EMS training: Fit by electrical muscle stimulation?

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The EMS training is gaining in popularity - more and more people slip into skin-tight suits and vests with built-in electrodes after work, so that power pulses train their muscles and melt their pounds. 20 minutes of electrical muscle stimulation should be sufficient per week to replace classic exercise. What's wrong with this new form of fitness training? Can EMS really speed up weight loss and effectively support muscle growth? Here you can find out if the "fitness revolution" keeps its promise and what should be considered during EMS training.

What is EMS training?

EMS stands for Electro Myo stimulation - also often referred to as electromuscular stimulation, electrical stimulation training or electrical muscle building.

The underlying principle is simple: during physical exertion, our nerves transmit electrical impulses from the brain to our muscles. The muscles contract, they contract.

In EMS training, the physical effort supported electronically: While performing short movement exercises, a low current pulse is sent from the outside to the muscles to increase their natural contraction and train them.

EMS: Training under power

The stimulating current impulses, the so-called stimulation current, originate in the EMS training from electrodes, which are worked into a special functional clothing. These clothes usually consist of a tight body suit, which is sprayed with water for better conductivity, as well as a vest, waist belt and cuffs on arms and legs, in which the electrodes sit.

This clothing is wired with a device that generates the current impulses. Each muscle group can be controlled individually via regulators. Depending on the device, these are for example:

  • chest
  • belly
  • move
  • Shoulder
  • po
  • poor
  • legs

Success in physiotherapy

Its origin is electrical muscle stimulation in physiotherapy. There, stimulation current has been used for many years to - specifically after an injury or a knee surgery - specifically rebuild the muscles or prevent muscle atrophy.

For this, however, no special suits are needed, but electrodes are glued individually to the skin at the appropriate place. When short-term rehabilitation measure to build muscle EMS has already achieved good results.

Effect on the muscles

If muscles are always stimulated to contract - whether by physical activity or by electrical impulses from electrodes - they are strengthened in the long run. This is how the muscles are trained at EMS, without them having to be moved much.

The EMS training is one of many experts good effectiveness for building muscle mass, especially for strengthening the back muscles, and even certified for the prevention of disease. This is at least suggested by initial studies at various German universities, even though research in this area - above all with regard to the long-term effect - is far from over.

The EMS training is considered very efficient and should let the muscles grow much faster than normal strength training. The different muscle groups can be trained individually or simultaneously. In addition, you should be able to achieve the deep muscle layers when training with the electrodes - much better than other sports. First effects should be apparent after only a few sessions.

EMS training: how it works!

The EMS training combines stimulation impulses via the wired functional clothing with the simultaneous performance of exercises. Used here are classics such as situps and squats, but also isometric holding exercises, so tension exercises. In general, four seconds of current flow and exercises are alternated with four second break.

A trainer shows which exercises to perform and also regulates the flow of energy for each muscle group. Usually, the should Current flow in the body no pain cause a tingling sensation but is considered normal.

It is recommended to carry out EMS training once or twice a week for 15 to 20 minutes each. More frequent sessions are not recommended, as electrostimulation training puts a heavy strain on the body and requires appropriate recovery periods. Sufficient breaks are all the more necessary if EMS is combined with a normal sports program.

Fit and slim without effort?

EMS training sounds like fitness for Lazy. But you should not underestimate EMS. The current impulses increase the muscle contraction triggered by the exercises. The exercises are clearly more strenuous and even light-looking movements can become a sweaty act of strength.

The calorie consumption during EMS training should be about 17 percent higher than a comparable load without additional electrodes. As a rule, more calories are consumed in conventional sports, because usually a normal sports program takes considerably longer than 20 minutes.

EMS instead of sports?

Of course, the idea is tempting, instead of spending hours jogging, swimming or dumbbell training, simply sending electricity pulses through his body for 20 minutes. But can electromuscular stimulation actually replace sport?

To the Building muscle mass According to the current state of knowledge, EMS is perfectly suitable. Higher muscle mass in turn means higher energy consumption - even at rest. In that sense, EMS training can also do that Support weight loss.

