MVE Pilates

I’ve been trying to be sure to get to the YMCA for a class at least once a week.  And by “trying,” I mean, that I went last week and decided I should go again the week after and so far that’s the whole trend.  It’s a two week trend, but it has a lot of good intentions behind it!

Anyway, you all know how well last week’s class went.  And tonight I was supposed to have a meeting at 6:30 (which has now probably been rescheduled to tomorrow) and I have band practice on Thursday (yeah, it’ll have to be a short meeting), so yesterday was the only day of the week that I could get there.  So, yea for me!  I went to the gym.

The class was called “MVE Pilates.”  I guess it’s actually supposed to have a small “e” so it’s “MVe” and it stands for “Maximum Versatility Exercise,” according to the YMCA class description.  And you use one of these chair things (linky). 

MVe chair

That thing is not nearly so benign as it looks.

See that horizontal bar bit?  It’s attached to the bottom of the seat with a spring that has four settings to adjust the tension – 1 is easiest to push down and 4 is hardest.  So the workout?  All has to do with that bar.


Sit on the seat and push the bar down with your feet.  Extend the arms forward and pull them back in rhythm with the legs, and then add abs so it’s a little like a crunch.  Then do it with one leg, while the other points straight forward.  And switch!

Lean over the chair, facing the seat, with your toes on the bar and your hands holding onto the sides of the seat.  Then shift your weight onto your arms, tighten your abs, and lift your legs up into the air, keeping them straight until the bar is all the way up.  And then push the bar back down to the ground.  And then do it again, except instead of going back down to the ground, pulse it there with your arms holding you aloft and your knees bending in toward your underarms.

Turn around on the chair and grab the bar with your arms behind you.  Lean backward and push the bar down with your arms while balancing your legs in the air.  Then scissor-kick your legs, still while pushing the bar down with your arms.

That one is where I fell off the chair first.  Lost my balance and fell backwards onto the ground, started laughing like crazy, and lifted my arms in the air like a gymnast pegging her landing.  It hurt a little, that bar banged me right in the small of my back, and there were 15 people in the class, so everybody saw me do it, but apparently that’s not uncommon for first-timers.  The instructor laughed right along with me.  And I stretched it out a second and then got right back on again.

The second time I fell was when we were sitting on it sideways, one leg extended out to the side, one arm pushing down on the bar and the other straight up in the air, so when we pushed down on the bar, the arm in the air and the leg out sideways were in a straight line, parallel to the floor.  Yeah, I lost my balance again.

It was a good workout, though.  There’s a lot that I couldn’t do, like successfully lift my legs up to my underarms while supporting my body on my arms, and sometimes I’d just laugh and mumble “How on earth does that work?” but I worked up a sweat and a couple sore muscles, so I’d call that a win.  I have some soreness this morning, though my shoulders and my hips and my abs, but nothing nearly so serious as last week, thank goodness.

And I learned some things!  Like what those chair things were in the aerobics room along the wall.  And that my left leg really is a lot weaker than my right.  That I need to work on my balance a lot more – but focusing on my abs, not just my ankles.  That even the really beautiful, slender girls, like the one beside me in class, aren’t necessarily fit.  And that Saturday and Tuesday classes are the advanced class and I did fine despite all that.


  1. That’s so interesting! It makes me want to go scour our gym and see if see if we have any there. I would have had NO IDEA what it was. 🙂

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