3 must-read tips for buying used equipment

I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors around town.  “Lisa got that Reformer for a steal! She only paid like $600!”  

Kinda makes you want to buy used equipment, too, huh?

The reality is that these kinds of deals aren’t terribly common, and they get bragged about so much because they are so shockingly good.  Often, equipment at that price comes along when you aren’t actively looking, and usually needs some significant TLC.

But, even if you can’t get a shiny, new-looking Reformer for a ridiculous amount off retail most of the time, that doesn’t mean buying used Pilates equipment isn’t a great way to build or expand your studio on a budget.  

In this blog post I’m going to give you my three tips that are often overlooked when buying used equipment.

Be patient

While the Pilates community is growing every day, used equipment is still a relatively small market, scattered across a variety of marketplaces.  This means that finding a piece of used equipment that fits your teaching style and budget will take time.  

Plan to spend at least one or two months looking.  Check craigslist, Facebook marketplace, local Facebook Pilates forums, and sometimes even your neighborhood community apps regularly.  At least every 3 days.  

The best deals will come from people who don’t really know what they have, and want a quick sell.  But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay a fair price for equipment that was well loved and cared for by another Pilates professional.

Try the equipment before you buy it

It is imperative that you have a session on the equipment you want to buy before you buy it.  While being flexible in the brand and model of equipment you are looking for increases your chance of an expedient and fair purchase, it can all be negated if you end up hating the equipment because it doesn’t work how you want it to.

If you normally work on a Stott Reformer, try various Balanced Body, Gratz, and Peak equipment before deciding you can live with one of them. There are major and minor differences that totally change how your session goes.

From using leather straps instead of ropes, to the feel of the carriage on the rails, to adjusting the footbar and springbar, to installing and removing tower mats, to the weight and variety of springs, any of these factors or procedures can quickly become arduous and annoying.

Avoid regretting your purchase by honestly evaluating how your session on that particular model goes before you consider buying one.

Be ready to buy when you show up

Because buying used can save so much money, in the right circumstances, well-priced and cared-for equipment sells fast.  This is why it’s important to act with expediency when you’re inquiring about an apparatus for sale.

First, as soon as you see an interesting ad, you should reach out to the seller and ask about it.  Is it still for sale? Can you go test it out?

Second, if you set up a trial, make preparations to purchase and transport the equipment on the spot.  Often, buyers think they can try out a piece of equipment and then make arrangements for sale and transport later, and then they lose out to someone else willing to deal right away.

Gather up a strong friend (never assume the seller will help you load), a pickup truck, and the preferred method of payment so that if you like the equipment you can take it home right away.

Even if you decide not to take the equipment home, it’s worth the extra preparation to make sure you don’t lose out on a good deal on the perfect equipment for you.

Want more in-depth help?

If you still have questions, especially about pricing, shipping, and inspecting a potential purchase, you can check out my in-depth PDF and audio guide on buying used Pilates equipment.  It’s only $20 and can save you a ton of stress and regret in the future.

Check out the Buyer’s Guide, here.

Don’t worry, sellers, I’ve got advice for you too!  I know you want to maximize your sale price. I will walk you through writing an ad, pricing your equipment, and posting it in your very own PDF and audio guide.  Just $20 now can help earn you hundreds more in your sale.

Check out the Seller’s Guide, here.

Happy Reforming!

How and when to find a local upholsterer

Ripped, torn, or cut vinyl on your Pilates equipment may not be a safety issue, but it sure ages the equipment.  For some brands and models of equipment, replacing the upholstery and foam doesn’t require and upholstery skills at all!  But for other brands, models, and even parts of a typical setup, custom upholstery is the only option besides buying a whole new piece of equipment.

As a maintenance tech, I’ve done one full custom reupholstery job of Gratz equipment.  It was a lot of work, even though I had the right tools and am quite handy! By the end of the weekend the pads of my fingers were tender to the touch because they were pulled away from my fingernails so much, stretching the vinyl tight over the contours of the equipment.

SInce then I only refer my clients to local upholsterers for those kinds of jobs.

Upholstery is tough.  

