The Pilates Method - History, Origins and Principles


Joseph Pilates

Joseph Pilates is considered the founder and creator of a physical fitness system he developed in the early twentieth century. It has become very popular today. He wrote at least two books on his Pilates Methods.

They are "Return to Life all through Contrology" and "Your Health a Corrective System of Exercising that Revolutionizes the Entire Field of Physical Education". His writings are well researched and quite detailed.

When he refers to Contrology he considers that to be a way in which one uses the mind to control muscles. This exercise program focuses on core postural muscles which help to keep the balance of the body and are a necessity for supporting the spine.

In Pilates exercises the student learns an awareness of breathing, spinal alignment and strengthening deep torso muscles that are critical in alleviating back pain and problems.

joseph pilates

Joseph Pilates was a German National of Greek Descent

Born in Dusseldorf Germany in 1880, Joseph Pilates was of Greek descent. He was an exercise enthusiast with strong interests in gymnastics, skiing, martial arts and diving. He developed his body into exceptional condition and as early as his teens this was evident as he was a fitness charts model.

In 1918 there was a influenza pandemic and Pilates began investigating methods to rehabilitate the many bed ridden victims. This work resulted in his developing a series of movements that anyone could do in closed confines. Later he used his findings to train professional boxers the most well known of which was Max Schmeling.

Pilates found exercising in the traditional process of performing a routine with a great deal of repetitions to be less than ideal. He found that fewer repetitions that focused more on exact movements that required control and form yielded better results.

joseph pilates studioThis lead him to design more than 500 specific exercises. Many of these focused on mat work in which a series of exacting callisthenic motions could be performed without any weights or apparatus on a padded mat.

He went beyond just physical health and believed that mental health complemented physical health and were vital for each other. Pilates became a total body conditioning program that focused on correct body alignment, alertness, centering, control, precision as well as breathing and flowing movements.

These Pilates Principles created better toning of muscles, flexibility, body awareness, more energy and better mental alertness. Pilates also created five key pieces of unique exercise equipment which would, according to him, give better results.

Enjoy Pilates and better health!

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