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Pilates Leg Exercises: How to Get Sculpted Thighs Using the Trap Table

These Pilates leg exercises done on the trap table help to give you a healthier, better-looking lower body. Video included.

The trap table – also known as the Pilates “cadillac” – is a piece of fitness equipment that provides excellent results. Below, I reveal many of the best Pilates leg exercises you can do on the trap table that will also give your body improved flexibility, core strength, muscular symmetry, firm glutes, and sculpted limbs.

The trap table is also a lot of fun to use.

Pilates Leg Exercises for a Healthy Body

A true Pilates body is a healthy body – your spine becomes longer, your joints more supple, your posture is improved, your heart and lungs are strengthened, and you will end up looking more poised and athletic.

Earlier, I posted an article with a light overview of what the trap table is and what can be done on it. Today’s article, however, gives you an actual sequence of Pilates leg exercises – an entire trap table workout.

The video lower within this article has a running time of approximately 12 minutes and I encourage you to watch it in its entirety so you can witness how the specific movements appear in action. It might leave you inspired to begin a Pilates regimen of your own!

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

The Genius of Using Metal Springs for Pilates Leg Exercises

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

male mature athlete doing pilates leg exercises on the trap table

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.

Pilates movements 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
National Institutes of Health

These springs 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!

Though most of the trap table movements work the lower body to some degree, here are the pilates leg exercises that are highly focused on thigh conditioning:

Foot Series Modified:

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

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

Quads, Hip Flexors, Glutes, and Hamstrings

  1. Teaser
  2. Parakeet
  3. Assisted Reverse Nordic

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

 
 

Additionally, these Pilates leg exercises designed by the late Joseph Pilates (creator of the original method of Contrology) will improve joint mobility in your 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.

Printable List of Pilates Leg Exercises on the Trap Table

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

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.

trap table list of exercises

How to Train on the Trap Table

Here are some of the best Pilates leg 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.

Those 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.

Instructions

Warm-Up:

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

BAR WITH SPRINGS UNDERNEATH –

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 

MERMAID VARIATIONS –

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

Notes

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.

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

Additional Sources on Pilates Leg Exercises:

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

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

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