what is pilates?
Pilates is a complete exercise method developed by its founder, Joseph Pilates, over the course of a lifetime dedicated to improving physical and mental health. Pilates exercises the whole body through a range of mat and equipment based exercises, re-balancing muscle use throughout the entire musculoskeletal system. The exercises build the body's core strength and improve posture through a series of low repetition, low impact stretching and conditioning exercises, which develop muscles without adding bulk.
history of pilates
Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1880 and, through his early life, suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. His drive and determination to overcome these ailments led him to become a competent gymnast, diver and skier.
The conception of Pilates Equipment classes
Pilates later served during the First World War as an Orderly in a hospital on the Isle of Man. Here, he was working with patients who were unable to walk. He discovered that attaching bed springs to the hospital beds helped support the patients' limbs.
The first Pilates studio
Pilates emigrated to the USA in the early 1920s, opening a studio with his wife Clara, in New York, 1926. It soon became very popular, particularly with dancers, as it offered a chance to improve technique or recover from injury. Word spread quickly and many celebrities of the day visited his studio.
Early techniques + the ‘Contrology' programme
Pilates called his technique ‘Contrology' and this became his life's work until his death in 1967. During his life he continued to evolve his techniques, develop a large number of exercises and design ingenious equipment to strengthening muscles, including the body's ‘powerhouse'; the band of muscles that wrap around the spine just below the waist.
Evolution of the Pilates method
It was only after his death that his work became known as Pilates or the Pilates method. The Pilates method has gradually evolved and integrated current biomechanical thinking. However, the roots of the technique are steeped in the philosophy + movement patterns designed by Joseph Pilates over 70 years ago.