What Pilates Reformer Springs Should I Use?

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Have you ever wondered the purpose of Reformer springs? Our guide outlines popular brand specifications and offers tips for maintaining your springs.

In a Pilates Anytime class, you may hear our teachers state a range of Reformer spring tension from light to medium to heavy. Springs create resistance on your Reformer, so adding a spring increases resistance and removing one decreases resistance.

Using heavier springs does not necessarily equal a harder workout, however. The springs are there to support you and depending on the exercise, a lighter spring may require more strength and control.

As each brand has its own distinct feel, spring tension varies by manufacturer. Below, you can find our helpful spring guide to common Pilates Reformer brands:

Balanced Body® Reformer Springs

Each color spring corresponds to a different level of resistance:

  • Yellow Spring: Very Light Resistance
  • Blue Spring: Light Resistance
  • Red Spring: Medium Resistance
  • Green Spring: Heavy Resistance

Gratz® Reformer Springs

Gratz® Reformers contain four springs of equal resistance.

Peak Pilates® Reformer Springs

Similar to Balanced Body® Reformers, the five Peak Pilates® Reformer springs are color coded:

  • 2 Blue Springs: Light Resistance
  • 2 Yellow Springs: Medium Resistance
  • 1 Red Spring: Heavy Resistance

Merrithew® Reformer Springs

Formerly known as STOTT®, Merrithew® Reformers consist of five springs of mixed resistance:

  • White Spring: 25% Tension
  • Blue Spring: 50% Tension
  • Red Spring: 100% Tension
  • Black Spring: 125% Tension

When purchasing a Merrithew® Reformer, you have the option to choose one of three spring combinations of varying tension to fit your Pilates needs.

AeroPilates® Reformer Cords

The AeroPilates® Reformer functions a little differently than other brands because it uses bungee cords instead of springs for resistance. Depending on the model, AeroPilates® Reformers use four to five black cords of equal tension. For additional customization, you can purchase heavier (red) cords and lighter (yellow) cords.

Flexia™ Reformer Springs

The Flexia™ Reformer comes with five color coded springs with varying tension:

  • 1 White Spring: 25% Tension
  • 1 Orange Spring: 50% Tension
  • 2 Blue Springs: 100% Tension
  • 1 Black Spring: 125% Tension

Pilates Designs® Reformer Springs

Pilates Designs® Reformers contain four springs of equal resistance. Light and heavy springs are also available for purchase.

How Often Should I Replace My Springs?

Depending on use, we recommend replacing your Reformer's springs as soon as you begin to see signs of wear. Common signs to replace your springs are oxidization and finding kinks or gapes in the coil. Left unattended, springs can break during use, which could endanger you or a client. A good rule of thumb is to replace your springs every two years.

Note: Reformer springs made by one manufacturer are not compatible with another Reformer brand.

Different Bodies Require Different Springs

Appropriate spring tensions may vary depending on a person's height, weight, and skill level. A 150-pound experienced Pilates practitioner might require a much different spring resistance than a 110-pound beginner. We note that in most cases, the beginner will likely need more spring tension to be supported safely throughout an exercise.

Your spring tension should allow you to perform each Pilates exercise with control, stability, and confidence. If you understand an exercise and still feel that you are not accomplishing its objective, you may want to adjust your spring tension.

We hope this guide has been helpful to your practice. If you have any questions about Reformer springs, leave a comment below!

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Comments

2 people like this.
I’m a certified classical instructor . I recently purchased a Peak wood studio reformer , with 4 springs (yellow, yellow, blue, red) included . I was trained Gratz , and am curious if you know the difference between one yellow spring (which is “regular /full” for Peak) is similar or equivalent to one spring on a Gratz  Reformer . I also had a client recently ask the question, “How much weight is each spring exactly ?” I could only answer how they differ from one another ; I didn’t have an exact conversion to pounds which was the answer she was looking for . 
6 people like this.
I've looked at all the information I can find on the site regarding spring comparison between BB and Stott and in one post Kristi says the full weight springs on Stott are comparable to the red springs on BB, but Gia's post says green- can you clarify? Thanks for this information. I am new to reformer work and just purchased a Stott machine but would like to continue using Pilates Anytime.  While I understand the thought behind instructors describing how it should feel to the individual user instead of relying on the spring setup, I simply don't trust that I have enough experience to accurately associate the description given to what I'm feeling.  Not sure that makes sense in writing... :)
I have an aeropilates with 4 black cords. I recently bought 2 red cords and a yellow cord. I am thinking about arranging my cords so that I have one red, two black and one yellow. How would these cords correspond to the reformers
 you use on the videos? I’m often confused as to how many cords I should be using. Thank you.
2 people like this.
Hi Gina, I would recommend starting off with videos that use the AeroPilates Reformer as they explain a little bit more about the set up and how to use it in relation to the reformers used in other videos. You can find the videos here.
S B
2 people like this.
I would appreciate spring information as well.  I use a BASI Systems reformer and Wunda Chair and would very much like to understand how the BASI springs can be adjusted to match the Gratz springs or, alternately, the Balanced Body springs.  Thank you very much for any information  you can provide.  
4 people like this.
Do you have any info on how the Aeropilates versions with springs (not chords) compare to other reformers? I have an Aeropilates PRO XP557 but have worked mostly on Balanced Body and Stott reformers and am trying to figure out how the springs compare. According to Stamina, the two blue springs have a resistance of 7-28 lbs, and the two yellow springs have a resistance of 9-39 lbs (measured by minimum resistance at 15" stretch and 30" for the maximum).
Hannah J do you know where to buy more springs for this machine? 
I am also looking for spring comparisons between the different brands of reformers used by instructors. In particular I have an Aaeropilates Reformer (w/5 black cords), and I find it difficult to figure out the configuration when the instructor is using a spring-type reformer (i.e. BB and Stott).
Please note that Peak now has a green spring that is considered extra light.  So comparable to Balanced Body’s yellow.

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