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What is electrostimulation?

What is electrostimulation?

Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS), also known as neuromuscular electrical stimulation or electromyostimulation, is a protocol that triggers muscle contraction using electrical pulses that directly stimulate your motor neurons. An EMS unit is a device that provides this from the comfort of your home.

How does electrostimulation work?

During a normal exercise session, your brain sends signals to your muscles to contract them voluntarily. With muscle stimulation , electrical impulses sent by a device cause your muscles to contract involuntarily .

These contractions can be fast, long, floating. It is the type of contraction that determines whether the session will result in a better warm-up, increased strength, or better recovery.

Before we continue, I want to clarify one thing: a TENS unit is often confused with an EMS unit, but make no mistake: they are not the same thing. TENS is short for “transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation” and it is a measure of nerve stimulation, not muscle stimulation.

Although TENS may seem like an inexpensive alternative to EMS, it is actually more of a non-medicated pain relief solution.

  • EMS technology uses electrical impulses that cause muscles to contract in order to strengthen them
  • TENS stimulates the nerves to reduce the ability to transmit pain, thereby providing relief to the user.

When you want to perform an electrostimulation session, conductive, rubbery gels are placed on the skin at each end of the muscle area you want to stimulate.

When the program starts, very small amounts of electrical current pass from one pad to the next and complete a circuit using your muscle tissue as a conduit. The motor neurons found in this circuit are stimulated and contract.

muscle contraction

Current flows at specific frequencies (Hz) and pulse durations (microseconds) depending on the program you choose. Muscle stimulation acts directly on the muscles, bypassing the body's energy conservation system, so there is no limit to the percentage of fibers that can be activated.

Varying frequencies can change the types of muscle fibers that are stimulated. Three frequency ranges stimulate the 3 types of muscle fibers forming most skeletal muscles, namely slow (Type 1), medium and fast (type 2) twitch fibers.

This stimulation creates muscle contractions that may be rapid and frequent, rapid with long pauses, or contractions that are held for several seconds or minutes at a time.

Normally, your body pulls your muscles by sending electrical impulses from your brain through your central nervous system (CNS). But an electrostimulation device allows you to trigger deep, intense, full muscle contractions without actually activating (or stressing) your CNS, which is also beneficial for your joints and tendons.

abdominal electrostimulator

While electrostimulation devices won't let you sit on the couch eating candy while you build biceps like an Avenger, it can help with warm-up, cool-down, relaxation, strength , and yes, even burn fat.

Interestingly enough, your body doesn't know the difference between a voluntary contraction and an electrical contraction. Your body only recognizes that there is a stimulus and reacts accordingly. If this seems a little far-fetched to you, don't worry, there is science to back this up.

Electrostimulation: What is its use?

Warm-up: increased blood flow which increases the temperature of the muscle and allows it to work more efficiently.

Toning: Muscle stimulation tones your skin and helps combat the orange peel appearance. The results obtained have encouraged professionals in the beauty field to exploit these benefits; electrostimulation is now used as a real anti-aging treatment for the face .

facial electrostimulator

Strength: Stimulation of the Type IIb muscle fiber and its creatine phosphate energy delivery system. This trains the muscle fibers to provide energy anaerobically and generate significantly more force during efforts that last up to a minute.

Resistance: This program trains type IIa fast-twitch muscle fibers which can provide energy both aerobically and anaerobically. Endurance: this program stimulates slow-twitch type I muscle fibers which are most used in efforts lasting several minutes to several hours.

Recovery: This use features rapid contractions that draw blood from the capillary beds and make room for fresh blood, providing the muscle with the delicious oxygen and nutrients your muscles need to recover

Massage: Probably the most popular program of all. This program is dedicated to the production of endorphins. Variable pulses and flutters increase blood flow and circulation to decrease pain, stiffness and soreness.

Fat burner: electrostimulation will help you in your fat loss goal. Below, the results of a study on the subject.

Does electrostimulation work?

In order to answer the frequent and legitimate question, whether electrostimulation is effective or not, below are the results of two studies on the subject.

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning investigated whether EMS could help elite athletes gain a performance advantage. They concluded that "the analysis shows that trained and elite athletes, despite their already high fitness levels, are able to significantly improve their strength levels to the same extent as possible with untrained subjects.

" At the end of this study, the researchers stated that "EMS offers a promising alternative to traditional strength training for improving the strength parameters and motor skills of athletes."

