What is the BEST Pilates Chair?

Looking to invest in a Pilates chair but unsure which one suits you best? Join me, Lesley Logan, co-founder of OnlinePilatesClasses.com™, as we explore the Wunda Chair, Arm Chair, and High Chair, each offering unique benefits and versatility.

  • Author: lesley.logan
  • April 7, 2024
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Which Pilates Chair Is Right for You?

You’re thinking about getting a Pilates chair, but between the Wunda Chair, the Arm Chair and the High Chair, which one is the best for you? Let’s find out.

Hi, I’m Lesley Logan, co-founder of OnlinePilatesClasses.com. And I’ve been teaching Pilates since 2008. In fact, one of my teachers, he trained with Joseph Pilates and so I’m really excited to nerd out with you on the chair Pilates. I’m going to talk about which one is best for which goals and also you’ll find out which one is my favorite.

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Exploring the Benefits of Pilates Pro Chair

Alright, so what are the Pilates chairs? And like, what are the benefits? And why would you have one? Well, first of all, they each have different benefits. And we’ll go into that with more detail. But more high level, what these chairs can do is provide connections to your body that might be difficult on your own on the Mat, but also, they take up a lot less space as you can see, which is really, really amazing. And then lastly, which I think is really cool, they can challenge the Pilates practice that you have. And so when you’re looking at these chairs, and why you would choose them, each one’s gonna have its different benefits. But each one can actually help you find something in your body, in your practice, that you might not have and take it to the next level while space saving. If you want to go into more detail about all the different types of Pilates equipment, I want you to check out my video on Best Pieces of Pilates Equipment. It’s all my favorites, we go into every single piece that there is including these chairs.

The Versatility of the Wunda Chair

So we’ll start with the Wunda chair because out of all the chairs this one is gonna be the most versatile with all the exercises. If you have my flashcard deck on the chairs, you’ll see that 72% of the cards are on the Wunda chair. So the Wunda Chair was really the first piece of home gym equipment. In fact, if you look at some old videos that Joseph Pilates created, he created a chair for each of his clients to take with him to the Hamptons so they could work out while watching the TV and the chairs, people would flip them over and actually sit in them like a chair. I imagine these are people with small spaces and apartments can flip this over and sit in it. But mostly I just leave it as a Wunda chair.

As far as size goes, you know, every Wunda chair out there is going to have different dimensions. The one I have is based on Kathy Stafford-Grant’s chair. So Contrology made this chair, we have an affiliate link in the show notes if you’re wanting a chair like this. This chair, as far as dimensions, it’s really quite easy to carry around, slide around, you can put it in the corner, it doesn’t take a lot of space, which is why I say like, if you don’t have a lot of space, you don’t have to have to be stuck with the mat. You can actually get a Wunda chair and be able to do a really awesome Pilates practice with the Mat and the Wunda chair.

Choosing the Right Pilates Chair for You

So there are different types, you’ll see when you just look up Pilates chair, you’re gonna get a ton of different ones, some that don’t even look anywhere near like this, some that look close, and you might be wondering ‘which one’s the best for me?’. That is going to depend on your Pilates practice. But personally why I like this one is it doesn’t matter your size as a human, this one is much more sturdy for you to do things on top without it flipping over. The springs can be as light as you need, but also as heavy as you need, which means it’s a lot more versatile.

The prices range for a regular Pilates chair that you would do most of the exercises on, you’re looking at between $800 to $1,200, maybe a little bit more than that, maybe a little less than that. If you start to see chairs in that $200-$300 range, you’re probably limited in a lot of the exercises that you can do. If you got a Wunda chair at home and you’re wondering where to start, you can start with my flashcards. As I mentioned, each card has set up action and how to do the exercises plus some wonderful ways to do the exercises together. Also, we love to do Wunda chair Pilates workouts at Online Pilates Classes. We have a new one every month.

benefits of chair based online pilates classes

Benefits and Differences of the High Chair

Alright, so let’s talk about the High chair. The High chair has similarities to the Wunda chair, we’ve got a heavy pedal, but obviously, it’s higher. So is the seat, and also the little cushion can come off and you have other options to do things on top of the chair. So the difference between the High chair and the Wunda chair asides from height, it’s actually the springs can be a lot heavier. Because this chair weighs more I can have heavier springs. If you put two heavier springs on a Wunda chair, you could flip the Wunda chair when you’re dismounting so you have to be really, really, really careful. With the High chair I can have much heavier springs, and I have the heavy weight of the chair to kind of resist against that. Also, it’s a really good teaching tool. So you see it’s got a big backboard that’s actually designed to help you learn a really good tall back. So this is often like a prep to the Wunda chair. And there’s also some exercises you do on top of the High chair because you’ve got this backboard that you would do on top of the Wunda chair without the backboard. So you always have to have a really good balance.

