Gyrotonic, improving the performance of world-class athletes.
Chou Tien Chen is a world-class badminton player. He's ranked second in the world, according to the Badminton World Federation world rankings for men's singles. He was also a silver medalist at the 2018 Asian Games and winner of men's singles in the Indonesia Open 2019.
Chou was first introduced to Gyrotonic by his physical therapist who believed Gyrotonic's unique holistic approach to movement would help his badminton performance. Gyrotonic classes are designed to take the body beyond its current limitations. Benefits include increased freedom of movement, greater strength, and more agility. Exercises are adapted to fit anyone’s ability, from those recovering from injury or living with a disability to elite athletes.
Because badminton is a sport that trains the body unilaterally, the body tends to become uneven. Gyrotonic exercises help to correct the imbalance and become more stabilised.
"The Gyrotonic work has a lot of spiral motion that helps me find a fascia connection. When I practice the Gyrotonic Method, I feel like my proprioception is fully turned on. My pre-game warm-up is more effective and my defence on the court is better."
The fascia, the networking web of all of our tissues, is reflective of how we use our bodies. For example, if you spend your day sitting in a chair most of the time and then go out running, some of the fascia has become short and some has become slack making an activity like running difficult. Gyrotonic movements help re-balance the tensile forces and freedom of our fascial webbing, thus supporting space in our bodies and creating ease in our movements.
"Gyrotonic guides you to explore more possibilities in your body, from little muscles you have never known existed to new ways of moving the body. This creates greater potential in performance on the court."
Like tennis professional, Andy Murray, who also uses Gyrotonic in his fitness regime, Chou says The Gyrotonic Method holds a unique place in his training schedule. "Not only does it broaden my horizons on the court, it also helps me to understand my own body better. In particular, I’ve learned how to “spiral,” which is essential in badminton playing. I have practiced this work for years, and it helps me to stay healthy and injury free."
Chou favours the Arch & Curl movements. He says he has learnt to create more space in his joints when he moves and better utilise how he moves his shoulders and arms, especially during play. It helps him to move faster and hit the ball exactly how he wants to.
In the Gyrotonic Method, rhythm is organic to all exercises. For example, in arch and curl, there is a rhythm that is happening with the ground force of the floor, igniting the power from the pelvis, through the spine and traveling out through the arms. Rhythm is fundamental to every Gyrotonic movement, so in Gyrotonic we are concurrently training rhythm, training coordination, training strength and flexibility, all at once.
No sport is broken down into pieces. It happens in a sequence of events from the floor and through to the hand when throwing the ball, or using the racket. Rhythm, strength, and flexibility are not separate things, they are inter-dependent. In the Gyrotonic Method, we also work with the inner athlete, the nervous system, the conductor behind the scenes. Gyrotonic exercises effectively tune the inner athlete to be calm, sharp, focused, and adaptable.
Hayley Oxley has a great deal of experience in supporting sports' professionals to improve their peformance with The Gyrotonic Expansion Method. If you'd like to find out more, please get in touch.