Not only is it hard on your body, but if you don’t get it quite right it shows pretty darn quickly!  

Not being able to pull the vinyl tight enough can stretched out areas where clients kneel or sit.  

Not using a high enough grade of vinyl can cause it to discolor, wear down, or rip prematurely.

So what do I recommend instead?

Your local automotive upholsterer!

There are often several mobile automotive upholsterers in your area, who are capable of coming to you and working on your equipment on-site.  

These professionals are often able to source vinyl for you if you don’t want to order by the yard, or pre-stitched, from the manufacturer.   (Just remember, high-quality vinyl is a MUST, so it doesn’t stretch from kneeling, or degrade from skin oils or daily cleaners.)

They can sew when needed.

And, they can do it quickly!

Still nervous about trusting someone from outside the Pilates industry?  Go look at your car seat. Look at all those curves! Automotive upholsterers work with complicated geometry all day long.  The relative squareness of Pilates equipment is so much less tricky than that.

If you can’t find a mobile upholsterer, you can also take pieces of your equipment to the upholsterer.  Usually, this means that particular piece of equipment might be out of commission for a day or more, but if you do one piece at a time you can minimize the impact on your studio.

Remember, when looking for an upholsterer be sure to check their reviews on a website like Yelp and talk to them in-person or over the phone.  They’ll often need some photos of the equipment to get an idea of what they’d be working on before giving you a quote.

Common components of your Pilates studio that need to be custom re-upholstered include:

  • All sitting boxes
  • All Gratz and Pilates Designs (by Basil) equipment
  • Mat conversions
  • Raised mats
  • Moonboxes

As always, if you have any questions feel free to send them to me at hello@fitreformer.com.  I’m happy to help.

Happy Reforming!

When to replace your Reformer ropes and straps

After a while, your ropes or leather straps will start to look a little worn.  Maybe your ropes start to get fuzzy. They are thick, stiff, and wavy right near where they pass through the pulley.  Or, your leather straps start to crack or come apart at the seams.

But is this cause for concern?  

The answer is different depending on which setup you have.

Ropes

Your ropes eventually get thick and fuzzy where they travel over the pulley.  This is not a safety concern, but it can affect how work with the loops can feel.

Look at the photo below.  You can see the rope on the top is smooth and thinner than the bottom rope.  If you zoom in, you can see that the braiding of the rope is much clearer in the top (new) rope than the bottom.  The bottom rope has a thicker diameter (it’s subtle, but it’s there), and most importantly, feels much stiffer when handled.  

Don’t hesitate to feel the ropes, move them in your hands.  If the section between the pulley and the carriage feels stiffer than the end of the rope that never touches the pulley, that’s compromising your smooth feeling.

I notice this especially when doing arms- or feet-in-straps because it usually makes the movement feel a little bumpy.  These movements should feel smooth. Teachers and clients often use the words juicy, delicious, and yummy to describe them.  But thick and stiff ropes make these movements feel worse.

Many people incorrectly assume this feeling is because of the wheels, when it is actually be worn ropes!  (To read more about how to figure out what is causing your bumpy carriage ride, read this blog post.)

My favorite before and after moment with my maintenance clients is to have them do leg circles with their current ropes, and then change the ropes to new, smooth ones and repeat.  It makes a big difference! But often, you’d never know because the deterioration happens slowly over time, so your body adjusts.

To get the smooth glide you love during work with the straps, I recommend replacing your ropes when they get thick and fuzzy.  

Sometimes, you may notice that the ropes get fuzzy fairly quickly, but they aren’t really thicker near the pulley.  That’s okay. The little fuzzies (like the photo below) are normal and don’t really affect your ropes.  Keep using them until you notice that the ropes are thicker and stiffer near the pulleys than near the loops or carriage.

I want to reiterate that this is not a safety issue.  This is a feel issue.  If you need to work the cost of new ropes into your budget later in the year, you’ll be fine waiting until you can afford the expense.  No rush.

Leather Straps

Last year I talked about how to properly care for your leather straps.  This is incredibly important to extend the life of your straps and to help make them feel really good. 

