A boxy little companion to the Reformer and the Cadillac, the Wunda Chair was created by Joseph Pilates as a multifunctional piece of equipment that could fit unobtrusively in a general living space. The Wunda chair consists of a seat, a pedal and multiple springs attached to the pedal to create varying levels of resistance. Pilates used the chair in his studio to rehabilitate clients with knee injuries and strengthening muscles in the legs and arms as well as the core. Like other Pilates equipment, the Wunda provides a stable base for improving balance and isolating muscle groups in various parts of the body.
After Joseph Pilates' death, the use of the Wunda waned, as the work of his students tended to focus on the mat and the larger equipment. With the surge of popularity that Pilates has experienced in recent years, interest in the chair, and the film and photography archives of Joe and his students training on the chair, have had a revival. The exercises demonstrated in these archives are what we look to today as the "classical" chair exercises.
Users and makers of the Wunda have since taken advantage of its simple structure and have created additional features that we now see on most Wunda chairs in our studios today. Some changes include an increased number of springs for a range of resistance, a split pedal for the option of a walking/climbing action in the limbs and lightweight materials and models. These, along with a resurgence in exploring the possibilites of the Wunda have allowed it to make the leap from a living room specialty to a highly versatile, full body conditioning tool, useful for everyone from people in post-rehabilitation to athletes.
Perhaps a not-so-humble Wunda after all!