Joseph Pilates – The Man Behind The Method

Joseph Pilates – The Man Behind The Method

Joseph Pilates

Whether you are an exercise enthusiast, or just a regular Pilates goer, you may have heard some of your instructors mention the name ‘Joe’ before. Name-dropping in class often doesn’t work very well if nobody in the class knows who you’re talking about! Even with a big interest in Pilates and exercise of all sorts when I first heard ‘Joe’ being mentioned I probably just assumed it was someone exceptionally good at Pilates or another instructor. In this case I would have been right in assuming he was good at Pilates, however I didn’t realise that he was the man who developed the whole exercise programme!



Joe was born in Germany in 1883 and unfortunately had a number of ailments including asthma and rickets growing up. In order to battle these Joe decided to turn to exercise. It was through studying and trying out various regimens that he developed Pilates. The concept was based on balancing the body, mind and spirit to enhance health in every aspect of life.


During World War 1 Joe was detained in England, which is when he further developed his exercise regime and trained other incarcerated individuals in his system of exercise. This came to the attention of the camp leaders who then gave him a job at the hospital working with wounded soldiers. Joe was put in charge of around 30 soldiers. He quickly realised how exhausting it was going to be manually helping each soldier to work out. He soon learned that by attaching springs to the bed frames for the soldiers it gave them the independence to exercise themselves under his supervision, which led to the development of the Cadillac and later on the Reformer that we know today.


When Joe was released he returned to Germany. However it wasn’t long before he was approached by German officials to train their police force. It was then that Joe decided to leave Germany for good. From here he set up his first fitness studio in New York, where his exercise regime became very popular among dancers. Joe continued to teach up until he passed away at the age of 87. Although he did not leave a will or line of succession, Pilates continued through the ‘elders’, who were his protégés during his teaching years.



Pilates Today

Joe invented many pieces of Pilates equipment over his lifetime to ensure that all individuals could take part in his exercise classes. For this reason Pilates has become very popular among all 3 people on pilates reformergenerations and can be used for Rehab, Prehab or as a general fitness class to strengthen, tone and condition the body. As many articles have proven exercise is just as good for the mind as the body and Joe made sure that in doing his classes the benefits were far beyond that of just fitness results.




Book a Class

Or contact the clinic for details

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Our Newsletter

    Sign up for our newsletter and get the latest news.

    Thank you for submitting. Your first newsletter will follow shortly.
    there is an error in your submission. Please review your details and resend