Advanced Pilates Exercises You Can Do On a Reformer, Cadillac or Chair

6 min read

So, you're getting good at Pilates. 

There’s no need to be bashful. We can all see it. You’ve conquered the Cadillac, your ruling over the reformer, and you’ve even….mastered the chair. 

Well first of all- congratulations. The degree of flexibility, inner and outer strength, and sheer concentration it takes to become an experienced Pilates student is astronomical. 

Your progress is something to be proud of. 

But surely you're not finished yet, are you? 

You’ve come so far, it’s only natural you want to push yourself even further. To see what your body is capable of

You want to cultivate your core strength, improve your alignment, and stretch to the gods at an advanced level. 

And you can. There are a whole host of advanced Pilates exercises that will push your body to its limit and help you cultivate even greater mental and physical fitness. 

The best part about these advanced exercises is that they truly take advantage of the unique and innovative exercise machines we know as integral to Pilates today. The Reformer. The Cadillac. And The Wunda Chair. 

This terrific (and occasionally terrifying) trio of exercise machines can be utilized to target specific areas of the body during Pilates for muscle growth, pain relief, and a whole host of other effects. 

So, we’ve picked out six advanced exercises best suited to the Reformer, Cadillac, and Wunda Chair, to give you some inspiration when embarking on the next advanced chapter of your Pilates journey.

Reformer 

Ah, The Reformer. The first ‘apparatus’ created by the king of Pilates, Mr. Joseph Pilates. 

Originally named the ‘Universal Reformer’ for its capacity to “universally reform the body” it remains the most popular and best known of all the Pilates exercise machines. 

From classic to modified forms the Reformer can support a range of exercises, from beginner to advanced, and navigating what specific kind you need to support your fitness goals can be tricky

We also recommend you head over to our reformers sale to peruse our expansive selection of reformers, to not only get a better understanding of these exercises but to consider how monumentally worthwhile they can be for a Pilates lover as a long term investment. 

Consider the fact alone that the Pilates reformer massively improves focus, coordination, posture, flexibility, balance, and strength. By god does it improve strength.

In particular, around the core, back, glutes, and thighs. Areas we all want to tone up, right? 

When it comes to advanced Pilates exercises on the Reformer, increasing the time spent holding specific exercises is a must. 

Here are three exercises that may appeal to you, or at very least inspire you in your journey. 

Balance control 

Ok, great start- Control balance technically covers multiple exercises? But you're so advanced I doubt you would notice anyway. 

Balance control requires staggering amounts of stretch, strength, and control, and simply increasing the time spent holding the pose boosts its difficulty level up to advanced. 

To prep for this exercise, begin by flexing one hip and finding the exterior of the Pilates reformer frame with your foot. 

Then focus intently on making sure the line from one hip joint to the other remains straight, and that you're preventing any form of compensatory movement to lessen the strain of remaining in the pose. 

This is a lot more difficult than it sounds and requires practice and a calm, collected mind. If you go into this exercise stressed or tense, it will quickly become unbearable.

You can practice and improve your flexibility when performing this exercise with moves like the single straight leg stretch or the side-lying leg springs. 

It can be done on the Pilates Cadillac reformer, a combination of the Cadillac and Reformer, making it a wonderfully versatile exercise

Swan 

Like the grand fairy-tale reveal of the ugly duckling having transformed into a beautiful swan, this exercise is all about opening up. 

It stretches the quadriceps, abdominals, and hip flexors while opening the whole front body and expanding the chest. 

To effectively hold it for a significant time it requires not only great core strength but muscular strength throughout the body. 

The Swan in addition to being an advanced move can assist in healing specific physical ailments. For example, anyone who sits a lot (which these days are most of us) can experience tight and uncomfortable hip flexors.

Doing the swan can help restore a lot of that essential flexibility, strength, and posture lost by lying around gorging on chocolate and marathoning the ‘Mandalorian’ during the lockdown. 

Cadillac 

The Pilates Cadillac, one of the later exercise machines to be invented by Joseph Pilates, dates back to the 1940s. 

A Pilates Cadillac reformer is a piece of equipment and fusion that adds a reformer on the metal frame and massage chair-like base that characterizes the classic Cadillac. 

It was surprisingly, a random customer of Pilates who gave the name ‘Cadillac’ to one of these tables, cementing the legacy of always having to type ‘Pilates’ along with the exercise machine into google, lest you be faced with a page of ‘Cadillac’ 1940s motors.

Despite all this, there is something significant in-common between the Pilates Cadillac machine and the Cadillac cars. 

Both of them, with the right maintenance, can take you further on your journey. Literally and metaphorically ‘revving’ up your progress- let’s take a look here are three examples. 

Candlestick 

The Candlestick, a feat of control that looks like an act of demonic possession is something all students of Pilates dream of accomplishing one day. 

This advanced exercise is so challenging and intimidating it is rarely attempted by clients at all. A high-quality and durable Pilates Cadillac is essential to attempt this exercise safely and with correct form.

It strengthens your sides and arm muscles, necessitating an extreme level of balance, concentration, and control. Holding it beyond fifteen seconds is a massive achievement. 

It is a sensational, upside-down spectacle that you should stow away for whenever you want to blow someone’s mind. 

If you want to make it even harder (by this point I assume you have some kind of death wish) you can attempt an inverted split variation where you essentially do the splits while suspended. 

Thigh stretch 

There are many variants of the thigh stretch, but this one on the Pilates Cadillac utilizes the bar, and is far, farmore difficult than it may initially seem. 

While on the surface it’s very straightforward, it requires muscles of steel to ensure an effective stretch and keep the posture taut and together. 

You need to keep your ribs in, your belly low and sucked up, and maintain the reaching motion down to the base of your tailbone. 

Doesn’t sound too hard, does it? Give it a try and let us know how you're getting on.

Wunda Chair 

The Wunda chair. A piece of Pilates exercise equipment with a Goofy name, but a less goofy origin. It was invented by Joe Pilates as the first functional home-gym apparatus in 1945. 

It’s essentially a chair with springs attached to a pedal, which can be converted into a regular chair. 

Today it’s an incredibly distinctive Pilates exercise equipment, upon which some enduringly advanced exercises can be performed. 

To get a greater scope of the modern Wunda chairs out there today, head on over to our Pilates chairs sale. You may even consider securing your own Wunda chair to attempt these upcoming exercises on!

Star 

To do the star, you have to be a star. 

Because while on the reformer it’s hard enough, switching over to the exercise machine that is the Wunda Chair takes doing the ‘star’ to another level. 

What you need to do with this move is to position your grounded hand on the chair itself, while anchoring your feet on one of the pedals. 

Then reach up, remember to breathe, and visualize yourself moving into the star shape. 

This exercise requires Herculean levels of coordination, focus, balance, and strength, making it up there with the candlestick as one of the most advanced moves on this list.

Handstand 

The handstand. Known in Yoga as the Downward-facing tree pose. Known in gymnastics as a staple, standard stunt. 

Through Pilates, we can put our spin on this exercise. Enter- the Wunda chair. 

Advanced students can experiment with transitioning to and from the pedal of the precarious Wunda chair. 

This exercise requires intense coordination, balance, and bravery, and should only be attempted when you have a practitioner or friend to spot you. 

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If you're an advanced student of Pilates who wants to push themselves further through the use of Pilate exercise machines, maybe you should consider getting one for yourself? 

Why face the stress and cost of the Gym, when you can have your own Pilates reformer, Pilates Cadillac reformer, and Wunda chair in your own home?


Head to our home page today to purchase one of our diverse and high-quality professional Pilates exercise machines, essential for any advanced Pilates student looking to further their skills.