According to a recent article in Shape magazine, GYROTONIC® has many benefits. “In addition to strengthening the deep abdominal muscles around your waistline, Gyrotonic also helps slim your midsection by improving posture so you stand taller and eliminating fluid and bloating from your middle (and everywhere else).”
Gyro---- what? That was my initial reaction when I first learned of GYROTONIC ®, which is a unique system of exercise that incorporates movement principles from yoga, dance, Tai chi, gymnastics and swimming.
The founder Juliu Horvath, was a gymnast, swimmer and ballet principal with the Romanian National Ballet and defected to the USA in the 1970’s where he developed a system of yoga GYROKINESIS® that expands a person’s potential.
He then created powerful movements done on his unique handcrafted wooden equipment GYROTONIC® to make his style of yoga both more accessible and challenging to individuals with different abilities, levels and needs.
GYROTONIC ® and Pilates can sometimes be taught at the same studios, but they are two separate disciplines. While most weight-training machines are designed for linear expression, Juliu’s machines facilitate the circular movements originating in the joints. Exercises synchronized with yoga breathing help develop flexibility, joint articulation, stamina, balance, coordination, and increased blood circulation.
When I had the opportunity to work on the pulley tower handle unit with a private instructor, the biggest difference I noticed was that system elongated and lengthened the body more, with less resistance. The pulley tower can also be used for more challenging moves as well, adding more weight to build resistance. Another thing I noticed was I had more range of motion as in one of the exercises, you can lie down, with your knees bent, feet on the ground. This position really opened up my tight hip flexors.
Before I actually used the machines, I was definitely intimidated and skeptical. The apparatus was huge and looked like a thing made to torture, not help with circulation and flexibility! Not many studios offer GYROTONIC ® because the equipment is expensive and typically requires one-on-one instruction. After doing lots of research, one of the only instructors in the Monmouth County area is Dawn Gaylardo, who is a GYROTONIC ® instructor in addition to teaching Pilates.
If you are married to your workout and don’t like to change things up, consider this : your body is getting used to the same workout, so it is not as impactful as it used to be. Additionally, ask yourself if you are getting bored. I used to get up and just go out to run like a robot- mindlessly completing another task. That is not the point of working out! Your workouts should be fun, new and challenging. That is a good way to surprise your body into changing. On the days I do not do a long run, I do speedwork, which has my muscles and lungs asking me, “Hey! What’s going on! We are working harder today!”
With the integration of Pilates and GYROTONIC ®, I am reaping the benefits of non-impact strengthening, lengthening and stretching of muscles. I find it is important to find a balance in fitness.
For more information on GYROTONIC ®, please see below resources: