1 Wunda Chair Exercise to be your BFF

1 Wunda Chair Exercise to be your BFF

My favorite meat-and-veg exercise on the Wunda Chair is the Push Down. This exercise is simply perfection and has countless adoring fans I am sure. I am also in love with the spats worn by Joe Pilates during this ‘workout with audience' infomercial in 1931…

Push Down #1 Fan

My client Gail does the Push Down in her office using her chair and her imagination as her Wunda Chair. The goal is less assistance from the spring and more YOU, so she’s all set. She stretches out the back of her body, works her stomach and then goes on about her day.

On the Wunda Chair even the basic exercises like the Push Down can be quite challenging. That said, it's also a good place to work on other exercises in the system. You are guaranteed to find some good stuff.

1. The Roll Up in Disguise

You can ask yourself all kinds of questions about the Roll Up here:

  1. Am I using my seat when I roll up off the mat?
  2. Is my lower body anchored and stable or is it all wiggly?
  3. What is going on with my bottom anyway?

The Push Down is where you will find the answer.

Your bottom is not the boss of you.

Use your bottom to stabilize the lower body as you roll down toward the pedal. Remember your strap when you do the Roll Up on the Mat? Let it teach your lower body how to behave when it has to stand up to that nasty old Wunda Chair. Push your heels firmly into the floor for the Push Down and conjure up a “strap” for yourself. Wishing you had your strap to help you now? Use your mind: your intelligence, your imagination and most importantly your will to make it so.

Or why not

Kick your own ass?

Arrange yourself and the Wunda Chair so your back is against the wall.

Now do the Push Down.

You'll be a little bit mean to yourself, but sometimes it must be done…

2. Solve the Mysteries of the Elephant

My ribs can never be in enough in the Elephant. Oh I think they are in, and I am working hard, but then I look into my ribs (as one cannot help doing during the Elephant) and they are distinctly pokey-out-ey. Double frownie face.

But wait – What the hell is all that Rowing for anyway?

And in a bold move, how about some stellar help from Rowing 4 on the Reformer! Perhaps you know it as ‘from the hips' – I know, Rowing to help with the Elephant?! Take the help whenever you can get it, folks and maybe we won't use our shoulders. I believe in you. Push on the pedal like you are reaching into those handles – all the way from your low back to the pedal. This is Pilates. This is not an arm exercise, this is a stomach exercise – an entire trunk of the body exercise. Who's got those ribs in now?

Meanwhile back at your bottom…

Use the underneath part of the seat to squeeze together and “point” toward your feet. If you can isolate the bottom here, you can work on the lower body curve of the Elephant position and lengthen the lower back.

Have a go. See if any other exercises spring out at you while you're at it. If they do, please tell us about it by leaving a comment below. Spring, LOL!

Yes, it's just the Push Down, but it's Pilates.

It's in there.

And in other news…

The Pilatesology 30-session Challenge

I have just finished Week 4 of the Pilatesology 30 Session Challenge. I am a little late to the party, yes, but it is never too late to feel fabulous. So far a few observations :

  1. The Pull Up on the Wunda Chair (also BFF-worthy) is a great spot to perfect your Headstands on the Reformer. Yum.
  2. I found straight (well a couple times) in the Snake on the Reformer. Holy hip stretch, Batman!
  3. The Mountain Climb on the Wunda Chair on the left side? Disaster…
  4. The steamy beautiful love affair between the Semi Circle on the Reformer and the Table on the Wunda Chair…not to be missed!


1 Wunda Chair Exercise to be your BFF

You may also like…

Like what you read here? Scroll down a bit…

Subscribe at the bottom of the page and never miss a post.

Pilates Inspiration Delivered Every Week

Like what you read here? Get new posts, workshop updates + good vibes in your inbox.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


  1. Troy hyatt says

    Nice connections you made among exercises. I like!! Hey, what do you think about “correcting the front of the body in the back?” Sometimes, instead of harping on “ribs in” I think it might be good to go from the backside, like “bring your back ribs into the mat,” or whatever. Because of body shape, some people just cannot bring their ribs “in.”

  2. Troy, thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts 🙂

    And yes, I agree with you about too much ‘ribs in’ – Lately I have been enjoying trying to get the arms to start way down at the waist and the lower back so that when the back can lengthen all the way out the arm and to the fingertips the ribs can then stay tucked in… for me if I can get the length in the whole back it helps me get the part behind the ribs as well, ever so elusive…
    And yes on the mat I like it much better because I can feel my back on the mat…in the Push Down and Elephant, not so fun 🙁

    • Troy hyatt says

      Yeah, Elephant is something else. First time I did it, 13 years ago, I thought, “what’s the deal with this? What’s this supposed to be doing for me?” It took me a long time to wrap my head around it, but it’s a great exercise.

      • Yes, I agree…I always think the Elephant never disappoints…and it builds a skill that you need for so many of the fancy intricate exercises…and then I think to myself – oh yeah, it’s the elephant again.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe to receive a Special Bonus Blogpost
How to Fall in Love with the Exercises you Hate
We respect your privacy and never share your information.