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The History and Evolution of EMS Training

Updated: Oct 18, 2022

New revolutionary physical fitness training and exercise trends have happened every few years since the reintroduction of the Olympic Games in the 19th century. Formalised training methods based on scientific research were applied to ensure that the human body properly maximised the routines performed for strengthening. As technology develops, so are the tools and machine equipment necessary for the individual to achieve his or her fitness goals.

Electrical muscle stimulation or EMS training is the latest trend in exercise that’s steadily gaining popularity, especially among busy professionals who have little time to exercise. Professional athletes were the first to use this technology in the 20th century as part of their physical training and therapy. Physical training and exercise never go out of style that’s why when EMS training was introduced in gyms and training centres, it attracted a lot of fitness enthusiasts because of its efficiency and effectiveness.

There are a lot of questions about EMS training— Is it really an effective weight-loss solution? How can it help tone the body in under 20 minutes? Will it have the same results as the traditional training exercise done in 4 hours or more? These are legitimate questions that can be answered based on scientific studies about EMS. And yes, EMS training is effective when done consistently, just like the conventional way of spending time at the gym. The good news is that EMS can give you a full-body workout achieving maximum results in a short amount of time.

The discovery of EMS and its historical timeline

  • 1761- EMS was discovered by Luigi Galvani, an Italian physicist, and pioneer of bioelectromagnetics, as scientific evidence that electric currents can stimulate muscle movement.

  • 1833 - Duchenne de Boulogne, a French neurologist, continued Galvani’s research. He experimented with ‘electropuncture’, an electric shock technique administered by using sharp electrodes beneath the skin to stimulate the muscles. Throughout this period, a series of electrical muscle stimulation techniques were discovered by scientists and became a popular form of therapy.

  • 1960s - Functional electrical stimulation (FES) was developed in the United States for stroke patients. Research results were first published in late 1970, which encouraged other groups to explore FES treatment for people with spinal cord injuries.

  • 1974 - Clyde Norman Shealy, an American neurosurgeon, developed the transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation unit or TENS unit for pain relief.

  • 1976 - EMS was first used in the Olympic Games. The USSR Olympic athletes under Dr. Yakov Kots were the first to use EMS in sports. His technique became known as the Russian Stim or Kots Current, in which he applied 2500 MHz frequency for the athletes.

  • 1990s - EMS training was introduced in gyms and physiotherapy. However, it was only in the mid-2000 that it gradually became known to many as a new training method using advanced technology, in addition to its prominence with professional athletes who use EMS in their sports training and recovery.

In 2019, the global EMS device market was valued at $666.2 million. Aside from physical fitness, EMS is used by physiotherapists for pain relief management in sports medicine.

Electrical Muscle Stimulation benefits

The positive benefits of EMS include:

  • Muscle strengthening

  • Muscle growth

  • Improves blood circulation

  • Prevents muscle atrophy

  • Reduces muscle soreness

  • Tones the muscles

The Australian government is encouraging its citizens to have an active lifestyle by promoting exercise guidelines for adults 18-64 years old. The recommendations include muscle-strengthening activities at least two days each week and 1.25 and 2.5 hours of high-intensity physical activity every day or a combination of vigorous or moderate physical activities. With EMS training, a 15- to 20-minute workout session at least twice a week fulfils these recommendations with efficiency and maximum results.

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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