“A combination offers the ultimate in flexibility, but there are trade-offs,” says Gia Calhoun, vice president at Pilates Anytime. Read on to discover if this versatile (and pricey) apparatus is for you.
First, a word about the difference between a Reformer-Cadillac unit and a Reformer-Tower, sometimes referred to as a “Full Cadillac Reformer” and “Half Cadillac Reformer, respectively. “Tower” refers to a single U-shaped set of steel posts that support the various attachments used in a Tower class: Leg Springs, Arm Springs, and a Roll-back bar. With a traditional Cadillac, or the Full Cadillac combination unit, an additional set of posts at the other end accommodates a Push Through bar and a Trapeze attachment (don’t worry, you won’t be flying through the air).
Who doesn’t love a Reformer? For many people, the words Pilates and Reformer are interchangeable. The Reformer gives you access to a studio-style workout with exercises that can be done lying down, seated (sometimes on an optional Box attachment), or standing. The resistance comes from four to five springs beneath the carriage (an upholstered moving platform), making it very versatile. Add a Jump Board attachment and you’ve got your cardio, too.
The Cadillac and Tower are less well known, even within the Pilates community. As the name 'Cadillac' implies, it offers a deluxe experience with all the bells and whistles that Joseph Pilates invented. It is just the right size and offers a soft, supportive space to perform Pilates Mat work. It’s also hard to beat the Cadillac and Tower when you want to stretch. A Roll-back or Push-Through sequence is fantastic for getting the kinks out of tight shoulders, necks, and backs.
Because the Cadillac and Tower are stable platforms, the learning curve is less steep. You can get used to working with the Pilates system of resistance springs, and once you develop more body awareness and become familiar with the springs, you can add the element of balance required by Reformer.
Whichever option you choose, you can find inspiration and fresh workouts at Pilates Anytime.
Do you have any advice on choosing between a Reformer and a Combination unit? Let us know in the comments below.