Gravity machine offers a 'great' workoutBy HOWARD COHEN
A reader phoned to tell us about Roberto Santamarina's Gravity Training System class at his Morphé gym off Coral Way after reading our first Sweat Equity column.
''Great class,'' she said. ''You use sliding benches. Great workout.'' The word ''great'' came up a lot. We like great. We said we'd check it out, despite the $50-per-class fee.
Gravity Training System (GTS) machines, for the uninitiated, feature a sliding bench and a pulley system. Instead of adjusting weights, you work against your own body resistance on a padded bench, which can be adjusted for incline.
For the same reason we like head stands in yoga or doing Pilates, a GTS class requires a toned core -- the muscles of your abdomen and back -- to accomplish the movements. If you're not as toned as you wish, GTS should eventually get you there because you have to maintain contraction in your core area to keep your body stabilized.
Santamarina says the movements are infinite and can be adjusted to accommodate sports training. In a Wednesday evening class, we stress the biceps, triceps, shoulders, butt and chest by doing pull-ups, push-ups, twists, the butterfly and backstroke arm movements, and the dreaded side planks at class conclusion. The GTS is seamless, allowing for instant alterations in hand placement, movement and chosen exercise.
You're working against gravity (no, never upside down) as you smoothly slide back and forth. Pull-ups never felt better.
GTS machines were initially developed for rehab use but they are a natural for classes because you get a real workout you can feel in a small room without having to hustle from machine to machine. ''I've been coming [to Morphé] since January and love it because there are so many movements and different angles,'' says Telemundo actress Alexa Kuve. Kuve also adds yoga to her weekly regimen.
Santamarina has a likable, commanding manner. He explains each movement clearly and adjusts students on the machines as necessary. We're instructed to drink water often (you'll be grateful) and the up-tempo music -- Maroon 5, Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Prince, the Police -- proved a fine complement to the exercises.