Pilates Cadillac Trapeze Table 

A Pilates Cadillac or Trapeze Table is the piece of Pilates equipment featured above in the photo. Generally when people think of Studio Pilates they think of Pilates reformers. So we have written the below article to answer some frequently asked questions as it’s such an important piece of equipment that has multiple benefits. 

What is a Pilates Cadillac? 

The Cadillac is supportive and is a great piece of equipment to start your Pilates sessions. That said, you can also do some of the most challenging exercises on the Cadillac as well. So it’s incredibly versatile that’s why we love it and use it in our reformer Pilates sessions in Marylebone.  In the below article we will discuss how it works and why it is so beneficial (particularly for injury rehabilitation). What exercises you can perform on the Cadillac and what muscle groups it can target. 

How does a Pilates Cadillac work?

It was the first piece of equipment that was designed by Joseph Pilates in 1940s using a hospital bed for fellow inmates in an internment camp during world war 1. Obviously the modern day Pilates Cadillac have evolved to include a comfortable table with multiple attachments points for springs and bars to add resistance for exercises. There are also fluffy handles for hanging and stretching exercises. There are literally so many exercises you can do using the Cadillac equipment.     

How Many Times a Week Should I do Pilates?

We suggest 2 ideally 3 times per week to see results quicker. The majority of people we see want to start Pilates as they have had bad experiences with other forms of exercises, gained injuries and heard Pilates was really beneficial for a friend. Pilates gives you the building blocks to support and excel with more demanding exercises. The NHS suggests exercising at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week so it depends on current state of health, your goals and what other exercises you are doing.

What Kind of Strength or Area of the Body Does Pilates Focus on? 

Pilates always strengthens your core, glutes, pelvic floor and diaphragm however it really is a full body workout! Studio Pilates sessions at Wellthy Clinic are truly bespoke so it depends on the aims of the session (shoulder strengthening, improve core stability, increase upper back mobility etc).       

Is Pilates good for beginners? 

Absolutely yes! Beginners Reformer Pilates is fantastic as it is a low impact, safe exercise that aims to build strength, flexibility, balance and coordination. We regularly encourage our Osteopathic clients to try Pilates as part of a treatment plan on the road to recovery.     

How do the Pilates Springs Work? 

Springs of different tensions can either make the exercise harder, easier or focus on particular muscles depending on the aims of the session. The springs are attached to the loops on the Cadillac frame and bars. Exercises will be performed to strengthen, stretch and mobilise joints. Shoulder bridges, roll downs, roll backs, leg and arm circles are few of the most common Cadillac exercises. You can use the Cadillac lying down, side lying, kneeling, standing to the side or on the Cadillac. You can even hang from the bars with some of the advanced exercises! The springs can be lowered or raised for different heights and ability levels for clients.

Why is the Pilates Cadillac so beneficial for injury rehabilitation? 

The Cadillac is fabulous for rehab sessions as it supportive. The solid table base means it’s particularly useful for stability and strengthening exercises (like single leg stretch). The advantage of performing single leg stretches on the Cadillac is you can initially make the exercise easier by using foot straps with resistance to challenge your core but build up the exercise difficulty slowly to support your recovery.

Cadillac Advanced Exercises

A Cadillac is also gives the opportunity for some of the most advanced exercises. You can perform some of the most acrobatic exercises by hanging upside down holding onto the metal frame! Great spinal mobility whilst working hard to control the movements with strength and stability is achieved with these advanced exercises. Plus they look amazing! 

Is Pilates Matwork or Studio better?   

Studies have been conducted to research the effectiveness of Pilates for people with chronic non specific low back pain (CNLBP) comparing matwork and equipment Pilates. Two studies showed positive improvements with a significant difference was found in disability scores and kinesiophobia after 6 months in favour of equipment-based Pilates exercises (Luz et al 2014). Also Cruz Diaz et al (2017) reported decreased pain levels, disability and kinesiophobia scores after 3 months in favour of the Studio Pilates group. However Lee et al (2014) reported a greater improvement with pain intensity and balance after 2 months for the matwork group. So all positive results for Pilates but Lee’s study favoured matwork.

A recent review (Eliks et al 2019) suggested best results were achieved for Pilates-based exercises for people with CNLBP when practised in 60 minutes sessions, 2 and 3 times per week by qualified instructors. In addition the selection of exercises during Pilates-based sessions should be tailored to patients with CNLBP.


At our Wellthy Clinic in London we offer private (1:1) and semi private (2:1) Studio Pilates sessions. We also offer Pilates for over 60s near me and pilates for pregnant women of which there are multiple benefits 10 benefits of pilates.

Matthew Glithero

Matthew Glithero

Matthew Glithero is a Reformer Pilates Instructor

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