Who was Joseph Pilates and what is the exercise that bears his name?
Joseph Hubertus Pilates was born in Germany in 1883. Pilates dedicated his entire life to improving his physical strength. Pilates was originally a gymnast, diver and body builder, but when he moved to England in 1912, he earned a living as a professional boxer, circus performer, and self- defense trainer at police schools and Scotland Yard. Nevertheless, the British authorities interned him during WWI in an internment camp on the Isle of Man. During this involuntary break, he began to develop his concept of an integrated, comprehensive system of physical exercise, which he himself called “Contrology”. He trained his fellow inmates in fitness and exercise. It is told that these inmates survived the 1918 flu pandemic due to their good physical shape.
In 1925 he migrated to the United States. On the ship to America he met his future wife, Clara and the couple founded a studio in New Your City and directly taught and supervised their students well into the 1960’s. Joe died in 1967 at the age of 87.
Now more than 80 years after its introduction, the Pilates Method of Body Conditioning has become one of the most popular forms of fitness training available. Joe Pilates always said, “I am 50 years ahead of my time.”
What is so special about Pilates?
Clients move gradually through different stages of development, focusing on the core Powerhouse area of the body (generally the area of the body that consists of the abdominal muscles, lower back, hips and buttocks). Development of this area is critical to the advancement of the client through the stages of progress. Clients are not advanced until their bodies are ready.
Movements are generally not performed rapidly nor are they repeated in many sets. The focus is on control, deep strengthening, lengthening and flexibility.
Both the mat and apparatus exercises are specifically ordered and tailored to strengthen and lengthen, rather than build bulk. Symmetry and flexibility is stressed, as well as absolute control. Pilates bodies are leaner, more balanced and stronger than average. Joseph Pilates developed hundreds of exercises, most of which can be broken down to suit various body types and injuries.
We hope you have a positive Pilates experience and welcome any questions or concerns you may have. Thank you for allowing us to do what we love most, teaching!