The Advantages of the High Chair in Pilates

So a lot of people when you start your Pilates practice will learn things on the High chair and then advance to the Wunda chair. Now the price of this is obviously going to be quite a bit more just because of the weight of it. The handles are really lovely because there’s stuff you can do for your arms and your full body. And then the handles make it so that that’s the one exercise I can’t do on the Wunda chair, whereas I could do everything else that you want to do on the High chair.

So the price of this, you’re looking at over $1,000, probably closer to $1,500, depending on manufacturer and shipping and tax where you are, because again, it does weigh a lot. This particular one is not Contrology yet, I’ll keep checking my show notes because as an authorized demo center for Contrology, I will let you know when there is a Contrology High chair and I will have one myself. So always check our notes, you can comment below and I’ll let you know if it’s ready. Another thing I want you to just notice, it does take up a bit more space base wise, and so not a lot of people are going to get a High chair. But if you can get access to one, you do want one with a back. You will see chairs, and we’ll talk about them later, that don’t have the back. And I really really love the back. But in my flashcards for the chairs, I do share how you can make your Wunda chair, a High chair.

pros of the high chair online pilates classes

Exploring the Arm Chair in Pilates Practice

So let’s talk about the Arm chair, also known as the Baby chair. You can call it either chair, although it’s easier to search Arm chairs. With Baby chair you might come up with some other things are not Pilates equipment. But as you can see, it is a chair very different than our Wunda chair and High chair. You do want to find an Arm chair that moves, you want the back to move because that does really help teach you some amazing things.

So one of the things I love about the Contrology one specifically is obviously the chair moves, but it has a handy dandy little plate. So if I don’t want it to lean back as far I can change that setting, especially if I have someone who’s like needing more connections or newer to the equipment, this position is going to be nicer or if they have a bit of a neck thing, this is gonna be really nice. And then I can move it back to challenge someone and make it more advanced. But you can really learn your rowing exercises here, this is really great. You have these nice springs, they’re nice and handy, because Reformer springs can be really heavy. So this is really nice to learn those rowing exercises, really helps you teach that arm-back connection. Again, we have a back here, just like on the High chair that really teaches us how to get that tall back, how to move and articulate our spine without sinking down. So it’s really fun, there’s a lot of different things you can do.

Pilates Arm Chair: Shoulder Strength

The price range is going to be over $1,000 for this. And you know, I understand that those things are expensive. But if you really are someone who struggles with a shoulder connection or upper back connection, and you’re wanting to have a Pilates practice that’s more accessible, I love this chair because you don’t have to go all the way onto the ground. You don’t have to have a Reformer. You can do Kneeling chest expansion on here, the Swakatee arms, there are so many Pilates Reformer exercises you can do on here, it doesn’t take a lot of space up. I also have an Arm chair workout here on this channel. So if you’re like ‘Okay, I have one, but what do I use it for?’ You can work out with me, you can also learn more about the Arm chair in our flashcard series. I did make sure to put it in there. Because in my dreams, everyone will get an Arm chair. And I didn’t want anyone to go ‘what do I do with this thing’. So here’s what you do with it. There’s so many different things. And I really think you’ll love how you can actually even teach the legs how to interact with your whole body.

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The Combo Chair: A Space-Saving Pilates Solution

Alright, so I do want to talk about the Combo chair. While I don’t have one, I do think it’s important to talk about the options for them, because there are some Combo chairs that actually look like High chairs. And then the big piece of wood from the back can get pulled off. And then another piece of wood can get pulled off and then you have a Wunda chair. And that’s super fun. Now, the only reason I would say to do that is if you have a small space, and you want to have both and you can’t have both. Having used one of those, it is a heavy piece of wood that you will be hoisting on and off. But again, I think it’s worth doing if that’s what you’re wanting.

