Gyrotonics: The Long and Lean of it (By Guest Blogger, Susie Rahaim)

Hello again! As excited as I am to discuss clean eating and the importance of good food choices, I had to share with you my latest and greatest workout: Gyrotonics!

I usually mix up my workouts, incorporating running, spinning, weights, pilates, and yoga to prevent boredom. So when I came across something that combined all these training methods using one piece of equipment—I was game!

In the corner of my pilates studio is a large wooden apparatus I never paid much attention to. But, a light went off after I saw Naomi Campbell on Oprah. Again I am mentioning the Oprah show, but what the heck! I have to admit I worship Oprah.

Naomi Campbell (center) swears by Gyrotonics

Naomi Campbell (center) swears by Gyrotonics

Naomi Campbell spoke about her exercise regime. It included using the gyrotonics machine because she wanted long lean muscles with no bulk.  She also went on about her “cleanse” drink she sips on with ingredients such as cayenne pepper, maple syrup, and lemon juice (but that’s a whole different topic)! Anyhow, I recognized the gyrotonic apparatus right away as the same one off in the corner of my pilates studio.  I thought I’d for sure have to try it.

I let my trainer, Suzette, know I wanted to do “gyro” at my next appointment.  I arrived in my lululemon yoga pants and tank ready to go!

First, let me give you some background information about this style of exercise. Juliu Horvath discovered gyrotonic and gyrokinesis principles after trying to repair bodily injuries he sustained as a professional dancer.  He created a system of exercises that anyone could perform to maintain health and well being.  The unique method offers the same benefits also acquired by practicing yoga, dance, gymnastics, swimming, and tai chi. Gyrotonic method allows users to stretch and strengthen muscles and offers complete freedom of movement.

So, back to my session…

Gyrotonics Machine

As I approached the pulley tower, I immediately loved its organic look.  A tall structure made of wood with pulleys, ropes, and an area to add weights if needed.

Suzette has me straddle the bench in front of the tower and take a dog leash grip on the upper resistance pulley ropes.  She instructs me to fully arch and curl my pelvis  While doing this I reach up my arms in a “V” position while holding the ropes. I literally feel my arms being pulled in opposite directions, an awesome stretch and lengthening exercise.

I then curl in with my abs and fully tuck in my pelvis while bringing my arms down. I then do rotations side to side while holding the ropes. I can feel my oblique muscles working immediately. Then I lay down on the bench and put the straps in my feet which means now my legs are attached to the resistance ropes. Suzette puts more weight on the tower because she says my legs are strong (this secretly makes me nervous because I am not sure what is coming next). I go on to do exercises such as splits, bicycles, and lobster which the positioning of your legs resembles a lobster tail. I can instantly feel my outer thighs, hamstrings, and quads. But what’s odd is, as hard as I am working, my leg muscles are also being lengthened because I am connected to the pulley ropes.

"Chopping Wood"

Lastly, I stand up and do an exercise called “chopping wood.” I love it! The arms start up at the shoulders and strike down as you would chopping wood. You also lunge out at this time. With this exercise I can see the resemblance to tai chi and also I slightly feel like a lumberjack but oh, it felt so good!

My favorite exercise was called “arch and curl.” I sat up and straddled the bench and placed my hands on the handle unit. The unit has resistance that can be adjusted to your needs. As you arch out forward you push the handles with you almost over in a complete flat back. Then you continue to reach around and curl in.  Here is where I felt freedom of movement almost like I was swimming. Here are some photos of the Arch and Curl exercise:

When I stood up I felt taller and like I had been stretched in every direction.  Strangely, I was sweating and felt the muscle fatigue that usually only comes with strength training.

All-in-all, I loved it and I want you to try it. Your best bet would be to contact your local pilates studio. This session lasted about 45 minutes. Depending on the studio it can be pricey, but reduced if you consider buying a package of sessions. But it’s so worth it and an investment in your own health!  Along with Naomi, I heard Madonna is also a fan of gyro! For any of you looking to shake up your workouts and get the  lean-but-toned look we all want, gyro may be perfect for you.  Remember to keep counting those good food choices and workouts. You won’t be sorry!

XO, Susie Rahaim


  1. Laura Johnson says

    I’m wondering if I can fit this wonderful contraption in my bedroom… Who doesn’t love long, lean, and strong ladies? What a wonderful article! I’m ready to get my stretch and work out on right now!

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