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Defined Muscles: Try This Pilates Trap Table Full-Body Workout

Want defined muscles? These exercises on the Pilates trap table will help create well-shaped, defined muscles in your body. The moves presented below comprise a full-body workout and help to give you a healthier, better-looking physique. A video is also included, which should prove helpful.

What Is the Trap Table?

The name “trap table” sounds like some sort of torture device, but – in fact – it’s a highly effective piece of Pilates equipment that is a lot of fun to use.

For many athletes, it’s their favorite piece of Pilates apparatus.

I prefer the trap table so much that I got one for my home gym. Many people, however, use the trap table at a commercial Pilates studio – sometimes with a trainer present.

Of all the Pilates apparatus, it’s the largest.

Using the Pilates Trap Table to Get Sculpted

The trap table is fascinating to use, and it firms up your entire body. Also known as the Pilates “Cadillac,” it provides visible results, giving your body:

  • improved flexibility
  • core strength
  • muscular symmetry
  • firm glutes
  • and sculpted limbs.
male mature athlete doing full-body workout on the Pilates trap table

Trap Table Exercises for a Healthier Body

A Pilates body is a healthy body – your spine becomes longer, your joints more supple, your posture is improved, and your heart and lungs are strengthened.

You will end up looking more poised and athletic.

Here, I will outline an actual sequence of Pilates exercises – an entire trap table workout for your full body.

The video lower within this article has a running time of approximately 12 minutes.

I encourage you to watch the video in its entirety – to witness how the specific movements appear in action. It might leave you inspired to begin a Pilates regimen of your own.

The Genius of Using Metal Springs for Pilates Leg Exercises

Pilates uses a specific combination of exercises to increase muscle and joint mobility, strength, and endurance while improving balance and posture.

If you’ve been doing free weights at the gym for a while, your body has likely adapted to that style of resistance loading. Often, the longer you use free weights, the less your body responds.

The brilliance of the Pilates trap table is that it uses metal springs.

full-body workout can be done on this Pilates trap table

As far as your body is concerned, this will be a newer type of resistance and, therefore, the metal springs will inspire a response.

In essence, working with the metal springs will result in increased muscle tone, which, in turn, will raise your basal metabolic rate. That means you will burn more calories while at rest! This is the genius of the Pilates trap table.

Research establishes that resistance training, such as the type done with metal springs on the trap table, can significantly increase resting metabolic rate.

A systematic review and meta-analysis examining various exercise interventions on metabolism found that while aerobic exercise did not significantly impact it, resistance exercise led to a noticeable increase in resting metabolic rate compared to control groups.

Mature healthy woman standing in front of a Pilates Trap Table, about to exercise.

Another study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition discusses the role of fat-free mass (such as muscle tone) as a major predictor of metabolism. The research underscored the importance of muscle in determining basal metabolic rates, further supporting the notion that increasing muscle through resistance training enhances resting metabolic rate, energy balance, and weight management strategies.

The metal springs used on the trap table are outstanding for helping your body to respond once again:

  • They recruit stabilizing muscles – not just the standard major muscle groups but also the smaller muscles that help support them; this gives you a true athlete’s physique.
  • They’re fundamental for functional training – the springs allow for more movement than gym machines (just like real life).
  • They give you more angle control – many of the exercises allow you to make those micro-corrections as you move that help protect your joints and prevent them from becoming injured, such as your knees, hips, ankles, wrists, and shoulders.
  • They help you use proper form (free weights are great, but they’re also notorious for inciting you to use momentum; with springs, you’ll demonstrate more control and mindfulness while executing your reps).
  • They give you resistance when you most need it – with the springs, as you approach the point of peak muscular contraction, that’s usually when the spring is longest and the most challenging; this helps you get results exponentially!

Pilates can be adapted “to provide either gentle strength training for rehabilitation or a strenuous workout vigorous enough to challenge skilled athletes.” Each exercise is initiated by stabilizing the core musculature – which, “includes the abdominal, gluteal, and paraspinal muscles in particular, and then proceeds through a controlled range of motion.”

US National Library of Medicine and Institutes of Health

Printable List of Pilates Leg Exercises on the Trap Table

Here is your printable list of Pilates exercises done on the trap table.

trap table list of exercises

How to Train on the Trap Table

Here are some of the best Pilates exercises.

In many of the trap table exercises, you want to keep your glutes and abs activated. That means your top rib will be compressed, your navel will be pulled inward, your lower abdominal plate should be flat and taut, and keep your buttocks slightly tight.

(Movements that are more advanced – and must be endeavored with extra common sense and caution – have been marked with an asterisk.)

Ask your doctor before beginning a Pilates program or making any significant changes to your exercise habits.



