Pilates FAQs

What you always wanted to know about Pilates

Q: Who was Joseph Pilates?

A: Joseph H. Pilates, the founder of the pilates exercise method, was born in Germany. As a child he was frail, living with asthma in addition to other childhood conditions. To build his body and grow stronger, he took up several different sports, eventually becoming an accomplished athlete. As a nurse in Great Britain during World War I, he designed exercise methods and equipment for immobilized patients and soldiers.

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Q: When did Joseph Pilates live, and where?

A: Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1880. Joseph Pilates was a performer and a boxer who lived in England in the year 1914. During the outbreak of the WW1, he was placed under the forced internment along with the other German nationals in Lancaster, England, and there he taught his fellow camp members about health and fitness. Joseph Pilates brought Pilates to the US in 1923. It is a program utilizing corrective exercises and specialized equipment to lengthen, tone and stretch the body. Joseph Pilates died in 1967. However the practice of Pilates remains more popular today than ever before.

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Q: Why did Joseph Pilates develop his system?

A: Joseph Pilates, who was part Greek and part German, developed Pilates during the First World War with the proposal to improve the rehabilitation program for the many returning veterans. Joseph Pilates believed mental and physical health were essential to one another. He recommended a few, precise movements emphasizing control and form to aid injured soldiers in regaining their health by strengthening, stretching, and stabilizing key muscles.

Q: Who was Joseph Pilates?

A: Joseph H. Pilates, the founder of the pilates exercise method, was born in Germany. As a child he was frail, living with asthma in addition to other childhood conditions. To build his body and grow stronger, he took up several different sports, eventually becoming an accomplished athlete. As a nurse in Great Britain during World War I, he designed exercise methods and equipment for immobilized patients and soldiers.

Read more about Joseph Pilates

Q: Did Joseph Pilates publish any books on his theories?

A: Joseph Pilates wrote two books concerning the Pilates method, Return to Life through Contrology (1928) and Your Health: A Corrective System of Exercising That Revolutionizes the Entire Field of Physical Education (1934).

Q: How does Pilates emphasize breathing?

A: Joseph Pilates believed in circulating the blood so that it could awaken all the cells in the body and carry away the wastes related to fatigue. For the blood to do its work properly, he maintained, it has to be charged with oxygen and purged of waste gases through proper breathing. By this standard, if you stop breathing during exercise, there is an error in your practice. Full and thorough inhalation and exhalation are purportedly a part of every Pilates exercise.

Q: What is the Pilates Powerhouse?

A: Pilates called the very large group of muscles in the center of the body – encompassing the abdomen, lower back, hips, and buttocks – the “powerhouse.” All energy for Pilates exercises is said to begin from the powerhouse and flow outward to the limbs. Pilates felt that it was important to build a strong powerhouse in order to rely on it in daily living.

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