I’m having a hard time defining Chaise Fitness as a studio. They’re not quite Pilates, not solely strength training, and they have dance-y elements but don’t fit into the dance or barre family. The studio, which has 4 locations in Manhattan (Flatiron, 92Y, Upper East Side, and FiDi) and one location in Jersey (ew–jk, Madison), offers a number of classes, but their signature is their Reinvention Chair class. The chair has resistance similar to a Pilates reformer and is used alongside bungees hanging from the ceiling to tone various muscle groups.

In addition to Reinvention Chair, the studio offers a number of other classes. Chaise Cardio, Chaise Bootcamp, and Chaise Long & Lean all utilize the chair; Chaise Bungee Mat and Chaise BalletBungee focus on the aforementioned overhead bungees, Chaise Pedal is their cycling class offered in FiDi, Chaise Reformer is a standard Pilates class offered in UES, and Chaise Bands utilizes only a mat and a resistance band.

The Studio

I took Chaise Bands and Reinvention Chair at Chaise’s Flatiron location, which is their main studio. It’s a bright space with two studios, a check-in area, lockers, changing booths, and a restroom. Sadly, there are no showers, but the restroom has a plethora of items such as dry shampoo, spray deodorant, hair ties, and more–ideal to those who take a “fake it ’til you make it” approach to hygiene.*

*would not recommend this as a lifestyle choice.


The Instructor

I took Chaise Bands with Tara who, like the rest of the instructors here, has the perfect ballet dancer build. She greeted me and asked about injuries before class, which was appreciated. Tara played good music and encouraged students to push themselves, almost in a bootcamp-style way (which was unexpected at a mat-Pilates type class but definitely motivating).

My Reinvention Chair class was with Kendrick, who walked me through the setup and functions of The Chair before class. Kendrick also had an on-point playlist and went around the room to adjust form during some of the exercises.


The Class

As noted, I’ve taken both ChaiseBands and Reinvention Chair recently. ChaiseBands was only 45 minutes, but it packed a punch. There’s a good bit of arm work in this class, as you’d expect in a class that focuses on a resistance band–lots of shoulder work. Class also included squats and plies for leg work, balance challenges, a short cardio break, and finished with an abs series. Truthfully, this class was harder than I’d expected (I’d previously taken BalletBungee and didn’t find it particularly difficult).

The Reinvention Chair class is 55 minutes but it does NOT play around. We began class standing and using the bungees for arm work, and added legs (squats and jumps) to increase the cardio element. We did lunges on the floor using the bands, lunges on the chair using the resistance bar, pike-ups using the chair, and oblique work laying sideways on the chair. This class was also really hard–partially because it’s genuinely a hard workout, and partially because learning to use the chair is an adjustment.

I’d recommend this studio to Pilates reformers fans looking to mix it up, as well as to those seeking a “long-and-lean” type of muscle workout but hate barre class (they’re not for everyone!).

Reinvention chair setup (photo via ChaiseFitness website)

The Damage

I’m not quite sure I understand Chaise’s pricing strategy for new students. For new clients at the Flatiron studio, they offer 3 classes for $33 (a steal at $11 per class) OR 6 classes for … $155? At about $26 a class, that’s a pretty big jump from the initial offer…but after the intro special, classes are $39, so I guess if you know you’ll love it the 6 class special is worth it.

*Header image via Greatist.

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