No substitute for endurance and coordination training

One should be aware that electrical muscle stimulation only strengthens the strength. EMS can but do not replace endurance training. The targeted strengthening of the condition is important for the vessels as well as for a healthy cardiovascular system. And also the muscle building should be more effective, if one the EMS training combined with a classic strength training.

Experts also point out that the Coordination trained specifically must become. Anyone who wants to strengthen their muscles for a particular sport with EMS should therefore imitate movements that are typical of this sport during exercise.

Furthermore, the joints are not burdened by the EMS training, but also not trained and can take damage in the sequence. Therefore, EMS training should only support, but not replace, the regular sports program.

Risks and side effects of EMS

On the Internet, numerous before-and-after images and positive testimonials testify to the possibilities of EMS training. These people may be skeptical or not - in fact, there are many advocates of this training method among sports scientists.

Nevertheless, some people also report negative experiences. Critics warn against the following side effects of EMS:

  • Nausea, headache and circulatory problems
  • increased risk of overloading or damage to the muscles as natural mechanisms to protect against overstretching are overridden
  • strong sore muscles
  • muscular imbalance (uneven training of the body)
  • Ligament injuries due to regression of bone and connective tissue due to lack of training of the joints

The relatively intensive EMS training also leads to an increased release of the enzyme creatine kinase (CK). This enzyme is broken down by the kidneys - experts warn that excessively high CK levels permanently kidney damage being able to lead.

However, there is no reason to worry about a possible effect of the current on the organ and cardiac musculature: these are not affected by the low-frequency current pulses.

4 important principles for healthy EMS training

  1. Drink a lot is fundamentally important - especially when you do sports. Even more important, however, is the EMS training. Because during training, large amounts of water can accumulate in the muscles. This can cause circulatory problems if not drank sufficiently before EMS training. Also, with regard to the CK levels raised by EMS training, it is particularly important to drink enough fluid to support the kidneys. If the urine darkens as a result of the EMS training, you should definitely consult a doctor.
  2. It is important enough recoveries between training sessions and not more often than once or twice a week.
  3. The training is allowed not too intense his. To endure pain, to put the controls on a higher level and to be able to achieve supposedly greater effects, harms the health more than you use.
  4. The EMS training should always under expert guidance completed and seen only as support for a traditional sports program.

If you adhere to these four basic rules, the EMS training for healthy people is considered harmless.

For whom is EMS suitable?

EMS is not just for everyone, in some cases electrical muscle stimulation is even considered harmful - for example in heart problems. For example, people with:

  • Pacemaker
  • a cardiovascular disease
  • increased risk of thrombosis
  • epilepsy
  • cancer
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • spasticity
  • implants
  • skin problems
  • sensory disturbances
  • feverish cold

Even during pregnancy EMS training is not recommended.

Basically, it is advisable for anyone who wants to try the electric muscle stimulation to first consult with his doctor.

EMS: costs and providers

EMS is offered in special EMS studios. Often the training can also be done in the gym. The cost of a 20-minute EMS training vary depending on the provider, but are on average at about 20 to 25 euros. If you train once a week, you pay about 1,000 to 1,300 euros a year.

Nevertheless, it is not recommended to buy a home appliance and to train on your own. The EMS training should only be done under professional guidance. With good providers, you get an individually tailored training program that slowly increases.

When choosing an EMS studio, it may be helpful to pay attention to a TÜV certification. Not only the equipment is tested, but also the training of the trainers, the training program and the hygiene standards.

Conclusion: EMS to support muscle building

If you do not have much time for exercise or if you can not or do not want to move for other reasons, an EMS training - if it is done under professional guidance - can be a good way to train your muscles or support fat loss. Above all, abdominal and back muscles can benefit from this form of fitness training - ideal for people who (for example, for professional reasons) sit a lot.

The electromuscular stimulation is relatively expensive. In addition, one should not forget that the EMS training is no substitute for conventional strength training and especially not for coordination or endurance training - as well as for exercise in the fresh air.

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