GyrotonicsGyrotonic” sounds like the name of an amusement park ride, but the term refers to an exercise methodology, the Gyrotonic Expansion System (or simply Gyrotonics), developed in the 1970s by Juliu Horvath, a Hungarian-born competitive athlete and professional ballet dancer.

Popular with athletes and dancers, Gyrotonics has been expanding into the mainstream as a result of the ongoing emphasis on mind-body fitness.
This unique type of exercise has been featured in numerous popular media outlets, from Newsweek to Entertainment Weekly, and celebrities such as
Madonna, Naomi Campbell, Tiger Woods, Keri Russell, and Shaquille O’Neal have all touted the benefits.

So what is this workout, and can the average person do it? Horvath developed Gyrotonics to rehabilitate injuries, strengthen core muscles, and improve range of motion and overall functional strength. It employs specially designed exercise equipment that allows the body to move 360 degrees in multiple dimensions. This type of movement is more expansive than most other exercise activities, which tend to be very linear in terms of motion.

According to Horvath, Gyrotonic exercises strengthen and stretch muscles, tendons, and connective tissue; articulate and mobilize joints; and increase the functional capacity of the spine. The exercises focus on large circular and spiraling movements and are coordinated with breathing patterns to enhance cardiovascular conditioning and improve endurance and coordination.

Gyrotonics equipment, called the Pulley Tower, adjusts to accommodate people of different heights, body types, and fitness levels. The handles and pulleys are designed with consistent resistance throughout the entire range of exercise motion.

There are more than 100 exercises that can be done on the equipment, and Gyrotonic exercise can be performed by people of all ages, whether professional athletes and dancers or out-of-shape beginners. Gyrotonics is also being used by physical therapists and other medical professionals for injury rehabilitation and postoperative recovery. Research has shown that it can help individuals with scoliosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and back pain and those recovering from joint replacement surgery. For sedentary office workers, Gyrotonics can help ease repetitive stress injuries and postural misalignment.

Thinking about adding Gyrotonics to your exercise routine? There are more than 650 Gyrotonics studios across the United States offering classes as well as new instructor training. Gyrotonics complements other exercise activities and may be available in studios that offer yoga, Pilates, dance, and martial
arts. The downsides: The sessions are expensive, starting at about $50 per hour-long class, and you may not be able to find a studio if you don’t live in a
large urban area.

If you’re interested in practicing Gyrotonics at home, the equipment costs several thousand dollars and requires enough space to accommodate the pulley tower with bench. For more information, visit www.gyrotonic.com.

7 BENEFITS OF GYROTONICS
  • Cross-training for improved performance in athletics and dance
  • Increased body awareness
  • Improved strength, balance, and flexibility
  • Improved functional strength, such as the ability to better perform daily activities, for older or injured individuals
  • Increased core strength and range of motion
  • No impact or jarring movements
  • Prevention of exercise- or sports-related injury