Happy spring! It’s right around the corner, isn’t it?
I should say springs! While we wait patiently for Spring, we are excited to have new springs for the equipment at Centerspace! After years of loyal service, our ‘old’ springs are just plain tired. So we thought you might be interested in a little tutorial about what to expect from your new springs.
Deborah Lessen is a renowned Pilates instructor and creates her own Pilates equipment for use in her studio! So needless to say, she’s very serious about how the equipment should perform. This is what she has to say about springs:
Extension springs are wound to oppose extension. So how tightly the spring is coiled is critical. Extension springs absorb and store energy as well as create resistance to a pulling force.
The initial tension of the spring is very important. The user should always feel the initial tension when beginning a movement. This is the moment that tests the body’s muscle coordination, full body organization and strength. After initial tension, the resistance should decrease evenly as the spring is extended, allowing the user’s joints to ‘breathe’ when fully extended.
Spring resistance should be suitable to necessitate dynamic stabilization, an underlying concept of Pilates exercise. The spring should feel smooth during movement, quiet, give the feel of circular motion and mimic breathing. Like muscles, springs should be effective both concentrically and eccentrically. In other words, they should provide resistance as you extend them and pull back in so that your muscles have to control the return movement, the muscles’ eccentric contraction, which is dominant in Pilates training. Springs should give accurate feedback regarding which muscles are working and how much effort is being exerted.
And our teacher and mentor, Amy Taylor Alpers, had this to say about the relationship of springs to the Pilates experience:
Ideally, the springs in Pilates exercises should offer both resistance and support, much like a bird uses air to fly, or a fish uses water to swim. Because this relationship can be quite subtle it is very easy and common to either overpower the spring, or conversely, let the spring overpower you, or to just simply hang off it. One of the really valuable and unique aspects of the newly rediscovered “archival” exercises is that they truly help you understand this relationship; they teach you how to connect to the spring most effectively – to find the freedom that comes with relinquishing a certain level of control to the spring, and then to move with more flow and speed to create deep length, strength and integration in the tissue. This is how Pilates achieves its ultimate goal – uniform development so you can breathe more powerfully and circulate all that oxygen everywhere – the “internal shower”.