Pilates History

Pilates is an exercise system developed in the early 20th century by the German gymnast, boxer and circus performer Joseph Pilates.

Initially used to rehab bedridden patients during the First World War in England, hence the equipment’s likeness to a hospital bed- springs and pulleys and over-head poles, Mr. Pilates refined his system in New York City to where he emigrated in 1926.

According to Pilates his method, which he himself called ‘Contrology’ is “…complete coordination of body, mind and spirit…develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit.” The purpose of this system was for students to relearn (‘reform’) they way they use the muscles of their body to achieve more efficiency of movement:
“…the ultimate goals is the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind fully capable of naturally, easily and satisfactorily performing many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure…” ( Joseph Pilates, Contrology, 1945).

Pilates caught on quickly with dancers and other physical artists as a counter balance to one-sided training in their discipline, and to achieve superior control of their bodies and help them excel at art.

In the last few years Pilates has had a kind of renaissance in the fitness industry, with more and more trainers incorporating aspects of it into their routine, and celebrity practitioners such as Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Anniston commenting on the benefits of this training in their own fitness routines.

Benefits of Pilates Training for you:

The main goal of Pilates training is to rebalance the body.

To achieve a balanced body we put special emphasis on strengthening the muscles of the core, which are: the abdominals, not only the ‘six-pack-muscles’ of the rectus abdominis, but also the internal and external obliques, the pelvic floor and the transversus abdominis; the muscles of the lower back, hips and glutes- together they are called the “powerhouse”.

In Pilates the focus of the training is on the individual’s development: do you spend at lot of time hunched over a computer, do you carry heavy loads on one side of their bodies (that’s you, new Moms!), do you have constant neck and shoulder pain, or a slipped disc in your spine, the result form an old injury, do you simply have a hard time ‘getting going’ in the morning? Then Pilates is for you!

The exercises are tailored to assist in building strength in your weaker areas, and ‘reform’ the way you achieve movement.

Yes, frequently pain is the result of underdeveloped muscles being lazy, or unaware of their function, and other muscles taking over to do more than their share- leading to an imbalance, repetitive use injuries and painful tightness and inflexibility.

By relearning movement and generally becoming more aware of and in touch with this incredible machine called your body, you will experience great changes in your energy level, flexibility, balance, strength and coordination in a very short amount of time.

If that seems heady and complicated- don’t worry, it is actually a lot of fun! And…you end up with a lean, long and ripped physique- yes, flat abs, lifted behind and cut shoulders and arms- so you can look as good as you feel;)