Joseph Pilates Profile Portrait


Joseph Hubertus Pilates, born in 1883 in Germany, was not a biologically gifted-athlete. As a young child Joe was often teased by other boys due to his lack of physical strength. His weakness was caused by asthma along with vitamin D deficiency which results in soft bones. Joe picked up gymnastics, wrestling and boxing to build up his physique. Additionally he gained knowledge of human anatomy from a book he acquired from his family physician.At the age of 30, Joe moved to England, continuing his boxing pursuits. He later taught wrestling and self-defense at German's national camps during WWI. 


While teaching inside the camp Joe created a sequence for his exercises. It is said his students became stronger and were able to avoid the 1918 influenza pandemic. Joe named his exercise program Contrology or what today is the Pilates mat work.


After transferring camps Joe, a proclaimed exercise therapist transitioned to work with bed-ridden soldiers. By utilizing springs as an attachment to bed-frame, he helped strengthen and mobilize soldiers. Springs provided support for patients' limbs while unable to leave their beds.


Joseph Pilates and Romana Kryzanowska


In 1966 Joe moved to NYC and began sharing his Contrology method in Manhattan. He moved into a space close to many training studies for dancers and athletes. Joe taught his method to many and also worked with injured dancers for rehab purposes.

Romana Kryzanowska was 17 years old when "uncle Joe" helped her heal from injuries and eventually transforming her by using his Contrology method. She inherited Joe's studio and remained loyal to his exercise method.

Many of Joe's students carried on his method. He was very meticulous about tracking and documenting his work. Sadly Joe's work didn't gain popularity until much later therefore never he didn't receive recognition he so much deserved during his lifetime. However, he always knew one day the world will finally understand.