The Origin of Pilates

Pilates was developed by Joseph Hubertus Pilates (1883 – 1967), a German of Greek descent. As a child, he was chronically ill, but he was determined to make himself healthy and strong. This set him on the path to becoming a bodybuilder.  He also studied anatomy and sampled as many forms of exercises as he could and recorded the results. Not only did he study Western methods, but he studied the Eastern methods of yoga, tai-chi, and martial arts.

Although he was German, he was living in Britain at the time of World War I. The British interned him as a German alien, and this is where he began developing his method. Because of his knowledge of anatomy and exercise, while interned, he began working as a nurse. This is where the Pilates method began to take form. He began experimenting by attaching springs to the beds and developing exercises to help tone and heal the wounded soldiers. It was the beginning of our modern-day reformer.  In 1923, Pilates moved to America where he opened his first studio in New York, where the first true reformers were used. These early reformers were shaped like sliding beds that used springs as resistance. His method was instantly a hit, especially among dancers such as George Balanchine and Isadora Duncan. Dancers found his method, which he initially called “Contrology,” to be the best way to recover from their injuries as well as prevent injuries from occurring. From there, popularity spread and the method has evolved to the present day. Crescent City Pilates proudly features a wide range Balanced Body Pilates equipment such as Towers, Reformers, a Trapeze Table, CoreAlign, and the Pedi-Pole.