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Gyrotonic is a real tonic and Madonna does it

Dancers have been using it for years. Chiropractors are starting to use it to compliment their practices. And Madonna does it, Perhaps the final stamp of approval needed for a new exercise craze to burgeon in the Western world.
Gyrotonic exercises the musculature while mobilizing and articulating the joints, simultaneously stretching and strengthening the body with minimal effort. It combines the key principles of gymnastics, swimming, ballet and yoga by working independent muscle groups in an integrated manner, according to Frank Carbone, a certified instructor who opened the first Gyrotonic studio, The Movement Center, in Boca Raton in May.
For those of you who don’t understand kinesiology mumbo jumbo, it’s a great way to get the long, lean dancer’s body that Hollywood celebrities are flaunting.
Using one primary machine, the Gyrotonic Expansion System, lengthens and tones muscles in a set of sequences similar to a dance. The System, which is built around the human body, allows for total freedom of movement, with no restriction to speed and versatility.
The best part, says Carbone, is that you’re forced to use your core muscles during every exercise, the only real way to get definition in the abs.
Every movement that you do all the time in Gyrotonic, even if it’s moving your pinky, you’re totally using your whole body and mind, said Carbone, who just returned from a training session in Germany, where he studied with Gyrotonic founder, Juliu Horvath.
It’s an exercise that is always using constant motion, said Carbone. It’s almost like a dance.
With indie rock playing in the background and the smell of incense wafting through the air, Carbone’s Boca studio is a relaxing space where he says he wants clients to play with their bodies, test their limits and find their own groove.
The one-on-one sessions are highly personalized and designed to work with everyone from the most advanced yogis to someone recovering from an injury. The arch and curl movements, which is the basis of each exercise, helps to elongate the spine, while strengthening the core.
As a professional dancer, Horvath was plagued with back and knee injuries, and designed the equipment to have a rehabilitative quality. European hospitals are already integrating Gyrotonic into their physical therapy programs, said Carbone.
It’s always becoming popular with golfers and other athletes who are looking to increase their range of motion.
Internal benefits touted by Gyrotonic include increase circulation, better coordination, draining of the lymphatic system and increased mobility in the joints and stimulation of the nervous system.
Carbone, also a certified yoga instructor, was first introduced to Gyrotonic ten years ago in New York. After falling away from the practice for several years, he decided to take a private session last year in Delray Beach.
As soon as I got on the machine and did my first arch and curl, my chest opened and my eyes opened up and I realized I had to do this, said Carbone, a singer/songwriter who loves the peaceful side of the exercise.
His clients are also getting hooked. Boca Raton pilates teacher Denise Dorney, who has been practicing Gyrotonic for four months says the exercise has been a great complement to her running and pilates.
I just feel better. I feel more open. It helps me with everything I do, with my hips and shoulders when I’m running. There’s rotation work there that I don’t get from other exercise, said Dorney.
Because she is working Gyrotonic on a more advanced level, (the exercise has seven levels), Dorney is also getting the benefits of a cardiovascular and weight training workout.
The more advanced you get, the more Frank whips you through these movements and it’s like a dance, except you’re also using weights, she said. There’s also a lot of benefits that are going on internally that I’m still learning about, but right now I love what I’m seeing on the outside. People have told me how much my body has changed in the past month.
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