JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN, DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD
The shoulder joint is made up of bones held in place by muscles, tendons, and ligaments which create two separate joints. It is the most flexible joint in the entire body and also the most prone to injury due to the strength of the arm and its wide range of motion.
Certain positions and movements of the arm leave the ligaments and tendons especially vulnerable—we have to understand when it is safe to push farther and when it can cause us harm.
Another exercise that instructors and avid participants need to be cautious of is reaching the arms over the head as in side lunges and over extensions. As we learn to go to the end of the stretch and develop more strength and flexibility—it is possible to go past the end of the stretch, especially those of you who teach more than once a day. Beginners to Essentrics do not have the strength or flexibility to pull that far so you can still encourage them to reach farther. It is important to become aware of your body and conscious as to what is potentially dangerous and can pull on the tendons. Unless you are training to be a contortionist, it is not necessary to stretch and strengthen the shoulder joint passed your maximum. As instructors, it is most important to teach your regular clients how to be conscience of their maximum and that…just because they can reach farther, doesn’t mean they should.
A lot of you have become an Essentrics Instructor for the simple reason that you want to help people feel better. Unfortunately not everyone can ask for help and receive it as simply as attending an Essentrics class. Some are just trying to get through the day—warm, fed and healthy. If you have an opportunity to get outside your comfort zone and help others who do not have the opportunity to join a gym, then you will be making a bigger difference in their lives and even in your own.
– Teaching a class at a local shelter is a great way to get started and some of the Instructors have already taken it upon themselves to volunteer at women’s shelters and hospitals.
– If you don’t have access to a shelter, you can try offering classes that clients can “pay by donation” for the charity of your choice. (Essentrics fosters baby elephants and rhinos from Kenya who need medical attention!)
– Have a food or clothing drive at your gym or studio for special events (not just the holidays)!
We encourage all of our instructors to share their stories on their own website or social media pages and share with the Facebook Instructors group as well!
Hashtags are a way of categorizing content on your social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook & twitter). Use them to connect with potential clients or other health and wellness companies and build your name in the fitness world!
Common Essentrics Hashtags: #DynamicStretch #Flexibility #StretchandStrength #EssentricsBarre #BarreStretch #BarreFitness #AgingBackwards #Bodysculpting
Tagging your workout Apparel: Example @lululemon #lululemon #FitnessClothes #FitnessFashion #SportsWear
Tag your city: Example #MtlFitness #MtlEssentrics #TorontoFitness #TorontoEssentrics
Tag your Gym/Studio: @misfitstudio or #MisfitStudio
Crunches are an exercise in Essentrics we use to strengthen the abdominals in order to protect the spine. To see how to properly and effectively perform crunches and ab exercises, watch this Educational Video from Miranda: CLICK HERE
Here are some fun songs to use for your crunches:
– Renegade by Cimorelli (Jana Danielson, Level 2)
– Masterpiece by Jessie J (Jana Danielson, Level 2)
– Fever by The Black Keys (Gail Garceau, Level 3)
– Stronger by Kanye West (Maude Desjardins, Level 1)
How were you introduced to Essentrics and why did you want to begin teaching it?
When I was still teaching Pilates out of my home, a client of mine had a friend in Montreal—after one of her privates with me, she said “I need to show you pictures of my friend on Facebook, she lives in Montreal and has been doing some class called Essentrics.” When I looked at her before and after pictures, I could not believe what I saw. She was long and lean, and her body looked very balanced like a dancer. I immediately Googled Essentrics and watched some videos. I have to admit, when I first watched the video clips online, there was a disconnect for me; I had a hard time understanding how these seemingly simple, slow movements could produce the body that her friend had.
We were just about to move our Pilates studio out of my basement and to our first commercial space and I was looking for other classes that would compliment Pilates and would make sense to have in our studio. We ordered a few consumer DVDs and the Level 1 and 2 Teacher Training packages. We began to workout in my basement and within in days of starting out training we could feel our bodies change. We were hooked!
In September of 2010, we started with three Essentrics classes on our schedule—we now have triple that amount and they are all usually waitlisted. People cannot get enough and we have physically run out of space to add more. In Summer 2015, we will be opening our new expanded location that will allow us to add many more Essentrics classes to our schedule and we will also be adding Aging Backwards classes this fall.
Do you find that Essentrics and Pilates complement each other?
Completely!! What I love most about these two classes is that many of the concepts in Pilates and Essentrics are similar. The fact that the health of the spine is central to both – the eccentric muscular focus, posture, joint range of motion are similar makes the Essentrics language very easy for our Pilates clients to understand. They ‘get’ how to find the deeper work that traditional exercise and personal training has a hard time teaching a body.
I also love the parts that are different about the two modalities: one example is the overhead reaching movements [in Essentrics] where we allow the shoulders to lift in order to create space between the ribcage and the pelvis. In Pilates, we would be more focussed on engaging the latissimus and serratus muscles and lifting the arm, but not shortening the space between the ear and the shoulder. My team is great at teaching our classes and highlighting the similarities and the differences.
Does Essentrics bring in a separate clientele or is it the same clientele who take all the classes at your studio?
We have clients who now come to us to do Essentrics because of a family member, friend or co-worker that is coming to the studio and taking the class. Also, since the Aging Backwards documentary, we are getting more people inquiring about these classes.
We train many hockey teams and our University of Saskatchewan Huskie football team and they all do Essentrics as part of their training with us. There is something slightly gratifying about being able to easily complete a 5-minute arm track when these athletes are crumbling – BUT – they quickly feel and see how much stronger and flexible they get in a fairly short time!
What are your short/long term goal in terms of teaching Essentrics classes and having Essentrics offered at your studio?
Like I mentioned above, we are moving to an expanded studio this summer – our 9,000 sq foot studio is going to bring the worlds of mindful movement and clinical therapies (physiotherapy, massage therapy and chiropractic) under one roof. At the hub of these rehabilitation/health prevention services is movement, in addition to Pilates and Pilates-based classes our Essentrics offerings are a huge part of that. We want to launch Aging Backwards classes this fall, we want to continue to grow our Athletic Training program and Essentrics is a central piece to that.
We would love to have Miranda come to Saskatoon to deliver level 3 and 4 training to our team.
Our Aging Backwards book club was a huge success – Saskatoon loves Essentrics!!!