What is Pilates?

It was Joseph Hubertus Pilates who invented this exercise regime about 80 years ago.

Joseph Hubertus Pilates was an extraordinary character. Growing up in Dusseldorf in the 1880s, he suffered severe attacks of asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever which left him with a stunted bone structure and twisted limbs. Rather than accept the limitations of his body, he decided to overcome them, and he worked systematically and tirelessly to create a system of exercises that would correct his disabilities. These formed the basis of his renowned matwork exercises, which he called ‘The Art of Contrology’. It was only after his death that it became known as Pilates or the Pilates method. 

Influenced by the early Greeks, Pilates emphasised the role of the conscious mind as well as the body in his technique. A sound knowledge of anatomy and exercise experience underpinned and continues to underpin the development of the technique.

Joseph Pilates passed away in 1967 at the age of 87. He had maintained a very fit physique throughout his life, and many photos show that he was in remarkable physical condition in his older years. He is also said to have been quite a flamboyant personality. He smoked cigars, liked to party, wore his exercise briefs wherever he wanted, and could be an intimidating, though deeply committed, instructor.  

The boy with the twisted body trained himself to be a boxer, circus acrobat, gymnast, diver, skier and self-defence instructor, but the most important legacy he left to the world was a revolutionary approach to exercise that allows anyone to achieve the very best body they can.



The benefits of Pilates are immense and include:

  • Better posture
  • Effective in preventing back pain – half of the British population is suffering from back pain (this number is increasing by 5% each year.
  • Lowered stress levels
  • Better toned body
  • Improved flexibility
  • Greater joint mobility
  • A flatter stomach and a trimmer waist
  • You become stronger
  • Better co-ordination

%d bloggers like this: