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Hi, I’m Gia Calhoun, and today we’re gonna do an exo chair class. I’m gonna use the spring settings that work best for my body, I’m about 5’4″. Feel free to adjust as you need to go. This is a beginner-ish class, so feel free to follow along if you’re new to the exo chair or you’re just returning back to your chair work. We’re gonna start with pumping.
I’m gonna sit on the chair, about in the middle of the chair. I have my springs on… I start from the bottom as one and then all the way up to the top at four. So I have one spring on one, and one spring on three. So I’m gonna start in a first position or Pilates stance.
I have my heels together, toes apart. I’m on the balls of my feet on the chair. And then I’m just gonna have my hands resting on the side here. If you want a little extra support, you can kind of hold on. This chair is nice that it has these holes here so you can kind of use it for a little traction.
So, keeping your spine nice and tall, pulling your abs in, you’re gonna push the pedal down as far as you can, or about halfway, and then pull it all the way up into your abs. And push down, and lift, down and lift. Inhale, exhale. (breathes sharply) So I like to pull into my abs every time I exhale, and then it makes a little bit more room for my legs to come up toward my chest. We have four, and three, two, and one, bring it all the way up. We’re gonna change your feet so that you’re on your arches.
Legs are glued together. I’m gonna wrap my toes around as much as I can kind of like a prehensile on the reformer. Same thing, we push down and up, down and lift. (Gia breathing sharply) So I’m trying not to rock forward and back, sitting right over my sit bones. And we have four, three, pull into the abs, two, one, bring it all the way up, changing the feet onto our heels, legs are still glued together, flexing the feet, all five toes are coming back towards your shins pushing down and lift, down.
Think of pushing from the backs of the legs and then pulling up from your abdominals. Four, three, two, and one. One more foot position. We’re gonna come onto your toes again, but this time in parallel. Your heels are lifted nice and high, as high as you can get them.
Your weight is kind of between your big toe and your second toe, so you’re not rolling out towards your baby toe, you wanna keep ’em nice and straight, pushing down and lift. Again, I’m trying not to gripping my quad. So I’m using the backs of legs to push down. My abs are pulling the legs back up toward my chest. We have four more, and three, two, we’re gonna hold the last one down.
Hold it here, my legs are gonna be parallel to the floor. I’m trying to keep my thighs where they are, I’m gonna move the pedal by bringing my toes up toward my shins and then pushing my toes down toward the floor. Toes come up and then toes go down. So only the pedal is moving. The thighs are trying to stay still.
The abs are pulled in, your spine is long. We have four, look simple, but it’s actually quite difficult, and two, last one, good. Pull that pedal all the way up with control and then come on off. (breathes sharply) So we’re gonna go into a little ab work. So you can just lie down on your chair, we’re gonna use it as a mat for a second. So you’re gonna lie down (exhales) on it long ways.
You gonna pull your abs in, curl your head up, arms are gonna reach out long, stretch your legs out to a position where you can hold it, Table Top is fine, and we’re gonna pump for the 100. So we’ll inhale, two, three, four, five, and exhale, two, three, four, five. Inhale, (inhales) and exhale. (exhales) Inhale, really squeeze the legs together, exhale. Inhale, (inhales) and exhale. (exhales) This is five, and exhale. (exhales) Six, reach the arms and legs longs, exhale, seven. Exhale, (exhales) eight, exhale.
Last two, curl a little higher if you can, exhale. Last set, and exhale. Hug your knees into your chest, let your head go back if that feels okay for you. And then we’re gonna curl your head back up and we’ll go into the series of five. So you’re gonna have your right hand on your right ankle, left hand on your right knee, left leg is gonna reach out.
You’re gonna pull and switch legs, and pull, switch, and switch. Pull, inhale, inhale, exhale, exhale. Elbows are wide. Inhale, exhale, keep curling up. Inhale, inhale, exhale, exhale.
Last set, (breathes sharply) pull both knees in. Let your head go back for a second if that feels okay, and then curl back up for a double leg stretch. We’re gonna reach arms and legs out away from each other. Circle the arms, hug your knees in to your chest. Inhale, reach long.
