As the fitness industry slowly discovers Essentrics and the benefits of dynamic stretching, it is no coincidence that as Essentrics spreads, so do some dynamic stretch & tone classes. So how does Essentrics differ from these workouts that appear or aspire to be similar?
Full Body Rebalancing
One hallmark feature of Essentrics is that it rebalances the full body by engaging all +650 muscles. We are only as strong/flexible as our weakest/tightest link, therefore Essentrics systematically work through every part of the body - down to the fingers and toes. Also, since we aren’t just made of muscles but also joints, bones, organs, and fascia, we thoroughly condition all these other aspects, as opposed to many muscle-focused programs.
Since Essentrics takes every aspect of the full body into consideration, the design of each routine, whether it is twenty-five or sixty minutes, requires far more deliberation than most people realize. It isn’t simply about engaging every muscle or every body part but also about engaging them evenly. Many conventional workouts tend to emphasize large over small muscles or joints. The meticulous attention to rebalance every part of our body is the reason why only Level IV fully certified instructors have permission to design full Essentrics workouts.
Another distinctive feature of Essentrics is that while it is about dynamic stretching, at its core it is not movement-based but technique-based. These techniques include those from ballet, tai chi, and physiotherapy. It is unusual - in fact, unheard of - for other workouts to fuse the techniques and principles from these three methods to become something original. More importantly, by being technique-based, the same dynamic stretch motions can be executed differently to achieve varying objectives. The same Essentrics workout can be done to focus on either toning/sculpting, but it can also be done gently for pain relief depending on how an instructor applies the techniques and cue her participants. This feature adds to Essentrics a unique dynamic quality.
As a part of its technique variations, many Essentrics movements can be done either standing, on the floor or at the barre/with a chair. The choice allows an instructor the discretion to adapt the workout for the class/location with the needed modifications.
Body Weight, Not External Weight
Many of us still cannot grapple with the idea that strength training doesn’t require external weights. Many also erroneously equate soreness with training results due to the outdated "no pain, no gain” belief. Some dynamic stretch workouts cater to this mindset by adding external weights such as dumbbells, which create soreness that necessitates a longe recovery period. Essentrics, on the other hand, uses only body weight and doesn’t lead to muscle soreness, allowing practitioners to do the routines on a daily basis.
Monkey See, Monkey Do?
Since Essentrics follows a specific design methodology and is technique-based, it is not easy to imitate and replicate the full results. Even if an amateur memorizes an Essentrics DVD routine to teach it, she won’t possess the know-how to teach and modify it safely.
Fully certified Level IV Essentrics teachers are well-versed in anatomy and can effectively help clients engage muscle and fascia chains. What’s more, Essentrics techniques continue to evolve and refine as new research provides new insights into the human body and biomechanics. Teaching Essentrics dynamic stretch is therefore not as simple as “monkey see, monkey do.” This is why Essentrics co-creator Miranda Esmonde White urges her audience to take live classes with certified teachers. By the same token, it pays for anyone taking an Essentrics class to verify that the instructor is properly credentialed.