The Marlow Pilates


Pilates is named after its inventor, Joseph Pilates. Pilates was born in Germay in 1880. He was a sickly, frail child who suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. Determined to overcome his physical weakness, he dedicated himself to become fit and strong. He studied and became proficient in many activities including weight training, yoga, boxing and gymnastics. He selected the most effective features from each method and was able to work out a system of exercises which had the perfect balance of strength and flexibility. These exercises are known as the matwork series. By the time he was fourteen years old, he had become so fit he was able to work as a model for anatomical charts.

In 1912 Pilates moved to the UK where he worked as a self defence trainer at Scotland Yard. When the First World War broke out and because of his nationality, he was interned in Lancashire and later on the Isle of Man. During his internment, Pilates helped in the hospital wing. He attached springs to hospital beds, enabling bedridden patients to exercise against resistance. This is where the idea of the studio equipment came from.

When released, Pilates briefly returned to Germany. In 1926 he emigrated to the US. On the boat to the US, he met his future wife Clara. They realised they shared the same views on fitmess, and decided to set up a studio in New York. The studio quickly gained a reputation and was attracting top ballet dancers, gymnasts, athletes and actors.

Pilates was teaching until he died in 1967.

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