The Pilates Cadillac: So Many Fun Things You Can Do

The word Cadillac conjures up big convertible cars with fins, electric windows and fancy hub caps. That is why this piece of Pilates equipment is named the Cadillac — it has all the bells and whistles you could possibly want.



There are so many elements to the machine: leg springs, arm springs, fuzzy loops to hang from, a push-through bar to stretch you out, and even a trapeze. The trapeze was the original add on accessory to the machine which is why it is also known as a "trap" table. As a piece of equipment it looks pretty intimidating - it is about 6 feet tall. When folks first see it they often laugh uncomfortably and joke that it looks like a medieval torture device or kinky sex playground - and the name trap table just feeds into those thoughts. So Cadillac it is.

Pilates lore has it that eponymous Joe created the prototype Cadillac to enable bed ridden patients to exercise. His design was simple - a hospital bed with mattress springs attached to the wall. The design has definitely evolved over the years and and so have the exercises and stretches one can do on the Cadillac.


You can isolate almost every muscle group on the machine - it is an excellent tool for breaking down motion into small pieces to restore correct motion patterns. Using the leg springs is one of the best ways to get runners to fully use their hamstrings. This little video is a leg springs exercise.

Because the Cadillac is such a large piece of equipment it is rarely used in group classes. So the best way to experience this machine is in a private Pilates session. Some studios offer "Wall Unit" classes. A Wall Unit has one side of the Cadillac mounted on a wall - good for home use too. Look for these classes, because they are great.

Want to see some more of the cool moves you can do on a Cadillac? then read more

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