Spotlight on: The Oov


The Oov is a new and increasingly popular way to work on core strength. Hamilton physiotherapist John Appel has been training local health professionals in the Oov and how it works. Already it is proving hugely popular, with Waikato rugby players and personal trainers using it regularly. Fitness Journal decided to try it out and find out what all the fuss is about.

What is it:
The Oov is a training device that works your core without you having to try and activate it. It is ergonomically designed to fit the natural curve of your spine.  Made from a highly durable foam, it doesn’t collapse, but pushes back at your body so that your muscles must engage while using it.

How does it work:
As you lie on the Oov, it gently extends your spine and activates your core muscles, causing your spine to rest in a neutral position.  The Oov is deliberately unstable, so your brain must constantly adjust your core muscles to remain balanced on the Oov.  Most people have some tightness in their body and their bodies are restricted in some way. The Oov retrains your body to move correctly because it forces you to use and strengthen each part of your body in isolation from other parts and strengthens the core’s ability to maintain a posture or control motion. Your body then develops the ability to work more efficiently as each body part performs as it is meant to.

Where did it originate:
Oov was designed by an Australian Osteopath/Neuroscientist as a better alternative to using a rolled towel to lengthen the spine which is widely used by health professionals currently.

What is unique about it:
The Oov is unique in that it subliminally or subconsciously strengthens your core, so that your core automatically activates and improves your strength and performance in daily life; whether you are doing an extreme sport, or hanging out the washing.  You don’t have to think hard when you’re training on it, your body just engages the right muscles.

oov2Who can it benefit and how:
Almost everyone can benefit from the Oov.  If you are an athlete, the Oov can dramatically improve your strength and performance while also reducing your chance of injury.  If you are recovering from abdominal surgery or back pain, the Oov will complement your rehabilitation programme.  Whether you live a sedentary or active lifestyle, the Oov will allow you to function better every day.

How important is it to learn from professionals:
Certainly those in rehabilitation or sports performance should be doing any programme under the supervision of a health or fitness professional for maximum benefit.  For the average person, the Oov can be used independently as there are exercises and apps available online.  However it is recommended that anyone looking to begin using the Oov goes along to some Oov classes, where there is an expert on hand to answer any questions or concerns.  (It’s important to attend a minimum of 6-10 classes to get the basics right on the Oov, once this is done then using the Oov at home is far more effective.)

Why physiotherapist John Appel is promoting the Oov:
“When I came across the Oov I was impressed at the benefits that it provided across so many different applications.  The Oov will change the way that we view spine-related conditions.  It can be used in physiotherapy, osteopathy, chiropractic, pilates, relaxation, fitness and performance areas and more.  I wanted to be a part of bringing this device to New Zealand as it is so much better at training a body to function at its peak than anything else I have come across throughout my 15 years as a health professional.”

Most common misconception: 
The Oov looks odd and is deceptively simple.
Until you have tried it, or have been recommended it by your health professional, you may dismiss the Oov as a gimmick. It is not a gimmick, nor will it just be a passing phase.  This device will benefit the health and performance of many in the years to come.

oov1Where you can do it:
At Advance Physiotherapy & Wellness Centre in central Hamilton. Oov classes run daily at set times (between three and four time slots most days).  Choose from Oov (45 minutes) or Oov CoreBlast (a shorter more intense class, 30 minutes). Also several personal trainers at Les Mills are trained to use the Oov.


Want to learn more:
An Oov introductory evening is being offered to the general public on August 13, from 7.30-8.30m at Less Mills (Victoria St). If you would like to attend, register on (07) 834-9901. Cost is $15 general public and $5 Les Mills members.
Advance Wellness is running a practitioners’ workshop at the end of August for other health professionals around the Waikato and Bay of Plenty region who are interested in incorporating the Oov into their clinics, gyms or studios.
The new Oov New Zealand website will be launched soon, allowing New Zealand customers to purchase Oovs and get exercise information.

Fitness Journal tries Oov

By Lisa Potter

I can honestly say that I know what it feels like to be a turtle stuck upside down on its shell, arms and legs flailing.
I say this because I’m pretty certain this is more or less how I looked at my first Oov class.

What makes it worse, is that all around me, smiling serenely, were a graceful chorus of other Oov lovers – moving their arms in legs in perfect unison and seemingly balanced with ease on their Oov. In my defence, most of the other class participants were experienced personal trainers. But there was one other first time ‘Oover’ and I also made my 14-year-old son come along and participate (it was school holidays and he had no reasonable excuse not to give it a try). I think it’s fair to say that I was the class dunce.

I thought with my previous horse riding experience and the fact I’m usually pretty safe when it comes to sports requiring balance, that I would surprise the instructor with the ease at which I took to this.  Turns out I was the one surprised. Balancing on that cunningly designed Oov is not necessarily as simple as you would think. But it has nothing to do with balance and more to do with core strength. Or the lack of, in my case.

Mild embarrassment aside (the instructor was warmly encouraging) the Oov class was something of an eye opener. Like most people, I have spent hours doing crunches and other exercises designed to strengthen the core. Short story. They hurt. And if you don’t do it right, it’s easy to end up with a sore back or neck.

The beauty of the Oov is that you are focusing on your core for the entire 45 minute class without even realising it. The Oov itself supports your back and neck and simply by balancing correctly on the Oov your core is working – all by itself. Genius.

Even better is the fact you could pop in and do a class during your work lunchbreak, as it doesn’t leave you red faced and over heated for the remainder of the day. I would even go so far as to say it was fun and relaxing. (It was definitely fun for my son, but unfortunately I was the source of his amusement. Every time I wobbled off my Oov, he also fell off his –from laughing at me).

The next day I could feel the effects of the Oov class with mildly aching core muscles; nothing uncomfortable but enough to tell me that the time spent doing my turtle impression was worth the effort. I’ll definitely be back. I plan to master the Oov.

Have a go:
When: Wednesday August 13, 7.30-8.30pm
Where: Les Mills, Victoria St, Hamilton
Cost: $15 general public, $5 Les Mills members

Anyone can head along and have a go. Physiotherapist John Appel will be available to explain the science behind the Oov and Oov instructors will be on hand to demonstrate and help.
Regular Oov classes are available at Advance Physiotherapy & Wellness Centre  (Victoria St).




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