National Fitness Hall of Fame Museum & Institute

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Joseph Pilates

2011 NFHOF Inductee

“Healthy American Fitness Leader”

Born: December 9, 1883

Died:  October 9, 1967

Hometown: New York, NY

German born Joseph H. Pilates was living in England, working as a circus performer and boxer, when he was placed in concentration camp in England at the outbreak of WWI.  While in camp, he began to develop the floor exercises that evolved into what we now know as the “Pilates Mat Work.”

Joseph developed his work from a strong personal experience in fitness.  On his way to developing the Pilates Method, he studied anatomy and developed himself as a bodybuilder, a wrestler, gymnast, boxer, skier and diver.

In 1925, he immigrated to America, where he met his wife Clara.  They went on to establish their Pilates studio in New York City (1926-1966), training thousands of clients and inventing much of the Pilates equipment found in studios today.

Joseph Pilates passed away in 1967. He had maintained a fit physique throughout his life

and there are many photos that show that he was in remarkable physical condition well into his older years.

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