News is out: Andy Murray uses one of my favourite forms of supplementary training, Gyrotonic, to stay in top shape for tournaments.
“I used to train extremely hard. I don’t think I looked after my body as well as I should have done. Now that I have been looking after it, doing way more different types of stretching, sort of injury prevention work, my back is no issue whatsoever. Whereas for two years I was in a lot of pain because I was training hard but not doing the right stuff to get it better.”
This raises an important point about training and exercise generally. A lot of people have the “more is better” mindset, or “no pain no gain” but that can be very damaging. Our bodies are not machines. They are delicately balanced and every part is interconnected. Over-training or ignoring injuries doesn’t make them stronger, it breaks them down.
That’s why I’m a firm believer in yoga (of course) and supplementary exercises like Gyrotonic, which uses specially designed machines to work your muscles in a specific fashion. Like Pilates, it was created by a dancer and is designed to increase flexibility and range of motion, build core strength, ease joints and more.
Before Wimbledon Andy Murray told The Guardian Gyrotonic was, “something I started doing a lot more of when I had my back surgery. I can’t afford any more surgeries like this. I need to start looking after my body much better than what I was.”
Regardless of our age, health or fitness, we should all take the time to consider how our exercise and lifestyle affect our overall health, and make sure we are caring for our bodies. After all, we only get one!
Questions? Thoughts on supplementary training? Share in the comments!
More on Gyrotonic from Studio Seventy Four, Bermondsey.
Gyrotonic exercise, which involves exercising with pulleys, was invented by Juliu Horvath, a Romanian-born ethnic Hungarian gymnast and dancer, who defected to the US. The technique evolved from an earlier system called “yoga for dancers” that he came up with in a one-roomed mountain hut on St Thomas in the Virgin Islands in the 1970s to rehabilitate his own torn Achilles tendon and herniated vertebral disc.
It embraces the key principles in swimming, dance, yoga, tai chi and gymnastics, and emphasises continuous flowing movements synchronised with corresponding breath patterns. Horvath based his Gyrotonic expansion system on the octopus, monkey and cat “because they can move in any direction at any given time with strength and control”.