You can probably change the springs in your sleep, but have you ever thought about how and why the Reformer actually works?
Before you crawl under the Cadillac from embarrassment, you’re not alone, says Regina Arras, a Pilates teacher and an aerospace engineer. But the bad news is that, if you don’t understand the mechanics of the machines, and why maintenance is of the utmost importance, you’re putting your (and your clients’) safety at risk.
“Pilates teacher-training programs rarely speak about the equipment separate from how we are supposed to teach on it,” says Arras, who decided to get certified while designing airplanes for the Boeing Company. “We aren’t taught how it works or why it’s designed the way it is, so for some, maintenance is a totally foreign concept.”
In 2013, after Arras had a “lightbulb moment” during Alycea Ungaro’s Synthesis Mentor Program, she launched Top Gun Pilates Engineering (www.topgunpilatesengineering.com), which offers everything from equipment moving, assembly and installation to maintenance packages to emergency service repairs to their own line of cleaning wipes. Arras has since expanded her business from the New York tri-state area to all over the country (which, as a bonus, has given her the opportunity to guest-teach all over the U.S.) and even worldwide via Skype consultations.
So why the need for professional maintenance? “Routinely inspected, cleaned and serviced equipment is safer and more reliable,” explains Arras, who recommends quarterly service. “I’ve been involved in lawsuits as an expert where clients have gotten seriously injured from poorly maintained equipment that was improperly set up. Springs, clips and hardware can break at any time. People think that it won’t happen to them, but it can.”
Another huge pro: “Setting up a routine maintenance plan will stave off costly repairs and keep your budget on track. I can’t stress how important it is for new studio owners to budget for maintenance from the beginning, and for established studios, now is the perfect time to configure these costs into your 2017 budgets.
“Once you become familiar with the equipment and ‘get under the carriage,’ you’ll have a new respect for it,” adds Arras. “You’ll understand that it needs to be looked after and cared for, too—just like our clients and our bodies.”