Reformer Spring Conversion: Classical to Contemporary

Classical or Contemporary Pilates Equipment?

Pilates equipment which adheres to Joseph Pilates’ original specifications for size, materials and dimensions, is called “Classical”. Two manufacturers are Pilates Designs by Basil, and GRATZ™ PILATES. Over time, other manufacturers have changed the size, dimensions and materials originally specified, and these we call “Contemporary”. Balanced Body is one of the leaders worldwide in Contemporary Pilates equipment manufacture.

Which is best?

As you may imagine, the Classical equipment is better adapted to the Classical work, just as was intended by Mr. Pilates. Contemporary schools today have added, removed, modified and changed exercises. Contemporary equipment is suited best to this kind of work.

A Classical Pilates teacher will understand the importance of working on Classical equipment, and how it changes the body. On the Reformer the springs are heavy and all weigh the same, the wheels are hard rubber and the carriage provides friction for them so that the springs don’t pull you in but instead you pull the carriage in! Therefore you work harder and deeper into the powerhouse. The leather straps are set at a specific angle to the back of the reformer, providing just the right amount of challenge (or assistance depending on the exercise). Handles are metal, fit in your hand, and spin around seamlessly when you move your arms and hands. The way the reformer is structured makes transitioning from one exercise to the next an exercise in itself.

On the other hand, when you try to perform Contemporary Pilates exercises on a Classical reformer however, you might find in some cases that you wish the footbar were larger, the frame longer, the springs lighter or the box bigger.

How to translate between the two

I am a firm believer in the power of the Classical work done on Classical equipment. However, I also understand the benefit or sometimes changing things as long as you have a clear goal in mind. Knowing how to work with both kinds of reformers simply gives me access to a wider range of tools. I don´t recommend you teach the Classical work on a Contemporary Reformer, because you will be missing out on a lot. Also, some of the exercise transitions are not possible on contemporary equipment.  But if you have no choice, these are the spring conversions you can use:

1 red spring (Balanced Body) = 1 Classical spring
1 blue spring (Balanced Body) = 0.5 Classical spring
1 yellow spring (Balanced Body) = 0.25 Classical spring

In my studio I have a Reformer/Tower, a Cadillac, Wunda Chair, Ped o Pull, Spine Correctors and Ladder Barrel all from Pilates Designs by Basil. I also have 2 Balanced Body Allegro Reformers. I´m happy to say I can enjoy the best of both worlds!

What about you?

What equipment do you work on and what is your preference? Let me know your thoughts!

Spanish Flu Pandemic 100 Years Ago

The Spanish Flu

About 100 years ago an influenza pandemic hit the world. It was known as the Spanish Flu Pandemic. The virus H1N1 spread and infected 500 million people around the world between January 1918 and December 1920. At the time, this was a third of the world´s population. Out of these 500 million people, it is estimated that 50 million died. This is more than the amount of people who died because of the war.

Joseph Pilates and his role during the Spanish Flu Pandemic

During the First World War, Joseph Pilates was interned in a prisoners camp  on the British Isle of Man between September 1915 and March 1919. He was in Knocklaoe camp which was the main camp. There was other smaller ones as well, one of which was called Peel. Inmates were sometimes moved from one camp to the other, and it is likely that at some point he was in Peel.

Peel
This photo was taken by my friend Lorraine Corscadden and it shows the camp at Peel

Joseph Pilates worked in the camp hospital with doctors and received wounded soldiers, who were many times missing limbs. He was a creative genius, and during this time he began using springs from the hospital beds to create what would eventually be known as the Cadillac. The Cadillac is a piece of Pilates equipment, which is made up of a table or bed, with four posts to which springs of various strengths and sizes are attached so that the clients (or at that time patients) can strengthen their bodies regardless of any physical limitations.

He also led daily mat classes during this time. Always the same exercises, in the same order, following his rigorous methodology which works the whole body. Most of the inmates would join in these daily classes.

These were tough times, but Lolita San Miguel, my teacher and Pilates Elder, told us that keeping this daily routine helped the inmates in two specific ways: to stay physically and also mentally healthy. The exercises brought them in tune with their bodies and uplifted their spirits.

Joseph later wrote that during the Spanish Flu Pandemic none of his inmates died, even though the war camps were some of the hardest hit places due to the close proximity they all lived in. Daily exercise helped their inmune systems and helped them to resist the virus.

Knocklaeoe
This photo was taken by my friend Lorraine Corscadden and it shows the visitor center at Knockaloe camp today.

Thoughts

The similarities between those times and today are obvious. Thinking about all of this I must highlight the importance of keeping a routine and being able to practice the Pilates method.

Every day for the past 2 weeks, I have met online with people who thanks to today’s technology are able to continue with their routines. I’m thankful to be able to share this method with you, just like Joe did 100 years ago.

There is also a small ray of hope in the darkness. Times of crisis give way to discoveries, initiatives and new ideas. We must not be afraid, but stay calm and do the best we can with what we have. We should help each other and always strive for health and wellness in all areas possible.

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1918-pandemic-h1n1.html

Pilates Online – The Virtual Studio

The moment as arrived for Pilates Online!

Today we had to make a difficult decision: to close our studio doors due to the global covid-19 crisis.

 

My head tells me it was the smart thing to do, albeit difficult.

In the midst of so much uncertainty and fear, I am managing to continue feeling optimistic and excited about what is yet to come. Closing the physical studio´s doors gives way to a new era, the launch of The Virtual Studio, and Pilates Online.

I have been working with private clients Online during the past 5 years, so this is nothing new to me. But for many of the studio´s clients here, this is unknown territory – and I am excited that they will be accompanying me and my colleagues on this new adventure.

I am making it my mission to learn about the newest and most recent platforms and tools, ones that will not only allow for private sessions but also semiprivates and groups.

I invite you all to try this new style of Pilates – Pilates Online – from the comfort and saf

Los invito a todos a que prueben esta nueva modalidad de Pilates – Pilates en línea – desde la comodidad y seguridad de sus casas! Mantengámonos unidos a través de la tecnología, y mantengámonos en movimiento todos los días para vivir una vida saludable, armoniosa, llena de felicidad y de amor.

Saludos a todos!

Para más información: http://www.amysasso.com/contact/