There are Combo chairs where there is no back and the arms do come off. I’m not such a fan of those. And I will say it’s not to knock them, because actually the company that I love makes them. I love what they do already, they make them as well. What I don’t love about them is the type of exercises I perform on them are not always as accessible because the base of the chair gets smaller. And so then you have less room to do the exercises for your seat or your hips. And that’s my big complaint about having a Combo chair as a Wunda a chair.

If you can only get one, I’m going to say just get straight up a Wunda chair. If you have the option to get the Combo chair with the wood that comes off, that’s going to be really great. Of course it does mean more money but you’re getting two chairs in one. So that’s really nice. But Combo chairs just mean that you could do High chair stuff on it, you could do Wunda chair stuff on it. But again, if you watch my video on Reformer Tower combo, you know that whenever you combine things you do end up losing out on some things. And so that’s the thing you want to think about.

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Pilates Chair Selection: Finding Your Perfect Fit

All right, so how do you choose the best chair for you? Well, I hope you tell me what your goals are in the comments below so I can help you. Honestly, it really is going to depend on your needs, your goals, the space that you have. I love helping our OPC members pick out their equipment, it is my favorite thing to do. It must be because I used to love helping people shop. So I really do love it. So you can put in the comments your goals that you’re looking for, exercises you’re struggling with, and that’s gonna help me.

But if you’re like ‘Lesley, I just want to buy something’ I’m gonna say the Contrology Wunda chair and I’ll tell you why. One, by far the best in the business. Really amazing quality, great price point, it’s actually cheaper than most of the chairs out there on the market. And because of the way it was made, the wood, all that stuff, it’s much more sturdy, so it’s gonna be more supportive based on your body size. Also, the springs are going to be more supportive on helping you get into exercises. And also then you can change the levels of it, plus it doesn’t take that much space up. So this one is the most versatile, has the most exercises. And as I mentioned, there are some ways to make it feel like it’s a High chair, if you’re wanting to learn how to put your back up against something. So that’s really the best one, the Contrology Wunda chair. That’s what I want you to do.

Mat Pilates: A Foundation for Your Practice

If you’re like ‘I’m not ready to purchase yet, I don’t know what to do, how to start my Pilates exercise chair’, the Mat is where it’s at. You don’t have to have any equipment for the Mat. The Mat is hard. It’s definitely not easy. But it is an amazing apparatus, a great tool that allows you to get your Pilates practice in your body, wherever you are. We have a great Mat workout for you. We have different ones for all levels. And at OPC every single week, we drop a new Mat class. And every single month we film one live, and we provide feedback on your form and give you answers to your questions and also help hold you accountable because I believe everyone should have access to the Mat and to do that.

So if you’re like ‘Oh, I love the Mat, but I want some reformer’ We have a whole video on how to choose a Reformer. So I hope you check that out. We love to make sure that you’re buying the best piece of equipment for you and your goals because here’s the deal. These things are not cheap, and I don’t want you to buy one that ends up not being what you need and then you have to buy something else. So definitely check that out. Thank you so much and have an amazing day.

By lesley.logan

Lesley Logan, NCPT, is the founder of OnlinePilatesClasses.com, the first free online catalogue of Pilates exercise tutorial videos, where you can also find weekly online mat classes and workshops. When not teaching from her studio in Los Angeles, Lesley can be found traveling the world leading Pilates retreats, or offering Pilates business coaching to studio owners and other instructors through her private mastermind group. Connect with Lesley on instagram @lesley.logan or through the contact page on this site.

Loving this Pilates exercise tutorial? Take weekly online Pilates mat classes with Lesley Logan.
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SUCH A TEASE

ONLINE MAT & REFORMER PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

Teaser is probably one of the most photographed exercises in Pilates. Which makes people think it's a "peak pose." But, it's anything but! It's simply another layer to your Pilates practice. This week we will acknowledge how each exercise contributes to your ability to do Teaser (someday) and then how Teaser teaches you where to get curious in your practice.

On the Mat we will use light weights for one round of Teaser as they can be helpful for those still adding into their practice.
No props on the Reformer.

See you in class,

xx~LL

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, light weights and a Mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a Reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

UP, UP, & AWAY

ONLINE MAT, REFORMER, CADILLAC & WUNDA CHAIR PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

We are all going to feel like Super Humans after this month!!

