Ranting on Susan Lucci & the Malibu Chair

The Malibu Chair toted by Celebrity Susan Lucci

The Malibu Chair toted by Celebrity Susan Lucci

I was mindlessly flipping channels last week and paused upon an infomercial for the Malibu Chair with Susan Lucci as the celebrity endorser.  I steeled myself and stayed on the channel to give it an honest chance, hoping maybe the instruction would be ok. It wasn't.  The point of the workout was to do all the exercises as quickly as possible so that you could get "cardio" too.  Their web site is hawking the product at a "trial" price of $14.95 and by the time you're done you're paying something north of $300 for the chair, some workout DVDs and some other fitness ephemera. By contrast, a professional chair like I have in my studio costs $1,200 or so.  No cheesy DVDs included. I realize most of you aren't Pilates instructors and don't have a trained eye for form like I do.  I'll keep it brief.  She hyperextends her elbows, can't maintain an abdominal connection at all, can't stabilize her shoulders and can't keep her pelvis steady during the workouts.  Pretty much everything that makes Pilates so wonderful is NOT included in this workout, at least I sure didn't see it on TV. Here's what you do get, what looks like a pretty flimsy piece of metal with some padding on top and a couple of chirpy pictures of Susan smiling back at you.  I'll pass thank you. Here's what Pilates is supposed to be.  A series of fluid movements done in a controlled manner that strengthens your spine making you stronger, leaner and pain free.  An intermediate student will naturally get up to cardio vascular levels and burn some extra calories because you do move at a faster pace, once you've mastered control ... If you'd like to try Pilates please invest in a great mat video and learn form and fluidity and watch your body change.  There are some great ones out there for $15 or so.  I suggest you skip this particular gadget. Would love your feedback on this, Lisa Would love your thoughts.

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

9 Responses to Ranting on Susan Lucci & the Malibu Chair

  1. Joe Williams October 15, 2009 at 8:57 pm #

    There are so many cheap products hawked in infomercials and elsewhere. Thanks for explaining the shortcomings of this particular rip-off in straight forward terms.

  2. Douglas November 28, 2009 at 11:59 am #

    I just watched the infomercial for this “thing” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5S70acddoc) and my first question is…how is this pilates?

    What a load of junk

  3. Laura November 26, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

    I’ve been using this chair (with the sculpting handles) for about a year and a half. I’ve had amazing results. I’m generally in good shape, but this product has made a huge difference in my core strength, arm and leg tone and even my toes (which used to cramp all the time). It may not be a “traditional” pilates method, and the videos are a bit cheesy, but I memorized the one I liked best and do the exercises on my own daily. Combined with walking a few times a week, I’m managed to keep an over-50 body in pretty darn good shape.

  4. Judy January 16, 2014 at 6:21 pm #

    Perhaps Lisa is threatened that if enough people begin using this machine at home, which is much more convenient than going to a gym, then she will eventually lose all her customers. I really like the idea of this machine and for some people who are not active at all or don’t have time to go to the gym, it would have to be better than nothing. I would probably combine it with the Supreme Pilates machine which I love and have at home.

  5. Lisa Johnson January 27, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

    I am so, so far from threatened by this contraption I can only sputter … if someone had a decently constructed chair in their home fine … but this thing is actually worse than nothing, get some good Pilates DVDs and do mat instead.

  6. Dale September 29, 2016 at 9:59 am #

    I do Pilates on a regular basis and have been for over a decade. My wife bought one of these chairs, and it arrived yesterday, because she has difficulties doing leg exercises due to an ankle and knee replacement. She typically does water aerobics but needed something to help tone and strengthen her legs, stomach, and butt. I tried the chair for the first time this morning after doing my regular squat routine. I think the chair will do a better job on working the legs and butt than regular Pilates. I do not think the stomach muscles will get much of a workout using the chair but using the chair in combination with regular Pilates will get you much better results. It is not constructed all that badly either.

  7. Tina October 16, 2016 at 4:02 pm #

    I think that one of the challenges with this chair is the poor instruction on dvds. It might not be a bad piece of equipment — though not as well made by any means — as a Wunda chair, but one might not be able to properly perform the exercises if not properly instructed by a qualified professional, and thus, might not be able to reap full benefits of the exercises. I think the same argument would hold true for those who go out and purchase a reformer for the home. It may be only as good as the instruction provided. One can get a good workout on a home reformer and reap the pilates benefits, but perhaps only if they have the proper form. One must also consider that most affordable home reformers do not come close to the studio reformers in terms of quality and stability.

  8. suzanne January 16, 2017 at 2:37 pm #

    I bought and used this until my old injuries cried out no more. No more anything, but while I was using it I really built up some core and felt fantastic after. I’ve taken the reformer classes for years and then mat the last couple. This was a nice addition to help stay in shape. The construction isn’t bad at all. It feels secure using it. Not the best piece of equipment, but the real stuff is $$$$$. Wishing I could still use it.

  9. Melissa November 4, 2017 at 11:45 pm #

    I own two so my friends can workout with me. One I got on Craigslist. I love this piece of equipment. It is very well built maybe even too heavy. There is good instructions in the DVDs and materials provided about form etc. You should say nothing unless you actually bought and used it as correctly shown in diagrams and DVD’s.

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