Originally referred to and introduced as the practice of Contrology, Pilates is a physical fitness system that uses controlled movements of the body to achieve advanced core strength and balance. This fitness method is also widely accepted as a means to improve flexibility, strength, control, and stamina. One of Pilates’ most important features as a workout system is the ability for workouts to be adapted to a user’s background and comfort level. The user can implement several changes to every workout within the system to increase or decrease difficulty. Here, we will learn more about Pilates history.
The Beginning of Pilates History
Joseph Pilates created the Pilates physical fitness system in Germany in the early 20th century. Named after himself, the creator used exercise and athletics to overcome several personal health ailments as a child. Then, he continued to research fitness programs into adulthood. This focus on exercise soon led Pilates to create his now-famous system. However, at first, the Pilates system was only widely adopted by the dance community. Several influential German choreographers used the system at their dance academies.
Pilates History in the United States
In 1926, Joseph Pilates moved to the United States and married Clara Zeuner. The couple opened a fitness studio in New York City. The studio shared an address with the New York Ballet. George Balanchine, a famous director of the New York Ballet, studied at Pilates’ studio and soon started to implement the fitness system in his classes and routines. At this point, Pilates became more popular but was still not a household name. Oddly, it finally achieved popularity after Joseph Pilates’ death in the 1970s.
A Boost From Hollywood
Pilates, via Ron Fletcher’s studio, reached Hollywood and celebrities in the 1980s. Soon after, media coverage of Pilates grew extensively. The fitness system, once reserved for the elite, was now a growing part of the mainstream fitness world.
Modern Day Pilates
Today, the number of Americans practicing Pilates numbers over 10 million and counting. The fitness method is now widely adopted by athletes in the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, MLS, and the Olympics. These athletes utilize the system as a crucial feature in their training circuit. While not an ideal training system for weight loss, it is a great tool for strengthening joints and many professional athletes see that tool as an asset.
Pilates vs Yoga
There is often confusion about the difference between yoga and Pilates. Yoga focuses on building flexibility into a person’s body and joints. Pilates puts a focus on strengthening and relaxing tense or weak joints. Often, Pilates is recommended for people who are recovering from an injury. It’s also great for those who want to improve posture or strengthen their core. It is ideal for those who use their core in sports, like golf or tennis, and those with back issues. Others seek to simply strengthen and relax tense muscles.
Pilates has grown in popularity and continues to grow today. Many gyms, YMCA’s, and online fitness instructors offer Pilates classes for all skill levels. Check out Pilates studios in your town!