Essentials of EMS
What Is EMS & How Do We Train With It?
EMS is known as Electro Muscle Stimulation. It is also called electromyostimulation, electrical muscle stimulation, and neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES). Whole-body EMS training has already established itself in Europe and the US is its next big destination. Essentially, you change into a suit. This suit has electrodes in key areas that stimulate your major muscle groups as you workout. The stimulation is controlled by a qualified trainer who utilizes your feedback to adjust the suit’s power on an iPad or computer. What’s most compelling is the amount of time we save with EMS workouts. Using very basic bodyweight movements, EMS can provide a proficient workout in 20 minutes.
TENS vs EMS
What do we know about the human body? We know it functions on various forms of energy, such as electricity. There have been a number of technological advancements that can tap into our body’s software to induce a specific response.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) uses electrical currents to treat pain.These electrical currents stimulate the sensory nerves responsible for sending pain signals to the brain, resulting in temporary pain relief. Many people label TENS and EMS interchangeably. Although both devices use electricity, they have very different purposes and provoke very different responses from the body. EMS uses electricity to cause an involuntary muscle contraction. In a clinical setting, it has been used to combat muscle atrophy. In a fitness studio, it is being used to expedite the effects of traditional exercise and condense them into a fraction of a time frame.
Who Would Benefit The Most From EMS
Person #1: The person who only has time for short workouts. EMS reduces the amount of time needed for a solid workout due to its potential to drastically induce fatigue and muscle damage. This is great for people who cannot prioritize exercise due to work, family, etc. The “I have no time” excuse is squashed with EMS training.
Person #2: The person who physically cannot/should not handle relatively heavy loads. This person might be coming back from injury/surgery or may be part of the senior population. EMS allows the muscles to experience similar activation and damage compared to traditional lifting. EXCEPT with EMS, there are no barbells to lift or push, thus sparing your joints from potential aggravation or injury.
Person #3: The person who hates or is intimidated by the weight room. Although we believe everyone needs a healthy and regular dose of resistance training, the idea that everyone needs to lift weights is simply incorrect. In a similar scenario, maybe this person just does not feel comfortable working out and getting all sweaty in a room full of other people. EMS studios never have that issue, since it is usually 1-on-1 or small group sessions in a room.
Person #4: The athlete looking for a competitive edge. There is no way that the current existing EMS technology can completely replace the weight room for an athlete nor can we see that happening in the future. Being athletic has other crucial components, such as reactive ability and proprioceptive ability, which we do not believe EMS to be optimal for. Can EMS be strategically supplemented into an existing athletic program? Yes. Every slight edge over the competition matters. A slight edge may be the difference between a college scholarship or having to try out for the team.
The Future Of EMS
We are now on the cusp of revolutionizing exercise with more than just smart programming and metal bars. Our nervous system is king. Want to lift a lot of weight? That’s mostly up to our nervous system. Want to move fast? That’s mostly up to our nervous system. Have a biomechanical imbalance? Our nervous systems are probably involved. Does this part of your body lack mobility? We can point a finger at our nervous system. EMS allows us to tap into our nervous system and elicit a greater response. EMS has been around for a while in clinical settings. Its application in a weight room or fitness studio is about to take off in the not-so-distant future. Skeptical? I provide the research here. Will you be part of the launch?
About the Author:
Alex has a B.S. in Exercise Science from Carroll University. He has achieved the gold standard certifications in both exercise as a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (NSCA-CSCS) and nutrition as a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN). He is currently aiming to extend his credentials, as well. In addition, Alex has a very strong background in soccer. In his free time, he is most likely writing articles, chasing his fitness goals, or growing his brand, ATPerformance.