Electrical Muscle Stimulation is the new wave of fitness technology...
The revolution has begun...
August 14th, 2019 by Abraham Carlé Calo and Shaun Bezuidenhout
Training with whole-body electrical stimulation (WB EMS) has become a brand new training method whose worldwide popularity has grown exponentially in recent years (Ismael Alfaro Gomila 2018). Through this technology, thanks to muscle electrical stimulation suits, we can stimulate several muscle groups by means of electrical impulses, covering a body area of over 2800 cm2 (Kemmler, et al., 2016). This muscle activation can be performed simultaneously or sequentially, in passive or during the performance of physical exercise.
Surely you’ve heard many opinions related to the use of whole-body electrical stimulation. Some of them come from users of the system, others from people who have heard about it and many others (not a few) from professionals of physical exercise.
Many of these opinions are based on personal intuitions or mere assumptions about what this system is. This has generated a lot of affirmations, for and against, that are not based on solid foundations.
THE WB EMS IS SAFE
Today we will provide information related to the safety and usefulness of this technology when applied correctly.
As usual, we will begin by clarifying that whole-body electrical stimulation has to be understood as a complement to training, that is, as a tool in the service of the coach. Therefore, we are going to separate ourselves from the extremist discourses that see in it little less than a miracle, or a deadly trap. It will be the ability of the professional in charge and the clients desire to reaching their goals, these are the people who determine the degree of achievement of objectives and adherence to the training program. EMS is not a magic pill, you will have to still work out, sweat and push yourself if you want to reach your goals. The difference with EMS is, you only need to do it once or twice a week to obtain the same or better results.
Once this has been clarified, we must say that the number of scientific publications in this regard has grown in recent years. Analyzing the situation we could say that the scientific production of this subject is beginning to mature. Today, better research methodologies are used that address various problems related to health and sports performance. The stage in which whole-body electrical stimulation was seen exclusively as a way to increase energy expenditure has been overcome.
SCIENTIFIC STUDIES ON THE SAFETY OF THE WB EMS
Today we want to highlight a recent publication in Seoul (Jee, 2018). It investigates the effect of the WB EMS on health-related parameters in young adults, men and women.
A training program was applied. It consisted of training 3 times a week (yes, you read correctly, 3 times a week), with a 48-hour break between both workouts. The study lasted 6 weeks. They used the following parameters:
- 85 Hz frequency
- 350 μsec pulse width
- 6 “work / 4” rest
During these sessions 10 isometric exercises were carried out consecutively, until a total time of 10 minutes.