Tel: 07887 565663



Knebworth Pilates Studio, 9 Stevenage Road, Knebworth, Herts. SG3 6AN

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Joseph Pilates was born near Düsseldorf, Germany in 1883. Little is known about his early life, but he appears to have been a frail child, suffering from

asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. His drive and determination to overcome these ailments led him to become a competent gymnast, diver and skier.


In 1912 Pilates lived in England working as a circus performer, boxer and self-defence instructor. During the First World War, he was interned with other

German nationals. During this time he developed his technique of physical fitness further by teaching his fellow internees. During the latter part of the

War, he served as an orderly in a hospital on the Isle of Man where he worked with patients unable to walk.


Pilates emigrated to the USA in the early 1920s with his wife Clara, and together they developed and taught the method in their 'body-conditioning studio'

in New York in 1926. The studio featured much of the Apparatus designed to enhance his rehabilitation work. It soon became very popular, particularly

with the dance community, as it offered a chance to improve technique or recover from injury. Word spread quickly and many celebrities of the day visited

his studio. Originally 60% of the clientele were men.


In 1932 Pilates published a booklet called 'Your Health' and followed this with another called 'Return to Life Through Contrology' in 1945. Through these

writings and his students, his method was passed on after his death in 1967 at the age of 87. During his lifetime this method of exercise was called

Contrology. It was only after his death that it became known as the Pilates Method.


While Joe is the man behind the method, it was his partner Clara that became the real teacher in the studio and allowed the method to be passed on to

apprentices. The 'Pilates Elders' (the handful of people who trained directly in the first NY Studio) talk of Clara being the nurturing force behind the man;

Clara established the tradition of evolving and adapting the Pilates method to suit the individual needs of clients.


The roots of the technique are steeped in the philosophy and movement patterns designed by Joseph Pilates over 90 years ago. It was originally used as a rehabilitation program but was later found to be of great benefit to anyone seeking a higher level of fitness. The work was kept alive over the years until just a few years ago, when exercise science caught up to the principles that Pilates had been teaching all along, and now we enjoy the rich evolution of the Pilates work that we have today. We now use current anatomical and bio-mechanical knowledge within the method making it a very modern method of exercise.


The popularity of the Pilates Method has spread steadily since the day when Pilates first opened his studio. Pilates has now become a worldwide phenomenon with over 12 million people practicing worldwide, and the numbers continue to grow due to its effectiveness and adaptability.


In the late 1960‘s Alan Herdman, a teacher and dancer from the UK was invited to New York to learn about the Joseph Pilates Method. There he worked intensively with Carola Trier and Bob Fitzgerald, two instructors who had been trained by Pilates himself. Although well-regarded amongst New York's dance fraternity, Pilates was unknown in the UK at that time and Alan returned in 1970 to set up Britain's first-ever Pilates studio.


From this moment studios and training organisations such as the Pilates Foundation started springing up in London and the phenomena was created.

Lynne Robinson was at the forefront of creating the boom in Pilates in the UK and her name and image have become synonymous with Pilates. She has been hailed as “The Queen of Pilates”. She co-founded Body Control Pilates with Gordon Thompson in 1996.


Knebworth Pilates Studio has been running since 2005 first being based in Woolmer Green and then moving to Knebworth in 2010. All of our teachers have been trained by the HIGHEST STANDARDS. Each teacher has to do 'Continued Profesional Development' courses which keeps us up-to-date with current research and thinking within the fitness industry. Pilates is not a fitness craze - it is here to stay!

History of Pilates


"I have being doing Pilates for years and consider it to be an investment in my old age."  Marie