Muscular endurance and range of motion should always go together. What if we would glorify intelligent fitness training rather than overtraining?
By Marie Eve Gosemick, wellness associate, certified Essentrics instructor level 3, writer and editor of website content and author of the novel “Poutine pour emporter” ( Édition Stanké, 2015).
The Essentrics technique has no impact on the joints, is practiced without weights or holding postures and respects the limits of the body. Is it a program for beginners? Not at all! It has been about a decade since Olympic athletes and professional sports teams started to incorporate Essentrics into their training to prevent injuries and to increase mobility. Alexandre Despatie, Joannie Rochette and Kim St-Pierre have used it and since 2012 so do the Habs. Here now an overview of a technique that engages the 650 muscles of the body in a gentle way.
The balance between power, agility and aesthetics
After dancing with the National Ballet of Toronto, Miranda Esmonde-White opened a fitness center, where she realized that her clients believed that they had to choose between gaining strength or flexibility, whereas dancers are as strong as they are flexible. Inspired by ballet, tai chi and physical therapy, Miranda created Essentrics, a dynamic training program to serve the athletes, and then she realized that it is also suitable for men and women of different physical condition and age. In addition to improving athletic performance, it helps to adopt a beautiful posture, tone the body and facilitate weight loss by increasing the metabolic rate.
Stretching and strengthening the muscles while in motion
Essentrics got its name from the eccentric muscle contraction, where the muscle is strengthened in the lengthening phase. The body weight is enough since a longer lever is heavier. The blood vessels are not compressed, so the blood flows easier and therefore brings more oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, which in return promotes recovery and eliminates more waste, preventing inflammation, specifically inflammation in the joints. One leaves an Essentrics class with the impression of just having received a massage since it rebalances the body and releases tensions. As the muscles are stretched and strengthened simultaneously, the gained flexibility is maintained after the training and the increased muscle mass does not impair the mobility. Each routine takes place to the rhythm of a variety of music, to which one moves without stopping … and without watching the clock!
THREE EASY SEQUENCES TO TRY AT HOME
Have more energy while relieving your knee pain.
Select an R & B song of 3 minutes. Spread your feet with the toes pointing slightly outward and bend your knees without letting them pass the toes. Slowly straighten and bend them at least 8 times. Knees bent, raise one heel to the maximum and lower it as if you want to crush an orange. Repeat 4 times on each side.
Narrow your waist while improving the mobility of your shoulders.
Choose a slow flamenco song of 4 minutes, pretend that your arms are the hands of a clock and extend them above your head, close to the ears. With a straight back and the feet hip width apart, bend forward in the direction of 1 o’clock for 6 seconds, then open and close the arms with resistance. Repeat the exercise bending forward in the direction of 2 o’clock. Come back up after 6 seconds and switch sides.
Tone your arms while stretching your back.
Choose a classical composition of 5 minutes and imagine that your arms are the propellers of a windmill. In a diagonal lunge position, extend one arm to the ceiling and the other to the floor. Contract all the muscles in your arms and start a continuous rotation. Do 8 rotations of 10 seconds each before changing sides and leg.
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