Kauffer's Step Chair

The Step Chair, is one of the main Pilates equipment used in studios, it is a variation of the Wunda Chair, equipment created by Joseph Pilates. It is believed that the equipment was invented because a friend of Joseph wanted to have a Reformer, but did not have enough space.

For this reason, Joseph created the Step Chair, which takes little space and can be used as a chair and as Pilates equipment.

The difference between the original equipment and the Step Chair is that it has two bengals. This allows for a greater variety of exercises, in addition to all those already possible with the Wunda Chair.


The exercises executed in the Step Chair have as main objectives the training of muscular strength, joint mobility, stretching, pelvic and scapular stabilization, balance, breathing and concentration.

The physiotherapist and Pilates professional Paula Kaiser, owner of Pilates Kaiser Studio Pilates, has worked with the Step Chair for more than 10 years. She lists some exercises that can be practiced on the device:

  • Hamstring stretch – The student stands in front of the Step Chair, feet straight, holding the pedals with his hands. It then pushes the pedals down, flexing the torso, and returns to the starting position.
  • The cat – The exercises starts with the student kneeling to the middle of the Step Chair, with the column-shaped in C format and holding the pedals with his hands. Then he should flex the trunk and push the pedals down, moving only the spine. Then it returns to the starting position.
  • Swan front – In prone position, the student holds the pedals with the hands. It then extends the trunk keeping the lower limbs in line and then returns to the initial position.
  • The hundred pumping – The exercise begins with the student sitting in front of the Step Chair. He needs to keep his hands on the pedals, elbows extended, feet up with his knees extended. He should then pump the upper limbs and return to the starting position.
  • Push Up Sideways – The student stands on the side of the Step Chair in plank position, with one hand on the floor and the other on the pedals. Then he pushes the pedal down and then flexes the body down, alternating both movements.

Besides these, another tip of Paula is the application of exercises associated with accessories. Some she recommends are: Balance Disc, Balls and Elastic Band.

Paula also says, in applying the practices, it is important to always keep in mind the student’s/patient’s goal, their limitations and contraindications to each case.


Step Chair versatilityAccording to Paula, the exercises performed in Step Chair can replace practices of other equipment, even if they are different exercises.

This is possible because the practices in Step Chair work with strength and stretching with the same quality than other Pilates equipment. “The class is dynamic and practical, capable of bringing a variety of exercises and postures”, ensure her.

Besides, the equipment is ideal for both physical conditioning and rehabilitation.

Know more about the use of each situation:

  • Rehabilitation

The Step Chair has many possibilities for exercises to the muscular rebalancing, increase of joint range, stretching and strength. According to Paula, rehabilitation strategies should use appropriate exercises for each moment, based on the patient’s pathology.

  • Physical Condition

It is possible to use the Step Chair in a dynamic way, adding exercises of high performance and requirement, always seeking the evolution of the student for an efficient and safe result.


Step Chair Challenges

With the ownership of who has worked with the Step Chair for more than a decade, Paula says the device provides a challenge to the student. Because it has less support, it requires a little more strength and balance from the practitioner.

“In these years of using the Step Chair in my Pilates studio, I could see that the students/patients view it as a challenge. They define the Step Chair as the device that requires strength, balance and a lot of concentration, “she says.

Step Chair Advantages

According to Paula Kaiser, the Step Chair has some advantages over other Pilates devices:

  • It is a compact, space-saving equipment;
  • Easy to use;
  • It has an affordable price;
  • It is adaptable to any level and capacity of the student;
  • It is a great equipment to group classes.

Do you have any other tip about the Step Chair? Leave a comment below.

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