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, Miranda Esmond-White, and based on fundamental Pilates principles, ESSENTRICS® builds on the benefits of Pilates by combining it with ancient the practices Tai Chi and Yoga, and incorporating modern kinesiological insights, such as proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) technique, and a focus on fascial health.
The resulting workout is a fluid, dynamic flow sequence of body-intuitive movements that utilize natural muscle systems that dramatically improve body awareness and teach us to use our bodies optimally, whether for the physical demands of daily life, or as the foundation of any athletic pursuit.
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 advance a vast array of health and fitness goals. Workouts can be customized to challenge the most athletic and physically active, or to safely wake up and strengthen a body that is otherwise sedentary, and meet the needs of the various levels of strength, mobility, balance, and body control in between.
Whether you hope to:
-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
-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.
More detail about the 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.