When you clean your straps, inspect them very carefully for cracks at the seams or near holes.  Unlike ropes, when straps deteriorate and crack like the photos below, they can break! In fact, I’ve seen this happen.

So, it’s important to keep your inspections regular in order to keep you, your instructors, and your clients safe.

Happy Reforming!

Kaleen

How to Move your Pilates Equipment Part 2: Loading Up the Truck

This is the second part of a two-part series on moving your Pilates equipment.  Please click here to review Part 1.

So your equipment and accessories are all packed up in your studio and ready to be loaded into the truck.  Now what?

Picking the right vehicle

For some of you picking up a single Reformer, a light duty pickup truck will do just fine!  I’ve done this many times.  

(Once, I even had a customer transport a Reformer home in her SUV, fitting the head end of the frame over the back of the passenger seat and the foot end hanging out the rear hatch.  I’m not sure I’d recommend that method, but they did get the Reformer home in one piece!)

For others, a Uhaul truck will be the best option.  I love these, even if I have a pickup, just because sometimes it’s easier to have extra room and an enclosed box.  Often the price difference between the smaller trucks and the bigger trucks isn’t too noticeable, so I err on the big side as long as I’m confident with my parking skills at the new location.

The size of truck you’ll need will vary based on what you’re moving.  Many of you will be moving your Studio furniture, bath supplies, storage cabinets, decor, and lobby benches along with your equipment, so it is hard for me to give you a good estimate.

Instead of giving you a hard and fast rule, I can give you some examples.  In the past I’ve used a 16’ truck to move a studio with 3 Reformers, 3 Towers, and 1 Chair (plus some accessories but no front desk or other major furnishings) and it was about perfect.  I’ve used a 22’ truck to move a studio with 2 Reformers, a Ladder barrel, a Chair, and extra home items and had plenty of room to spare. I’ve also helped move 6 Reformers, 6 chairs, and some studio furnishings in a 24’ truck.  Again, with lots of room to spare.

(Note: If you are picking up equipment from the manufacturer, you won’t need quite that much space.  Everything stacks much nicer, see!?)

Select one person to organize the truck

As anyone who has ever helped a friend move can attest, when there are too many cooks in the kitchen (or people trying to direct traffic!) tempers are tested and feelings can get hurt. To avoid this, pick one person to act as the moving director.  This person should have a knack for shapes and good spatial awareness. They will move between the truck and the studio to direct which things should be brought out first, where in the truck things should be placed, and whether or not things need extra tie-downs or padding in the truck.

Everyone else becomes worker bees!

Bringing items out in a logical order

Your moving director should loosely follow the order below (assuming you followed the packing-up directions from part 1!)  Pause when needed to add padding and tie-downs.

  1. Bring out heavy and big items first.  This includes Reformer and Cadillac frames.  These items go first because they are sturdy and can be stacked on.  Plus, they are big so they have the least amount of flexibility when it comes to floor space. You can carry the carriages out separately to make the frames light, and then place the carriages in the frame rails and secure them to one end with a strap or with their springs as normal to keep them still for transport.
  2. Now, place what you can underneath the Reformers.  This may include canopy frame poles, chair handles, Towers, and gondola poles.
  3. If your Reformers or Cadillac frames are tall enough, slide some cardboard boxes down under there, too.
  4. Next, bring your chairs out.  These are heavy and sturdy enough to have things stacked on top of but because they have a smaller footprint than a Reformer or Cadillac, they are more flexible as to where they can be placed.  
  5. Finally, place lighter, more awkward things on top.  This might include Towers for the Reformers, ballet barres, baskets of inflatable balls, or other cardboard boxes.

Pad, Pad, Pad!

As you bring out your equipment and boxes, be sure to pad some specific places to avoid scratches and dents.  If you are going to rent the moving blankets from the truck company, I recommend having at least two moving blankets per Reformer.  Old Yoga mats also work really well.

  • Pad between the Reformer/Cadillac frame and the truck walls.  Make sure the frames are secured tight to the wall so the padding cannot shift during transit.
  • Pad between upholstery and any box, equipment part, or frame to avoid tearing or indenting the vinyl.

