The Wingmaster – My specialty and an amazing piece of accessory equipment

The Wingmaster is my specialty

To me, the Wingmaster is a truly essential piece of GYROTONIC® equipment.

The Gyrotonic Wingmaster on the wall of my studioThe Wingmaster came into existence in the mid 2000's. Before that we just used a straight pole which was somewhat useful but very limited. Then Juliu came up with the Wingmaster. And at first, it mostly looked pretty hanging on the walls of a studio. There simply wasn't much use for it. Yet.

It's a long story to read so I'll be making a video about it, but in 2013 I began experimenting with the Wingmaster. It all started with thinking "We could use more pushing exercises in Gyrotonic training." Little by little my list of exercises grew and I eventually thought, "I wonder if I could make a course out of this?" Long story very short, that's exactly what I did.

I took the Wingmaster off the wall and put it to use

There were always a handful of exercises with the Wingmaster but they ware few, probably less than 10. A couple of the continuing education courses in the system used it a bit more, especially the Gyrotonic Applications for Scoliosis. The Wingmaster was also used on the Leg Extension Unit, one of the specialized pieces of Gyrotonic equipment. But on the Pulley Tower you faced the tower and the Wingmaster was on your shoulders or your mid back and you did some spinal movements. And there are only six spinal ranges of motion, hence the small number of exercises.

Not only did I take it off the wall, I took it off the back. I put the Wingmaster in my hands, sat facing away from the tower and came up with pushing exercises. Then I turned the other way, facing the tower and came up with pulling exercises. With my background in traditional personal training, I kept thinking of ways to push or pull and also how to get up on your feet. I developed a course, presented it to Juliu, got an "almost" and kept working on it. Two years after I originally presented the work to him I had developed the course into something that made sense and was useful.

I was given the green light to teach the material.

Now I am the sole person in the world who teaches the Wingmaster material to other trainers

The years since 2017 have been amazing for me. I've been able to travel all across the US and a few trips internationally to teach the Wingmaster course. I have met so many trainers who I can now call friends. Even during the lockdown period of the pandemic I was able to teach Wingmaster classes to other trainers online, keeping in touch with the broad Gyrotonic community. One of my favorite things when hearing from a trainer who has taken the course is that the material has been useful to them or that their clients love the material.

If you train with me, you'll be using the Wingmaster. Alot. I feel pretty safe in saying that I use the Wingmaster more than any other trainer on the planet. I find it to be an amazing tool to focus the training on my client's needs and wants. A client's "wants" are their longer term goals or issues with their body that they tell me about when they come in for their session. Their "needs" are what I see when they move during the sessions; what movements patterns need to be corrected or what movements are they doing really well that we can expand on. I suppose it makes sense that since those two things are what I always kept in my mind as I developed the Wingmaster course, I would use the Wingmaster material more than anyone.

There are three primary ways the Wingmaster is used.

Setting 1 - the Wingmaster is on your body

This is the traditional way to use the Wingmaster, as a source of resistance when doing spinal ranges of motion. With the Wingmaster on your body and your arms and hands holding it in place, this is the setting with the least amount of options and material. But it's also the setting that I use the most.  With your arms simply keeping the Wingmaster on your body, these exercises are entirely focused on your core. It's direct resistance. It's the purest way to add resistance to the spinal ranges of motion.

But I did take it past the spinal ranges of motion and added more complex movements. I also took you off the bench to stand, squat, balance and even do aerobic exercises.

And as can be said for all Gyrotonic exercise, they're fun. They feel good.

Setting 2 - Pushing exercises

How the Wingmaster course essentially began.

It's interesting how exercise systems which were developed by men (Gyrotonic training, pilates, yoga) are dominated by women in the US. As a dude who does Gyrotonic training I wanted to come up with exercises that appeal directly to men. And guys like to push stuff. Chest press and push ups for example. So take the spinal ranges of motions and figure out where to put the "push" within that range of motion.

When you have the Wingmaster in your hands, your shoulders, elbows and wrists are now doing more than just keeping the Wingmaster on your shoulders. Those joints can now be an active part of the exercises and that gives you more opportunities for movement. For example, in the course material for Setting 1 there are only two spiraling exercises when seated. In Setting 2 there are nine.

Setting 3 - Pulling Exercises

In traditional strength training, almost every exercise can be put into two major groups, pushing exercises and pulling exercises. Pulling exercises are those where the primary joint that is in motion is flexing, or closing. Examples are hamstring curls, bicep curls and rowing. Rowing exercises are very strengthening for your back muscles.

The exercises in Setting 3 are largely different ways of rowing and in most of the exercises you're bringing the Wingmaster towards you. There are some where you'll pull part way and hold the pull, then do something else. So the pulling becomes an isometric motion. Then, being that it's Gyrotonic training, we add complexity. Rotations, side bends and circumduction with the upper body and standing, stepping, squats and balance with the lower body. Multi-dimensional, complex and compound exercises.

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