Closely resembling Pilates, the gyrotonic method was developed by Juliu Horvath, a trained ballet dancer, as a way to help him overcome leg injuries that made it impossible for him to dance. This workout method combines the benefits of yoga, gymnastics, dance, swimming and tai chi, though it isn’t just a hybrid of one or all of these disciplines. Gyrotonic teaches people how to strengthen and stretch their muscles while strengthening the connective tissues around the joints at the same time. Incorporating specific breathing patterns while doing the various exercises helps oxygenate your body thus enhancing the benefits of the exercise. Gyrotonic equipment makes it possible to achieve resistance through gentle, fluid movements thus eliminating the jarring of traditional weight bearing exercises and diminishing the risk of injury.
There are many pieces of equipment available for this method of exercise, some of the most popular are:
1. The pulley tower which stands 85″ tall and provides smooth movements to get a complete upper body workout. The tower can help improve coordination, flexibility and strength and is considered the core piece of equipment in the gyrotonic method.
2. The leg extension unit, the name pretty much says it all, can help strengthen and rehabilitate the knees, ankles and feet. With over 30 exercises the leg extension unit can provide an extremely complete leg exercise routine all in a gentle stress free manner. Traditional leg extension machines can actually create a lot of torque on the knee and cause pain and stain. With the unique design of this machine causing damage to your joints would be virtually impossible yet you don’t sacrifice any of the beneficial strength training you would get on a traditional leg extension machine.
3. The jumping stretching board, again the name pretty much says it all, will help individuals strengthen and stretch the core and with over 60 unique exercises you can always find something to keep you motivated and keep your body from reaching an exercise plateau. With the addition of a pulley system you can now increase the intensity of your workout by adding light resistance.
4. The archway, sometimes called the ladder, was inspired by an actual painters ladder and enables the user to focus on strengthening and stretching their torso. Recently added features such as the rotating propeller and adjustable arms only increases the benefit from the exercises you can do on the archway.
While there are some similarities in the basic principles of pilates and gyrotonic, don’t make the mistake of thinking that gyrotonic is just a copycat or offshoot of pilates. Gyrotonic method was developed as a way to strengthen and tone your body in a way that encompasses all your major and minor muscle groups and tendons. The moves are graceful yet can help you increase your strength, balance, and flexibility. Developed by a dancer, and when was the last time you saw a fat dancer, this method can help anyone get in better shape or even recover from surgery. There are many types of gyrotonic equipment you can choose from but before you go out and buy one you may want to take a few classes to learn how to best use the equipment.