First, a big thank you to Stephanie Singer from Uniquity Pilates in New London, New Hampshire for letting me borrow her Exo Chair for this review.
When picking out a new Pilates Chair for your studio or home, you have probably noticed there are a lot of options to choose from. In a previous blog post, I have already reviewed the Wunda Chair and Combo Chair by Balanced Body. Today, let’s take a look at the features of the Exo Chair.
There are so many things to list in the “Pros” column. First of all, it’s a really well-made chair. It feels very solid and sturdy which is impressive considering that it’s light-weight. It’s easy to pick it up and move around when you need to, but the feet at the bottom keep it secure when it’s in use.
The Exo Chair has 2 springs attached in the center which makes a difference for many exercises. While many Chairs attach the springs to the outside of the pedal, the center springs on the Exo Chair help to bring awareness to the pubis, which serves as muscle attachment for adductors, and the pelvic floor. You can feel this in exercises such as Seated Leg Pumps. One downside to consider is that the springs could be in your way if you’re used to keeping your feet together.
When changing the springs on the Exo chair, the height of the pedal stays pretty much the same which makes for a much easier setup compared to Chairs with 4 springs.
This Chair can be ordered or retrofitted with a split pedal, which opens up some great exercises. I would definitely recommend the split pedal. You simply pull the dowel out and the two sides of the pedal will move independently. The pedal is made from wood which contributes to this Chair feeling solid and sturdy. The pads on the pedal are wider than the Wunda Chair which makes it more accessible for more people, especially those with wide shoulders. The wider pad on the pedal is possible because the springs are attached on the inside.
The Exo Chair is 2 inches wider and higher than the Wunda Chair. According to the dimensions on the Balanced Body website, it’s 2 inches higher but it didn’t feel to me like it’s that much higher. No more than one inch, I would say.
It has the option of adding resistance bands called Slastix.
Balanced Body makes a sitting box riser for the Exo Chair which is a great option. For example, if you have a student who can’t do Swan from the top without the legs being supported, this is a great option.
This brings us to one very big consideration to add to the “Cons” column. Unfortunately, this Chair doesn’t have the option for poles. Many students depend on poles for balance, so if this is the first chair you’re buying, you’ll need one with poles. This is especially important to consider in a group class, where you can’t spot everyone at the same time. My recommendation is to leave out any exercises that require a great amount of balance, such as Standing Leg Pump, and those where you’d be standing on top of the chair, such as Forward Lunges or Side Lunges. Even in exercises such as Side Balance I prefer having the poles to help with alignment. But it’s definitely fine to teach group classes using the Exo Chair, just choose appropriate exercises for the people in your class. Don’t put anyone at risk. (I probably like the poles because they keep my heart rate and adrenaline levels at a manageable level. Ha! But I’m a scaredy-cat.)
Regarding cost, the Exo Chair is more affordable than both the Wunda Chair and Combo Chair.
Bottom line, if you want to add a second or third chair to your studio, then the Balanced Body Exo Chair would be a great choice. If you are looking for your one and only chair, look at one that comes with (the option of adding) handles.
Clearly, there’s a lot to consider but I hope this helps you make an informed decision.
What features do you like best and least about the Chair you currently use?
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