A brief history of Pilates

Pilates was developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates, who was born in Mönchengladbach, Germany. His mother was a naturopath and his father a gymnast. Pilates developed a system called Contrology, a series of exercises that were meant to strengthen the human body and mind. In fact, Joseph Pilates believed that mental and physical health are interrelated.

The idea for Contrology (or Pilates, as we call it nowadays) came from Pilates’s own experience as well as the injured soldiers in World War One. Joseph himself had certain physical limitations that he worked to resolve with Contrology and. In fact, he succeeded wonderfully.

On the other hand, the injured soldiers of World War One were often confined to a bed for weeks at a time. They were recovering and not being able to move. This caused a loss of muscle mass, and Contrology was meant to help the soldiers to keep up their flexibility and muscle tone. It was done by performing isolated exercises that worked around the injury.

Apparatus became a big part of Contrology

When Joseph Pilates was younger, he spent his time practicing many different kinds of physical training regimes. From these regimes, he created his own method. Eventually, he accompanied his method with different types of equipment, which he called “apparatus.” Each one of them was designed to help the student to stretch, strengthen, increase core strength, and help with body alignment.

A brief history of Pilates

Today, the most well-known apparatus is called a Reformer. Its original name was “Universal Reformer”, which came from “universally reforming the body.” Later on, he designed other pieces of apparatus as well, such as the Cadillac, Wunda Chair, High Chair, Spine Corrector, Ladder Barrel and Pedi-Pole.

Books and students

In his career, Pilates published two books. The first one was Your Health: A Corrective System of Exercising That Revolutionizes the Entire Field of Physical Education in 1934. And the second was Return to Life Through Contrology in 1945.

Pilates taught many students over the years. Some of them went on to teach Contrology. Eventually, Contrology got named “Pilates” as we call it today. Also, nowadays we can talk about “modern” Pilates and “traditional/classical” Pilates. The aim of classical Pilates is to teach Contrology the way Joseph meant it originally, while the modern version can have some variations.

Start your Pilates journey

Ready to get started with Contrology? If you reside in Great Neck, New York, you can easily get started by contacting me. But be warned: when you start practicing Pilates, there is a good chance that you will get hooked for life! Truthfully, many people love practicing Pilates because it has so many benefits and it is suitable for anyone. You do not have to be a gymnast or a dancer to start the exercise: anyone can do it.

As it is a low-impact way of exercising, it will not put pressure on your joints. This way, even people with injuries can easily start out. Are you excited yet? Good, because I am! Contact us or a studio near you and get started! Trust me: you will love it.


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