Essentrics: Class of 2012

Class of 2012 is another Classical Stretch/Essentrics workout that is led by Sahra Esmond-White. Sahra says this workout is a favorite in the classes she teaches so she decided to bring it to DVD for everyone to enjoy. And I am glad she did! It was an excellent mobility, flexibility and bodyweight strength workout. Her background exercises are two Essentrics instructors who are also professional dancers. This is the 3rd and final workout by Sahra that I bought at Essentrics sale earlier this year. The other two are Full Body Toning and Barre Workout. I really like all 3 of Sahra’s workouts. She is a a wonderful Essentrics instructor. If I were to give them levels, Full Body Toning is intermediate, Class of 2012 is a higher level of intermediate and Barre Workout is advanced. This workout is chaptered so you can do the entire hour long workout or you can chose a chapter and just do that section. The longest segment/chapter is the standing portion. I really enjoyed that and it worked me nicely. It is not any more advanced than the standing portion of Full Body Toning but what is more advanced is the floor segment. That still isn’t as advanced as Barre Workout’s floor/mat work but I was experiencing some burn out. That is really the only place where this workout is more advanced than Full Body Toning. This workout also uses the chair for traditional barre lower body work followed by Classical Stretch/Essentrics mobility/flexibility work using the chair.

Overall another excellent Essentrics workout by Sahra. Sahra recommends doing this workout twice a week for best results. The full workout is about 61 minutes but, as already mentioned above, the workout is also broken down into 3 chapters so if you don’t want to do the full hour, you can do one or two of the chapters for a shorter workout. Like all of the other Classical Stretch/Essentrics workout there are so many details and nuances to every movement done that I am not going to break this down like I do other workouts. I will just give generic overview of what is happening in the course of the workout.

Class of 2012 is 61 minutes; 40 second intro. Equipment: fitness mat, a chair and optional large flat yoga block to sit on for some floor work. The standing portion is 28 minutes. The floor portion is 21 minutes. Standing barre portion is 12 minutes.

Standing: (28 minutes) The workout starts with a warm up, shifting side to side while swinging the arms side to side then she takes your arms through full ranges of motion to warm up your upper body and spine. Once the warm up is over you work into full body mobility/strengthening, using arm reaches to stretch and strengthen the spine, ribs and shoulders and wide plie squats for the legs. The wide ranges of motion become more flowing with lunges. You return to flowing arm reaches and pulls in wide plie squat again. Next the focus moves to arm strengthening exercises. Sahra returns to flowing arm range of motion moves to give your arms some release then she returns to more arm strengthening exercises. Next you focus on the lower body with leg raises in all directions. Next is Classical Stretch/Essentrics windmills, which are not like yoga windmills. Your arms are reaching in opposite directions, but you’re reaching/elongating the arms before slowly flowing the arms as they swap positions–this gives you a lot of core, spine and shoulder work. Continue the windmills but add deep lunges to the arm movements. Next you do deep side lunges with your arms flowing through large range of motion reaches. Balance on one leg while doing slow controlled bicycle motions with other leg. Next you do Classical Stretch/Essentrics hip cleaners (circling bent leg so that you are rotating the leg around in the hip joint). Next is more side leg lifts. Get in split stance and do some stretching for your lower body that transitions into lunges with wide arm reaches.

Floor: (21 minutes) This portion of the workout opens with Sahra and crew already reclining back on their fitness mats. It starts with basic crunch variations then moves into reverse crunches. Bicycle your legs first slow then fast then you add your upper body bringing opposite elbow to knee. More crunch variations. The mat core work lasts a little over 4 minutes then you lay on your side for leg lift variations (this lasts about 11 minutes) that really burned my legs out. After the mat leg strength work Sahra has you do dynamic lower body stretching on the mat, first lying then sitting. Once sitting Sahra, includes dynamic stretches for the spine and upper body (this lasts about 9:30 minutes).

Standing Barre: (12 minutes) You need your chair for this segment. This segment starts with tradition standing barre work holding the chair back for balance: various leg lifts. This lasts about 4 minutes. Then you move onto the Classical Stretch/Essentrics barre stretches using the chair. This lasts about 8 minutes. You place one foot on the chair and you shift your hips and legs around. Start focusing on the lower body then Sahra adds flowing range of motion arm movements to deepen the stretches in the lower body and also add spine and shoulder work. Release the chair and do a swaying forward fold. The workout ends with more range of motion arm reaches/stretches.

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