Exhale, circle hug in. (exhales) Three more, inhale, exhale, in, and reach, (exhales) last two, (breathes sharply) and last one. (breathes sharply) Okay, we’re just gonna do one more in the series of five, so we’re not doing the whole series. But it’s a little harder on this chair because you have a narrower base than you do on the mat. So both legs are gonna come up to the ceiling. You’re gonna grab your right ankle or thigh and lower the left leg up. You’re gonna pull this right leg in two times, switch legs, switch and pull, pull, switch, pull, pull, switch, elbows are wide just like they were in the single leg stretch, and pull, pull, switch.
Good, breathe how it works for you. Pull, pull, switch, and pull, pull. And we have two more sets. Last one, and both knees in. Good, come on off your chair safely, I want to change the springs.
So I’m gonna do one spring at three and we’re gonna do some single leg work. (breathes sharply) So I’m gonna stand right in front of the reformer and then I’m gonna bring my right foot onto the pedal. I’m gonna make a triangle with my hands and then place that right in the center of the platform. My knee is gonna go right between my hands. And then you wanna make sure you’re not right on your kneecap. There’s a little indent in your knee, you wanna kind of go in there so that way you’re not putting unnecessary pressure on your kneecap.
So we’re gonna just move your ankle. So you’re gonna keep your knee where it is. Your hands are kind of here for support, and you’re gonna push the pedal down by pointing your toe and then flexing. So we point and flex. So even though we’re moving your ankle, you wanna still think your abs being engaged.
They should be nice and warm after the ab series just did. Three more, and two, last one. Good, push the pedal down and hold. I’m gonna try to keep my balance as I lift myself up to a standing position. I’m keeping my heel up and then I’m gonna bring my hands behind my head.
You can bring your hands behind your hip if that feels better for you. You’re gonna keep the heel high as you push the pedal down, and then use your abs to pull it up. So it’s a little balance challenge. Again, feel free to make the springs heavier or lighter if you need. You wanna feel like you’re getting support but that it’s not knocking you over.
Good, four more. Pull into your abs to lift the pedal up. And three, and lift, two, lift, last one. Good, now we’re gonna add a twist to this. So as you push down, you’re gonna rotate toward the leg that’s moving, and then come back to center as you lift the pedal up.
If any of this is a struggle for balance, you can always bring your chair next to a wall, and hold onto a wall or a counter. You can also have a stick or a dowel near you, and use that on your opposite side as you’re balancing. So you do have some options if balance isn’t your strength. Four more, rotate as you lower and lift, and rotate and lift. Trying to keep your hips square, rotate and lift, last one Good, back to center.
Pull into your abs to lift that foot off the pedal, bring your foot down to the floor, we’ll do the other side. So you’re gonna make your little triangle with your hands. The left foot’s gonna come onto the pedal, and then you’re gonna bring your knee right in between your hands. So again, the knee stays where it is, you’re gonna move just the ankle. So you’re gonna push the toes down to lower the pedal, lift the toes up to flex.
So point and flex, and point and flex. Again, your abs are still working, giving you support. And point and flex, two more. Point and flex, last one, good, point and hold, With control, you’re gonna lift yourself up into a nice tall position. One leg is gonna be a little bit more challenging than the other.
And then you’re gonna push the pedal down and then pull it up into your abdominals. Lower and lift, that heel is still very high, lower and lift, good. So thinking of opposition, so you’re pushing down in that standing leg going up through your spine, three more, to give you the support and stability that you need to balance. Last one, adding your rotation. So you’re gonna push down, rotate toward that leg, and then back to center as you bring it up.
Rotate as you push down, and then back to center. Trying not to hike up your hip, staying as square as you can, you might find that this side doesn’t rotate as much. For me, that’s the case ’cause it’s a little harder for me to balance on this side. And lift, two more, lower, back to center as you lift, last one. And then with control, you’re gonna pull the pedal all the way up.
Pull into your abs to lift your leg up, and then put it down onto the floor. So we’re gonna go into a double arm press down. So I’m gonna stand about one foot distance away from the front of the chair. Arms will come up. I have my legs about hip distance apart, but you can have yours a little bit wider or narrower, whatever works for your body.
