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Posted by on Nov 10, 2013 in Balanced Body Pilates, Business & Education, Equipment, Media | 0 comments

The Making of a Balanced Body Reformer

The Making of a Balanced Body Reformer

In the last video you saw your way around the BB factory in Sacramento and a bit about production of the Wundachair, this time we go in to see how the BB reformer is made.  Enjoy!

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Published on 6 Nov 2013

http://www.pilatesanytime.com/
Pilates Anytime was lucky enough to go up and visit Balanced Body™ HQ in Sacramento, California earlier this year. While we were there we got to see a vintage reformer made by Joseph Pilates, go on a tour of the Balanced Body™ factory, and follow the making of one reformer from production to shipping. Watch as Balanced Body™ CEO Ken Endelman shows us how a reformer is made, finished, shipped, and received.

To see the factory tour and the vintage reformer, click the links below:

Tour – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLFaOW…

Reformer – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BKBEZ…

Notes:

The type of reformer shipped to Rayann Gordon was a CenterLine™ Reformer with the Tower and Mat Conversion kit. Rayann is based in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada and her studio is Openspace Pilates (http://openspacepilates.ca/). Thanks to Balanced Body™ and Rayann Gordon for allowing us to follow the journey of this reformer.

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Posted by on Nov 1, 2013 in Equipment, Featured, Pilates | 0 comments

Gym & Weights vs. Pilates & TRX Suspension

Gym & Weights vs. Pilates & TRX Suspension

I used to throw heavy weights around quite easily.  I remember taking pride in loading the leg press with 2X my body weight and comfortably working my legs.  At the same time, I also worked my body diligently in a Pilates studio with a Master Teacher or two, on a regular basis.  I called it functional, cross-training and had been doing it for about ten+ years as my lifestyle approach to fitness and health.  Now, as a Pilates teacher & studio owner and with my new found love of TRX Suspension, there is no longer a need for weights.  In fact, I haven’t touched a weight or its equivalent in 3+ years.

Clearly it is time to change your protocol when the training methods you use fail to prevent injuries , and actually potentially cause them.  It is time to change your protocol when you notice your joints, tendons and ligaments screaming at you after each bend, twist or turn.  It is really time to change what you have been doing when you end the evening and begin the morning smelling like camphor and menthol or can’t start or end without an anti-inflammatory.  Ageless, graceful living requires mindful conscious changes and adjustments.

I cannot tell you the number of times I have reminded a student to “work*within their current body* and *toward their future body*” rather than remaining frustrated with the inability to retain yesterday’s body.  Yes, our bodies are self-healing systems. Our invincible, youthful selves are thankful for that reality.   The older we get, the more care, attention and maintenance we require.  The older we get, the easier it becomes for the disparate parts of our bodies to breakdown from overuse, wear and tear.  That youthful, invincible play with life and activity comes back as a formidable haunt of the body system.

This is one of the main reasons that I walked completely away from the use of the gym in the last three years.  Vanity made me a “gym rat” from my late 20′s thru my late 40′s.   I introduced myself to yoga in my early 40′s and sporadically used it to stretch while maintaining a “serious” workout regimen 3-4x weekly in the gym.  At mid-40s, I began working with clients as a private trainer and at 45 years of age, I competed in a Body Building contest and won 1st Place as Lightweight Body Builder.

The rigor of training the body and the tight and constricted feeling of my muscles and joints along with my subconscious awareness that “I could not physically do this for the rest of my life” helped me find and embrace Pilates and the formidable change it made in my life and body.  Pilates replaced my use, love or even desire to go to the gym.  The mental-physical connections required for training with Pilates, in addition to the myriad of other functional, cross training tools of my studio; TRX, BOSU Balance Trainer, resistance bands, stability balls changes lives, bodies and flexibility.

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Body Resisted Training

The TRX System was developed by a U.S. Navy SEAL as a revolutionary method of leveraged bodyweight exercise allowing one to perform hundreds of exercises building power, strength, flexibility, balance, mobility at an intensity level chosen by the user or led by the instructor.  While it may not be new to gym rats or personal trainers, it is a unique tool for Pilates studio owners and teachers and is so complimentary to the healing movements of Pilates.

