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Effectiveness of Malibu Pilates Chair

author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.
Effectiveness of Malibu Pilates Chair
The Malibu Pilates chair is an at-home version of studio chairs. Photo Credit OSTILL/iStock/Getty Images

The Malibu Pilates chair promises to give you a studio workout right in the comfort of your own home. Developed by Carroll Krieff, a well-known Pilates instructor, the chair offers a low-impact way to train the whole body using Pilates-inspired moves.

Whether it delivers on its promises depends on your expectations and your fitness level. While you can train your core as well as your arms, legs and butt, the chair will only work if you actually use it, shape up your diet and add other activity.

A Little About the Malibu Chair

The Malibu chair features a seat with two arm handles, a set of springs, three DVDs to guide workouts and a user guide. It's foldable, so you can store it between uses. It allows you to work your arms and legs individually or combine the movements to make exercises harder.

A variety of exercise options are available with the chair. Sit on the stool as you push the pedals with your feet, using the strength of your legs. Alternatively, you may lie on the stool and push the pedals with your hands.

The DVDs vary in length and intensity of workout. The include: an intro DVD with a 20-minute total-body workout; a 45-minute cardio-style workout with circuits; and a 30-minute workout that's described as "heart-pumping" with renowned Pilates pro Mari Winsor.

Read More: Pilates Exercises to Do at Home for Free

Does It Work?

The answer to this question depends a lot on what you expect it to do. If you expect it to work exactly like a studio Pilates chair that costs twice or even three times as much, you might be disappointed. The springs it comes with only offer so much resistance; if you're particularly strong or large, you're limited in how hard you can work. People of smaller stature also find the positioning of the pedals awkward and some describe the resistance as too intense.

It doesn't allow for springs from other equipment chairs to sub in, so you're stuck with the levels of resistance it comes with. The range of motion is slightly limited, too, as compared to a studio-quality chair.

That being said, the chair is quite stable and offers some variety in terms of movement. Like almost any exercise, you get out of it what you put into it. The Mari Winsor DVD gets particularly high reviews for its ingenuity and ability to get more effort out of your Pilates workout.

Core Purpose

Ultimately, though, the Malibu chair is designed to primarily train your core, as most Pilates exercise is. For this, the chair can be effective, especially if you're experienced in Pilates and already have some strength developed. Newbies or sedentary folk looking to get into Pilates might be overwhelmed by the exercises, resistance and how to position the body on the machine for optimal results.

But, remember that training your core and strengthening your limbs will only get you so far in terms of a fit-looking body. When weight loss or stamina development is your goal, you'll need some quality cardio to help you burn calories and train your cardiovascular system, too. That's hard to get when using the Malibu Pilates chair, even with the higher-intensity Mari Winsor DVD.

Is it a Must-Buy?

Some people say exercise balls and resistance bands allow you to do the same exercises at far less cost. Although the chair is billed as portable, it may be heavy and awkward to move regularly.

It might be possible to replicate chair moves with a resistance band.
It might be possible to replicate chair moves with a resistance band. Photo Credit OSTILL/iStock/Getty Images

If you're really into Pilates and never have a chance to get to a studio, you might appreciate the equipment's variety and the DVDs that come along with it. But, to get results, you have to use it — if you leave it in a corner as an expensive clothing rack, it's not going to do much for your physique.

Read More: The Best Home Pilates Equipment

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