Due to the rise of this form of training and the number of centres that have employed this technology, numerous questions have arisen about the practice of electro-stimulation that have caused negative reactions in potential consumers. Although some are based on facts, many others are myths that should be clarified and among which we highlight the most frequent:
EMS has received an increased amount of attention as an intervening and preventive method for chronic back pain in the progressive social and professional lifestyles of the 21st century. With its roots in the medical field, it was used for recovery from injury and to reduce pain-related symptoms.
Boeckh-Behrens et al., University of Bayreuth, Germany (2002)
With the aim of identifying the effects of EMS training on back pain, the researchers conducted EMS training sessions over a period of 5 weeks on 49 individuals (31 women and 18 men).
They found that:
The introduction of technology-enhanced training methods, such as electro muscle stimulation (EMS) as a new and more time efficient option for general and whole body strength training, has peaked the interest of many researchers to validate its effects on the human body. These research results across different age, training and population groups have shown positive results. A question that often comes up is: how does this technology-enhanced training work in contrast to other strength training methods?
Mester et al, German Sport University Cologne
The research aimed to compare different types of strength training by testing and analysing classical and modern strength parameters. A total of 80 participants were divided into 8 groups and trained twice a week over a period of 4 weeks. They were all tested 3 times: (1) a pre-test before the first training, (2) post-test directly after the study period and (3) 2 weeks after the end of the study period.
The results showed that EMS training increases strength of the tested muscle groups and significantly improved the maximum power output of participants. This is highly relevant for sports performance, as well as the daily requirement for the muscular system. Most notably, it was found that EMS training was the only training method that succeeded in improving the speed factor within overall performance. Another interesting finding was the EMS training group was the only group to show improvements after the conclusion of the 4-week training intervention, which indicated EMS training requires a longer recovery period as the training effects have a delayed onset.
A range of different strength parameters were tested in this EMS research project and some of the most interesting and significant results were found for maximum strength and maximum power outputs. Compared to the other training methods that were tested in this research, the EMS training accounted for similar and even better test results than traditional strength training methods. The authors also found EMS training to be more intense than classical strength training and thus requires longer recovery
It is generally known and extensively research that physically active lifestyle, and regular exercise is the most effective way to fight the natural and age-related decline of muscle mass. However, most often, it’s the physical limitations that a large number of elderly individuals are unable or unwilling to train.
Kemmler and Von Stengle, Institute of Medical Physics, Friedrich-Alexander University)
Kemmler and Von Stengle have focused on assessing the effects of EMS training on the whole body, specifically the strength parameters and body composition/muscle mass in elderly individuals. This was conducted on 30 females with an average age of 65 for a period of 14 weeks.
It was observed that:
In this research, it was observed that:
These results indicate the effectiveness of EMS training for individuals over 60. Being able to perform risk-free strength training beyond age-related barriers, EMS has proved to be effective for females and males respectively. Both study groups showed improvements in body composition (body fat, muscle mass, waist circumference), as well as in physical capacity (strength, power and aerobic capacity).