Classical Pilates & the Apparatus
Joseph Pilates was a pioneer in exercise theory long before terms like sports science and movement analysis were coined. Born in 1883, he suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever as a child. He overcame these ailments by devoting his life to studying exercise regimes, testing them himself and through working with patients during his internment in the UK during World War I.
The exercise method that Pilates developed was originally called ‘Contrology’. The mat-based exercises “develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind & elevates the spirit.” At the core of Contrology is a focus on the core postural muscles, spinal alignment and awareness of the breath. The exercises develop stability and poise through controlled motions, utilising oppositional forces to lengthen and strengthen the body. His book ‘Return to Life through Contrology’ made these exercises available to the general public in 1945. They now form the core of the mat exercises taught in Classical Pilates classes around the world.
Classical Pilates Apparatus
Joseph Pilates’ ingenious use of springs, pulleys and straps led to the development of Contrology apparatus. These added gentle resistance enabling greater precision and control in the execution of the movements. The Classical Pilates apparatus that emerged from his years of research include the Universal Reformer, the Cadillac and the Wunda Chair.