Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1880. He started life as a weak, sickly child so began to exercise to help fix this.
He experimented with gymnastics, bodybuilding, boxing, yoga, internal and external martial arts and diving.
During the war he was interned (as he was German living in England) and continued with his training with the other inmates and developed his exercise. He was convinced that this is why all the inmates that he trained avoid the flue epidemics that killed thousands during this time.
When he moved back to Germany he also became involved with dance and taught self defence to the Hamburg police.
He later (approximately 1925) emigrated to America and set up a fitness studio next to the New York City Ballet. It soon began to attract the dancing elite as his workout methods built strength without bulk, flexibility and harmony between the mind and muscles.
He was very much ahead of his time in his training theories. Although he didn’t have a full knowledge of the anatomy we have today he would often use phrases like “pull your navel to your spine” his way of engaging the core muscles to support the spine and create inner strength.
Joseph Pilates wasn’t shy in predicting our physical decline as life becomes more sedentary. He strongly believed that carrying out his exercises would keep the body healthy and strong into later life.
The foundation of Pilates exercise is core strength. The core muscles are the deep, internal muscles of the abdomen and back. When the core muscles are strong and doing their job, as they are trained to do in Pilates, they work in tandem with the more superficial muscles of the trunk to support the spine and movement. This strengthening of the core muscles helps to tighten the waist
Pilates has eight key principles that it aims to develop and improve
- Flowing Movements
Modification is the key to Pilates exercise success with a variety of populations.
All exercises are developed with modifications that can make a workout safe and challenging for a person at any level.