Reformer Pilates Springs - How to choose

Reformer Pilates Springs- how to choose

The springs on the Reformer can be a tricky one to navigate sometimes not only when it is our first class but even for those who are experienced. There are so many factors which contribute to the selection of the springs that you can be forgiven for feeling a little confused sometimes. Often I hear teachers ask their students to let them know if the springs aren’t quite right but other than not being able to either feel something or move the machine, how do you really know if they are right for you at that time?

The springs are there to offer stability and resistance and getting this right will not only depend on your body and energy levels but the actual exercises and movement which you are trying to do. Sometimes the lightest springs are the ones which are most challenging as we need to rely more on our own body strength to support us while using heavier springs encourage us to build strength in a different way while our body is supported by the machine.

Try using the lightest spring while doing a simple plank and feel the feedback your body gives you almost immediately!

Same can be said for heavier springs with legs in straps which provide strong resistance which will break you into a sweat right there and then.

The key though to the most beneficial Pilates training is to focus on your alignment while playing with any of the moves. If we don’t get the springs right then often we will start to compensate and do whatever it takes to get moving which is quite counterproductive to what the Pilates method is all about. Using good body awareness and feeling your body move through space without compromise will get you the best outcomes every time.

Notice your breathing when you are moving as this will give you a really strong indicator of where you are at. If your breath is short and choppy or if you are holding your breath then it is a good idea to back off by either slowing down or changing the resistance. Remember also to not be afraid of modifying the movements; kneeling instead of standing, sitting instead of kneeling are great options. Let your Pilates teacher know with a quick wave and they will be able to assist you.

Here are some simple tips on using the springs;

Step One- Listen to the Teacher

Your teacher will be best guide for which spring choice is most appropriate for that particular exercise. Good teachers will usually offer a range and will also check in with each student. The best teacher you can also listen to is you. Only you know how it really feels once you have the right information so don’t be afraid to change it up or down.

Step Two- Practice with great alignment and control

Don’t compensate for great alignment and technique. Pilates is all about precision, control and using the breath to guide the body. If we compromise by using additional resistance purely because we think we can, we increase the risk of injury and developing pure posture.


Step Three - use your breath

Your breath can tell a lot about how you are travelling and if you are working in the right zone. Take note if your breath is short and rapid or alternatively you might be holding your breath both of which are signs you are potentially overdoing it.  Use these observations to make simple adjustments to your tempo, resistance and technique to ensure you get the best outcome for your Pilates workout.

Step Five- Rest when you need to

This is really important. Remember it is your workout and you are your best teacher. Take breaks when you need to and join the class when you are ready.

Lauren Angel