You’re gonna lift up and over into an arc. I like to turn my fingers to face each other. I wanna try to keep my weight toward the balls of my feet, not toward my heels, and then I’m rounding my back, pulling up into my abs to keep that nice flexion. So thinking of using the top of my head to push the pedal down. So my head stays between my arms the whole time, and then I’m gonna use my abs to pull the pedal up.
So pushing down from the top of my head, trying to keep the length in the spine, and then abs pull me back up, and pushing down, and then back up. One more, and then back up. Now you’re gonna push down and hold. Keep your weight where it is. You’re just gonna bend your arms.
Elbows will go out to the side and then push down with the pedals, and then bend and press. So I’m trying not to let my weight shift forward or back, and then I deepen my abdominals every time I push down so that I can deepen my curve in my spine, one more. Now keeping my weight forward, I’m gonna pull the pedal up with my abdominals, release it with my hands, and then keep coming all the way up to standing, arms stay by your ears, and then we repeat that. So you’re gonna lift up and over, hands hit the pedal, turn your fingers in if that feels okay to your shoulders, and then you’re gonna think of pushing from the top of your head as you lower the pedal down, abs pull the pedal up. And then push down, arms stay straight for this whole first section and then pull up, and push down, and lift.
You can micro bend your knees if you need to, if you have tight hamstrings. Two more, and lift, hold it down. Keep your spine where it is, just bend your arms, elbows are wide, and then push down and bend. Straighten, three more, and stretch, two, stretch, last one. And then roll all the way up.
Pull into your abdominals, keep rolling up, arms come up with you. Push your arms down, grow your spine a little taller. And we’re gonna come to the other side of the chair for some swan. So, nice thing about this is we don’t have to change the springs. So you’re gonna lie on your chair.
You wanna kind of find the position that works best for you. I like to push the pedal down and then see where I am so that my shoulders are right over my wrist, and then I let the pedal come up. Sometimes you might need to adjust a little further back depending on the size of your torso. So, keeping your spine long, I’m just gonna pull the pedal all the way up and then push it back down. Legs are part or together, whatever feels good to your back.
Trying to keep my back from arching, trying to keep it in a nice long position. Pulling up in the abdominals for support, legs are reaching long, elbows are pointing back as they bend, two more. Last one, keep the arms straight this time, you’re gonna keep straight arms as you lift your chest up. Try to open your chest and then lower your chest back down into that flat back position. So you lift chest up, legs stay still, and then you lower.
Again, lifting your chest up, nice long arms, lower, last one. And then come back to that neutral spine. We’ll do the arm pumps again. So you bend your arms and stretch, bend, stretch, three, four, one more. Keep the arms straight on this next one, we’ll lift the chest up for a swan, and then lower back down, and lift up and lower.
Two more, lift and lower. Last one, good. Now you’re gonna bring one hand to the platform of the chair to help you come all the way up as you bring the pedal up. And then you’re gonna stand right against the chair. You don’t want your legs to touch ’em, but you’re just about an inch away.
Arms are gonna come back up to the ceiling, and then you’re gonna do your double press down from here. So you’re gonna round over, hands on the pedal, this time you can have your fingers facing front, and you’re just gonna think of leading with the top of your head again, if you push the pedal down, I’m trying not to touch the chair with my legs and then abs pull me back up. So you push down, nice flexion as a counter stretch to the extension we just did, and then pushing down, and then abs pull you back up, (exhales) two more. And lift, last one, and lift. Okay, keep your weight forward over your balls of your feet.
Roll up, bring your arms with you so they’re by your ears, and then push your arms down grow a little taller. So we’re gonna change the springs. I’m gonna lower the one spring I have on just a little bit. So I’m at two instead of three. I just like it a little bit lighter for these next few exercises, but do what works for you.
And then we’re gonna sit in the front of the chair. So, you want your arms about arms distance away. Your legs are a little wider than your chair. We’re gonna flex your feet, kind of like you’re doing spine stretch on the mat. So sitting up nice and tall, you wanna pull into your abdominals, and think of getting your glutes involved to get you a little bit higher, and then you’re using your lats as you push the pedal down.
