10 Facts about EMS Training
Leaner, fitter and defined in 20 minutes – this is the promise EMS training (electrical muscle stimulation training) makes. The secret of the effectiveness is the electrical impulses, or small "power surges". At EAT SMARTER we have looked at this method of training more closely and even tried it ourselves! Here’s the scoop:
1. What Is EMS Training?
When doing EMS training you don’t need a lot of traditional training exercises. Instead the method works by, as the name implies, stimulating the muscles electronically. This makes the EMS training significantly more effective than conventional weight training and ensures rapid muscle growth. A trainer regulates the electrical impulses with a device, which is connected to the athletes. Each muscle group can be stimulated separately from each other with this device. To ensure the current to actually reach the athlete, he or she has to wear a special type of clothing over which they wear a vest, hip belts and cuffs for the arms and legs. The clothing is damp at the beginning of the workout so that the current can pass through better.
2. Where Does EMS Training Come From?
The EMS training originally comes from the rehabilitation sector. There it is used to prevent muscle atrophy after an injury. In physical therapy, EMS training has been used for many years to build up targeted muscles. Many athletes use EMS training to increase their performance.
3. How Does EMS Training Work?
The EMS device delivers an electrical pulse for four seconds, which is followed by a four second pause. During the pulse, the exercise is stopped. Generally the device is used on all major muscle groups but this varies depending on the athlete’s goal. The pulses stimulate the natural contraction of the muscles. This causes the strain on the muscles to be increased significantly. Even a simple squat can become extremely hard depending on the strength of the pulse. This is because the pulse reaches deeper muscle layers.
4. Should I Be Afraid Of Being Shocked?
No. The pulses are in the so-called “low-frequency range.” They are simply activating the striated muscle (skeletal muscle). The cardiac muscle and smooth muscle (organ muscles) are not affected.
5. What Are The Results?
Various studies at German Universities have shown that the EMS training actually is very effective. It helps with building muscles quickly, relieving tension, and back pain. Research at the German Sport University of Cologne showed muscle growth by 14 percent after six months of EMS training. In particular, weak back muscles benefit from the training; however, many experts do not recommend pure EMS training. In the long run it cannot replace endurance sports and regular strength training.
6. How Quickly Will I See Results?
According to the manufacturer, posture is improved after a few workouts. Strength and weight loss can be seen after four to six weeks.
7. How Often Can I Train?
Generally one to two sessions per week are enough. These should last 20 minutes each.
8. What Are The Risks Of EMS Training?
If you are unsure about anything always check with your doctor! Generally EMS training is not safe for pregnant women and people with pacemakers.
9. How Does EMS Training Cost?
The training costs, depending on the studio, are about 25 – 30 dollars.
10. What Does It Feel Like? EAT SMARTER Finds Out!
I have been testing EMS training for six months now. At first the pulses were very uncomfortable. If I wasn’t contracting my muscles tightly when the shock came, I felt almost paralyzed. I was extraordinarily sore the first couple of weeks but after a while it got a lot better.
My conclusion: EMS training is expensive, but more effective than expected. The scale is the proof. My body fat percentage dropped from 24.0 to 19.6 percent in the time that I started EMS training. However due to the high weight loss, I also lost some muscle mass (27.7 % to 27%). Whether the weight loss is actually do to the EMS training though, I am not sure. EMS training is intended to achieve a more defined, leaner body not for weight loss. Even though EMS training is effective even with little time spent, I will not continue it after six months. I miss the variety in my workouts.