Caution: Be especially careful resting heavy items on top of upholstery.  I’ve seen Reformers stored with the sitting box on top end up with a permanent rectangular dent on the surface.  Be sure what you are placing on top has a big surface area to evenly distribute the weight.

Tie downs

In order to keep things from shifting around en route, tie down your big equipment where necessary.

Usually, big equipment will stay fairly still, but the small stuff is what can get launched all over the compartment wreaking havoc.  

My strategy for tying things down is to group as much stuff together as I can (like 10 boxes) and use one strap to hold all those boxes in place.  Often, I can wedge some boxes in the space between the frames and the wall so that everything is tight even without a strap.

Rope works well, although my favorite straps are come-along style tie-downs from Home Depot (or similar hardware store).  They make securing the strap very easy.

To Stack, or not to stack?

Sometimes, it’s possible and helpful to stack Reformers one on top of the other.  In this case, you must be very careful to pad and tie-down the stacks so that you don’t scrape the feet on the top of the one below, and your stacks don’t fall over.

I rarely stack Reformers because it’s tricky to get them up and down, pad appropriately, and NOT worry while I’m driving.  

My preference, instead, is usually to stand metal Reformers on end (they are designed for this) and tie them to the wall, and leave wood Reformers horizontal.  With both kinds of Reformers, be sure that they are flat and stable against the floor or the wall so the entire weight of the Reformer is distributed over as large a surface area as possible..   

You’ll notice from my photos that I laid two wood Reformers on their side in the photo above.  That is totally fine, it just requires a bit more padding because you don’t want to scrape the side of the Reformer on the dingy floor of the truck.

Final Notes

Please remember to use common sense, and reach out to a handy friend or local moving company for help if you aren’t sure about something.  There are so many ways to secure your equipment for travel that I’ve really only touched the surface. I hope you find this advice helpful.  

As always, happy Reforming!

How to Move your Pilates Equipment Part 1: Packing Up

Moving your Pilates equipment can be a daunting task.  You’ve invested a lot of money, sweat, and energy in your equipment, so how do you make sure it all makes the journey in one piece? Whether you are moving across town or across the country, in this two-part series I’ll share my best tips to make the move smooth.

Note: These tips are geared toward moving equipment yourself, however, many of them will be helpful even if you have professional movers as they don’t often take the time to fully disassemble and prepare your equipment to be moved.  

In this first installment, I want to talk about how to pack up your equipment so you don’t lose anything en route.

Tools and Supplies

In order to pack your equipment and accessories well, I recommend going to your local hardware or moving store to pick up a few items. 

  • Cardboard boxes of varying sizes
  • Packing Tape
  • Masking Tape
  • Plastic moving wrap (the saran-wrap stuff you see in the photos)
  • The tools that came with your equipment (i.e. Allen wrenches) for disassembly
  • A few sizes of English combo wrenches and sockets for disassembly

In addition, I like to have some old towels, blankets, and either newspaper or bubble wrap to pack anything that is fragile or needs protecting from bumps and knocks.  If you are moving your equipment yourself, renting those moving blankets will help cushion things in the truck a lot!

What to Pack

It’s tempting to just throw all your little bits and pieces in an upside down sitting box and put them in the truck, but I urge you to take a little bit more time to get organized so you’ll know where all the little bits and pieces are when it’s time to set up your equipment in your new space.  

Sometimes you don’t know who is going to move which boxes, how long your equipment will be sitting or get moved around the new space, and which accessories go with which equipment.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to set up equipment after it’s been moved and critical parts are missing!

To avoid all this confusion, I use cardboard boxes and organize them by type of equipment. On the outside of each box, I write what exactly is in each box, including how many of each thing so I can easily check once I arrive at the new space.  

This is also helpful for double checking that I get everything in the box in the first place.  I’m moving eight Towers? I should have 16 T-pins. If not, I’m missing one somewhere!

Take a look at the image above for an example of how I labeled a box.  I was only moving 1 Reformer/Tower Combo and 1 Chair, so I didn’t list quantities.

Big Stuff

There are a few things that you should do to make sure everything that doesn’t fit in smaller cardboard boxes travels well.  

