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Pilates Apparatus Fakeout: Pilates Chair

  • April 18, 2016
  • By Brittany
Pilates Apparatus Fakeout: Pilates Chair

Hello hello!  How are you?  Did you have a great weekend?  Ours was very fun although the little guy had a little something making him feel a bit sick.  Poor baby.  He was never sick the entire first year of his life and now he seems to be paying for it!

I am super excited about today’s post because it has been in the works for awhile and today it is finally coming to fruition!  I’ve been regularly taking pilates apparatus classes now for about 5 months.  I never really used to love pilates so much but after realizing how challenging the apparatus classes can be, I’ve become hooked and it has helped me so much in creating my own mat workouts at home.  

But pilates apparatus classes are expensive and most people can’t afford to shell out for the equipment in their own homes.  I decided to recreate pilates apparatus workouts that you can do at home with minimal equipment in my new series called Pilates Apparatus Fakeout.

We are starting the series with one of my favorite pieces of pilates equipment: the Pilates Chair.

pilates chair

The pilates chair is a backless chair that has a pedal on the front and springs on the back to adjust the resistance and it often has handles on the sides.  It is a great tool for challenging your balance and working both the upper and lower body with resistance.  While you may not have a pilates chair at home (although it was designed by Joseph Pilates for small NYC apartments!), you can use a regular old kitchen chair to recreate some balance and resistance challenges.  Check out my suggested moves here, then watch the video for a full workout!



Start lying on the chair with the chair supporting most of your torso but your legs, head, neck and shoulders off the ends.  Extend on leg to the ceiling and grab behind the calf of that leg bending the elbow and keeping the head lifted towards the leg.  Extend the opposite long and point the toe.  Inhale, exhale and switch legs.  Repeat 16x.

Side Bend

Side Bend

Start by sitting on the chair facing forward with one leg bent and resting on the chair.  Hips and shoulders are squared to the front.  Extend the opposite leg out to the side with toe pointed.  Place the opposite hand down on the side of the chair and extend the other arm straight over the extended leg.  Take that arm and reach over to the other side bending through the side body and then lift up returning arm just over leg.  Repeat 8x then switch sides.



Start by sitting on the edge of the chair, balancing on your tailbone.  Lift both legs into tabletop holding on to the sides of the chair.  Keep back straight and abs pulled in.  Lower one toe to the floor then return to tabletop, switch legs.  Repeat 16x.



Start in the same position as prancing.  Extend both legs straight out keeping legs together and toes pointed.  Extend arms out reaching towards toes.  Balance in teaser.  Return to start and repeat 3x.



Start with both hands on the chair and legs extended straight with feet on the floor.  Rise up onto toes and ensure that hips are forward–not piked or dropped down.  Pull abs in and keep arms straight holding the plank position.  Hold for 30 seconds.



Holding onto the chair, rise up onto toes and point one foot behind with leg turned out at the hip.  Lift leg to hip height keeping toe pointed and leg straight.  Tap the toe down.  Repeat 16x then switch sides. 



Lying on the ground with heels on the chair and feet flexed.  Hands are down by the side with palms flat on the floor.  Knees are bent.  Tuck pelvis and lift hips up to a bridge position keeping heels digging into the chair until the hips are on a diagonal plane with the knees and shoulders.  Lower down and repeat 8x.  Then hold bridge and pulse 16x.  Then hold bridge in an isometric hold for 8 counts.



Start by lying prone on the chair with the torso supported by the chair.  Hold onto the chair with both hands on each side.  Lift head, neck and shoulders up at the front.  Pull abs in and squeeze glutes.  Flutter kick straight legs with toes pointed in a swimming motion.  Repeat 24x. 

Attitude Pulse

attitude pulse

Kneel on chair with one knee and seat lifted off heel.  Hold onto the back of the chair with one hand and place your other hand on your hip.  Lift the opposite leg turning the knee out to the side in a bent knee attitude position.  Pulse the leg 16x.  Switch sides and repeat. 

Attitude Extend

Attitude Extend

Start in a kneeling position with seat lifted off the heel.  Hold onto the chair with one hand and the other hand is on your hip.  Place the opposite leg in front of the body with the knee bent and turned out to the side in a bent knee attitude position.  Extend the leg keeping the toe pointed and leg lifted at the same height.  Bend the knee back in to start.  Repeat 16x then switch legs and repeat. 

[bctt tweet=”A pilates chair workout you can do at home! #pilates #pilateschair #pilatesathome” username=”MyOwnBalance”]

For the free workout, check out my pilates video on YouTube!


If you want the full-length workout, check out the full video in my online studio!

Readers, have you ever worked out on a kitchen chair?  Have you tried a pilates apparatus class before–what did you think?

By Brittany, April 18, 2016
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