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The Pilates Original aka The Cadillac

This piece of equipment was one of the first exercise apparatuses Joseph Pilates used in developing his system of exercise. During WW1 he experimented with using bed springs to condition bedridden soldiers, this strange machine eventually developed into the modern day Cadillac used by Pilates professionals and enthusiasts around the world.

The Beginning

Shortly after the start of WWI in 1914, Joseph was interned as a German national in a camp in Lancaster Castle. Here he began creating his system of exercise, and experimenting with an exercise apparatus that used bed springs to facilitate resistance training for bedridden soldiers. Joseph saw that by using the bed springs attached to headboards and foot boards to create resistance and assistance, muscles were able to heal faster and with more strength. If a person could not sit up on his own, Pilates attached springs to a wooden dowel to assist him up. Eventually, he would gain the strength to sit up right on his own.

What makes the Cadillac so great today?

This original piece of Pilates equipment is a staple in any established Pilates facility. This piece is truly worth the investment because it provides a wide selection of applications and exercises for post-rehab clients to athletes. The frame and sliding bars challenge clients in different planes of motion facilitating more than 200 exercises.


  • The working surface is higher off the floor so it is easier for instructors to assist clients on and off safely, and this allows Instructors to be on the same level as students
  • Its sturdy construction supports both basic movements and advanced acrobatics
  • The large mat area accommodates exercisers of all sizes
  • The straps and bars fully surround the student providing multiple angles and planes of support and assistance
  • Resistance is provided by independent springs so imbalances can be recognized and addressed
  • Variable spring tension, height and positioning adjustments ensures just the right amount of resistance and the ideal angle can be available for each client and each move
  • The Cadillac can be used for exercises in a variety of positions – sitting, standing, kneeling, supine, prone and side-lying
  • It can be augmented with other pieces like the Arc Barrel, Padded Platform Extender, Reformer Box and even the Stability Chair™