One of the biggest misconceptions about Pilates is that this method is designed only for women. Pilates (or Contrology as it was called by the creator of the method) was developed by a MAN – Joseph Pilates. He first started using his system of exercises in England as a self defense instructor for Scotland Yard detectives. At the outbreak of World War I, Joe was interned as an “enemy alien” with other German nationals. During his internment, Joe refined his ideas and trained other internees in his system of exercise. He rigged springs to hospital beds, enabling bedridden patients to exercise against resistance, an innovation that led to his later equipment designs. An influenza epidemic struck England in 1918, killing thousands of people, but not a single one of Joe’s trainees died. This, he claimed, testified to the effectiveness of his system.
After Joseph Pilates and his wife Clara moved to the US the Method received recognition among dancers in NYC. This turn of events secured a more “feminine” image for the Pilates method.