Pilates reformer… so yesterday. If you want to seriously sculpt and tone your body and ramp up your range of movement and balance, it’s time to get acquainted with the hottest new equipment in town—the ‘Wunda Chair’ and ‘Springboard.’ Unlike the reformer where lying vertically is the norm, the Wunda Chair and wall mounted Springboard allow you to sit, hover, suspend upside down, hang or fly, giving you all of the options to sculpt, tone and contour your core. While the equipment is not new in the Pilates scene, MPower Pilates in Bondi is one of the first studios in Australia to launch combination classes of the two in a group class with a dedicated ‘Spring Studio’ (alongside reformer studio) that offers low and high impact classes with the chair and springboard alongside classic Pilates technique. So, how does it work exactly? Peta Green, pilates instructor for over 25 years and co-owner of MPower Pilates takes us through it.
What is the Wunda Chair and Springboard?
“The Wunda Chair and Springboard (pictured below) are based on the Cadillac; a big bed with poles and springs used in Pilates. The main difference is the ‘Wunda Chair’ and ‘Springboard’ are designed as separate pieces so they can fit small space. The pieces have been around since the reformer days but the reformer was considered more ‘flashy’ commercially, however when combined all together they make for an effective Pilates system.”
Why is it great?
“People love the challenge of the chair as most women who try it have previously done reformer so they can apply what they’ve learned but then add a next level challenge. Plus it’s fun and you can never get bored—you can stand up, lie down, kneel and really just work your body in all different positions.”
Where does it come from?
“There is a common misconception that Pilates is all about reformer and mat, but it’s so much more. Joseph Pilates was an inventor—he once invented an apparatus for doing Pilates in the bath!—so he’s long been about using a variety of equipment in order to hone your technique and move your body from the inside out. At MPower Pilates, we trained under a lady named Romana (who was trained by Joseph Pilates) and have been teaching for 25 years so we wanted to offer all the pieces Joseph Pilates used and that still follows the method we fell in love with.”
“The chair has really specific exercises that get you into your core and will also allow you to work up towards advanced stuff that you can’t necessarily do on the reformer.”
Try these killer core moves:
1. The Pull Up (video) “Imagine you’re in downward dog trying to do a handstand. Feet go on the pedal, hands on the chair, springs attached to pedal lift your feet to tippy toes, body weight goes into hands and your centre of body lightens as you lift from the core.”
2. The Mountain Climb (video) “Place one foot on the chair, one foot will pump the pedal. Expect a full on leg burner that switches on the core.”
3. The Horseback (video) “Straddling the chair, squeeze thighs into it, lift hips and push pedals up and down for a full body and core workout.”