Whenever I’m in a hard exercise (for me) where I’m holding myself up with my arms and reaching my legs away I picture myself with super human strength!!! I can do ANYTHING! It makes me smile and helps me stay STRONG.

This month our exercise is Up Stretch and when you think about it - reaching your legs away and staying strong over the carriage may feel a lot like flying!

We’ll be focusing on stabilizing our strong cores while staying equally balanced in our arms and legs. We are giving you some amazing building blocks by merging strength and stretch in all directions. You are going to get a little bit of everything that you can use to connect to your Up Stretch (and even your Roll Up and Knee Stretches Off).

Chair: Please have a foam roller and a balance pad available. We are going to challenge your balance safely.

xx-LL

GATHER ROUND

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

We gather good things in circles…friends, flowers, pie! So let’s get our circles on! In this week’s Mat and Reformer classes we’ll be focusing on how the size and shape of circular work changes how we feel an exercise. We’ll even be adding some circular movements along the way! You won’t need any extra props and please, have your box for the Reformer class.

See you in class,
Tami

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, and a mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, box and a reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

ROW ROW ROW YOUR BOAT

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

This week we will focus on all things Rowing! How do the other exercises help our rowing series and how does rowing influence the others! Finding the arm/back connection throughout the class is how we will Row Row Row Our Boat to the finish line!

Light hand weights needed for the Mat class!

See you in class,
Mindi

    MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, light hand weights and a mat!

    >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

    REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a reformer!

    >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

    STAND BY ME

    Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

    The key to longevity is being able to get down to the ground and up again with as little assistance as possible. In this weeks class we are going to focus on how to stand in your feet no matter where they are in space.

    On the Mat we will have a playful ending that Joseph Pilates would do!

    The Reformer we’ll end challenging ourselves standing on our carriage. (Options to do the exercises off the Reformer too!)

    No props needed.

    See ya in class,

    xx~LL 💋

    MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a mat!

    >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

    REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a reformer!

    >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

    FRENEMIES

    Online Mat, Reformer, Cadillac & Wunda Chair Pilates Class Descriptions:

    Hello, it's OPC Teacher Christine here! I used to get commended for my form and flexibility in any type of movement class I went to, even if it was my very first class. But what I struggled with was always hitting a plateau where I couldn't make progress or improvement. For me, that changed when I discovered the strength and control I found in practicing Pilates.

    Getting on the apparatuses puts your body in a position where you find strength, stretch, and control through your center. I was unable to fold my body like origami anymore. One of the mat exercises - double leg stretch - is great for finding a strong center regardless of what the arms and legs are doing.

    For this month, we'll explore using the concept of finding an inner lift of the belly away from the thighs to find a strength in our center, the two-way stretch of the limbs, while controlling the movement of the arms and legs whether they move away from center, or come back to center.

    Mat class: Magic Circle and squishy ball

    See you in class,

    Christine

    HANG 10

    ONLINE MAT, REFORMER, CADILLAC & WUNDA CHAIR PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

    Grip strength as well as upper body strength plays an important role in so many different exercises throughout the mat and all apparatus. Our grip can influence the connection from our wrists - to our arms - to our back. And building strength in our chest and upper back can help us connect more to our center in every exercise.

    All month long we’ll explore the feeling, the strength, and the position of our hands and upper body to see how our exercises change with a little extra focus. We’ll also play with ways to gain more strength and awareness in our chest and upper back to create even more connections to the exercises.

    Props:
    Chair - short pole* and a foam roller for balance
    *A thicker pole or roll down bar size might feel nice, but no worries you’ll find your connections no matter what you have on hand!
    Mat: a pole
    Reformer: No props needed
    Cadillac: No props needed

    See ya in class,
    xx-LL 💋

    I LOVE ROCK & ROLL UP

    Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

    Finding some love for Roll Up and Open Leg Rocker isn't easy! But, these two exercises unlock the potential for so many other exercises. And what we don't like we often need. So, let's dive into what we need to rock our Roll Ups and Open leg Rockers and see how that changes the rest of our practice in the meantime.

    Mat: Magic Circle, Pole or Theraband
    Reformer: have your shortbox pole near by

    xx~LL

    MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, Magic Circle, Pole or Theraband and a mat!

    >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

    REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, short box and a reformer!

    >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.