Theres lots to say about pilates, so this will be the first in a series, and what better place to start than at the very beginning to give you a little background of why Pilates was created, and it’s methodology…..

Pilates was invented by Joseph Pilates back in the 1920’s..although it was known as Contrology back then. Joseph Pilates was born in Düsseldorf Germany in 1883…. He was a sickly child, suffering from asthma and other ailments. He spent much of his time, trying to get stronger by doing gymnastics. He became enamored by the classical Greek ideal of a man balanced in body, mind, and spirit, and he began to develop his own exercise system based on this concept.

Growing into adulthood, Joe was no longer the sickly child he had once been as he became an avid skier, diver, gymnast, and boxer.

In 1912 Joseph moved to England to perform in a circus, box professionally, and as a self defence instructor, he had a fantastic physique by then, and was often observed by students studying anatomy.

During the war

Pilates used the springs from the beds(see image above), allowing injured soldiers to become stronger, and from this came the invention of a piece of equipment know as a the Cadillac.
In the 1920’s Joseph emigrated to USA, and in 1926 he opened his first body conditioning gym using his method, with his wife Clara. Much of the equipment(then known as apparatus) he developed is still in use today.

Pilates for rehabilitation

Contrology was developed to help with rehabilitation, and in the early days was used predominantly by soldiers returning from war, athletes and dancers recovering from injury..

Joseph wrote several books Your Health (1932 and in 1945 he wrote Return to Life through Contrology. The 2nd book lays out all the principles of Pilates that are followed today.

The name Pilates was adopted after Joe Pilates death in 1967.

The first Pilates studio was opened in New York by Joseph Pilates and his wife Clara in the 1920’s, and in the UK in 1970 by Alan Hardman.

Here is Joseph teaching mat work, which I think is quite amusing by todays standards….

Pilates today

There are 34 basic exercises and pilates today follows the same principles as set out in his book, however a lot of the exercises are deemed quite extreme, and are generally adapted to be more appropriate by today’s standards.

Doctors frequently recommend patients with bad back to attend pilates classes and as Joseph developed his methodology for rehabilitation I think he would feel quite proud, and even prouder that it has been named after him.

If you would like to experience Pilates for yourself contact me to book your 1 2 1 classes call 07941 379 359 or fill in the online form for a chat to find out how it can help improve your movement or add stability.

About One Body Coach

Tracy Swindell is a former GB international marathon runner who has trained and competed in a number of sports from a young age. She is passionate about helping people reach their potential and is a strong believer in empowering her clients to understand and care for their own bodies.

Always updating her skills to get the best possible results for her clients, Tracy’s extensive studying covers coaching and movement-based qualifications including intrinsic biomechanics, anatomy in motion, pilates and yoga.

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