What is EMS (Electrical Muscle Stimulation)?
It is also known as neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) and is a full body training exercise using electric impulses.
How does it work?
We move consistently throughout day and as such, our central nervous system constantly sends electrical impulses to control our muscle action. EMS uses this natural principle and is able to intensify this process to reach deep muscle layers which are hard to activate through conventional training. This is achieved by applying NMES electrodes to the body directly above the muscle.
Working very much the same as an isometric exercise, you can target muscle groups / areas that you want to work on. While many other exercises improve core strength, EMS does it faster and safer.
Read more here.
Who Uses EMS?
Generally, whether you are a bodybuilder or professional athlete, a stay at home mum or working professional, almost everyone can use EMS for the following reasons:
- As a strength training tool
- Supplement regular workout routine to enhance effects
- Improve muscle strength/tone, lose weight,
- Jumpstart their workout routine after being sedentary for a period of time or have little time to work out
- A rehabilitation and preventive tool for partially or totally immobilized patients
- A post-exercise recovery tool for athletes; rapid healing of sports -related injuries or treatment of specific muscle groups that cannot be exercised due to injury (Me!)
The list is not limited to the above and everyone should consult their doctors before embarking on a new health regime ( especially those with pacemakers)
Benefits of EMS
- Effortless inch loss
- Lifting, toning and firming of muscles
- Building of muscle
- Enhanced blood circulation and oxygenation
- Raised metabolism
- Enhanced detoxification
- Boosted strength, performance and energy level
- Strengthened core muscles, to reduce back pain and improve posture
Arguments For and Against Electrical Muscle Stimulation
There are quite a number of studies done on the effectiveness of EMS and while (from what I read), the consensus is that it is generally effective for rehab, able to improve the quality of training in athletes, prevent muscle atrophy while being done professionally and in most cases, controlled settings.
Home EMS devices were subject to the users’ own personal experience and therefore, results varied from positive to ineffective (prob due to uncontrolled factors such as food management, lifestyle and degree of electrical current applied during usage)
I thought I let you be the judge and so, these are some interesting academic research papers, thoughts by coaches and industry experts and useful articles in the list below.
7. EMS claims Exposed by American Council on Exercise Study (note: this is for home EMS units)
There are still a lot more but I thought that the above is a pretty good list to get you informed on EMS, if you have any better ones, feel free to let me know 🙂
Personal Thoughts – Does it work for me?
To be determined…
I am going to start a 2X weekly training session at PowerZeit for two months, of which the first session will be later tonight (pretty excited!) I chose this form of exercise as :
1. I like to try new things and want to see for myself whether it works or not
2. It is low impact and therefore very much suitable for me to work on increasing my strength while taking care not to strain my legs and neck
3. It is convenient as it only takes 20mins per session and in this busy period of the new year just beginning and Chinese New Year around the corner, the last thing I want to do is spend long hours exercising.
Stay tuned for updates along the way! Have you tried EMS before? Do give me your thoughts.
Thanks for reading!
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Other Info taken from the following resources: