Hilary here again…
Another of my favorite exercises is Big Twist on the Wunda Chair.
The Wunda Chair is such a simple piece of equipment, and yet it can provide so much challenge because it’s so small. And Big Twist, also known as Barbie (and probably other names too), combines the most wonderful challenge with an incredible whole-body stretch. It is a variation on Swan, but it adds a twist! This extra twist:
- “wrings out” your lungs
- gives you a big twisty stretch through your back and hip flexors
- provides you an amazing opportunity to find so much more length and decompression in your spine, and
- is an extra challenge to the stability of your shoulders, your ability to control your body, and your balance.
To do Big Twist, set one Wunda Chair spring on level 2 – if you have a split pedal chair, the pedal can be split for a gentler twist or together for a more intense twist.
Mount the chair from the back placing one hip on the seat and your hands on the pedal (you will be on your side). Press the pedal all the way down, and reach your bottom leg forward and your top leg back (the legs are in a “scissor” position). Adjust your body so that your hips are facing the wall and your shoulders are trying to face the floor. Lengthen your body out – reach your legs as long as you can make them, and reach the crown of your head out as long as you can. Reach so long, that you start to lift the pedal up, allowing your eyes to travel out along the floor and up the wall to keep your head in line with your spine. Keep your abs engaged and use them to help you get longer and keep your balance. As you lift, try to twist a little bit more and reach the top leg even longer. Make sure the back bend is spread appropriately through your spine, and that it’s not concentrated in the lumbar spine where it’s easy to back bend. And make sure that your shoulders are neutral (ish) and staying still – you don’t want your shoulders to adjust and take some of the twist away from your back!
Lower the pedal with control, and repeat 3-6 times, trying to get more twist and more length with each repetition. Then turn over and do the same on the other side.
And then stand up and feel how tall and stretched out you are!