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Pilates Equipment - What are the Cadillac, Tower, & Springboard?

Updated: Jan 15, 2022

Today we are going to chat about one of the common pieces of apparatus (or equipment), how it works, and the safety aspects!


See my Reformer post where I talk about "Why did Joseph Pilates create the different apparatus?" Pilates Equipment - What is a Pilates Reformer?



Now on to today's Pilates Apparatus...


Pilates Cadillac: The Luxury Apparatus!


The Basics - Cadillac

  • The Cadillac is also known as a Trapeze Table.

  • The bars on top of the Cadillac (or the bars that make it the Cadillac a Cadillac) is called the Canopy.

  • The Canopy has a sliding cross bar that is attached to it, which is used to put the Trapeze Bar on and can also be used to line up fuzzy straps.

  • The fuzzy straps are attached to the Canopy for some exercises such as Half and Full Hang. They can also be used during one variation of Ballet Stretches (or leg stretches).

  • The Canopy is held during exercises such as Hanging Down, Hanging Up, and Inversions. These exercises cannot be done on a Tower, Pole System, or Springboard.

  • The Trapeze Bar is attached to the sliding cross bar and hangs down from the Canopy. It is used for a variety of exercises, but mostly known for Ballet Stretches, Hanging Down, Hanging Up, and Breathing.

  • The flat piece of the Trapeze is called the Breathing Bar.

  • The Trapeze Swing is the fuzzy strap under the Breathing Bar on the Trapeze.

  • Without the fuzzy strap, this is sometimes referred to as the canopy loop.

  • There are two vertical sides of the Cadillac; one is the Roll Down Bar side and the other side is the Push Through Bar side.

  • Typically, the Leg Springs are attached to the Roll Down Bar side of the Cadillac.

  • Arm Springs can be attached to either side, pending the manufacturer. The Cadillac I use has the arm springs on the Roll Down Bar side of the Cadillac.

  • On the Roll Down Bar side of the Cadillac, there is a vertical sliding bar that is used to adjust the height of the leg springs or arm springs for standing arm series.

  • The Cadillac table has a foot strap (or belt) that reaches around the full table, which means the table can be used for mat work.

  • The belt is also used to help anchor during certain exercises such as side leg springs.

  • Cadillac Accessories:

  • Roll Down Bar

  • Handles

  • Leg Springs

  • Typically, attached to a vertical sliding bar.

  • Foot Strap or Belt

  • Push Through Bar

  • Spring from Above

  • Spring from Below

  • Fuzzy Straps

  • Long straps

  • Short straps

  • Trapeze Bar with canopy loop

  • Airplane board

  • Spread Eagle Board [aka Spread Eagle Plate aka Kuna Board]

  • Neck Stretcher

To note: I have a Reformer/Tower at home, so I only practice the canopy exercises on the Cadillac when I'm in the studio.


Picture below: Cadillac at different angles and close ups.

Pictures take at Rivercity Pilates Studio


The Basics - Tower

  • The Tower is a 3 in 1 system: Mat, Reformer, and half Cadillac [Tower].

  • The Tower is an add-on to a Reformer to bring more utility to the apparatus in a smaller space.

  • Typically, the Reformer is converted to a Tower by adding twin mats on top.

  • To get the twin mats in place, the footbar and shoulder blocks may need to be adjusted [all pending the type of Reformer].

  • The Tower is sort of like the equivalent to both the Roll Down Bar and Push Through Bar sides of the Cadillac wrapped into one side.

  • The Roll Down Bar would need to be taken off to use the Push Through Bar and the Push Through Bar is best to be secured in its holding position while using the Roll Down Bar.

  • In most cases, the Roll Down Bar would need to be taken off to use the leg springs.

  • The Push Through Bar has full range on a Tower.

  • The Tower does not have a canopy, which means there is no sliding cross bar to attach the trapeze bar and it means that the fuzzy straps cannot be added.

  • Without a canopy, no hanging exercises with the trapeze and no inversions can be done.

  • The Tower typically has a lot of eyelets on both sides of the poles, which allows Roll Down Bar, leg springs, and handles to be adjusted pending the exercise.

  • The eyelets take the place of the vertical sliding bar on the Cadillac.

  • Tower Accessories:

  • Roll Down Bar

  • Handles

  • Leg Springs

  • Push Through Bar

  • Spring from Above

  • Spring from Below

  • Airplane board

  • Spread Eagle Board [aka Spread Eagle Plate aka Kuna Board]

  • Neck Stretcher

*anything attached to the canopy cannot be used on the Tower


Picture below: Tower with twin mats.

Second picture is a close up of Tower shown with Leg Springs, Roll Down Bar, and Push Through Bar attached.