Pilates Cadillac vs. Reformer: What's the Difference?

Pilates Cadillac vs. Reformer: What's the Difference?

Pilates Blog 9 minute read

In the world of Pilates, the apparatus used can significantly influence the nature and benefits of the exercises performed. Two of the most iconic pieces of equipment in this domain are the Pilates Cadillac and the Reformer. Both have their distinct advantages and applications. In this article, we will dissect the differences between the Pilates Cadillac and the Reformer to provide a clearer understanding of their unique offerings.

Introduction to the Apparatuses

  • Pilates Cadillac: Sometimes referred to as the "Trapeze Table", the Cadillac is a large piece of equipment that resembles a four-poster bed. It combines a raised horizontal platform with a surrounding frame, from which various bars, straps, springs, and levers are suspended.

  • Pilates Reformer: The Reformer is a bed-like frame featuring a movable carriage that rolls back and forth. Springs attached to the carriage provide adjustable resistance, and there's a footbar at one end. The Reformer also features straps for arm and leg exercises.

Key Features and Benefits

  1. Versatility and Range of Exercises

    • Cadillac: The Cadillac offers an extensive range of exercises, from beginner to advanced. Its diverse attachments allow for both resistance and support, making it suitable for rehabilitative work, as well as strength and flexibility training.
    • Reformer: The Reformer is highly versatile, suitable for full-body workouts. Its moving carriage adds an element of instability, requiring core engagement for almost every exercise.
  2. Space and Usability

    • Cadillac: Given its size and the variety of attachments, the Cadillac tends to take up more space and is typically stationary.
    • Reformer: Some Reformers are designed to be more compact and may have wheels, making them easier to move. They can also be stored vertically in some instances.
  3. Intensity and Focus of Exercises

    • Cadillac: The Cadillac's static nature allows for deep, targeted stretches and muscle engagement. It's particularly known for exercises that challenge and improve spinal mobility.
    • Reformer: The Reformer offers dynamic movements that challenge stability and coordination. It's excellent for building strength, especially in the core, legs, and arms.
  4. Adaptability for Different Users

    • Cadillac: The Cadillac is adaptable for all fitness levels, from athletes to those in physical rehabilitation. Its structure provides support and safety for those recovering from injuries or with limited mobility.
    • Reformer: While adaptable for most fitness levels, the moving carriage can present a challenge for complete beginners or those with specific physical limitations. However, with proper instruction, it's accessible and beneficial for most.
  5. Training Focus

    • Cadillac: Often used for targeted therapeutic exercises, deeper stretches, and advanced Pilates routines that require hanging or standing on the equipment.
    • Reformer: Commonly used for comprehensive workouts, focusing on strength, flexibility, and balance in one session.


Choosing between the Pilates Cadillac and the Reformer often comes down to one's fitness goals, experience level, available space, and personal preferences. Both apparatuses provide an enriched Pilates experience, targeting strength, flexibility, and mind-body connection. To reap the full spectrum of benefits Pilates offers, many enthusiasts and practitioners opt to incorporate both the Cadillac and the Reformer into their routines.

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