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What Are the Differences Between Pilates and GYROTONIC®?

At first glance, Pilates and the GYROTONIC® method seem similar: both practices improve flexibility and strength, enhance the mind-body connection, feature equipment and non-equipment-based exercises, and are inspired by other exercise philosophies.

However, their movement experiences are distinctly different. Read on to learn more about how Pilates and the GYROTONIC® method differ.


There are six traditional principles in Pilates:

Centring: Pilates focuses on building your core strength because the core is the source of all your energy.

Control: Concentrating on each movement to achieve total body control is essential.

Precision: You will benefit more from Pilates when each movement is performed precisely. Precision will also ensure that you are exercising safely.

Flow: Pilates promotes smooth, continuous movement that builds stamina and strength.

Breath: Exercising good breath control helps encourage blood circulation.

Following these principles helps strengthen your core, improve body awareness, and reduce tension and stress.

On the other hand, the GYROTONIC® method follows four fundamental principles:

Intention: You direct the body to perform each movement deliberately.

Stabilisation: It encourages you to lengthen your muscles and stabilise the body with each movement.

Decompression: GYROTONIC® movements help decompress the spine and joints, allowing for a larger range of motion.

Coordination: Each movement is associated with a particular breathing pattern.

Following these principles helps improve your mobility and strength.


Pilates focuses on alignment, retraining your movement patterns via your muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems. Therefore, it can improve your posture and stabilise your body, helping you achieve more efficient movements and lower the risk of injuries.

GYROTONIC® exercises focus on your fascia, muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems. These movements aim to train the body for complete mobility of the spine and joints. Regular practice can lead to increased strength.


The principal equipment used to perform Pilates exercises is the Reformer and the Cadillac. Both consist of springs, which create resistance, allowing you to reap maximum benefits from the exercise. Additionally, you can perform the same exercises on multiple pieces of equipment to achieve different results.

The main equipment used in the GYROTONIC® equipment is the pulley tower, which uses pulleys and weights that create resistance. The resistance is constant and thus helps you avoid jarring movements at the beginning and end of the exercise that may cause injuries. The weights can be adjusted to suit your needs.


Pilates movements are generally linear and two-dimensional, with extension, flexion, and side-bending exercises. The repetition of these exercises helps you achieve optimal form and work on specific muscles.

On the other hand, GYROTONIC® movements are spiralling, circular, and three-dimensional, focusing on moving the whole body.

Which Should You Do?

Both methods are suitable for beginners, regardless of experience and fitness level. Deciding on which method depends on whether the individual prefers a more “linear” and detail-oriented approach or a more “open” and organic approach.

If undecided, a beginner might initially benefit more from Pilates as its foundational exercises allow for more focused and isolated movements to create greater awareness, proprioception and control.

An elevated awareness of one’s body would allow for greater coordination and movement within the entire body, making the GYROTONIC® experience much more enjoyable and beneficial.


Though Pilates and the GYROTONIC® method share many similarities, they are distinct and take different exercise approaches. Consider what each exercise focuses on and what they require before choosing.

If you want to try GYROTONIC® classes or private Pilates in Singapore, visit Chuan Studio. We also offer somatic movement therapy. Contact us to learn more and sign up for our classes.


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