Cross Training With Pilates and GYROTONIC©
Athletes and fitness buffs are always seeking new ways to improve their performance, but many haven’t considered cross training with Pilates and GYROTONIC©.
This is likely due to the fact that many people still don’t know much about these two modalities. For a long time, Pilates was only associated with dance. And GYROTONIC© is still fairly new in the United States so it’s not even part of most people’s fitness lexicon.
Yet as more fitness-minded folks discover these two techniques, they’re taking advantage of their many benefits for cross-training purposes. So let’s start with the obvious question:
Although you may not have heard of it, GYROTONIC® has over 13,000 trainers worldwide. While its healing benefits are recognized by osteopaths and physical therapists in the United States, European hospitals have used GYROTONIC® exercises for years in helping patients.
Similar to how Pilates focuses on the core and breath work, GYROTONIC® exercise also corrects dysfunctional patterns of the muscular and skeletal systems while promoting energy flow throughout the body. Consider it a fusion of yoga, tai chi, swimming, ballet, and gymnastics.
The sequences in GYROTONIC® work independent muscle groups in an integrated way. Their flowing movement sequences are built around spinal motions like arching, curling, spiraling, waving, and bending side to side. The motions are circular and uninterrupted and they enable people to gain flexibility and coordination while building strength.
Another huge benefit is that GYROTONIC® is a low-impact practice. Joints are able to move naturally and without force – with the intention being to stimulate, move, and strengthen every system of the body while giving the nervous system a reboot.
How Does GYROTONIC® Differ From Pilates?
In case you’re unfamiliar with Pilates, we’ll give it to you in a nutshell.
Developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s and used at that time mostly for ballet dancers, the Pilates method consists of movements that focus on low-impact flexibility, muscular strength, and endurance. Each movement places an emphasis on proper postural alignment, breath, muscle balance and stability, and core strength.
Both Pilates and GYROTONIC® are specialized and progressive methods that aim to elongate muscles and build strength. Each of them emphasizes moving with fluidity and connectedness to create greater awareness of your body.
While the two methods are highly complementary, there are some differences. The biggest difference is that GYROTONIC® works in a circular or three-dimensional plane with unique circling, spiraling, and undulating motion patterns. Pilates is more linear.
Another difference is in the equipment. GYROTONIC® utilizes a pulley and weight system to incorporate those large three-dimensional movements.
Meanwhile, Pilates uses spring resistance to build strength, flexibility, coordination and increase range of motion. In addition, Pilates can also be done on a mat.
Which brings us to our next question:
How Do Mat and Equipment Pilates Differ?
If you’re looking to add Pilates to your cross training, there are benefits to performing the exercises on both the mat and machines.
With equipment, you’re going to get more variety and intensity. Working with a skilled Pilates instructor on a machine, you’ll be able to achieve movements with an attention to alignment that’s not as easily attained on the mat.
Even so, mat-based workouts are incredibly convenient. Once you learn the movements and how to create your own resistance, they can be done virtually anywhere.
When you’re brand new to Pilates, there may be a desire to immediately jump on the machines because they more “exciting.” And that’s fine. But there’s a steeper learning curve that comes with equipment than with the mat. Thus, it’s ideal if you can do both at the onset to familiarize yourself with the movements of each.
Benefits of Cross Training With Pilates and GYROTONIC®
Now that you have a basic understanding of these two exercise techniques, you may be wondering how GYROTONIC® and Pilates are different from the weight training or other resistance exercise you already do.
The spring resistance and pulley systems in these methods more closely resemble muscular contraction and can be completely customized for special needs.
Because there’s such a strong emphasis on balancing strength with flexibility and efficient movement with proper alignment, both methods work to rebalance muscles around the joint while improving posture and body awareness. This sort of focus, along with concentric/eccentric contraction of the muscles, corrects over-training and muscle imbalances that often lead to injury.
This is NOT to say that you need to replace your current cross training resistance exercises with Pilates and GYROTONIC®. They can easily be combined into your current program as an ideal complement to them.
Ready to Explore GYROTONIC® and Pilates for Yourself?
Olympic and professional athletes – male and female – have used Pilates for decades to improve movement control, prevent injuries, and boost performance. They’ve recently added GYROTONIC® methods as well.
So whether you’re looking to start cross training with Pilates and GYROTONIC®, or just want a new way to strengthen your core, improve balance and flexibility, and develop strength and coordination throughout your entire body, contact us today.
After all, who wouldn’t want all of that?