History of Pilates

Joseph Pilates, taught Contrology in Germany’s physical training camps In the early 1900’s. The exercises that he invented made such an effective and dramatic change in people’s bodies that the Kaiser wanted him to train his troops. However, Pilates did not wish to affiliate himself politically and turned down the Kaiser’s offer.

When World War I broke out, Joe moved to England and while working in a hospital there, he attached pulleys and springs to patient beds developing what is now the basis of the Pilates equipment (or machine) work. It became evident that the patients working with the contraptions of pulleys and springs were recovering more quickly and gaining greater strength. His reputation brought him to the attention of the British troops as well. And again he turned down an opportunity to pass down his Contrology to a military concern.

Joe doing "Rowing" exercise

Joe doing “Rowing” exercise

Joe liked to train professional athletes: boxers, skiiers, gymnasts and trapeze flyers amongst others. In 1920 a European circus came to America and a famous trapeze flyer insisted on bringing his trainer, Joe Pilates with him. So, Joe arrived in New York with all his toys, and the American Ballet Company put their dancers to train with him. In that world, Pilates has been known about ever since those early days. With the crash of ’29 affecting the American economy, the world of Pilates pretty much stayed privy to the dance world and the wealthy, the socialites, the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, and the likes of U.S. nobility.


Joe assisting with the Fluffies
Joe assisting with the Fluffies

Jackie Onassis, for example, took Pilates. During the past ten years, movie stars (like Sharon Stone, Halle Barry, Jeniffer Aniston and Daisy Fuentes) have brought attention to the discipline of Pilates, and with that attention Pilates is now arriving to the masses. Ideally everyone should experience both the “mat” work, and sessions with machines. The machine work will provide deeper, quicker changes and is adaptable to everyone regardless of size, shape or condition. The mat work is the original Contrology as preserved by Authentic Certified teachers.

Always ask for “Authentic” Pilates.