A highly specialised piece of kit, the Pilates Cadillac (also sometimes known as a Trapeze Table) is available either as a Half Cadillac or as a Full Cadillac Frame. Highly effective if used properly, it's also incredibly versatile in helping to bridge between exercise and physical therapy. With a number of straps, bars and levers you need to understand how it works, but in doing so you can let loose on over 80 exercises with a full Cadillac.
There are four main pieces of Pilate’s studio equipment; Cadillac, Reformer, Ladder Barrel and Wunda Chair. The Cadillac is sometimes also referred to as the rack or even the trapeze table due to its swing and bars.
It was named after the Cadillac car due to its luxury and array of appealing features. Here we examine what are benefits of using the Cadillac and what you should consider before buying one. Bear in mind you can buy either a Half Cadillac or a Full Cadillac.
The Cadillac is a raised horizontal table surrounded by a four poster frame on which bars, straps, springs and levers are fixed. The reason it looks the way it does is that Joseph Pilates was originally using the design on war veterans so it does resemble something like a hospital bed. Models vary according to what they offer but a standard Cadillac will include a push through bar, a roll down bar, a cross bar, arm springs, leg springs, thigh and ankle cuffs.
You can perform over 200 different exercises on the Cadillac challenging core abdominals, spinal flexibility, shoulder and back, in fact the whole body. Runners often find the Cadillac very useful as it can lengthen and strengthen the hamstrings. The spine also really benefits as it really targets the muscles that support the spine. In fact you can isolate almost every muscle group on the machine.
Using the Cadillac is an excellent way to break down the different movements our body makes into small sections to then restore the correct movement pattern.
The Push through bar helps for foot work, leg work, core and stretching.
The leg/arm spring focuses on the extremities, helping to correct imbalances in the legs and arms. This can prove really beneficial to swimmers, runners and athletes.
The standing spring focuses on functional movements working on the upper and lower body alongside the core. This will really help your standing balance and can be great for tennis players and golfers.
The carriage allows you to perform exercises with a spring resistance, including squats, calf raises and more. If you fix the carriage using mat convertor, you can then sit on the mat and use the pulleys and ropes from the frame for a wide range of exercises.
The main difference is that you have more exercises available to you on the Cadillac. A cadillac uses a Reformer as it's base (unless it's a wall mounted tower). The Cadillac offers more movement possibilities than the reformer. The main uniqness of the Cadillac however is the opportunity for hanging exercises, this allows for full body integration, back extension and strengthening, shoulder and arm strengthening and core stability.
Beginners can use the Cadillac right through to experts as it is adjustable to suit different levels. One of the other benefits of the Cadillac is that it can be used either sitting, standing or laying, so whatever your preference, the flexibility is here.
The obvious thing to say here is that the Cadillac is a big piece of equipment so do make sure it will fit into your space. Most models are almost 7 foot high so check all measurements really carefully.
Look for a solid quality frame, some are made from chrome but you can also get hold of those made from full stainless steel which will last longer. The better the frame the less chipping, pitting and corrosion you will experience. But mostly you need to feel that the Cadillac is sturdy and safe for you to exercise on it, particularly when you are performing acrobatic hanging exercises.
Upholstery that can be wiped down is an advantage. You also want to be able to adjust the table and also check that your body will fit on it. Check that all the moveable parts move easily around. You want non slip grips on all bars, a safety chain on the push through bar and a variety of springs that allows you to adjust the resistance. Some models also colour code their springs so that you can easily recognise different levels when you are working out and want to adjust quickly.
Also check what comes with the Cadillac as some models supply a wide range of accessories so you don’t have to pay out for more expensive accessories to perform the full range of exercises. If you also own a reformer you may also what to see if your reformer is compatible with your Cadillac.