On a Cadillac, once the canopy poles are removed from the base, place masking tape over any set screws on the receivers.  Front and back! This will keep those screws from rattling out in transit and leaving you with a Cadillac that can’t be assembled at the new location.

Use the plastic moving wrap to secure all the poles together.  If you have a chair, wrap the chair handles together.

On a chair, use your plastic moving wrap to secure the pedal and springs to the base of the chair so that when the movers lift it, it doesn’t rattle around.

On a Reformer, secure the footbar to the frame, if possible.  For example, with a Revo footbar, fold it down inside the frame and use your plastic moving wrap to secure it in place.  

If you have an Infinity footbar or an Allegro 1 or 2, you have the option to remove the footbars before moving.  It may make your tetris game in the back of the truck easier, however, it is more separate parts to keep track of.  It it totally up to you. I usually err on the side of renting too big of a truck so I don’t need to stress about fitting everything in perfectly.

On any equipment, use masking tape to secure loose pieces to the frame.  For example, lanyards and pins for metal risers. 

By now, you should get the idea: First, pack easily disassembled small stuff in boxes.  Second, wrap disassembled big stuff together so it doesn’t bang around and is easy to carry in and out of the truck.

Hopefully following these tips will ensure that you have several boxes and frames that will be easy to transport without losing or damaging bits and pieces along the way.

Stay tuned for the next installment when I will share my strategy for packing the truck or van effectively so you don’t have to worry about your equipment in transit.

These tips are geared toward moving equipment yourself, however, many of them will be helpful even if you have professional movers as they don’t often take the time to fully disassemble and prepare your equipment to be moved.

In this first installment, I want to talk about how to pack up your equipment so you don’t lose anything en route.

Tools and Supplies

The tools I use for moving Pilates equipment are:

  • Cardboard boxes of varying sizes
  • Packing Tape
  • Masking Tape
  • Plastic moving wrap
  • The tools that came with your equipment (i.e. Allen wrenches) for disassembly
  • A few sizes of English combo wrenches and sockets for disassembly

What to Pack

It’s tempting to just throw all your little bits and pieces in an upside down sitting box and put them in the truck, but I urge you to take a little bit more time to get organized so you’ll know where all the little bits and pieces are when it’s time to set up your equipment in your new space.  

Sometimes you don’t know who is going to move which boxes, how long your equipment will be sitting or get moved around the new space, and which accessories go with which equipment.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to set up equipment after it’s been moved and critical parts are missing!

To avoid all this confusion, I get some cardboard boxes and organize them by type of equipment. On the outside of each box, I write what exactly is in each box, including how many of each thing so I can easily check once I arrive at the new space.  

This is also helpful for double checking that I get everything in the box in the first place.  8 Towers? I should have 16 T-pins.  If not, I might be missing one somewhere!

To get you started, here are some examples of what parts I package up in separate boxes.

Reformer

  • Ropes/Leather straps
  • Handles and Loops
  • Springs
  • Risers
  • Footstrap
  • Shoulder Rests and pins/bolts

Chair

  • Handles
  • Handle Knobs

Cadillac

  • Trapeze and springs
  • Springs
  • Loops and handles
  • Foot loops and fuzzies
  • Safety Strap
  • Push-Through Bar T-pins and 4th side (if applicable)
  • Hand grips (if applicable)

Final tips

There are a few things that you should do to prevent losing pieces or damaging equipment before the movers come, because they won’t always to do it themselves.

On a Cadillac, once the canopy poles are removed from the base, place masking tape over any set screws on the receivers.  Front and back. This will keep those screws from rattling out in transit and leaving you with a Cadillac that can’t be assembled at the new location.

On a chair, use your plastic moving wrap to secure the pedal and springs to the base of the chair so that when the movers lift it, it doesn’t rattle around.

On a Reformer, secure the footbar to the frame, if possible.  For example, with a Revo footbar, fold it down inside the frame and use your plastic moving wrap to secure it in place.

On any equipment, use masking tape to secure loose pieces to the frame.  For example, lanyards and pins for metal risers. 

