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A funky new fitness system you should know about

Da Vinci Body Board 2
(Photo: Da Vinci Body Board)


Yes, this new fitness device resembles a stretcher with all kinds of restraining straps. No, you should not be scared.

The Da Vinci BodyBoard, created by Vermont Pilates instructor Floery Mahoney, is actually an interesting piece of equipment that’s generating a bit of buzz in the fitness world. Oak Fitness in Beverly Hills just became an official teacher training center, and group classes are being offered in Miami and at several locations in Burlington, Vermont. Lucille Roberts gyms will start offering classes in New York City in mid-December.

Well+Good testing out the BodyBoard in New York.
Well+Good testing out the BodyBoard in New York.

Mahoney owned the first Pilates studio in Vermont 18 years ago, and then took a break from the fitness world before starting to experiment with resistance bands at home. “I strapped stuff to furniture, but that’s a pain because you can never get the right distance, and the furniture moves,” she jokes.

At first, her focus was on creating opposing tension that would primarily strengthen core muscles, but once she created the first board prototype, she realized how much more you could do on it.

The board now includes three sets of bands, on the front, back and side. And 30-minute workouts include a standing sequence where you do things like squat and then press the side band over your head. Down on the board, you strap your ankles in and then do mountain climbers and leg lifts with resistance. Kneeling, you’ll use the front bands to work your arms, and then sit back for Pilates-like teasers. Finally, a cardio sequence at the end called “band dancing” is exactly what it sounds like.

It’s a pretty tough workout, and Mahoney says it works your body in a way that’s safe and effective. “It gives you this full-body integrity, I call it, because it gets the little muscles and the joints, and you get this strength because of the versatility and the way the bands move,” she says.

At $395, it’s also pretty inexpensive as far as gym equipment goes, and if you buy one for home use, you get access to free online workouts that change daily. Plus, if you ever need one (god forbid), it can double as a stretcher. —Lisa Elaine Held

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