What is a Pilates Cadillac Machine? [Benefits and Exercises]

What is a Pilates Cadillac Machine?
What is a Pilates Cadillac Machine

Pilates Cadillac, together with a Pilates Reformer, is one of the best known and most popular Pilates machines.

By using it, you increase the efficiency of your Pilates training, because the exercises done on it are more demanding.

It has a beneficial effect on building strength and flexibility. It is also great for balance.

In simple words, Pilates Cadillac machine resembles a bedframe with an overhead construction that has handles, springs and loops attached which are meant to be used to perform certain exercises. Bottom part is a stationary platform. Springs are added to the handles to make it more challenging and increase the effectiveness of certain exercises.

To know more about what is a Pilates Cadillac and its usage, read the following chapters:

What is a Pilates Cadillac Machine?

Pilates Cadillac, as already mentioned, is a type of a workout machine, developed for Pilates purposes.

It was created by Joseph Pilates, and it is used in both traditional and modern Pilates classes.

This machine is quite large, and most often used only in Pilates studios due to its size, however, home versions are also available.

Bottom, stationary, platform is padded and stable. When practicing, you can position yourself on top of it completely, or in some exercises, just partially, and use springs and handles to perform exercises.

Among basic parts, there are individual springs, loops, trapeze, wooden (or metal) push-through bar, and the surrounding frame poles.

On a Pilates Cadillac machine, these springs and handles can be used in different ways.

First of all, springs add load and require activation of your muscles. These speeds up the strengthening process.

Secondly, by doing certain balance exercises, springs are there to give you just a limited support, and you will increase your balance abilities.

When stretching, Cadillac will enable you to get deeper stretches in certain positions.

All of this means it is a very versatile machine.

Those who want to do more challenging exercises can even speed up their weight loss process by using it and burn more calories.

When using this machine, you can even do some “off ground” and inverted exercises, with the help of the overhead frame and handles which can be used to place either your arms or legs on them.

Pilates Cadillac Machine is great for all experience levels, and you can use it as a complete beginner too, because there are dozens of exercises suitable for all.

Those who are more experienced can really enhance their workout program.

It can look a bit intimidating at first, but as soon as you give it a try, you are going to realize how good this machine actually is.

What are the Benefits of a Pilates Cadillac Machine?

Using Pilates Cadillac machine has many benefits, and some of them were already mentioned in previous chapter.

Those are the obvious benefits, and include increased strength, balance and flexibility.

However, there are some other benefits too, which are not that obvious, but they are even more important for human health.

Remember, the creator of Pilates, Joseph Pilates, strongly believed that strong body and mind are the most important for health, and that inspired these machines.

So, lets see what are the Pilates Cadillac benefits.

Improved circulation

Any kind of activity is beneficial for our health and cardiovascular system, and Pilates too is very good for it.

If you are wondering why is Pilates better for circulation than some other forms of workout, I will explain.

Pilates is great for improving your posture, and proper posture enables better breathing. Proper posture lengthens your spine and increases blood circulation. Proper blood flow keeps your blood pressure in order. Together with some breathing exercises done in Pilates, your organs and cells will get as much oxygen as possible and that is one of the best long-term health benefits.

Being able to hang upside down on a Cadillac also increases blood flow more than conventional exercises.

Less pressure on joints

By standing on a padded platform and holding the handles, you are reducing pressure on your joints, while also doing very effective exercises to increase strength.

This is great for those who have sensitive joints and problems with pain while exercising. Working out on a Cadillac is a great starting point and from there you can make progress until your joints are able to withstand a bit more pressure.

Moderate range of motion

Yes, you can use the Cadillac to stretch a lot or do some advanced upside-down positions, but that is not its main purpose.

This machine is constructed in a way that you can perform exercises that include limited range of motion, and because of that, it is suitable for everyone, including those who are recovering from injuries (and have been cleared to exercise by their doctor).

Suitable for older people or those recovering from injuries

Padded stationary platform is lifted above the ground, and it can be used as an exercising mat.

Those who have impaired mobility due to their age or injurie, can easily sit and lay down on it, and more importantly, they can get up from it.

Those people can even use the surrounding frame to hold on to while getting on and off the machine. It is much easier, and safer, than lowering all the way to the ground to perform mat exercises.

Pilates Cadillac vs Reformer: What is the Difference?

To inexperienced users, Pilates reformer and Pilates Cadillac machine can seem almost the same, but that is not correct.