EMS offers a promising alternative to traditional strength training for improving strength parameters and motor skills.

Another French study used an electrostimulator to investigate the effect of a 5-week training program of electrostimulation on muscle strength (quadriceps), kicking speed, sprinting and vertical jump performance among football players. 20 male footballers were randomly divided into two training groups:

1. EMS group: The first group stimulated the quadriceps muscles for 5 weeks (3 sessions of 12 minutes per week) in addition to their usual football training.

2. Group without EMS: The second group did not use muscle stimulation, they only practiced their usual football session. The athletes were tested after three weeks and five weeks of training and, in both evaluations, the first group that used electrostimulation showed significant improvements in quadriceps muscle strength parameters as well as speed performance. ball.

These improvements were not observed in the second group. The results confirm that muscle electrostimulation can indeed lead to significant improvement in cardiovascular and musculoskeletal fitness.

Does electrostimulation make you lose weight?

In order to answer the common question, namely, does electrostimulation make you slimmer ?

A 2015 study titled “Effects of High-Frequency Current Therapy on Abdominal Obesity in Women” provides a different example of the effectiveness of EMS.

Instead of fitness levels, this study looked at whether muscle stimulation could help you lose body fat . In this study, a group of subjects received 30 minutes of high-frequency current therapy via a series of electrodes placed on their stomach. The subjects did these sessions three times a week for six weeks.

After these six weeks, the researchers measured the subject's waist circumference, body mass index, subcutaneous fat mass (fat under the skin), and total body fat percentage.

Surprisingly, without changing their lifestyle or diet, electrostimulation actually caused significant effects on decreasing waist circumference, abdominal obesity, subcutaneous fat mass and body fat percentage, leading the researchers to conclude: “The use of high-frequency current therapy may be beneficial in reducing levels of abdominal obesity. "

Good news if you want to use electrostimulation to lose weight on your stomach! 😉

Other studies have shown that EMS is useful for everything from pain management to increasing muscle blood flow for warming up before performance-related activities. If you are still wondering

How to use electrostimulation during Fitness?

electrostimulation during fitness

1. Exercise + EMS

Although most electrostimulation devices discourage you from using them during a workout, Elec'Tonic advises you to use them before and after. This can be used as a warm-up and cool-down or as part of the workout itself.

For example, you can position the electrostimulator on your pectorals , set to a lower setting (like a massage or recovery program) before you start lifting the weights.

Then do your workout, immediately followed by an electrostimulation session. Because EMS works directly on muscle fibers, bypassing your body's natural energy conservation system, it would be a great way to "finish" the workout.

2. Isometry + EMS

The combination of EMS and isometrics (holding a muscle in a static posture) is an effective way to increase the amount of lactic acid that builds up in a muscle. And probably due to the fact that it is extremely uncomfortable, it can help improve your ability to tolerate lactate buildup during hard workouts or intense competitions.

To use muscle stimulation in this way, first enter an isometric position and then begin your electrostimulation session. For example, you can lean on a wall in a seated position with your stimulator on your legs or combine EMS with a lunge exercise, push-up holds, etc.

3. EMS + Rest

If you're suffering from an injury or watching a great new series on Netflix but want to work out!

Most of the time I recommend just getting up and moving your body, stretching in front of the TV or turning it off and going outside to move around. Another option is available to you: use your new sophisticated electrostimulation device .

In a sedentary position, you can use EMS to keep your muscles activated without even lifting a finger (You will need your finger to turn on the device) :) .

In addition to working your muscles while you recover from an injury (or watching your movie), you can use an EMS device during long car rides, while you do your homework, or even stimulate the muscles in your legs while working at your standing workstation.

Some tips for use

Train a particular muscle group three times a week. If you train a muscle group once a week, you will relax between sessions. Twice a week is enough, but three is ideal. Wait at least 48 hours between workouts.

Training three times a week will leave 48 hours between two of the sessions and 72 hours before the remaining session. Remember, even if you don't "do the work", EMS strength programs provide a training load, so muscle recovery is important.

Stimulate the muscle groups that will benefit you the most. To be efficient with your schedule, prioritize the muscle groups we call the “prime movers” of your favorite sport or activity.

If you're still skeptical, remember that this type of muscle stimulation has been used in physical therapy clinics and laboratories for years, and EMS training is quite safe for the majority of people and uses. That said, it's always a good idea before trying anything new with your body to seek the advice of your doctor.

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