"In 10 sessions you will feel the difference, in 20 you will see the difference and in 30 you will have a whole new body." Joseph H. Pilates

Joseph Hubertus Pilates, born in 1883 in Mönchengladbach (Germany), called his method "Contrology".

Also known as Pilates Method is a systematical full body workout strengthening especially the low lying musculature, particularly the low lying musculature of the pelvic floor, the stomach and the spine. The Pilates workout can be done on a mat or with especially designed devices.

The Pilates principle are:

  • Respiration
  • Centering
  • Control
  • Concentration
  • Motion Flow

These Pilates-principles are an important extract of the Pilates Method (see for further information e.g. "The Pilates Method of Physical and Mental Conditioning" of Philip Friedman and Gail Eisen).

Historical facts about Pilates

Joseph (Jo) Hubertus Pilates (1883-1967) worked in brewery in Mönchengladbach as a young man. Between 1912 and 1913, shortly after the death of his first wife with whom he had one daughter, he moved to England.

As a German citizen he was interned in England at the beginning of the first World War. During this time he developed the concept of a full body workout which should support a good constitution and posture, at the beginning especially for the soldiers interned with him.

After his return from England, Jo Pilates stayed in Hamburg from ca. 1920 to 1950 where he taugth the Hamburg Police and private clients techniques of self-defense. During this time, he developed the first Pilates devices.

In 1926 he emigrated to New York. Together with his partner Clara hee opened a training studio in the bildign of the New York City ballet – this location might have been another reason for the closeness of the Pilates Method to dance.

In the early 1960s many New York dancers were beyond the clients of his training studio. The training method initially developed for men was completed by a more and more a female perception and design.

In 1965 Jo Pilates opened a second training studion in West 57th Street in New York. From 1967 to 1972 was being runned by Naja Cori who has herself been instructed and trained by Jo Pilates; from 1972 to the closing of the studio in 1988, Kathy Grant was head of the studio.

During his lifetime only two of his scholars (Carola Trier and Bob Seed) opened their own studios. In the 1990s the Pilates Method was becoming a “wellness trend” and was being used by more and more fitness studios and other providers.

Joseph Pilates died in 1967 at the age of 84. Thank to others of his scholars who opened their own studios and further developed the method, his ideas live on.