Monday, May 14, 2012

Review of Chaise 23: Home of the Reinvention Method

Chaise 23 is the latest addition to a new crop of fitness studios, which also include the likes of SLT and Pilates Proworks NY, that are modernizing classic Pilates by updating traditional Pilates apparatus, and creating a signature class around said apparatus. Lauren Piskin, the mind behind Chaise 23 ("chaise" is "chair" in French), has created a workout based around a modified Wunda chair, called the Reinvention Chair. The chair in question has a resistance pedal which adjusts to four different resistances, and is positioned directly underneath a set of "bungees" which are essentially resistance-laden overhead pulleys.

The studio's signature class is the Reinvention Chair, a high intensity cardio workout performed exclusively on the chair. Other classes include Cardio Chair, Butt-Blaster Cardio Chair, Chair Challenge and TRX. Being a bit of a cardio junkie I decided to try Cardio Chair, which was described as "combing high intensity cardio bursts with the defining characteristics of the Reinvention Chair"

Before class, my instructor and former ballerina, Sarah Taylor, gave me a run-down of the class, demonstrating some of the moves we would be doing and describing how to correctly hold the bungees. This was super helpful as it familiarized me with how to maneuver the chair and led to seamless in-class transitions.

The class was non-stop. We pulled onto the bungees for most of the class while doing lunges, wide plies, running in place and jumping jacks. A typical sequence for an exercise would involve doing some slower repetitions, followed by some fast pulsing action and then holding the position for 10 seconds. I'm a big fan of composite exercises that target multiple muscle groups at once, and this was class full of those. The class was spent partly on the floor (the cardio bursts) and partly on the chair. The chair was certainly humbling. We did one legged lunges with one foot on the chair and the other foot pushing against the pedal. Then there was the pike where he held onto the chair with our hands, both feet placed on the pedal, and hoisted our hips up into the air. Pure core strength involved here. We ended the class lying on the chair on our backs and did target abdominal work including leg lifts, teasers, and the one hundred.

The one-legged lunge. Source

I was dripping with sweat within 10 minutes of the class. Despite it being a mid-day (11am) class during the week, all spots were taken. After class I learned that they were all regulars, which is always a testament to a great class. I loved that it was a small class. Classes with equipment need to be in order for the instructor to watch over and correct form. And this class was no exception. Sarah was amazing. She gave clear instructions, radiated such positive energy and moved around gently adjusting the clients. I must talk about the music in this class, which felt like Sarah had specifically tailored to my musical taste. 80s and 90s hits galore! Think "Love Shack", " U Can't Touch This", "Walking on Sunshine." Talk about fun! When "Come on Eileen" came on it took all my strength not to break out into a dance.

Overall, I loved this class! The Cardio Chair class with its high energy cardio and solid strength training, is up there as one of my favorite of the new classes I have tried this year. And Chaise 23 will be added to my list of new favorite studios. I highly recommend checking out this studio. I, for one, cannot wait to go back!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary class from the team at Chaise 23 but was not obligated to provide a review. I was not compensated for this post. The opinions expressed herein are my own.