What IS Essentrics®?

Essentrics® is a dynamic stretching and strengthening program designed to rebalance all 650 muscles, 360 joints, 208 bones including the surrounding connective tissue, organs and veins. By name, Essentrics® is trademarked by creator Miranda Esmonde-White to emphasize the focus on eccentric muscle training.

Using eccentric contractions (as we focus on in Essentrics®) one is training the body in an extended position: arms and legs extended away from the body instead of inward, thus pulling up and out away from the gravitational pull on the body. By training in this fashion it not only takes pressure of the joints allowing more range of motion (flexibility) but it allows the muscles to strengthen most effectively.

Essentrics® is such a huge part of my life, not only because I teach it as a way of earning a living, but mainly because it’s my WAY of life.  I never knew much about FUNCTIONAL training until recently.  After years of weight lifting (which included a stint in body building) and other forms of high-intensity, high-impact training, my body began to fight back in the form of aches and pains.  Afterall, using FORCE is not always the ideal way to work the body.  Essentrics® came at the right time.  It has taught me it’s more about function for longevity as opposed to form-a.k.a. BIG BICEPS 😉

And, as a former gym buff, I didn’t want to compromise the strength training component weight training provided. What I realized, however, was that I wasn’t compromising strength in any way!  On the contrary, functional training, such as in Essentrics® strengthens MORE since the muscle is in an elongated position.  In fact, “going to the end of a stretch” (more on this later) and working WITH our muscle reflexes is highly strengthening!

A caveat: you must RELAX!  Relax to strengthen? That can’t be right!  Through years of research, experts in their field have discovered that as we relax while extending our bodies outward, away from our core, it allows the muscle reflexes to “relax” or “override,” if you will. When our muscle reflexes relax, our muscles can stretch to full capacity, which in turn strengthens ALL the muscle fibers more effectively!

Think of it this way: imagine holding your arms in toward your body bent at the elbow for 5 minutes. Now imagine holding your arms out straight to your sides for the same amount of time.  Which takes more strength over time to hold?  No question the arms lengthened out to your sides! Training the muscles in extended positioning is more strengthening and as long as it is done safely, without added weight. It is considered the most effective strength training!

 

Join me next week where we compare the ever popular concentric muscle training to eccentric training!

IMG_0145
Arms extended in opposition away from the core works the muscles eccentrically.

Reference: Essentrics® training manuals, Miranda Esmonde-White

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