History of Pilates

Pilates was named after German-born Joseph Hubertus Pilates, who is said to have been a frail and weak child who was often bullied in his younger years. It is said that he was determined to overcome his weak physical state and began the journey to what we know term as ‘Pilates’.

Joseph combined exercises and methods from a large number of exercise methods such as yoga, Zen, boxing, gymnastics, circus training, weight training and more, and went on to even model for anatomy charts.

In the 1920’s it is said that he went on to assist with the rehabilitation of injured prisoners during the first World War, where he used springs from hospital beds to facilitate exercise in rehabilitation. After the war, he then developed machines that would resist one’s movements in order to facilitate the inner muscles to work against it, enabling for one to concentrate on the technique of the movements. This is where today, like in our studio, we see the birth of Reformer and Trapeze beds within Pilates.

Clinical Pilates

In more recent times, Pilates exercises were examined and it has been found that a large number of his exercises could be modified and relate to the improvement of posture, strength, flexibility, and in particular, address back pain and other musculoskeletal dysfunctions.

Applying modern day knowledge and research has enabled the changing and modification of the principles and known Pilates exercises into more user friendly exercises for the ‘average’ population.

Today, it is applied to a broad range of individuals, as the Pilates exercises can be modified and manipulated to suit different needs and requirements. It allows for a broad range of movement patterns in different positions, with and without equipment, to facilitate good quality movement patterns and co-ordination of one’s body.

Pilates exercises are most importantly about control. Clinical Pilates aims to develop controlled patterns of movement, then gradually ‘challenge’ the body by adding more complex movements, speed, and other variables. Hence the beauty of Pilates being suitable for a wide range of clients!

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