Looking for a way to grow taller (or just improve your posture)? Look to your nearest Gyrotonic studio. “When I first started doing Gyrotonic, my roommate swore I grew 3 inches,” says Sharecare fitness expert Michael Luque (pictured above), who has been teaching Gyrotonic since 1999.
Watch someone doing Gyrotonic and they look a little like they’re doing ballet—reaching, spiraling, bending and twisting in fluid motions—with a piece of exercise equipment as their partner. The ultimate aim: to help you stretch and strengthen your muscles and connective tissue and increase your flexibility.
Luque had been working as a massage therapist when he agreed to trade sessions with a Gyrotonic instructor pal; by the fourth or fifth session, he was hooked. “I was doing lots of circles and spirals with my legs, for a really long time,” Luque remembers. “Afterwards, I felt like I had springs in my hip joints—it was something I’d never felt before.”
There are five different pieces of Gyrotonic equipment, all of which use pulleys to provide smooth and constant resistance. There’s the Pulley Tower, the Leg Extension Unit, and the Jumping Stretching Board, which look a little like Medieval torture devices; the Archway, which resembles a jungle gym; and the Gyrotoner, which could almost pass as a mutant exercise bike.
While some of the moves may look a little complicated, Gyrotronic isn’t just for the elite dancers and other athletes who swear by it. Many of Luque’s clients are over 50, and while many are healthy, it’s not unusual for him to be working with people preparing for knee or hip surgery. Others are simply suffering from the common ailment of having a desk job.
“Many people have terrible posture from sitting at the computer all day,” Luque says. “They end up with tight hip flexors and a weak core, and that puts a lot of pressure on the lower back. Gyrotonic helps teach you to sit more upright, with your core engaged, so everything’s supported and there isn’t a whole bunch of pressure where there shouldn’t be,” says Luque, who now teaches both Gyrotonic and its equipment-less cousin, Gyrokinesis. Without this unnatural pressure, your body moves the way it was intended to, and you feel better throughout your day, even when you’re not planted in front of a monitor
Just how committed is Luque to Gyrotonic? He puts it this way: “This is my #1 passion. I will do this until two weeks before I die—then I might take a break.”
Have you tried Gyrotonic? Tell us about your experience in the comment section below.
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