Gyrotonic Exercise


Yoga and Pilates are similar types of mind-body exercise, each with its own benefit. Gyrotonic exercise utilizes principles of yoga, Pilates and dance movements to create a method of exercise used by dancers, athletes and recreational exercisers. This system of exercise is adaptable to people of all fitness levels and is available in a community near you. According to, more than 873 Gyrotonic exercise studios exist worldwide, with more than 532 in the United States alone.

The Basics

Gyrotonic exercise is a method of exercise used to stretch and strengthen the muscles and tendons of the body through the use of specialized equipment.


Romanian born Juliu Hovarth created the Gyrotonic method and the Gyrotonic Expansion system to repair his own body after damage suffered from years of dancing. After stints as a principal dancer with the Romanian and New York City opera, Hovarth moved to Texas, where he became a principal dancer for the Houston ballet. It was there that he suffered an Achilles tendon tear and damage to several discs in his back, ending his ballet career. From Texas, Hovarth moved to the Virgin Islands and began practicing yoga, studying movement and developing his Gyrotonic exercise method. He later moved to New York to teach his new exercise method and in 1984, he began designing Gyrotonic exercise equipment.


Gyrotonic exercise is designed to stretch, strengthen and elongate the muscles of the body. According to Hovarth, Gyrotonic movements also stimulate connective tissues, therefore improving balance, coordination, strength and flexibility. Gyrotonic classes and equipment are only available at Gyrotronic training centers, and instruction is offered by certified instructors.


Gyrotonic exercises work the body through the seven elements of spinal motion: forward, backward, left side, right side, left twist, right twist and circular. Movements are described as fluid and harmonious and like yoga and Pilates, make use of special breathing patterns. Exercises are performed on a 16- or 20-inch stool. A basic piece of Gyrotonic equipment is a curvy unit made of wood, leather and pulleys. There’s also the Gyrotoner, which duplicates multiplanar human movements and is used to rehabilitate the shoulder, elbows and wrist. The jumping stretcher board stretches and strengthens the torso. The ladder is used for stretching, and the leg extension unit for strengthening and rehabilitation of the knees, ankles and feet.


Advocates of Gyrotonic exercise say it enhances aerobic capacity and promotes neuromuscular rejuvenation. The exercises are low impact and easily used by people of various fitness levels.

About this Author

Sha Buckines is a freelance writer, fitness, and nutrition expert based in Atlanta. She has trained celebrity clients as well as business professionals since 2001. She obtained her B.S. in exercise science from Georgia State University, is American College of Sports Medicine certified and teaches group fitness classes.