Created by former professional Ballerina, Miranda Esmonde-White, Essentrics draws on many of the lengthening principles used in ballet, including the Barre. To develop the posture and physique of a dancer, the muscles must be challenged in their lengthened position using the type of eccentric strengthening that is used in ballet. This is the opposite of concentric-focused exercises that shorten the muscles, leaving people feeling tight, bulky and in pain. What makes Essentrics Barre workouts unique is that they allow your muscles to strengthen and stretch at more effective angles—resulting in deeper stretches, higher muscle engagement, and more targeted and elongated toning.
Let’s take a closer look at 3 techniques used in Essentrics Barre that will lengthen your muscles and reinforce joint stability while increasing flexibility and mobility.
1. REACHING FURTHER
While repetitive movements that shorten the muscles are generally easier to do, it is only through challenging them to extend past their habitually shortened length that you can access your true potential for strength and flexibility. Concentric exercises tend to limit joint range of motion and leave you feeling restricted, bulky and compressed. It requires more effort to elongate your muscles and pull your joints apart, but you will almost instantly feel your body unlock and find yourself working deeper into muscles you hadn’t felt before.
- At the Barre: As you become comfortable, challenge yourself to reach further and engage your muscles so you are able to support yourself and maintain that length.
2. PULLING UP
Essentrics instructors may appear to move with natural elegance and fluidity, but they have trained their body to apply Essentrics’ eccentric strengthening technique, which involves ‘pulling up’ in the body. Similar to how a ballerina lifts their body to reduce impact as they are landing from powerful leaps, Essentrics trains the muscles to work similarly—to lengthen the muscles upwards while gravity is pulling you down. You can try this concept right now while you sit or walk around. Rather than collapsing the body and falling into the joints, Essentrics exercises emphasize pulling up in almost every exercise to support the weight of the body against gravity.
- At the Barre: Imagine a string pulling through the centre of the spine being lifted upwards so that every part of the spine pulls up equally.
3. PULLING OUT
Many people suffer from joint impingements, arthritis or other joint issues that get irritated by repetitive movement exercises that compress the joints. ‘Pulling out’ helps to lengthen the muscles around the insertion of the joint to help relieve compressive loading on the joint. Pulling out is similar to the technique of “pulling up”, but the emphasis is placed on one part of the body moving (either the arms or legs) outwards, rather than pulling the entire body upwards. To use ‘pulling out’ effectively, you need to focus on what joint you are targeting (shoulders or hips) and try to contract the muscles around that joint so that it doesn’t move when you pull the limb outwards.
- At the Barre: During side kicks – stabilize the hips by contracting the abs and glutes as you pull the leg outward as much as possible and slowly lift the leg without lifting the hip. The more you pull out, the more difficult it will be to lift (this means you’re doing it right).
Ballerinas have distinct physical qualities like a long, lean physique and excellent posture. This is a result of strengthening their muscles as they are being lengthened- without the use of weights. Essentrics Barre workouts will challenge your strength and flexibility, and if you are consistent you will start noticing a difference within weeks. Make sure to apply these 3 lengthening techniques during your Essentrics Barre Workouts to make rapid changes to your flexibility and strength as well as transform your posture.
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