Joseph Hubertus Pilates was born in 1880 near Düsseldorf, Germany. His father was a Greek gymnast and his German mom was a naturopath.
Growing up Mr. Pilates was a small and sickly child; he was afflicted with asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever. Determined to improve his own health and overcome his many illnesses Mr. Pilates began to study anatomy, bodybuilding, wrestling, yoga, gymnastics, and martial arts thus strengthening his mind and body.
He was so successful in overcoming his illnesses and became so fit he was asked to pose for anatomy charts. Mr. Pilates believed the body’s ability to heal itself once your mind was “onboard”.
Joseph Pilates was touring in England with a boxer when WW1 broke out. He was detained in a camp with other German nationals for the extent of the war. While imprisoned he shared his exercise method with his fellow prisoners by leading a daily exercises routine. Story has it that this routine was so successful that when the influenza epidemic broke out in 1918, none of the inmates that followed his exercise method got sick. As a result of this, Mr. Pilates was given the job of working in a hospital as an orderly. While in the hospital he worked with bedridden patients everyday by exercising whatever they could move. His exercises helped these patients to recover faster. Working in the hospital on the bedridden, led to the invention of one his first pieces of equipment, which we use today, it was the Cadillac. He did this by attaching springs to the bed frames, which enabled his patients to move their arms and legs all the while lying flat.
He later fled to the United States via boat and subsequently met his wife Clara who was a nurse. Upon arriving in New York, they rented a small studio and started teaching Contrology, which is the name he called his method.
Although he worked with many different clients, professional dancers were his main clients because they were always getting injured and needed rehabilitation. Mr. Pilates was also an inventor because for the rest of his life, he continued to develop new pieces of exercise equipment. He created the Universal Reformer, the Wunda Chair, and the Ladder barrel among many others.
Mr. Pilate’s studio was destroyed in 1967 and later died from smoke inhalation; his wife continued his work until her death in 1977. Several of their former students, went on to open their own studios to carry on his teachings. As a result Pilates has become a household name.
You can find more information on Joseph Pilates here Wikipedia.
Here are some fun videos of Joseph Pilates with his students.Joseph Pilates Teaches Reformer
Hope you enjoy the videos. Let me know what you think.
Fitness tip: When training your abs, make sure you train your back and obliques as well, this creates proper muscle balance.
Have a good evening.