If you can make it so that all your movers have to do is pick up some boxes and frames and carry them to the truck, that will help ensure you receive a

Do this to keep your Allegro 2 bumpers from falling off

Picture this: Your clients are right in the middle of footwork, dutifully pressing in and out, coordinating their breath, paying attention to their spinal position, and following all your other cues.  All of a sudden, the next time they bring the carriage in, instead of a soft thump when the carriage hits home, there is a loud, metallic clang.  Maybe, even, there is now a humming reverberating along the reformer rails as they move.

How embarrassing.

But luckily, it’s a simple fix.

First, some background.  Earlier versions of the Allegro 2 used U-shaped rubber bumpers which attached to the carriage itself.  Over time, these can come loose and either fall off, or get caught half-way off and make noise as the carriage moves up and down the rails.  It’s time to get rid of these bumpers.

Regardless if you experience these symptoms, if you have these U-shaped bumpers you should replace them as a preventative measure.

The new style bumpers are square and flat.  Here is a great photo showing the difference between the two.

Now, to apply the new bumpers, you need to provide a clean surface to adhere them to.  The place to look is a little hard to see, but if you take a light and look down the rail toward the footbar, you’ll see a flat, silver, rectangular surface.  That’s where you’re going to put it.

Before you stick one of those squares on there, you need to make sure the surface is clean.  Especially if there was a square bumper there before.  This is one time that I advocate using GooGone to get rid of any lingering sticky mess.  (It’s totally fine to use because you are using it on a metal surface, but don’t make a habit of using this everywhere!)

This is very important!  You don’t want the new bumper to fall off right away.

Finally, stick your new bumper on the clean, dry surface.  Check out these two photos.  You need to stick the bumper on the side closer to the inside of the reformer, rather than the outside.


If you place the bumper too far to the outside, the edge of the carriage that comes into contact with it will only hit the edge, and that can cause it to wear and fall off really early.  Can you see the squishy-ness on the side of the bumper that is pushed too far left?

You can even test the position by putting your finger on the edge of the carriage rail (a silver metal piece underneath the carriage) and gently moving the carriage toward the bumper, feeling where the edge of the carriage contacts the bumper.  The carriage edge should be about centered on the bumper.

Once you verify that placement, repeat the process on the other side of the Reformer (right/left).  You’re now ready for a session!

Happy Reforming!

 

How to clean your Wooden dowels and Push-Through Bars

There is nothing less glamorous than picking up your wooden roll-down bar, push-through bar, or gondola pole and feeling your palms stick to the surface.  Yuck!

Pilates Bar WorkLearn from my mistake: I once spent thirty minutes with some steel wool on a roll-down bar only to end with an ugly, bare piece of wood and a pile of flakes of grime and wood finish!

In this quick guide I want to share with you how to maintain your wooden dowels and, if necessary, deep clean them.

How did they get this way?

The problem with these wooden dowels is that they usually get overlooked when it comes time to clean the equipment after a session.  Most clients are great at wiping down the upholstery, but other things like footbar, rollers, balls, handles, and dowels often get neglected.  This can cause all their sweat, hand lotion, and skin oil to build up very time.  This clear, sticky buildup can then catch dirt and dust, too, turning it an ugly red-brown color.

An ounce of prevention

The first thing you want to do to prevent this buildup is verbally instruct your clients to clean their dowels after a session.  I recommend spraying your cleaning solution on a towel, and then wiping down the wood surface.  If you aren’t sure what to use to clean after every session, check out this blog post.  It is important not to use something that is really heavy-duty and will leave a film of its own.

Deep cleaning

If you already notice some buildup on your dowels, don’t worry!  It might not be too late (and hopefully won’t require toomuch time.)  I recommend starting with a slightly-more-than-damp microfiber rag (use just water) and some patience.  Rub the water-soaked towel on the dowel giving some pressure with your hands and allowing the water to “soak” in.  Don’t be afraid to spend some time rubbing with light pressure.  Seriously.  Have some patience because it probably won’t wipe off quickly.  That’s okay!

The reason for this method is two-fold.  First, you don’t want to use any chemicals that will easily strip the grime because they will also likely remove the finish underneath.  Using a dowel without a coat of finish on it will make it even harder to clean in the future, and it just doesn’t look good.

