Who was Joseph Pilates?

The Pilates method was founded at the beginning of the 20th century by Joseph Hubertus Pilates. Pilates was born in Germany in 1883. He was a sickly child and suffered from rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever. His will to fight these illnesses led him early on to various western and eastern sports such as boxing, bodybuilding, gymnastics, diving and yoga.

In 1912 Pilates travelled to England to work as a circus artist together with his brother Fred. When World War I broke out, he was interned with other German prisoners in a camp on the Isle of Man. Here he practiced and taught his training techniques and began to develop the first equipment, which he used for the rehabilitation of the sick and injured. He later called this method "Contrology".

After the war Pilates returned to Germany. In 1925, when he was offered a job in the new German Army, he decided to emigrate to America in view of the political developments in the country. On his way to America he met Clara, his future wife, and together they opened their first Pilates studio in New York in 1926. This attracted a variety of people including boxers, gymnasts, celebrities and athletes. However, Pilates was most appreciated by the dance community, as they experienced the positive effects of his method on their bodies, not only in terms of performance but also rehabilitation. 

After his death, his students and the generations that followed spread his method "Contrology" - later known as Pilates - all over the world. They developed many styles and variations of the original method, and in today's fitness world, Pilates has become indispensable! Over the course of his career, Pilates has invented over 600 exercises for the various training devices.
Pilates was ahead of its time in many ways, not only in terms of creating exercises and inventing new equipment, but also in terms of marketing its method. He made a film and wrote books.

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