Body resisted training with the TRX allows one to move easily with the equipment, maximizing the body and mind’s training and minimizing the injury to joints and overworked muscles.  Using the equipment with a “pilates-frame of reference,” creates a delicious, dynamic, functional training workout that is exhilarating and incomparable.  I believe that cross-training, particularly with the TRX Suspension equipment and Pilates-based movements, can lead to better muscular balance and joint stability.  This is due to the fact that Pilates with the use of TRX emphasizes the body’s natural ability to move in three anatomical planes of motion.

While stationary equipment/machines can sometimes be safer to use, they restrict movements to a single plane of motion, an unnatural form of movement for the human body. When stationary equipment is essential, students are moved to the floor or the Pilates Reformer to begin safe movement exercises.  As strength and mind-body connections are attained, additional planes of motion and movement are added into the exercise regimen and program.

Quite a few people erroneously equate strength training with gyms, weights and bodybuilding. Challenge them with a Pilates sequence using the TRX and eyes will be opened to a new world of bodywork. Pilates and Pilates-based movements make a great choice for creating adaptive training workouts that build strength with length and flexibility.

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Posted by on Oct 15, 2013 in Equipment, Pilates, Repertoire, Reviews | 0 comments

Circular Movements to Re-Shape the Derierre

Circular Movements to Re-Shape the Derierre

Movement is my medicine,  my drug of choice and my daily mantra.  As a result, I have earned a reputation for being an active-oriented teacher.  “Action Jackson” has been a nickname for longer than I can remember, and I have been told that it seems my “ever-ready” batteries almost never seem to run down.

It may, therefore, come as no surprise that I have fallen madly in love with the Balanced Body Pilates Orbit. As a tool in the studio, the Pilates Orbit in my opinion, is a perfect compliment to the reformer in facilitating circular, rotational movements for the upper and lower body.  I use the Orbit quite a bit in concert with my cycling activities and love the lifted, toned shaping I feel of my 50+ derierre with each use.

Essentially, the Pilates Orbit is a “mini-mat on wheels” and given the curves and shape of the lion share of our client’s bodies, I find it the perfect compliment to the “length and depth”  as well as the “vertical and horizontal” alignments we use on the reformer, tower and Cadillac equipment of the studio.

Challenging stability while moving “on wheels” is a sure-fire way to fire up the powerhouse.  It surely feeds my need for continual, active movement.

There are a myriad of Pilates exercises for which the Pilates Orbit can used for to strengthen the core abdominals.    A creative instructor will easily find a way to translate and transfer the classic Pilates exercises used on the mat and/or reformer to the Orbit.   It didn’t take long for my ”action-orientation” to find a number of challenging toning exercises to support re-shaping the bottoms of those walking into my studio.

Loving the Curves & Shaping the Butt

As a 50+ woman with clients that are also fighting the gravitational pull of life on their bodies, I wanted an additional way to shape, tone and stretch the muscles of the hip and legs while encouraging core balance and control and this little tool does the trick perfectly.  Students of all ages have joined me in loving not only the flow of movement, but the toning and balance control achieved with a few specific “circular movements” facilitated by the Pilates Orbit.

I spend no more than 10-12 minutes with the Orbit in a session hour.   After the abdominal series, I generally start with Orbit “knee stretches,” add a few push ups and oblique rotations just to get the blood flowing with the ease of the tool and then transition to a kneeling sequence that targets the quads, hamstrings, abductors/adductors as well as the internal and external rotators.

One particular movement, single leg adduction/abduction, garners quite a few “oohs and ahhs” from students.   In fact, many of my senior client/students beg to do this exercise just for the opening it helps to facilitate through the pelvis, hips and joints (Pictured).

Transitioning from kneeling to a supine, I encourage use of the Orbit for “frogs.” Assuming the “frogs” foot position and planting the sides of the feet on the Orbit, students are encouraged to perform 5-8 frogs with the pelvis stationary on the mat and then challenged to lift the hips (keeping the sides of the feet planted) and “frog” in/out for 5-8 more repetitions.   The last supine exercise I use is a bridge, whereby the feet are planted solidly on the Orbit and the torso bridged without moving the Orbit for 5 reps and subsequently performed in a controlled, slow movement away from the Orbit while still engaged in the “pelvic lift” for greater intensity and work on the hamstrings.

I always end in a standing position and use the Orbit for single leg balance work.  Challenging balance and stability on wheels – with controlled rotational sequencing through the internal and external rotators of the glutes – fully integrates the mind and body and yields a few more “oohs and ahhs” as we roll through the circular movements. [Picture supplied – Standing Balance]

Students end the session smiling with their spirits, as well as their rear ends, lifted a little higher.