Second, using an abrasive scrubber like steel wool, a screwdriver, or the stiff back of a sponge can also scrape off the grime AND the finish, so avoid those unless you want to undertake the re-finishing process yourself.  The exception to this is using your fingernail, where you may have better tactile feedback and can very lightly scrape the grime off and leave the surface finish alone.  But, that is quite tedious.

The best solution to combine soaking/wetting power and scrubbing power might be to use a silicone sponge like this one, or the soft side of a sponge.

What if it’s too far gone?

If this process doesn’t work for you, obviously, you can just live with the grime.  You could also replace the dowel from your manufacturer, or, you could refinish the dowel yourself.  There are lots of YouTube tutorials on how to refinish a piece of wood, and I recommend following one of them that tells you how to use polyurethane to seal it.

Grime on HandleUnfinished dowels

If your dowel is unfinished like one of those dowels that goes in the chair pedals or a home-made gondola pole, scrub away.  You could even sand it, though, in my experience the grime doesn’t respond well to sanding. If grime is a problem on these dowels I recommend sealing the dowel yourself, though, to help make cleaning in the future easier.

As always, if you have a specific question about your piece of equipment, you can email me and I’ll be happy to help.

This post originally appeared on Balanced Body blog, here.

Which cleaners to use on your equipment, and when

Cleaning your Pilates equipment is hugely important for the look of your studio, the feel of each exercise, and the safety of your clients.  There are four different cleaning solutions I recommend for your equipment.  I prefer using all of these in spray form with a microfiber cloth.

Water

Plain water from your tap is hugely beneficial for 90% of the cleaning you need to do.  This is my go-to solution for cleaning the following places:

  • Reformer rails
  • Reformer frames (wood and metal)
  • Wood roll-down bars
  • Metal and wood push-through bars
  • Reformer wheels
  • Chair pedals and other dusty/dirty areas

The problem with cleaning with some solutions (not all) is that they can mix with skin oil, sweat, or body lotions to make a sticky buildup.  Patience is key, here.  Take a few extra seconds to scrub rather than jumping to a heavier duty solution right away.

Water + Dish Soap

For a little extra cleaning power, I recommend 1 teaspoon of dish soap with 16 ounces of water.  (Yes, regular Dawn® dish soap!)  This is great for these applications:

  • Cleaning vinyl after each client
  • Extra scrubbing power (remember, just a microfiber cloth!) for tough grime of both metal and wood surfaces

Note: for tough stains on reformer rails, use water and some aluminum foil from your kitchen folded into a small scrub pad for extra oomph.  Check out this link for more info on this technique.

Silicone Spray

While the results you might get with Silicone spray seem magical, please be careful not to use this too liberally or on parts that aren’t listed below.

Note: It is a myth that silicone spray is good for your Reformer rails.  Please avoid using this on your wheels and rails.

BB Clean Product

BB Clean

This awesome, natural disinfectant can be used in any of the situations that water or soapy water can be used for a little extra all-natural cleaning and disinfecting power.  Finally, my pro tip is to be patient.  I prefer taking 10-15 wipes with water and a rag than using one wipe with a solution that has some heavy chemicals in it.  Your equipment has the ability to last upwards of twenty years, but if you want the wood finish and the metal coatings to last that long as well, using fancy cleaning solutions for the sake of saving a few seconds of effort isn’t recommended.

This post originally appeared on the Balanced Body blog, here.

How to replace your footbar padding

After years of footwork in parallel, your footbar padding will get worn down.  This may look like you’ve got two indentations and if your feet are on the bar it’s very, very hard in just those two spots because you can feel the metal beneath your heels.

(Note: When I talk about footbar padding I’m not talking about the vinyl sticky mat that velcros around over the top of the bar, but the neoprene padding between the cover and the aluminum bar.) 

Footbar Replacement

Conveniently, this padding is really easy to change.  This procedure applies to the Inifinity footbar on a Studio or Clinical Reformer, the black Allegro Reformer, and a Classic or Revo footbar on the Studio Reformer.

