Cadillac or Tower

What is a Cadillac or Tower?

The ultimate piece of equipment, the Cadillac is a free standing piece of equipment with many fascinating accessories and parts to it.  The Cadillac is a raised mat (padded with leather/PVC surface) and a metal or wooden frame surrounds the mat.  From the metal or wood, various items are hung and attached.  Typically you will find the fluffies(!) and sliding unit to attach the trapeze, and at one end a foot strap for foot stability is found.  A wooden bar called the push through bar and there are multiple attaching clips to attach additional pieces of equipment to the Cadillac.  In many studios (which have limited spaces), the Cadillac has been modified to create a Tower unit.  This is simply a Cadillac cut in half, with one section attached to the wall.  A raised mat is then placed in front of the tower unit.  All exercises remain identical, except for one exercise, the full traditional ending which can only be performed on a Cadillac

What is the Cadillac or Tower is used for?

It’s difficult to explain the feeling when working on a Cadillac or Tower.  A major piece of equipment, it gives the client the confidence and support needed to develop all aspect of their training and body conditioning.  Mat exercises can be performed on the Cadillac or Raised Mat in front of the Tower, and then all the various exercises using the accessories give a huge arrange of challenging exercises.  From deep stretches through to intensive abdominal exercises, the ultimate piece of equipment allows for the ultimate experience.

Specific Exercises/Workouts we do on the Cadillac or Tower

  • Teaser series – ouch! What an impressive and challenging series to perform on the chair – focusing on balance, strength – no cheating allowed in this exercise and it truly separates the boys from the men!  The Cadillac and Tower echo the Teaser performed on the mat and reformer, allowing a deeper understanding of the exercise.
  • Full traditional ending – the exercise that Joseph Pilates believed everyone should be able to achieve on their first lesson(!) An incredible finish to an incredible workout.
  • Roll Back Bar – enjoy massage and lengthening of the body and spine, whilst developing the abdominal connection and support.  It feels incredible.


What is a Wunda Chair?

A fascinating piece of equipment, one can actually use this equipment as a relaxing chair! Then when turned on its back, the chair becomes and explosive and exciting piece of equipment.  A wooden structure with light padding and leather/PVC on the top, the base also has a thin layer of matting.  The centre of the chair has a movable wooden platform, with a thicker foot or hand circular structure, often covered in rubber or slip-proof material.  The central platform connects to the back of the chair with two springs and at the back of the chair three metal fixing points exist on both sides.  The middle platform moves up and down with resistance from the springs varied on which setting the springs are placed on.

What is the Wunda Chair is used for?

It’s difficult to explain the feeling when working on a Wunda chair.  Its an explosive and invigorating piece of equipment which gets the blood pumping and heart rate up! A much smaller piece of equipment, clients are challenge with the workouts, giving a focus and advanced feel to many of the exercises you perform on it.  Now height becomes an important factor, as clients stand and work on a much higher level.  Again this challenges the balance, co-ordination and strength in all of the body.

Specific Exercises/Workouts we do on the Wunda Chair

  • Teaser series – ouch! What an impressive and challenging series to perform on the chair – focusing on balance, strength – no cheating allowed in this exercise and it truly separates the boys from the men!
  • Going up front – ensures that balance, control and stability are at the forefront of the workout.  Working the muscle groups to the highest level.
  • Push ups – not as simple as it sounds, the moving platform challenging the body to stay aligned, working the arms and core.

Ladder Barrel

What is a Ladder Barrel?

A wooden structure which has a curved padded, leather/PVC covered coating.  The back section of the barrel has three horizontal poles connecting the upper structure, and at the top, a longer bar extends past the structure itself.  The main wooden structure on top of the curved wood is fixed in place.  The ladder barrel is in the family of barrels, and a small barrel and spine corrector are additional accessories in this family of equipment.

What is the Ladder Barrel is used for?

It’s difficult to explain the feeling when working on a ladder barrel.  But the main use of a ladder barrel is to achieve deep supported stretching and for advanced practitioners to use it to challenge the body! When stretching on the ladder barrel, even for the tightest of bodies, or those with injuries, it gives a safe, stable and supporting base to work on. The different level bars at the back accomodate for all body shapes and types.  For advanced practioners, the curved section of the barrel can be used for certain exercises to challenge and advanced the practice, or for deep and advanced stretching.

