Benefits of EMS Training
What is EMS Training?
Electromyostimulation (EMS) provides electrical stimulations to develop the basic muscle quality that is associated with training (intramuscular blood flow, maximum strength, endurance) with the help of repetitive contractions.
EMS methodology can be categorised into two distinct groups - local and whole-body. Local EMS methodology focuses on the stimulation of defined muscle groups using single electrodes whereas whole-body EMS methodology stimulates and activates several muscle groups at the same time, often through an electrode belt system with both agonist and antagonist activated simultaneously. The type of muscle contraction can be categorised into isometric and dynamic EMS (including isokinetic). EMS methodology can also be combined with specific training such as conventional weight training or plyometric jump training.
EMS has received an increasing amount of attention in recent years due its potential to be used in different situations. E.g.:
» Strength training for both healthy populations and athletes due to its chronic use potentially inducing neuromuscular adaptations that are similar to voluntary strength training.
» Rehabilitation and prevention for patients who are totally or partially immobilised due to chronic use having the potential to preserve muscle mass and function during periods of reduced muscle usage.
» Testing as part of evaluating neural and/or muscular function in vivo to induce standardised muscle contractions where electrical and mechanical properties can be measured.
» Post exercise recovery for athletes as acute application has the potential to increase muscle blood flow and metabolic washout which, in turn, may accelerate recovery kinetics during and after exercise.
» EMS can also be used as protective strength training. EMS can be used in healthy subjects and in several situations associated with muscle function loss. It is also suggested that there is interest in post-traumatic or post-surgery lower-limb immobilisations, however there are few controlled studies clearly showing the overall benefits.
» Recent studies have focused on the effects of EMS on the elderly population, specifically in those suffering from sarcopenic obesity. Results of the randomised controlled FORMOsA- sarcopenic obesity study have been presented confirming that whole-body EMS is a safe and attractive method for increasing muscle mass and functional capacity and that it has a favourable effect in the metabolic syndrome. The technology was also found to prevent cardiometabolic risk factors in older women unable or unwilling to exercise using conventional methods.
Guidelines for Safe and Effective WB-EMS
In General: Safe and effective Whole-Body-Ems Training must be advised and accompanied by a trained and licensed WB-EMS Trainer or scientifically trained personnel familiar with this field of application.
Before the first training sessions of every beginner, an anamnesis of possible contraindications based on a list of questions must be taken and then documented in writing, confirmed by client’s signature and archived. Where relevant anomalies are found, a doctor is to be given consulted and training only be commenced if clearance has been given.
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