Pilates History

Pilates exercises create balanced strength, body awareness, and lifelong spinal health, which are key to a healthy body. How was this method developed?

Joseph Pilates was born in Dusseldorf in 1880. He was a sickly, frail child who suffered from asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever. Rather than follow an established fitness regiment, he became a seeker of new and different approaches. These ranged from yoga, martial arts self-defense, circus training (where he was a trapeze artist), dancing, gymnastics and weight training. By absorbing these different modalities and selecting the most effective exercises for his own body, Pilates created his own version of a fitness routine.

It was during World War 1 and thereafter when Joseph Pilates became one of the first “rehabilitation aides” helping injured soldiers to regain their strength and mobility through exercise. He utilized what was available, resulting in the use of pulleys, ropes, and bedsprings to create a sense of resistance. He later went on to develop his own Pilates equipment from these experiences. In essence, he became the very first physical therapist and the Pilates method was born.

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