Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Origins of Pilates

During World War I, a German named Joseph Pilates was interned in England where he worked as an orderly in a hospital that tended to injured war veterans. While he was there, he created a series of spring-controlled apparatus designed to help bed-ridden hospital patients engage in light resistance exercise. His method of exercise became known as "contrology" because it involved using the mind to control and focus on core muscles in the body as exercises were performed. He created "The Pilates Principle" which utilized a series of 34 exercises to strengthen, stretch and stabilize key muscles through proper alignment, centering, breathing, concentration, control, and precision with flowing movements.

Over time Joe developed more apparatus to add to his repertoire of specialized Pilates machines.

Joe brought Pilates to the United States when he moved to New York City in 1926 with his wife Clara and opened the first studio near the New York City Ballet. It became quite popular with the dancers since they could build long lean muscles with a strong core to support their movements. By the early 1960s Pilates had gained popularity outside New York City with many of Joe's students becoming teachers and opening their own studios, adding their own variations using the original principles.

In the 1970s Pilates became fashionable among Hollywood celebrities when former student Ron Fletcher opened his LA studio introducing innovations to Pilates inspired by his years as a Martha Graham dancer. By the 1990s Pilates was no longer limited to the elite taking on huge popularity among the mainstream along with yoga and Tai chi. Joseph Pilates died in 1967 at the age of 87.

Shannon Helfrich (Vice-President, Co-Founder) & Annette Kaptur (President, Co-Founder) at The Bootcamp Express are Peak Pilates Certified Instructors, both for MAT and Reformer. Both integrate Pilates Core Foundations in their Workouts!

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