  • A chance to win contests
  • Discounts on store items

Stories of Change

Read real stories by real people whose lives have been changed by lighterliving™.
View the stories and tell your own