Trending: gyrotonic

This machine aligns your spine, works your core, and tones you all around.

Sometimes to build a better body, we must slow down. And gymgoers and professional athletes alike are doing it a new way—mastering the fundamentals of movement through a machine called the Gyrotonic.

“Stronger doesn’t always mean doing another deadlift or one more rep,” says Teresina Goheen, a Gyrotonic instructor who works with tennis star Andy Murray. “Stronger could mean stretching out your hamstrings and glutes to create more strength or power in your legs. It could mean doing less with better form.”

What It Is: The machine resembles a Pilates reformer. It’s comprised of a tower and pulley system with handles and straps. Gyrokinesis is a series of movements that can be done on a mat or chair, says Goheen.

How It’s Used:Rotational work and moves targeted at flexibility and core strength are done with or without the support and resistance of the Gyrotonic pulley tower (note: it's available at Equinox Columbus Circle). Exercises are intended to increase body awareness and functional capacity by mixing mind, body, and breathing work, Goheen says.

Why It’s Great:At its core, Gyrotonic works the spine. That’s crucial for today’s athlete. “In our era of technology, the sitting and lack of legwork has created huge discomfort in the spine for many people,” says Goheen. But Gyrotonic work forces proper spine movement, helping to address stiffness. “It allows people to reach their full range of motion in a three-dimensional fashion,” says Goheen. That’s also key considering we move in more than just one plane throughout the day.

The result is a fully optimized body: “If the spine is healthy, then the rest of the body is healthy,” Goheen says.

Try It Out:Perform the below four moves as a warm-up with or without the Gyrotonic machine. Your feet should be firmly planted into the ground while you work your legs, core, and spine. In gyrotonics, this is called ‘narrowing of the center.’ You create space throughout your lower back, Goheen says.

1) Archand Curl (4 reps)

Without machine:Sit at the end of a bench with your hands curled behind your neck. Look up, arching your back, then curl down in a sit up-like motion. Arch back up to return to starting position. Repeat. This creates an extension and flexion of the spine.

With machine: Sit at the end of the bench with hands extended out onto handles (one hand on each handle). Arch forward at the hips, pushing handles forward. Curl back up, pulling handles in toward you. You want to extend your back moving forward and use your stomach to pull you back up.

2) The Wave (4 reps)

Without machine:Sitting with hands laced behind your head, look up, pulling arms back. Fold over at the hips, trying to maintain a straight back. Once you can’t go any further, curl and roll up through the spine one vertebrae at a time, returning to starting position.

With machine:Sit at the end of the bench with hands extended out onto handles. Push handles out and around away from you as you arch forward, then curl up in a similar motion. The handles should move in a full circle.

3) SideBend (3 reps per side)

Without machine:Sit tall with hands curled behind your neck. Bend to your left, completing a side bend—you don’t want to dump into your ribs, but rather lengthen. Bend to the right in the same movement with a focus on lifting though the spine.

With machine: Sit at the end of the bench with hands extended out onto one handle, one hand on top of the other. Sit tall then arch forward, pushing handle away from you in a circular motion. Curl up when bringing handles back toward body. Switch directions. Switch sides.

4) Rotation (3 reps per side)

Without machine:Sitting tall with hands clasped behind head, twist left as far as you can, staying connected to your lower abdominals. Switch sides, twisting right. Repeat.

With machine: Sit tall at end of bench with handles in front of you. Cross arms so opposite arm goes on opposite handle. Push handles forward while arching and twist to one side. Return to starting position while curling up. Switch arms, push forward, and twist to other side.