What is the theory of EMS?
EMS sends electrical impulse currents to your body to stimulate the different muscle groups in the most efficient manner. Muscles naturally contract in response to electrical signals sent by the brain, and EMS machines replicate these impulses causing muscles to contract on command.
During traditional strength training the brain sends impulses which stimulate certain muscles to contract. However, not all muscles have a well-developed connection to the brain and these muscles are not activated as easily and therefore they will not develop so well. EMS training stimulates all the major muscle groups and also helps to develop the motoric nerve connections relating to muscle movement. By sending electric impulses directly to these motoric nerves, even the weakly connected muscles are activated. So your muscles experience a much more intensive training stimuli and you get a full-body workout.
What are the benefits of EMS training?
The primary benefits are:
Strengthens and builds muscles to get you to the next level of your fitness, showing significant gains for athletes and fitness enthusiasts of all levels when combined with other training
Excellent for muscle toning, core stability, posture and general fitness
Burns fat, helping weight loss and possibly cellulite reduction
Enhanced calorie burn and boost to metabolism
Enables muscle rehabilitation to speed up injury recovery with zero impact
Balances out the muscular system, targeting specific muscle groups
Efficient (fast) results since the training is intense and condensed
Will I “bulk up” from doing EMS training?
No, you will become more lean and will strengthen and develop more of your muscles rather than necessarily developing larger muscles. However, the effects of EMS will benefit and boost any muscle-building strength training regime that you may be following.
How often should I do EMS training?
Twice a week is suggested as the best balance of time/cost/results. The maximum you can train is every 48 hours since this amount of time is required for recovery between EMS trainings.
How long is an EMS training session and what can I expect?
Studies have shown that 20 minutes is the optimal length of an EMS session.During the training you will feel the electrical current contracting your muscles. It will not feel uncomfortable although it might feel a little strange the first time. Most people quickly come to enjoy the feeling of the muscles being activated. During warm-up and cardio phases of the workout (typically a combined 5-6 minutes) the current is at a lower level and you will perform continual movements. During the strength part of the workout (typically 15 minutes) the electrical current will be stronger and will alternate four seconds on, four seconds off. During the four seconds off you move into the directed position, and you hold that position for the four seconds on. You will do a certain number of repetitions of a particular movement/position before moving on to the next. The training is performed in place, within the boundaries of a typical yoga mat.
How should I expect to feel after an EMS session?
As EMS is quite efficient you might feel soreness in muscles that you not accustomed to feeling, especially the day after the initial sessions. You may experience muscle aches, rather than pain, while the muscles recover after the training.
Does EMS work muscles to fatigue?
Muscle fatigue, and the repair process, is associated with increase in muscle size, and not necessarily strength (although there is of course some relation). EMS is not (in isolation) about building large muscles, it is more about developing stronger muscles and a leaner physique. When a muscle is contracted in traditional strength training, only about 30% of the muscle fibres are in a state of contraction (the remaining 70% are dormant waiting to be called into action when the contracting fibres fatigue). EMS enables very efficient stimulation of many more of what would typically be resting muscle fibres to improve overall muscle strength. The increased strength that EMS has fueled can lead to larger gains in muscle size when combined with traditional strength training.
Who can do EMS?
Pretty much everybody between 18-80 can do EMS, other than those shown in the list of contraindications. Depending on the nature of any injury, EMS can also be used as part of a recovery and rehabilitation process.
Is EMS safe?
Yes completely safe. Probably the safest training you can do as it is very low impact and it is actually invented by physiotherapists and doctors for rehabilitation of patients. There are a list of contraindications that we explain to each client before the first session.
Do I need any special equipment to do EMS?
You will need a special undersuit that is available for purchase at Ride! You wear it every time you train. In the trial session we provide you with a set but thereafter you will need to have purchased your own suit (£40).
Will EMS support, i.e. increase, my performance/ability/agility in other fitness/sports activities I do such as cycling, yoga, golf, tennis and skiing?
Absolutely. Think of this in two ways. Firstly, we have seen many athletes increase already highly trained muscles to greater strength and effectiveness. Testament to the benefits of EMS in other activities comes from the fact that many professional athletes use EMS to increase their output in the sport they do. And secondly, for the non-professional sports person participating in a sport which depends on activating certain muscle groups that may typically be under-utilised (for example, glutes and hip flexors which are key to the most effective golf swing) EMS is the most efficient way to access and stimulate these muscles.
Where was EMS founded, and why is it not more well known in the UK?
It was invented for physiotherapy to treat injured muscles. EMS as a full-body training form was founded in Eastern Europe for professional athletes. EMS as a full-body workout is only 10 years old. It is very big in Germany, Brazil and growing quickly in almost all countries. Cost may have been a prohibiting factor outside of the medical and professional sports arenas, but with the availability now of equipment that facilitates small group classes the improved economics are contributing to its faster growth.