  1. Flying Eagle
  2. Roll Downs 
  3. Roll Ups
  4. Rollovers
  5. Hundreds


Foot Series Modified:

  1. “V” Feet
  2. Flexed Heels(wide stance)
  3. Heels-Raises for Calves
  4. Single-Leg Press
  5. Single Heel Raise

  1. Tower
  2. Monkey

Bar with Springs on Top:

  1. Push-Through Bar Stretch
  2. Parakeet (wear non-slip sport socks)
  3. Swan (cobra) & Prayer
  4. Reverse Push-Through(*advanced – palms down / palms up)
  5. Teaser
  6. Finish w/ Indian Pigeon Using Block

Leg Springs:

  1. Frog
  2. Circle
  3. Walking Long
  4. Walking Short
  5. Beats
  6. Slo-Mo Bike (and reverse)
  7. Frog-in-a-Box (and reverse)

Single-Leg Inner Thigh:

  1. Standard
  2. Jumping Sheep
  3. Slo-Mo Bike

Back Extension/Quad Stretch

  1. Standard Back-and-Forward (Assisted Reverse Nordic)
  2. Abdominal Crunch Circulars(with ab pulses)
  3. Recline Quad Stretch (*advanced – use blocks for midback and head)
  4. Finish with Prayer Stretch 


3 Poses:

  1. Bench
  2. Kneeling
  3. Awkward 90/90 Position

Mermaid Rep Sequencing:

• Partial-Range

• Full Range Side Stretch

• When Doing Awkward 90/90 include twist and pigeon

Pulls ups with Backbend and Hanging Forward Stretch

Standing Arms Springs:

  1. Tricep Pushdowns
  2. Bicep Curls


Sometimes when an exercise gets especially difficult, that is when it's most tempting to hold the breath. However, keep breathing throughout all movements.

When exercising on the trap table, always use the safety straps around a spring-loaded bar.

Fact from Fiction: Unveiling the Truth About Trap Table Workouts

The connection between mental focus and physical exertion is what sets Pilates apart.

Incorporating the following lesser-known truths about Pilates into your understanding will deepen your appreciation for this fitness discipline and dispel misconceptions.

Amid the mystique of Pilates lies a commonly misunderstood aspect: the mind-body connection.

Some skeptics argue that Pilates is merely a physical endeavor, overlooking its profound mental benefits.

In truth, Pilates is not just about sculpting muscles; it’s a holistic approach that integrates the mind and body.

Every movement is purposeful, emphasizing precise control and concentration.

Pilates exercises challenge your cognitive abilities, enhancing brain function and promoting overall mental clarity.

So, the next time someone claims Pilates is purely physical, remind them of the mental prowess it demands.

Weight Loss from Using the Pilates Trap Table

Another prevalent misconception revolves around Pilates and weight loss.

While some people believe Pilates isn’t effective for shedding pounds, the truth lies in its transformative power over your body composition.

Pilates workouts might not incinerate calories at an alarming rate, but they do something even more significant: they build lean muscle mass.

Muscle tissue burns more calories at rest, meaning Pilates contributes to a higher metabolism over time.

Pilates Progression: Debunking the ‘Too Easy’ Myth

Another myth that often circulates in Pilates circles is the idea that it’s too easy, especially for seasoned athletes. However, Pilates is infinitely scalable.

Seasoned athletes and beginners alike can tailor workouts to their skill level. Advanced practitioners can increase resistance, adjust angles, or incorporate intricate movements, ensuring a continuous challenge.

The seemingly simple exercises on the trap table can be intensified to the point where even the fittest individuals find themselves surprised by the burn.

Pilates is not just about physical difficulty; it’s about precision, control, and the mastery of one’s body, regardless of fitness level.

Beyond Flexibility: The Hidden Benefits of Pilates

Flexibility is often touted as a primary benefit of Pilates, but its advantages extend far beyond mere stretching.

Pilates enhances your body’s natural range of motion while simultaneously improving muscular strength.

This unique combination not only guards against injuries but also fosters a sense of grace and fluidity in everyday movements.

Additionally, Pilates promotes excellent posture, relieving strain on the spine and joints.

Over time, practitioners notice reduced back pain, improved digestion, and even enhanced respiratory capacity.

So, while the world sees the graceful stretches, Pilates silently works its magic, enhancing overall well-being in unexpected ways.

Dane Findley is fitness and health expert for mature adults.
How to firm up: Get my free guide to reducing fat cells and building sculpted muscle tone. CLICK HERE to opt-in to my email newsletter.

Pilates exercises on the trap table help create definition, strength, firmness, and strength in your inner thighs, outer thighs, quadriceps, hamstrings, buttocks, and calves – as well as your torso.

Additionally, these Pilates exercises designed by the late Joseph Pilates (creator of the original method of Contrology) will improve joint mobility in your shoulders, hips, knees, ankles, and lower back vertebrae.

As a bonus, most of the exercises also help to make your upper body and core muscles healthier.

The trap table comes with various accessories, including a selection of springs and handles. The springs come as short springs or long springs, and all of these are usually color-coded based on resistance.

Conclusion on Using the Pilates Trap Table to Get Fit

Pilates is a form of exercise developed by Joseph H. Pilates in the early 20th century and is even more popular today. It focuses on core conditioning, strengthening muscles, and creating flexibility through controlled movements.

In particular, the trap table is a piece of Pilates exercise equipment designed to train your abs, back, hips, and thighs. It also helps improve posture and balance.

There are many more exercises for the trap table than are listed here; however, this list represents those considered by many to be the most effective and well-loved. They are an excellent place to start.

Additional Sources on Full-Body Workout on Pilates Trap Table:

Research: Impact of Pilates on Health – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8038747/

Science-based Benefits of Core Training – https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/the-real-world-benefits-of-strengthening-your-core

Facts about Joseph Pilates, Creator of Contrology – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Pilates

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