Do this to keep your Allegro 2 bumpers from falling off

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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 … Read More

How to clean your Wooden dowels and Push-Through Bars

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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! Learn 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 … Read More

Which cleaners to use on your equipment, and when

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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 … Read More

How to replace your footbar padding

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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.)  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 … Read More

Troubleshooting your Trapeze Table canopy

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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. Loosen the two set screws … Read More

The difference between wheel bushings and bearings

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How your carriage rides on the rails is one of the most noticeable things about your Reformer and one of the most critical to getting the intended feeling of an exercise. Not only is the condition of the outer rubber wheel important, but the metal part that surrounds the axle bolt, as well.  That metal part (it looks like a donut), can be either a bushing or a bearing. Bushings Classical leaning machines, such as the Contrology Reformer and the Centerline Reformer, use bushings on their wheels.  Bushings are simply a round metal donut that fits between the rubber or plastic wheel and the metal axle bolt.  It can be made of different materials, such as steel, bronze, or high-grade plastic like Nylon.  The material chosen depends on what kind of friction properties you want  (Translation: how you want it to feel/the drag) and what kind of wear properties you want (Translation: whether you want to oil or maintain the surfaces that rub on one another.) Bearings Contemporary leaning machines, such as the Studio Reformer, Allegro and Allegro 2 Reformers, and the Rialto Reformer, use wheels with bearings.  Bearings are also donut shaped, however, they have a few layers because inside of the donut are a bunch of tiny steel balls and lubricant.  This allows for a much silkier ride than bushings, with hardly any drag.  You can find these types of bearings on roller skates or inline skates. Which is better? Despite very different designs and “feels” neither one … Read More

How to never tighten that one loose bolt again

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We’ve all experienced a loose knob, bracket, or post on our Pilates equipment, and some of us even have the exact right wrench in the front desk drawer to tighten that bolt because it happens week after week, after week.  It’s so annoying! Today I want to show you how to use Loctite® to prevent these bolts from rattling loose over and over again. First, Loctite® is a brand name for a liquid thread locker.  It comes in a small tube and there are several “colors” you can purchase, each of varying strengths.  The color you want is BLUE.  The blue Loctite® is semi-permanent and will balance preventing your bolt from rattling loose from daily activity while still being able to manually remove the bolt with regular tools at some point in the future, if needed. Loctite® is quite runny, so be wary when cutting the nozzle open the first time and handling the tube with the cap off at any point.  Once applied, the liquid will harden into a gummy substance that will grip both the female threads and the male threads so that they can’t easily wiggle loose. Please, avoid the RED label because that one is permanent!  You’ll never get those bolts out again. Here’s a quick Maintenance Monday clip on how to apply the Loctite® to your Allegro 2 silver loop hooks on the carriage.  Those hooks can get quite loose over time, so this little trick will keep them securely in place. To do this procedure on … Read More

Bumpy Ride? Troubleshoot Your Reformer: Part Two

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Continuing on last month’s topic of troubleshooting a bumpy carriage ride, let’s talk about other places your annoyances might be coming from besides the wheels. I perform the baseline testing by doing leg circles with my feet in straps, because I get the biggest range of motion using the ropes and straps (Remember, in Part 1 all the testing was done without the ropes.)  More specific testing I’ll do with my hands as demonstrated in photos and videos in this post.  You MUST ensure that the wheels and rails are clean and smooth before beginning this process. LISTEN With feet in straps, doing leg circles, we are listening for a few noises.  There are four common possible sources.  Check out the photo below for an explanation of what parts I mean. Carriage wheels (but you already eliminated that possibility with testing from Part 1, right!?) Pulley wheels (called a sheave) Pulley D-ring on Eyebolt Pulley spring on Riser If you hear squeaking but don’t feel any bumps or catches as you circle your legs, likely some dry lubricant will help.  Check out this video to see how to apply Teflon (PTFE) Spray to the Pulley wheel. If you don’t hear any squeaking, great!  Move on. FEEL Constant thump If you feel a constant thump-thump-thump-thump, there are two places to check. First, check that the ropes are not thick, stiff, fuzzy and wavy.  Worn ropes can cause a bumpy feeling as they glide over a smooth, round pulley. If the ropes are fine, it might be the pulley wheel … Read More

Bumpy Ride? Troubleshoot Your Reformer: Part 1

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One of the many little pleasures in my own Pilates session is experiencing a smooth and quiet carriage ride.  While working out, I want to be able to focus entirely on how my body is feeling rather than running through all the possible causes for the bumps. If your Reformer carriage has developed some bumps along the way, here is a quick procedure to help pinpoint the source of the bumps and fix it. Are your rails and wheels clean? This is extremely important because most of the time the wheels or the frame rails will actually have dirt, debris, or little rubber flakes stuck to them which can cause bumps.  If you’ve cleaned BOTH the rails and wheels, then you know that’s not the cause and you can move on.  (You can read more about cleaning your rails, here.) During footwork, is the bump rhythmic or does it occur only once? If the bump is regular, about every 5 inches or so, it is likely coming from a wheel.  If it only occurs once during each repetition of footwork, it could be the rail. Your bumpy wheels could be the carriage (rolling) wheels which support the weight of the carriage, or the side wheels, which control how much side-to-side motion the carriage has within the frame. To relieve side wheel bumpiness, ensure there is between 1/8” and ¼” side-to-side play (video example, here). Sometimes you will notice that the wheels are too tight against the inside of the frame and they cannot roll in a perfect … Read More

Balanced Body makes it easy to replace your upholstery and foam

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After many years of use, especially in a busy studio, your reformer vinyl can start to wear.  It might crack, the corners might get nicked, your client’s jewelry or zippers might cut the vinyl, or it could get scuffed.  Underneath the vinyl, you might have foam wearing thin where clients commonly kneel or put their butts or feet. Any of these reasons might make you want to replace your upholstery, but it sounds like a tedious process that requires a local upholstery service.  However, Balanced Body makes it really easy to replace your vinyl and foam on the most frequently used equipment with no upholstery skills required. Every Reformer, Chair and Cadillac is built with removable upholstery blocks.  That means in order to change the vinyl and foam on your Reformer carriage, you only need to unscrew and re-install a few bolts.  This works because each carriage pad consists of a plywood backer, foam, and upholstered cover that is already stapled to the plywood backer.  Shoulder rests, headrests, chair padding, and Cadillac upholstery are all built similarly.  They come pre-upholstered and require only an allen wrench or screwdriver to remove and install the new one. If you’re looking to replace less often used sitting boxes, mat conversions, Allegro 2 shoulder rests, or moon boxes, the process is slightly different.  In many cases it may be less expensive to buy a whole new part.  In other cases I recommend contacting a local automotive upholsterer (many of them are mobile and can … Read More