What is ESSENTRICS®?
ESSENTRICS® is a full body, functional movement exercise that emphasizes eccentric muscle conditioning to improve strength, flexibility, active range of motion, posture, balance, joint and back health, among other benefits.
Founded by former professional ballerina, and NY Times bestselling author, Miranda Esmond-White, ESSENTRICS® is based on fundamental Pilates principles, but builds on the benefits of Pilates by combining it with ancient the practices such as Tai Chi, and incorporating modern insights from neuroscience and kinesiology.
The resulting workout is comprised of dynamic, full-body, sequences made up of powerful —deceptively simple — body-intuitive movements that dramatically improve strength, mobility, balance, posture, body awareness/control, and relieve aches and pain in the body.
ESSENTRICS® teaches us to use our bodies optimally, whether for the physical demands of athletic performance, or simply for moving with strength, ease, and injury-prevention in daily life.
Workouts leave you feeling strong and grounded, but also loose, limber, and light on your feet.
Who would benefit from an ESSENTRICS® workout?
ESSENTRICS® is adaptable to help you achieve a vast array of health and fitness goals: from cross-training a sport or high intensity exercise, to the full spectrum of benefits from a low-impact strength and conditioning program. Workouts can be customized to challenge you —safely and effectively— in whatever physical condition you find yourself today, and help you improve it.
Whether you hope to:
Relieve physical aches and pains of all kinds: from hip and back pain to frozen shoulder and trigger finger
Treat your body to revitalizing, mindful movements incorporating shapes and sequences shown to support brain health
Relieve mental and emotional stress by taking part in a flowing, musically engaged workout that invigorates the body, lifts the spirit
ESSENTRICS® is right for you.
Develop foundational, full-body strength, range of motion (mobility), and flexibility
Improve balance, body awareness/control, and coordination
Decompress the spine, build functional core strength and strong posture
Cross-train a sport or other form of exercise
Balance your muscle strength or rehabilitate muscle atrophy
about ESSENTRICS® workout experience
A typical ESSENTRICS® class is roughly 85% dynamic standing movements, and 15% floor work, though these ratios can be adjusted. There are no static/"held" poses, and no inversions or positions that require the bearing of weight on our hands/wrists.
The workout is performed to music that complements the movement sequences.
We will use yoga mats for floor work and stretching, but otherwise, no special equipment or props are needed.
The workout is ideally performed barefoot. This is important as foot strengthening and activation of muscles and the nervous system through the natural movement of the feet is a great benefit of the class. However, the use of shoes will not preclude your participation in the class.
Wear clothing that encourages your fullest, freest, most expansive movement.
What is eccentric conditioning?
Muscles have two actions: they contract and relax. But they can contract in different ways. When we eccentrically contract our muscles, we contract them as we lengthen them. Most forms of exercise emphasize concentric muscle conditioning, which is based around contracting muscles as we shorten them. The benefits of training the muscles eccentrically are vast and well documented. (I encourage you to do a quick PubMed search.)
But for fundamental health and performance purposes, by focusing on working muscles in their lengthened state, ESSENTRICS® promotes muscular strength and flexibility, which gives it several advantages over (or in conjunction with) more traditional concentric training methods, that make the muscles shorter and less flexible, and therefore arguably more prone to injury. Also, when we eccentrically train the stabilizer muscles of out joints, we can dramatically increase the stability of those joints, which is key to the healthy performance of that joint.
If one typically performs concentric strength training, ESSENTRICS® has the added benefit of challenging the muscles in a new way, creating a very different neurological challenge for the body, and challenging muscles to relax and lengthen under control, allowing for fuller fiber recruitment and activation.
"Julie is an amazing instructor with a genuine gift. Her classes have helped me to become more aware of my stress patterns, discover and target weak areas in my posture, and begin to increase flexibility and range of motion across my body. I was able to feel significant improvement in my after my first session, and by the third my posture had begun to improve.
Julie is insightful, unfailingly positive, and possesses a deep understanding of body mechanics, tension and compression, as well as the Essentrics material. Julie possesses a true passion for body awareness, health, and growth, which shines through in the way she conducts her classes.
Julie’s workshops focus on improving core strength, relaxing overtaxed muscles, and increasing flexibility and overall range of motion. I would recommend both Julie and Essentrics for anyone seeking a happier, healthier body, especially dancers and other athletes that may have hidden stress stored up."
- Bryan Dickerson
“I wasn't familiar with Essentrics before stepping into Julie's class, but it quickly became my favorite gym class. She is a fantastic instructor who brings fresh and focused energy, teaching fluid movement sequences that are fun, accessible and set to great music. I feel more relaxed and invigorated at the end of each class!"
- Lars Kim