First, you’ll need to order the correct footbar padding from your BB Sales Rep or distributor.  The dimensions are slightly different so make sure you get the correct one.  They will be able to help you determine what is correct for your Reformer.

Second, remove the Velcro footbar cover.  On older Reformers you will need to just undo the Velcro.  However, if you have a cover that pulls tight on both ends with draw strings, keep the strings wrapped around the footbar, but just slide the cover to one side of the footbar and let it hang.

(Note: If you want to upgrade your footbar cover to one with drawstrings at both ends so it doesn’t slide sideways over time, you can!  Just talk to your sales rep or distributor.)

Now, you’re ready to start peeling off the old footbar padding.  This can be the most frustrating part of the process because the padding may come off in a thousand tiny pieces.  Don’t worry, just have patience.  I’ve found that over time the best technique is to use your fingers to peel the adhesive part under the padding off, rather than just the padding.  You can also try applying some heat to soften the adhesive before removing it.

Other times (lucky times!) the pieces come off in big chunks and it goes quickly.

Removing Footbar

Once the old padding is off, you are ready to apply the new padding.  There is no need to make the footbar perfectly clean and smooth, because you are just going to cover it up again.  Just make sure there are no thick chunks remaining.

The new padding should be applied so the seam faces away from the carriage.  I start by holding one short end of the padding in each hand, and visually aligning it so it’s centered on the footbar.  Then, I smooth it all the way across in a line.

New Footbar Placement

Next, wrap the middle of the padding around the middle of the footbar, and work your way outward, smoothing as you go.

Once the padding is secure, you are ready to re-attach the footbar cover.  Make sure you face the Velcro seam away from the carriage.

Footbar Orientation and Cleanup

Re-tie the strings on each end (if present) and tuck them back under out of the way.

Now, you’re ready to enjoy your new, cushy, footbar.


This post originally appeared on the Balanced Body blog, here.

Troubleshooting your Trapeze Table canopy

There’s nothing more frustrating than when you are working with a client on your Cadillac and the slider bars won’t adjust where you need them to be.  You scurry around, trying to loosen things and find the best angle to apply force to move the bars into position, all while your client is watching you and waiting.

Fixing this issue might sound intimidating, at first, but can be fairly simple if you have the right tools and process.  Here’s where you can start.

First, make sure the tubes the sliders are mounted to are clean.  There’s a quick #MaintenanceMonday video on Instagram about how to clean your tubes with Silicone Spray, here.  Basically, you spray some silicone on a dry rag and wipe down the rails.  If the canopy is aligned well, the sliders should move much more easily.

However, if the silicone spray cleaning doesn’t help your sliders move more smoothly, you may need a slightly more in-depth tune-up.  To do this, you’ll need a 3/16” Allen wrench and two cotter pins.  (Hint: you can substitute some thin nails or small Allen wrenches for the cotter pins, if you didn’t keep yours).

To watch this process as it relates to a sticky vertical slider bar, you can check out the free video in the BB Garage, here.

  • Insert the cotter pins (or cotter pin substitutes) into the holes on the vertical tubes.  This will prevent the tubes from sliding down once you loosen the set screws.
Insert Cotter Pins
  • Loosen the two set screws on each tube receiver which are mounted to the wood frame.
Loosen Screws Mounted to Frame
  • Loosen the two set screws at the top of the canopy that hold the top horizontal tube in place (see photo).
Loosen Screws on Top of Canopy
  • Slide the vertical slider bar all the way up to the top.
  • Tighten the two set screws at the top.
  • Slide the vertical slider bar all the way to the bottom.
  • Tighten the eight set screws on the bottom.
  • Test slide the bar up and down to make sure the process worked.
  • Remove the cotter pins.
  • Enjoy your smoothly functioning slider!

Please note, this procedure can be extrapolated to the horizontal slider on the top of the canopy, and to issues with the push-through bar binding up.  If the vertical slider doesn’t function smoothly after this tune-up, you’ll need to loosen all of the set screws of the canopy, sequentially, and re-tighten them.  I can help walk you through that slightly more complicated process if you reach out to me at Kaleen@fitreformer.com.

Happy Reforming!