The Pilates physical fitness method includes a total of over 500 exercises which help towards the building of a strong, supple and firm body. The method was conceived by Joseph Hubertus Pilates and was mostly developed from 1920 onwards.

Joseph Hubertus Pilates
was born in 1880 in Monchengladbach (a town close to Duseldorf in Germany). As a child he suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever, which led him to study ways to improve physical health.
He was influenced by the Eastern and Western approaches for a uniformly developed body, as well as the ancient Greek education and aesthetic sense. His method is permeated by a holistic philosophy concerning wellness, activation, the beauty of movement and form.

In 1912 he moved to England where he worked as a self-defense trainer for private detectives and military personnel. During World War I he trained other inmates and treated many internees suffering from illness or injuries by incorporating in his exercises the use of springs, which he later integrated into his exercise equipment.

 
 

In the early 1920s and after a short stay in Germany, he moves to New York where he establishes his studio of Contrology. The trainees where initially men, more specifically, people wishing to maintain a good physical condition, professional boxers and acrobats.

Famous choreographers of the period such as George Balanchine and Martha Graham encouraged their dancers to explore Pilates’ method of training, for the acquisition of strength, suppleness and for rehabilitation following injury. To his own acknowledgment, his work was many years ahead of his time. Joseph Pilates died in 1967.

 
 

Exercises are performed with the use of special equipment and on the floor (MAT).
In both cases the 6 following principles prevail:

Centering.
Awareness of the centre of our body is gained, by strengthening the abdomen, waist, back and hip area, towards the creation of the sense that the body is “tied up” around an imaginary axis.

Concentration
Physical and mental concentration on movement is an important prerequisite for a conscious, non mechanical performance.

Control
Each exercise should be executed in detailed focus and control, for the best results and maximum safety.

Breathing
Breathing rhythm is a very important and inseparable part of the Pilates method and exercise in general.

Flow
The flow and succession of exercises is of great importance.

Precision
Precision is needed during the execution of exercises.

The Pilates Method endeavors to strengthen the “Powerhouse”, the area which includes the muscles of the abdomen, waist and hips, forms a powerful centralization of the body and permits it to move with control and safety. That leads towards building a supple, thin, strong and firm body.

The equipment used for the exercises was designed in order for the main goals of the exercises to be directly and clearly perceived. Resistance comes from the use of springs and not by lifting weights, so that suppleness in the muscular and skeletal system can be achieved along with acquisition of strength.

The Pilates method adjusts to all personal needs and abilities; it is therefore a proper exercise for people of all age and physical condition.

It addresses to people leading a sedentary life as well as to those who wish to remain fit.

 
 
   
 
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