It is true that there are some similarities.

Added resistance to increase your muscle activation is one of them.

Additionally, both are great for flexibility and balance.

But when it comes to their construction and usage, differences are quite obvious.

First of all, the bottom platform on a Cadillac is stationary, while on a Reformer it is moving, to make the exercises more challenging.

Working out on a reformer is usually more dynamic, challenging and can increase your heart rate a bit more. That means that it is more useful in weigh loss.

Resistance on a Cadillac is also lighter than Reformer resistance.

A Cadillac enables you to do exercises against gravity, as you can completely get yourself off the platform, while on a reformer that is not the case.

When it comes to exercises and their flow, there are more repetitive movements done on a Reformer.

Of course, depending on your wishes and fitness level, all of this can be customized to suit your needs, however, I am talking about the differences in general.

When thinking about Pilates Cadillac vs reformer, observe them as different machine with different purpose.

None of them is better than the other and both have the ability to activate all of the muscle groups and provide certain benefits.

Movement of a reformer enables greater range of motion for your joints and adds more challenge as the platform is moving, so you need to engage your muscles to keep your balance and do the motion in a controlled way, instead of just using momentum.

Cadillac is great for lengthening your muscles as well as strengthening, especially as you make progress and are able to do some challenging workouts.

What are the Best Pilates Cadillac Exercises?

Now when you know exactly what is a Pilates Cadillac, let’s talk about Pilates Cadillac exercises.

There is so many of these exercises and their variations, that it would be impossible to count them all.

Here I am going to mention a few exercises that are fun, can be a challenge for some, and are very effective.

If you are a beginner, this may be a bit hard, but they are a great motivation to start practicing.


This exercise will activate your shoulders, abdominals and inner thighs. It will also affect your spinal mobility.

To do it, lay on your back with leg spring straps attached to your feet. Hold the vertical frame poles with your arms almost straight, and positioned slightly above your head.

Bend your knees into the chest with your heels touching each other and your toes facing away from each other.

Roll up to lift you hips. Lift your legs straight up and stretch your legs in front to “catch” those springs attached to your feet.

Lower your enlengthen body towards the mat in a controlled motion. Do it 3-5 times in this direction, and then try to do in the opposite one.

When in motion, do not pull yourself with the arms. You have to engage your back and control the motion from there.


Tower is the name of an exercise on a Cadillac machine, and try not to confuse it with Pilates Tower, which is a separate type of a machine.

To perform this exercise, lay on your back, position your feet to hold the wooden bar, and place your arms slightly above your head and hold the frame poles.

I have to mention that if you completely stretch your legs in this position and flex your feet, you will get a really deep stretch in your legs, especially the hamstrings. So, this step can be isolated and used only for stretching purpose.

But, let’s get back to the tower exercise. Roll up with straight legs and lift your hips and lower back from the platform. From this position, bend your knees without compromising the lifted position. Your “butt” should stay in place. From there, push the bar up as you straighten your legs. Repeat 3 times and slowly lower your hips down. Then repeat the whole process 5 times.

Roll Down

I left the easiest one for the end this time. This exercise is suitable for complete beginners too.

Sit on the platform with your knees slightly bent. Place your feet to the frame poles but keep your heels on the platform. Hold the handle in your hands and press it slightly down with your arms extended, to activate your muscles slightly and stabilize your shoulders.

Start rolling down, one vertebrate at a time, in a slow and controlled motion. Your legs are going to straighten up. Lower down completely while you pull the handle and the resistance increases. Make sure you are not pulling with your arms. Keep your shoulders stable and down, engage your core. Slowly start rolling up in a controlled motion too. The spring will help you lift but don’t let it do the motion for you. Stay in control with your abdominal muscles engaged.


Machines used in Pilates have a lot of benefits and can affect our bodies a lot.

Added resistance increases strength while certain exercises increase flexibility and balance.

Pilates Cadillac machine has all of these benefits, plus a much greater blood circulation benefits, when compared to some other types of workout, due to the fact that you can perform certain upside-down poses.

This machine is great for those with sensitive joints too. Before you start practicing, consult with a Pilates instructor to get a proper guidance.

Your experience and fitness level do not present an obstacle in Cadillac usage, as this machine is suitable for everyone.

By Sina

My name is Sina, and since young age, I have been passionate about sports. This website is a result of it, and my goal is to share my experience with all of you. Read more about me ....