Specific Exercises/Workouts we do on the Ladder Barrel

  • The ballet stretches.  A series of four exercises, it allows the body to get a stable stretch and really opening up the joints and tight muscles.  A mixed feeling between pleasure and pain!
  • Side Sit Ups.  Using the legs as a base, client are able to work the oblique and side muscles in an effective way to build strength without forcing or straining.
  • Short Box Series.  Used by advanced clients to challenge the short box series normally experienced on the reformer on the ladder barrel instead.  By reducing the support round the body, the exercise becomes more intensive and challenging.


What is a Raised Mat?

A raised mat is a wooden raised platform which is covered in padding and then leather/PVC, giving users a firm, comfortable and safe area to workout.  On the raised mat, we teach the mat exercises invented by Pilates himself.  In the classical system, we have the three levels (beginner, intermediate and advanced) and the instructor works the body through the different levels according to body type, rehabilitation issue and fitness level.  The raised mat is a wonderful piece of equipment to work on as the body feels supported and safe.  At the front of the raised mat are two additional blocks (called moon boxes) used for wide leg positions.  At the front of the mat there is a strap which users can slide their feet under to give an extra level of security in certain exercises, and at the rear of the mat, two wooden poles extend from the mat to give arm stability in certain exercises.

What the Raised Mat is used for?

It’s difficult to explain the feeling when working on a raised mat.  But the main use of a raised mat is to workout and feel amazing! The body feels supported and cushioned by the mat. The additional props (moon box, strap and wooden pole) gives additional support when needed.  Although some clients find the raised mat the most challenging piece of equipment (due to the fact that its ultimately just you and your body with gravity), the mat clearly shows the areas of strength (and weakness) which exist – allowing the instructor to challenge and improve the areas required.  The raised mat workout can also be completed at home workouts, so many students of classical Pilates will work on home exercises of the raised mat repertoire.

Specific Exercises/Workouts we do on the Raised Mat

  • The hundred is a classic exercise which opens the mat workout.  An exercise loved by beginners through to advanced practitioners, it warms the body up and fully connect with the deepest abdominal muscles.
  • The stomach series challenges the abdominal muscles and gives practitioners a sense of development as they progress in their own Pilates journey.
  • Rolling like a ball – is seriously good fun, as well as being a challenging exercise to connect with the core.  An amazing massage for the spine at the same time.


What is a Reformer?

A reformer is made from a frame of metal or wood, a strong sturdy base which supports the metal runners and reformer ‘mat’. At one end of the reformer is a movable foot bar, which lifts up and down.  At the other end of the reformer are two leather straps which are used during the workout.  The centre of the reformer is where the body spends (the majority) of the time, supported by the shoulder blocks and head piece.  Inside the frame (not seen by the side profile) are four equal weighted springs.  There are multiple accessories and additional items to use with the Reformer, but the core (and majority of the exercises) are done with just the reformer.

What the Reformer is used for?

It’s difficult to explain the feeling on a reformer.  But the main use of a reformer is to workout and feel amazing! The body feels supported and cushioned by the mat.  With the knees bent and the feet on the footbar, the back is protected and in a position to support the work.  No matter what aches or pains, or rehab concerns you might have, the reformer is designed to support, and aid you in your work.  Often a misconception of Pilates is that the mat is where the magic happens.  The magic does indeed happen on the mat, but the reformer builds the core and gives the additional support to really develop and challenge the mat work.  Echoing above, if you’ve only experience mat Pilates, well then quite frankly you haven’t lived… 😉

Specific Exercises/Workouts we do on the Reformer

  • The footwork series is the opening series to any reformer workout.  The feet clearly identify to the instructor the areas of weakness within the body, and the type of body they are going to be working with!
  • The hundred is the classic exercise which warms the whole body up and starts to feel the connection to the ‘powerhouse’ centre/core.
  • The Front Splits (not as scary as it sounds) gives all bodies (even super tight ones) a great stretch and clients feel 2 inches taller at the end!