So you’re gonna lift up as you push the pedal down and then back up. So you may need to adjust after your first one, see what works for you, and lift. So I’m trying not to bend my arms. They might have a little micro bend just so I don’t hyperextend. And I’m trying not to lean back, I’m trying to stay right over my sit bones.
Okay, keep flexing your feet and lift, two more, and lift, last one. And we’re gonna turn this into a spine stretch. So as you push down, you’re gonna round your back and then come back up to sitting tall, and then round your back as you push down, and lift. So you may be able to go further than me or you may not go quite as far as me. It’s up to you, everyone’s different.
Just go where you can, where you feel controlled, (inhales) and that the springs aren’t doing the work for you, you’re still controlling that spring. (inhales) One more, (exhales) and lift. So we’re gonna let go of the pedal. We’re gonna lie down. Again, you may need to adjust as you’re down there, and we’re gonna bring your feet up on top of the pedal. So we’re gonna bring the feet into a little butterfly position.
You’re gonna have the soles of your feet together, knees are out wide. Again, you’ll adjust as you go, see what works best for you. So you wanna try to keep this external rotation from the hips as you push the pedal down, and then keep the external rotation as you let the pedal lift up. So you push down from the hips, and then back up pulling into your abdominal still, pushing down, and lift. So as I’m pushing the pedal down, I’m trying not to arch my back, trying to keep that nice neutral spine that I had earlier when I was sitting, and lift, and lower, and lift.
Two more, and lift, last one. Good, bring the pedal all the way up. We’re gonna change to a parallel position. I like to be on my arches or heels. You do what works for you.
We’re gonna keep the legs hip distance apart. So you’re gonna push the pedal down and then back up to the ceiling again. So you push the pedal all the way down to the floor and lift. So again, feel where you need to be, sometimes you might feel like you need to be closer to the pedal, sometimes you might need to be further away. You can adjust as you go to find the position that works best for you.
And lift, just try to keep the legs parallel, weight even on the feet as much as you can, arms are reaching long, and lift. We’re gonna hold this next one down, keep the pedal down, stand on your feet and you’re gonna roll up into a bridge. And then you’re gonna roll back down. (exhales) Pedal stays down. We’re gonna roll up into your bridge and then roll down. Try to keep the neck long, your chin is off your chest and your bridge.
Two more, rolling up, reaching your knees toward the chair, and then back down, and then roll up. Last one, roll down. You’re gonna let the pedal come up and then push it back down, we’re gonna add on. So, you can keep doing the bridge that we were just doing or we can add on. So you’re gonna roll up to your bridge, hold it if you’re gonna add on.
Otherwise keep rolling up and down, you’re gonna bring your right leg up to Table Top for a little march and then lower it back down. Left leg comes up, and lower back down. Just alternate your march into Table Top, we’re trying not to shift the hips too much, try not to let that pedal come up, and right, and left. One more each side, right, and left. Keep both hips up nice and high, take a deep breath.
As you exhale, roll down one, but at a time reach your arms long, your head is reaching in the opposite direction. Once your tailbone is down, the pedal comes back up and then we lower it back down one last time. Roll up into your bridge again. Launch your pedal’s down, (exhales) we’re gonna bring your right leg up again into Table Top. You can go into the marches again if you’d like, or you can bring that right leg straight up to the ceiling.
You’re gonna lower it down to meet the chair and then bring it back up. So you can think of tapping the chair and back, tap, kick up, tap and kick, two more. Tap, kick, last one, and then bring that foot down to the pedal, and then other leg up to the ceiling. So we tap it down and lift, tap, lift three, four, two more, five, and six. Bring that leg down to the pedal.
Hips come a little higher as you inhale. As you exhale, roll down one bone at a time. Once your tailbone is down, you’re gonna bring the pedal up. And then hug your knees into your chest, just rock side to side, take a breath. (exhales) We’re gonna come to a kneeling position next. So we’re gonna rock up to a seated, and then you’re gonna come onto your knees.
So the spring’s gonna stay the same. We’re going to be out in the middle of the chair and then you can bring one arm up to the ceiling, the other hand’s on the pedal. You’re gonna lift up and over as you push the pedal down into a little side bend, and then back up. So the goal is to keep the hips as even as you can. So the arm that’s up, I’m trying to push that knee down a little bit more, to get a little bit more stretch on the side of my body, pushing down, and up.
