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4 Things You Didn’t Know About Pilates

Started by Joseph Pilates, Pilates has become incredibly popular with everyone from fitness gurus to beginners. The purpose of Pilates is to focus on the core – the “powerhouse” of the body. Because of its core focus, Pilates is popular not only in the field of fitness, but also in rehabilitation. However, Pilates hasn’t always been the fitness trend that it is today. Here are four things you may not know about this incredibly popular fitness regime.

It Was Originally for The Army

Growing up, Joseph Pilates suffered from asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever. Determined to overcome his ailments, he began to study anatomy as well as Eastern and Western forms of exercise. During World War One, Joseph enlisted. While working in the hospital, he took the bed springs and hooked them to bedposts as a fitness machine to aid injured soldiers in regaining their health by strengthening, stretching, and stabilising their muscles. It worked, and in 1925, Pilates moved to the United States and started an exercise gym on 8th Avenue in New York City.

Pilates Is a Lot Older Than You Think

Pilates is a lot older than one may think. Now, in the 1920’s and after catching on in the dance community, Pilate’s studio catered mainly to sore ballerinas and fitness trainers. Joe continued to train clients at his studio until his death in 1967, at the age of 87. After his death, his followers continued to practice Pilates and open their own studios. In the 1970s, Hollywood celebrities discovered Pilates via a studio in Beverly Hills. When they began to practice Pilates, the public took note, and the Pilates business boomed. Pilates had entered the fitness mainstream and has now become a daily practice for over ten million Americans. Pilates was formed by Joseph decades before it caught on. Indeed, Joseph used to say: ‘When I am dead, they’ll say ‘He was right’. I’m fifty years ahead of my time”. And he was.

It Could Have Been “Contrology”

Joseph’s original name for Pilates was “Contrology” or, the science of control. This is because Pilates was intended to focus on the art of control – of the body, mind, and muscles. He believed that the ultimate goal was control and that everything else would follow. He spent his entire lifetime in pursuit of this perfect control. This showed through in the way he designed his method with precisely performed and executed exercises. As Joseph himself said, “The benefits of Contrology depend solely of performing the exercises exactly to instruction – and not otherwise”. During his lifetime, this method of exercise was called Contrology. It was only after his death that it became known as the Pilates Method.

There Are Only 34 Moves

While Joseph was perfecting his exercise system, he developed a order of exactly 34 moves to make up a perfect workout and to this day, his original sequence of 34 exercises is still widely used. He worked his entire life to perfect these exact moves to form an incredibly effective workout and tinkering with and perfecting his method worked. These moves were all mat exercises and didn’t require any extra equipment, making it an easily teachable and shareable method. Although many different varieties of Pilates have come and gone, the original 34 moves have stayed constant. So even though you may hate doing The Hundred, it’s an incredibly effective move that has lasted for decades – you won’t be escaping it any time soon.