Updated: Dec 23, 2021
Electronic muscle stimulation (EMS) has a plethora of benefits, including strengthening weak muscles and improving physical performance. In fact, an article from the Australian Journal of Physiotherapy has acknowledged that the use of electrical stimulation is already a long-established procedure for the management of a variety of musculoskeletal problems.
How does the EMS machine work?
Electronic muscle stimulation makes use of an EMS machine to promote muscle strength and toning. This is done by inducing contractions via electrical impulses through electrodes applied directly to the skin, notably in key muscle groups. The impulses produced by the machine mimic actions from the central nervous system. The contractions or tightening of the muscles can be short and frequent or long and sustained.
EMS machines assist in muscle strengthening, but how is it done? One theory is that when you maximally contract your muscle, only approximately 30% of your muscle fibres contract, leaving 70% dormant and awaiting mobilisation once the contracting fibres reach a state of fatigue. EMS machines allow you to electrically stimulate the resting muscle fibres and enhance their strength. However, there are also full-body EMS suits that specifically optimise the benefits of EMS training.
Another potential reason for how an EMS machine effectively works is through the utilisation of nerve conduction rates. The contraction pattern produced by the machine becomes your memory engram, and the more frequently your muscle recruits, the more adept your body is at finding the fastest way to recruit that same muscle. Coupled with EMS training which specifically targets muscles directly and intensively, 20-minute body workouts allow you to reap the same benefits as 90 minutes of sweating it out through traditional gym workouts.
EMS training vs personal-use EMS machines
EMS training has gained traction among a considerable number of individuals — not only athletes and bodybuilders — to improve their physiology and strengthen muscles. The surge in the popularity of EMS training led to a rise in the number of EMS machines available in Melbourne for commercial or consumer use.
If you are on the fence about purchasing an EMS machine, your doubts have grounds. EMS machines will not magically give you rock-hard abs. EMS machines may cause muscles to contract and strengthen but they are not sufficient to create a major change in your overall physical appearance without proper nutrition and professional EMS training.
EMS training, on the other hand, is highly effective and safe in improving physical performance — something that EMS machines alone cannot deliver. This is because EMS training has one critical factor in its arsenal — EMS trainers that can customise the type and intensity level of your workout to help you achieve your desired physiological outcomes.
Considerations to make before purchasing personal-use machines
Purchasing an EMS machine means that you have to consider a wide spectrum of factors before buying. First, the intensity level. Before deciding to purchase an EMS machine, you should already have an idea of the body part that you intend to stimulate and the reason why you need EMS for that particular area. Remember that an electronic muscle stimulator can cost up to hundreds of dollars, so you need to be very certain that the machine will be of great use — and for a very long time. In addition, the frequency of the electrical impulses has different effects. If you are purchasing a machine for post-workout recovery or rehabilitation, machines with low-intensity programs will suit you just fine. Lower frequency stimulations promote muscle recovery while high-frequency stimulations enhance the dissolution of adipose tissue around muscles.
Second, consider the channel. Very few EMS machines offer the opportunity to stimulate multiple areas of the body at the same time. It is highly recommended to focus on one region of your body at a given time. However, if you really have to target different muscle groups in the same region using different intensities, a duo channel EMS machine would be the better choice. Better yet, spend your hard-earned dollars on an effective EMS training programme in Melbourne.
Third, the gel pads matter. The gel pads are used for the adhesion of the electrodes to the surface of your skin, which is essentially how you get the stimulation in the first place. The gel pads must be of good quality with a size that is sufficient to cover your targeted muscles. A wise pick would be models with replaceable or interchangeable gel pads. You would also have to make sure that replacement pads are easily accessible and available when you need them.
A final note: consumer-use EMS machines, though often marketed for muscle toning, fat reduction, and rehabilitation assistance, do not come with tailored exercises that help you with your fitness goals. For maximum results, a tailored EMS training programme is the wisest move.
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 90 minutes of sweating it out at a traditional gym.