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Exercise of the Month: Thigh Stretch on the Cadillac

Looking for an advance exercise on the Cadillac?

Join Merrithew® Lead Instructor Trainer and founder of Pilatesbody, Germany, Michaela Bimbi-Dresp, as she guides us through Thigh Stretch on the Cadillac with variations from the STOTT PILATES® Advanced Cadillac course.


The Thigh Stretch on the Cadillac is an advanced exercise that focuses on training the dynamic stabilization of the neutral spine and pelvic position. It is particularly beneficial for clients experiencing tightness in their quadriceps or iliopsoas.

It's crucial to ensure that the roll-down bar is pushed only to a point where a straight line can be maintained from the knees to the crown of the head, without any flexion, extension, or rotation.

Moreover, proper technique is of utmost importance. During the exhale, clients should consciously activate their transverse abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. Alongside stabilizing the torso through the oblique and multifidus, this exercise targets the muscles on the posterior side of the body, including the glutes, hamstrings, erector spine, posterior deltoids, triceps, and scapulae stabilizers.

Pro tip: It's important to note that individuals with knee issues like knee replacements or injuries that prevent them from assuming a kneeling position should avoid this exercise.

Additionally, remember that the quadriceps muscle attaches over the kneecap to the tibial tuberosity, which could result in excessive tension on the kneecap. The stretch should be felt in the front of the hip and upper thighs, without causing pressure or pain on the kneecap. Frequent communication with your client to solicit feedback is highly recommended.

Hinge with Extension

This variation builds upon the basic Hinge exercise by incorporating thoracic extension at the end of the movement. This addition is particularly effective for opening the frontal fascial lines, which not only enhances flexibility in the thighs and hips but also benefits the torso.

The Hinge with Extension further strengthens the erector spine, especially the mid-back area during the extension, as well as the scapulae stabilizers. It's important to maintain a slight bend at the elbows during the extension, not to work the arms, but to facilitate thoracic extension and bring the scapulae closer together and downward. The extension should follow a smooth curve, initiated from the thoracic spine. There should be no hyperextension in the lumbar or cervical spine.

Similar to the Hinge, individuals with spinal issues like Stenosis, Facet Joint Syndrome, or Spondylolisthesis should be cautious, especially when performing this exercise in free space without support. In such cases, it's advisable to stick to the basic Hinge (refer to Number 1 - Hinge)

Enjoyed working out with Michaela?

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