Pilates Or GYROTONIC®: How To Decide Which One Is Right For You!

A very common question around the studio is this:

What should I do first: Pilates or GYROTONIC®?

Prior to becoming a Pilates Instructor, I was first a client with back pain. I tried everything except surgery. By the time I started learning Pilates, I was desperate to try anything that might alleviate my pain. Other than yoga, it was the only alternative movement method offered at my gym.

I had constant back pain and the simplest of acts, such as reaching over to pick up my purse off the passenger seat would re-trigger pain. Pilates introduced me to and strengthened my core muscles. At the same time, I learned to stabilize my lower back to prevent re-injury. That worked for a while, but the pain would still recur, albeit much less frequently.

A few years later, my Pilates teacher suggested I try GYROTONIC®. I attempted this movement method with great suspicion because the moves looked very destabilizing with all those rotational and quick movements. So I started very slowly; I moved like I was working through molasses. Much to my surprise and delight, I did not hurt myself!

While doing GYROTONIC®, we discovered that my thoracic spine was locked up, forcing my lower back to bear the brunt of movements it was not designed for – thus leading to more back pain. With a renewed focus on unlocking my thoracic spine, the lower back pain began to decrease and ultimately disappeared. What shocked me the most wasn’t the lack of pain, but how much energy I had exerted just getting through my days while in pain.

So would I recommend learning Pilates first or GYROTONIC® first? I think it depends on your body and your goals. My goal was to get out of pain. Moreover, I had no opportunity to try GYROTONIC® first. On the one hand, my lower back felt so unstable to me that I don’t think that I would have had the courage to try GYROTONIC® without the core strength I gained from learning Pilates. On the other hand, I would never have figured out my thoracic spine was locked if I had never tried GYROTONIC®. I think it is worthwhile to try both Pilates and GYROTONIC® and see how your body responds. If you pay attention to your body with the work, it will guide you on what to do.

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