Pronounced pi-lah-tees Pilates exercise was devised by Joseph Pilates, born near Dusseldorf in 1880 he was an extraordinary character, he suffered severe attacks of asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever which left him with a stunted bone structure and twisted limbs. Rather than accept the limitations of his body, he decided to overcome them, and he worked systematically and tirelessly to create a system of exercises that would correct his disabilities. These formed the basis of his renowned matwork exercises, which he called ‘The Art of Contrology’.