The Olive Tree Pilates Blog

What Even Is Pilates?

benefits of pilates joseph pilates pilates workout Oct 07, 2023
Joseph Pilates founder and inventor of Contrology the original Pilates method of exercise and rehabilitation

You might think 'Pilates' is just a crazy, random name for this exercise method I teach and love so much but it's actually the last name of the founder of this incredible method. Joseph Pilates. Y'all, this guy was a genius beyond his years! 🤯

Let me tell you a little about him because his story is AWESOME!



As a child, Joseph was sickly and suffered from rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever. But he became determined to overcome these and did that by excelling at boxing, gymnastics and self-defense among other things.

How did Pilates start?

Joe originally developed this method of exercise to rehab internment camp victims during World War 1. While in the internment camp, Joseph observed how both strength and morale was depleted when the men weren't active. The exercises Joe taught to the men were based on Joseph's boxing and gymnastics training. Some stories say that Joseph also attached springs and pulleys to the beds of hospital inmates to help them gain strength and rehabilitate through functional resistance exercises.



Contrology For All

Joe later refined and systemized his incredible exercise method, calling it "Contrology".


"Contrology develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit."


Many people began using Contrology and seeing the difference it made in their lives. It is said that “no man who exercised his principles came down with influenza” during the 1918 flu pandemic due to their great physical health!


"The Pilates Method teaches you to be in control of your body and not at its mercy."



Joseph also started designing and manufacturing larger equipment for his unique method that was tailored to these specific life-changing principles. Variations and forms of this larger equipment are still widely used today and some of it is known as the Pilates' Reformer, Cadillac, Chair & Barrels.



The focus and purpose of the original exercises Joseph taught was STRENGTH and REHABILITATION. And this incredible power of Pilates to strengthen the body in the intricate way it was designed to function is still evident by anyone who uses this method of exercise today. Pilates was NOT created for aesthetic but for functionality! (Aesthetic is just a nice side effect!)



Joe wanted to care for the whole body, correct physiology of every movement, the whole length of each muscle, every muscle - especially the little ones, and all the joints. Joe's incorporation of the breath, the slow dynamic of full body movements, fascial stretching and resilience, as well as the meticulous functional form and placement throughout each exercise distinguish this method of progressive resistance training from any other form of exercise.



Just look at Joe! He is solid rock. Yes, this is Joe in his whitey tighties at 82! 🙈 💪🏼

The careful control and precision of the Pilates method of exercise strengthens your body the way it was DESIGNED to function. It is a safe workout that ANYONE can do when the instructor (that's me!) understands the physiologically, purpose and essence of the correct movement patterns and guides you in how to give careful attention to each movement. And I believe that Pilates can be uniquely healing to your nervous system.


"A few well-designed movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence, are worth hours of doing sloppy calisthenics or forced contortion."


(Side note...if you think Pilates is an easy workout - you haven't tried it! Pilates is challenging to even the most elite athlete if instructed properly!)


"Concentrate on the correct movements each time you exercise, lest you do them improperly and thus lose all the vital benefits of their value."


Come do Pilates with me! You will LOVE it and feel such a difference! Like Joe said..."In 10 sessions you'll feel the difference, in 20 you'll see the difference, and in 30 you'll have a new body."

And my favorite quote from Joe...


Come move with me! It will CHANGE your life! Promise!


"Pilates is not a fatiguing system of dull, boring, abhorred exercises repeated daily "ad-nauseam." Neither does it demand you joining a gymnasium nor the purchasing of expensive apparatus. You may derive all the benefits of Pilates in your own home."


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I wold LOVE to have you workout with me!

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