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Kneeling

  • Knee Stretches 8-10 reps
  • Rollout, Plank to PushUp (Hands on Orbit) 5-8 reps
  • Single Leg Abd/Adduction 5-8 reps [picture supplied – Single Leg Abduction]

Supine Bridge

Pilates4Fitness

  • Frogs 5-8 reps
  • Pelvic Lift 5-8 reps

Standing – Balance, Control and Abduction

Pilates4Fitness

  • Single Leg Lunge 5-8 reps
  • Single Leg Lunge with Circle 5-10 reps [picture supplied – Rotational-Lunge]
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Posted by on Sep 18, 2013 in Equipment, Featured, Pilates | 0 comments

With Loving Tender Care – Reformer Maintenance

With Loving Tender Care – Reformer Maintenance

I think I speak for most Pilates teachers when I say we have a special bond with our equipment and as with anything else it is vital to look after it well.

Special THANK YOU to Dave Littman from Balance Body for taking the time to write a series of short pieces outlining the most essential maintenance procedures for Pilates equipment.  We start with The Pilates Reformer.

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Reformer Care and Maintenance

Pilates equipment is designed and built to provide a lifetime of performance and enjoyment.  The care of your equipment is very important and will protect your investment.  Please follow the suggested guidelines for care and maintenance.

Cleaning:

It is very important to keep your reformer clean.

  1. Wipe the frame, footbar, carriage pad, headrest, and shoulder rests with a soft cloth and a mild, non-abrasive, cleaner after every use.  Warm soapy water and a soft cloth works fine.  “Baby Wipes” are gentle and offer anti-bacterial properties.
  2. Keep the carriage tracks and wheels clean and clear of dust and grit.  Wipe the track with a household grease cutting cleaner on a regular basis.  Disconnect all the carriage springs and wipe the entire track.  Hold a damp cloth against the moving wheels.
  3. Keep the ropes and springs clear of dust.
  4. Cotton Loops should be machine-washed regularly.  Place in a pillowcase and wash on “Gentle”.  Hang to air dry.  Consider rotating several pairs for each reformer, or provide individual clients with their own hand loops.
  5. Clean the floor surface under all Pilates equipment periodically.

Lubrication:

  1. Apply oil periodically (3 in 1, sewing machine oil) on pulleys or leather casters.
  2. Apply oil periodically (3 in 1, sewing machine oil) on metal to metal parts: standing platform hinge, footbar plunger pins, etc.
  3. Apply silicone spray lubricant the footbar track, and wheel tracking channels as needed.
  4. Always wipe off excess lubricant and be cautious of over-spray.

Maintenance

  1. Establish a maintenance log, with a page assigned to each piece of Pilates equipment.  Note all issues, including lubrication dates, squeaks and noises, thumps and bumps, replacement parts.  Refer to this log when ordering parts or upgrades for each piece of equipment.
  2. Reformer springs should be replaced every 2-3 years, depending on usage.  We recommend replacing springs after 3000 hours of use (5 hours/day, x 5/days a week, x 50 weeks a year, x 2.5 years).  Periodically check springs for kinks and coil separations.  Rotate springs to balance usage; springs on the right hand side of the Reformer receive more use than the left.
  3. Ropes should be replaced every five years.  This is not a safety issue but ropes get fuzzy and lumpy with use, and leather straps stretch.
  4. Tighten all screws and bolts.  Check periodically; shoulder rest mounting screws, leather strap screws and headrest hinge screws.
  5. Wheels and axles should be kept clean and free of dirt and hair.  Wheels and wheel bearings should be replaced every five years.
  6. Check and tighten Tower bracket attachment screws, Tower knobs, all eyebolts (if applicable)
  7. Repair upholstery tears and holes.  Use an upholstery repair kit, or have the repair or re-upholstery done locally.  Contact manufacturer’s customer service for other upholstery and re-upholstery options.
  8. Riser attachment screws should be kept tight.
  9. Carriages should track in smoothly and without contacting the frame.   Instructions for carriage tuning are available from manufacturer’s customer service.
  10. Please consult the manufacturer’s customer service with any other questions.

Video: Reformer Maintenance

 

Title Image credit: Patrice Munro <patricemunro@gmail.com> Pilates Teacher, Friend and Photographer – Thank you :)

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