Nobody puts Baby in the corner.

Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner

The Arm Chair is perhaps the most underrated and overlooked piece of Pilates apparatus.

Nicknamed the Baby Chair, or the “little old lady chair” for its brilliance with small and frail clients, the Arm Chair is an oft-glossed-over piece of equipment in teacher training programs.

Few studios feature an Arm Chair and generally if a studio does have one at all it may be gathering dust in the corner.

O for a Gratz Arm Chair!

Currently the Arm Chair is garnering ‘new attention’ in the Pilates universe.

A staple in Joe Pilates’ studio, it turns out this versatile piece of equipment is good for everyone. Just try the Rowing exercises from the Reformer on it and you are in for a revelation.

All that time spent talking about getting the shoulders down is superfluous when you have this perfect piece of equipment.

The back of the chair gives you immediate feedback about what goes on behind you in the no man's land of your back muscles.

My arm starts where?

You can now feel if you are connecting into your back or just cranking your shoulders. And ladies rejoice to do Swakate on the Arm chair, originally a man's exercise on the Reformer, where we can have a fighting chance to preserve a modicum of form.

Perhaps ‘rejoice' is too strong a word…

Hang on. Tangent time:

This apparatus can help to illustrate one aspect of Jay Grimes’ magical teaching: One’s ability to choose the most direct route to address any given situation or issue in the body elevates the teaching of Pilates to an art form.

Jay knows how to make the choice of exercises and therefore the Method itself do the work for him.

Jay trusts the exercise to convey the information to the student without a lot of long-winded and therefore meaningless chatter from the teacher. The student can then ‘discover' what the exercise is doing for them ‘all by themselves' and feel like a smarty that knows a secret no one else knows about.

I love it when that happens.

The Arm chair is a wonderful apparatus for the teacher because it gives you such easy access to the person’s body making it also ideal for those tiny Pilates instructors with a clientele of large inflexible men.

Take note – Joe Pilates’ original design of the Arm Chair has a moveable chair back that one must stabilize or control depending on the needs of the person and the demands of the exercise. This means greater versatility allowing weaker clients to work safely and the aforementioned large men to have a challenge.

At the risk of sounding like a commercial, I am merely an enthusiastic fan.

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  1. Jackie drucker says

    What a great piece, Andrea. And the title is brilliant!!!

    • Thanks so much Jackie! I was pretty psyched about the title too. I could barely keep my mouth shut about it while I wrote the post 🙂

  2. OK, now I want one! Great piece Andrea. So exciting to have new equipment to play with. I just moved house and I had to wait a week to unpack my shiny new reformer and wunda chair. Any tips for running a small studio from home?

    • Jon,
      Yes, I have been wanting one for a long time – also when you have the piece of apparatus I think you learn so much more about it – sounds fantastic your new Reformer and Chair!

      Also very exciting that you will be having a studio at home. I am so happy with my home studio – I was hesitant at first as I had always working in a studio setting, but after starting in the house my clients one by one started telling me how much they liked coming to my home. I got busier even without the walk-by option…and I got to have house cleaning services every other week 🙂

      One of the things I did do in anticipation of working at home was to beef up my website and online presence, since that essentially was my storefront. I use Google adwords as well – I pay really a bare minimum per click, but it definitely made me super easy to find – not very expensive and totally worth it.
      Hope this helps, and all the best to you and your studio!

  3. Love this!!! It was a pleasure seeing you this weekend.

    Congrats on your new baby. 😉

    • Thanks Paige! It was so lovely to see you and chat yesterday at Prana Pilates. Thank you so much for all your words of encouragement – truly appreciated 🙂 Have a great Pilates day!

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