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Our muscles contract when the brain sends an electrical signal to them, and electric muscle stimulation (EMS) tries to emulate that. Thus, in EMS, electrodes are attached to muscles, and these electrodes are powered by an apparatus. EMS apparatus sends electric signals of various frequencies and thus forcing muscles to contract at different rates. It can be used to tone/strengthen any muscle group.
However, as the saying goes, “no gain, without pain,” benefits of EMS are exaggerated. No person was ever able to get a perfect muscular body with the help of such an apparatus. But it does not mean that EMS does not work. It works, but not as efficiently as claimed.
If you are building muscles, trying to lose fat, EMS has a similar role as supplements, vitamins, physiotherapy. It will work, but not in the absence of adequate workout. But it may do wonder for some if used along with right training regime.
Researchers say that EMS should not be regarded as a replacement for an exercise, rather something that would have an additional benefit. EMS may help improve muscles mass and strength when combined with conventional training. Further, it may also help recover faster in the post-workout phase.
Researchers think that EMS stimulates the local metabolism, it strengthens the nerve impulses, it also forces all muscles to contract simultaneously. Some experienced athletes also reported that EMS helped them identify the weaker areas of their body, and thus raising awareness. So, EMS will help, but you need to keep your expectations low.
For best results, you need to know a few things about using EMS. Firstly, use EMS at least after eight hours of workout. So that muscles can rest a bit.
Use EMS on one muscle group at a time, preferably a muscle group that you trained a day before. This will increase benefit from the workout, and at the same time promote faster recovery.
Quite like a workout start with a warmup. It means start with the lowest current and increase intensity gradually.
Although EMS will not give the same kind of stress to muscles like a good workout, however, EMS differs in a way that it makes all muscles fibers of a given muscle group to move. Generally, when we exercise, only about 70% of muscle fibers work, whereas, 30% serve as a reserve, ready to help when the bulk of muscle fibers are tired. On the contrary, EMS can force 100% of fibers to contract simultaneously.
In conclusion, EMS is no magic trick that will increase your muscle mass without exercise. But it isn’t a scam either. Combine it with a right kind of workout, and it will improve your results. EMS machines can be expensive, so do your research before investing in them. When it comes to investment, you may also need to keep in mind that protein shakes, creatinine, and anabolic steroids may do more good at much lower investment.