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EMS Training: Are there side effects?

Updated: Oct 18, 2022

We’ve learned so much about EMS training in our previous blogs— from its history and evolution, its benefits, the EMS machine, and training suit, and the muscles it help strengthen and build. However, apart from all the popularity and recommendations that EMS training has been getting from elite athletes and celebrities, many are still curious whether EMS training has any side effects or is just another fitness fad.

Firstly, it’s important to remember that EMS was intentionally invented to stimulate the muscles for therapy. EMS training is science-based, which means that the technology and the process of how electrical stimulation can be used to help develop major muscle groups and recovery at the same time are factual and are continuously being studied.

Secondly, EMS training is part of the ever-growing list of fitness programs where individuals can freely choose according to their fitness goals and lifestyle. Everyone is welcome to try and experience EMS training provided with guidelines regarding health conditions. But, people with fast-paced and busy lives who still want to incorporate fitness into their schedule will benefit greatly from this type of training.

To reiterate what’s so special about EMS training, it uses low-frequency electrical stimulation that mimics the natural electrical impulses to trick the brain for the muscles into contracting. The individual wears an EMS training suit with electrodes placed in major muscle groups where the stimulation will help in strengthening and toning. A twenty-minute workout with EMS training is equivalent to a 4 hours session or one full workout in the gym.

Here are some of the burning questions about EMS training:

Who should avoid EMS training?

We advise pregnant women and individuals with existing health problems, such as the following, not to take part in EMS training:

  • Cardiovascular diseases

  • Neurological issues

  • Respiratory diseases

  • Patients with blood clots and open wounds

  • Epilepsy

  • Diabetes

  • Having difficulty performing physical activities

  • Individuals with electrical implants and pacemakers

EMS could trigger these conditions, which could put the person more at risk. The good news is that it’s great for women to enrol in EMS after giving birth to help build back their muscles and tighten their bodies. Always consult with a doctor when engaging in any strenuous physical activity or training program.

Can EMS burn the skin or cause skin allergies from the electrodes?

EMS is safe to use and is FDA-approved. EMS uses low-frequency electric stimulation of up to 120 Hz to activate muscle contraction. The EMS training program is designed with different levels– starting from warm-up ranging between 1-10 Hz and optimal strength training between 50-120 Hz. It’s always safe to work out with an EMS trainer who knows how to operate the machine and which frequency you need for conditioning and training. Don’t go beyond the muscle threshold to get immediate results. Doing this could cause inflammation and damage to the muscles. EMS doesn’t hurt but expects to experience pleasant tingling or pulse and minimal shock coursing from the electrodes to your body. If you’re unsure whether the electrodes might trigger some allergies, discuss them with your trainer first.

How often should you do EMS training?

Doing 1-2 times per week for 20 minutes is advisable. Remember that the muscles need time to recover from the electric stimulation. Take 4 days between the next session to help your muscles adapt to the electrical impulses and avoid overtraining.

Overtraining with EMS can cause muscular tension and tear muscle fibres which could lead to injury. Here are some known EMS overtraining risks:

  • Rhabdomyolysis - this is caused by overexertion of the muscles that leads the muscle cells to disintegrate. Severe rhabdomyolysis can lead to kidney failure.

  • Kidney damage - When high levels of creatine kinase (CK) are released beyond the normal level due to high-intensity training, it releases small muscle particles that can go into the bloodstream and damage the kidneys.

You should immediately go to the doctor if you’re experiencing alarming pain or palpitations after EMS training.

Volt Fitness is a luxury EMS studio in Melbourne that offers short, intensive training sessions with maximum efficiency and sustainable results in a feel-good atmosphere. 20 minutes at Volt Fitness are as good as 4 hours of sweating it out at a traditional gym.

Ready to start working on your fitness goals? Take a look at our training options or chat with us on (03) 8393 5131.

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