One more, hold it here. I’m gonna turn my fingers to face front, and then I’m gonna bend my arm, and then as I stretch I’m trying to get a little deeper stretch. Bend, deepen that stretch, two more, bend, deepen, last one, and deepen, and then lift all the way up with control, and then we’ll turn to the other side. So I’m about in the middle of the chair, about hand distance away again. Other arm up to the ceiling, I’m gonna lift up and over, and then lift my side back up.
So again, that opposite knee, I’m trying to push that down so my hips can stay even, try not to let the stretch pull me off my center. Lift, and two more. Hold this last one down. I’m gonna turn my fingers to face front, and then bend the arm deep in the stretch as I straighten, bend, stretch, bend, stretch. Two more, and reach, last one.
Good, lift all the way up with control, and then come on back down. So we’re gonna come up and change the springs again. So we’re gonna go back to one at two and one at three. So we have two springs on. Again, feel free to make this heavier if you need to.
We are gonna be lifting the pedal up at a certain point if that works for you, and sometimes the heavier the spring is, the easier it is to lift the pedal up. So, with control you’re gonna push this pedal down. We’re gonna stand on it with both legs, and then I’m gonna hold onto the back of the chair here. You can hold onto the side if that feels better for you, if you have tighter shoulders or broader shoulders. And then I’m gonna bring my weight over my hands, pulling up on my abs, and trying to round my back as much as I can.
I’m keeping my heels together and legs glued together. And I’m gonna lower my heels down toward the floor to get a little stretch of my calves, and then lift my heels up. So we lower the heels down and lift. So as I’m lowering, I’m trying not to just collapse into it, I wanna keep my abs pulled up, and keep that round back position that I had, and lift. We have four more.
Lift, three, up, two, last one. Now we’re gonna keep the heels up. I’m gonna bring my heels together, toes apart ’cause I prefer it this way, but you can stay parallel or even hip distance apart. You can keep going with the tendon stretch that you were just doing, or if it feels okay to you, you’re gonna pull up into your abdominal so much that you float the pedal up. Go as high as you can, and then you’re going to control it back down toward the floor, pulling it up, trying to keep the round back, especially in your low back, tailbone is under.
We have three more, and push down. And two, keeping your head between your ears just like we did it earlier in that push down, last one, and down, and then control it down. You’re gonna come on up, take a breath, (breathes sharply) shake out your legs, (exhales) shake out your arms. We’re gonna finish with the mountain climber. So we’re gonna bring the pedal back down.
We can keep the same spring or if you want it a little heavier again, feel free to change it. We’re gonna bring the pedal down. One foot’s gonna be on the pedal, the other foot’s gonna be at the back of the chair. Both legs are parallel, we’re gonna hold onto the back of the chair again. You can feel free to grab onto it or just use your fingertips, whatever you need.
If you want a little bit more stability, you can also do this against the wall with balance. So I’m trying not to have my stomach touching my thigh. I’m pulling my abs in to try to keep a little space between my torso and my thigh. And then I’m gonna float the pedal up just an inch, keeping my back round, I’m gonna bend my knee, pull my knee back into my chest and then push it back down. So we bend, and stretch.
Hips are square, and bend, stretch, think of pulling in from the abdominals, that back heel is staying lifted. Two more, last one. Bring that pedal all the way down to the floor, and then we’re gonna switch sides. So back foot’s gonna stay parallel on the balls of your feet. The other foot’s gonna come to the back of the chair, again, parallel as well.
Fingertips all hold on, make sure your abdominals are engaged, you’re gonna float that pedal up just an inch. And then from here, bend your back leg and stretch, bend, stretch. So make sure it’s not just the movement from the ankle, it’s that whole leg coming in to your chest. Bend, stretch, bend, two more. And then push it all the way down.
Bring that foot off to the floor. Control the pedal back up. Stand on the mat with both arms, arms come up. You’re gonna push your arms down, grow a little taller, take a breath, and you’re all finished. Thank you for taking class with me, and I look forward to seeing you next time.