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Trapeze Table Workout: Try These Moves for Core Strength and Improved Flexibility

The trapeze table is the largest piece of Pilates apparatus.

Below are videos of some highly effective (and fun) exercises that can be done on the trapeze table.

The genius of these exercises is that they improve joint mobility and posture, while also firming muscles and increasing core strength.

Using the Trapeze Table to Get Healthier

While some home gyms and commercial gyms have Pilates reformers and Pilates wunda chairs, it’s more rare to see the trapeze table – and exciting to happen upon one.

The trapeze table looks like it could be a torture device from the Spanish Inquisition – or perhaps brings to mind a competition category in Olympic gymnastics.

But as funny-looking as it appears at first glance, the trapeze table is an excellent tool:

  • it benefits both young people and the aged.
  • it benefits both beginners who need joint rehab and advanced athletes who want to bring their abdominal strength and sports performance up to the next level.

Though it’s many people’s favorite piece of Pilates fitness equipment, the trapeze table is also the least common simply because it requires the most space.

I have a trapeze table in my living room.

For me, purchasing the trapeze table was a worthwhile investment because there are so many strength-training exercises and stretches that can be done using it:

  • exercises can be done sitting on the table, lying on it, kneeling on it, and standing on it.
  • exercises can done standing on the floor, off the side of the table, or at the ends.
  • there are exercises that can be done elevated off the table using the parallel bars.

It’s a very versatile piece of equipment!

Another advantage of the trapeze table is that it’s good for both men and women – and almost all the stretches and exercises can be modified to match a person’s unique fitness level or age.

Abdominal Forward Crunch and Quad Stretch Series

The quadriceps and hip flexors can get so tight from sitting and driving.

Additionally, our modern sedentary lifestyles contribute to the weakening of our core muscles.

This quad stretch series with abdominal forward crunching is the antidote!

The springs attached to the trapeze bar provide traction and help make it possible to modify the series so that even people with sensitive knees and tender lower backs can still complete a variation.

 
 

When doing this quadricep backbend maneuver, try to keep your lower back from over-arching by keeping your glutes a tad active and your pelvis scooped forward a bit. I use blocks to help protect my knees from becoming overstretched.

Teaser on the Trapeze Table

The teaser exercise is similar to boat pose in yoga. It develops abdominal strength while also creating length in the spine.

Pilates is an exercise system of properly-aligned movements that improve endurance, joint mobility, spinal flexibility, and muscular strength. In particular, the Pilates method is highly effective at creating core strength, muscular symmetry, and improving balance.

fit woman using pilates trapeze table

Parakeet, Swan, Reverse Push-Through

I use two short blue springs on the trapeze bar for the parakeet move. Wear socks that have gripping beads on the soles to prevent slipping (or, if you’re going barefoot, at least make sure you don’t have lotion on your feet)!

Mermaid or MerMan Stretch Series

The mistakes many people make while doing oblique exercises are using too much resistance and crunching the spine. You don’t want to add thickness to your waist! This exercise strengthens your obliques without adding extra size.

The final move of this series is helpful for opening up tight hips.

For many people, their outer thighs get very stiff and this can create a negative side tilt to the pelvis which then makes each leg a different length! By keeping your outer thigh muscles supple, you help keep your lower back vertebrae healthy and properly aligned.

Trapeze Table Back Bend (advanced)

When I filmed this video below, I was warmed-up and my spine was feeling very bendy. Normally, however, I might not add so much of a lower-back arch to my backbend and instead would keep my top rib compressed. It just depends on your personal stage of flexibility on a particular day. Generally, it’s always best to proceed cautiously with backbends.

I encourage you to opt-in to my free weekly update. It will not only provide you with helpful diet and exercise tips, but – perhaps most importantly – it will help you stay inspired and keep your health moving in a beneficial direction.

Candlestick Maneuver (advanced)

Inversion poses can be helpful for your circulation and vein health.

The veins in my legs sometimes get too pronounced, which could mean my veins are struggling to pump blood back up toward my heart.

Inversion poses to the rescue!

By keeping the legs elevated above the head, you’re relieving circulatory pressure on your legs and feet.

Also, inversion poses can be a real mood elevator (perhaps because of the increased blood flow to the brain).

The candlestick maneuver is an inversion pose that also develops abdominal strength and shoulder mobility. This one is usually for intermediate to advanced-level athletes who are already warmed-up.

If you’re starting to feel serious about the idea of getting into stellar shape, I recommend the Silver & Strong Course. It’s designed to help you successfully adopt an anti-inflammatory diet – which can be a real game-changer.

The program is detailed, and requires you to count calories, track macros, and choose menu items.

The coursebook gives you ideas, tools, and a specific sequence, but it doesn’t do all the work for you (you still have to complete the action steps)!

At the moment, the course also includes highly effective bonus workouts with exercises that can be done at home and those that can be done at the gym.

As always, consult with your own medical doctor before making any significant changes to your exercise or diet habits.

In case you were thinking of getting a trapeze table for your home gym area, keep in mind that it requires an ample amount of space:

  • the table width is 29 inches (or 74 centimeters).
  • the width of the table – including push-through bar adjustment knobs – is 30.25″ (76cm).
  • the length of the table is 81″ (206cm), plus 4.5″ (11cm) for the canopy brackets.
  • trapeze frame height (from top to floor) is 81.5″ (204cm).

In my opinion, the trapeze table works best when there is space all around it. It’s tempting to try to save space by pushing one end of the table close to a wall, but I don’t recommend it. There should be standing room all around the table.

 

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mature athlete using trapeze table
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