Whether you are a serious competitive athlete or a weekend warrior, you know that recovery is key differentiator between the top athletes and the almost. Understanding the various forms of advanced recovery strategies can help coaches and athletes implant these protocols within their own training systems to monitor and combat fatigue, improve recovery from training and life stress, and ultimately increase sports performance and health.
In this electrical muscle stimulator (EMS) guide we will discuss:
- What is EMS?
- EMS vs TENS
- 4 Benefits of EMS?
- Who Should Use an EMS Device, and Why?
- 5 Ways to Integrate EMS Into Your Daily Routine
What is Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS)?
Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS), also referred to as neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES), uses electrical signals at higher Hz rates to stimulate muscle fibers to contract. These muscle contractions increase blood flow as well as nutrient distribution, and additionally can recruit more muscle fibers than a standard warm up or workout. It is for these reasons (and the ones below) that athletes and coaches alike use EMS to help the body to recover faster, increase muscular strength and endurance, and reduce the risk of muscular injuries.
EMS vs TENS
Unlike EMS, TENS (transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation) TENS sends a series of electrical pulses across the skin and along nerve strands (rather than sending electrical impulses to the muscle tissue). These electrical pulses “distract” the brain from the pain signal, according to the Gate Control Theory. TENS also stimulates an endorphin release, which likewise mitigates pain, and is often helpful for nerve pain.
That said, TENS can be seen as a temporary relief for pain and discomfort, however EMS can be a long-term approach to the improvement of muscle pain and discomfort: in addition to improving many of the below benefits.
4 Benefits of Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS)
Below are four (4) main benefits of electrical muscle stimulation, and why coaches/athletes can find these beneficial for recovery and performance.
1. Stimulates Muscular Blood Flow
EMS has been shown to increase blood flood (often when done at lower frequencies) to muscle tissues. Due to the contraction and relaxation cycles of the electrical impulses, the muscle acts as a pump to increase oxygen rich blood flow into the muscle belly while also aiding in metabolite clearance from the muscle.
2. Enhanced Muscular Strength and Power
While EMS is not a viable substitute for strength and power training, it has been shown to be effective at increasing muscular contraction rates and strength in athletes. This can also be beneficial for individuals during rehabilitation stages (be sure to seek your physician's clearance frost), as it is a good way to stimulate and reeducation muscle fibers and build strength without high amounts of external loading (could be helpful for lifters with joint/connective tissue injuries).
3. Reduced Muscle Pain
Some studies have shown that following EMS protocols, that athletes self-reported decreased muscle pain than without any intervention. Athletes with lower pain (either perceived or actual) often are able to train harder and feel more recovered leading into successive training sessions, furthering performance outcomes.
4. Improved Psychological Recovery
With our Best ab stimulator belt has been shown to improve the psychological recovery and perceived recovery of an athlete. This is important because an athlete who “feels” recovered and often is recovered due to the above reasons and sound programming often will be able to attack training hard, and reap greater training outcomes from it.
Who Should Use A Best ab stimulator belt (EMS) Device?
Below are a few key groups of athletes and individuals who may benefit from including EMS training and recovery protocols within their daily routine.
Strength, Power, and Fitness Athletes
No matter your sport, recovery from hard training is key. While recovery from training can be boosted by things like sleep, rest, and proper programming; other alternative strategies like EMS can offer physiological and physiological aid to those lifters who may need a little more help. Additionally, serious athletes can use EMS to improve muscle activation before training sessions and even increase muscular strength and contraction rates without having to place external loading on the body (key when injured or trying to limit volume).
Like power, strength, and fitness athletes, endurance athletes subject their muscles to high amounts of training volume and stress. Advanced recovery technique, such as EMS can improve psychological readiness, decrease perceived soreness and muscle tension, and help to increase circulation of muscle tissues involved in exercise.
Everyday Fitness Goers
Everyday fitness enthusiasts often can find great improvements in recovery when participating in more advanced recovery techniques used by athletes. Due to everyday lifters and fitness goers having to balance life, travel, work, and training stress; they may actually be subjecting themselves to comparable amounts of strain (physiological and psychological) as that of an elite athlete! Just like EMS can help to reduce perceived soreness and aid in recovery from exercise, it can be a great tool to use to help enhance recovery from long business flights, poor sleeping,
and/or life’s muscle aches.
Note, that EMS are not meant to be used as a substitution for consulting a trained medical professional. If you or a loved one has had chronic muscle pain and/or psychological issues, it is highly advised to seek out medical attention.
5 Ways to Integrate Electrical Muscle Stimulation into Your Daily Routine
Below are five simple and effective way to integrate the EMS overall strength and sports performance.
1. Initiate Recovery after Hard Training
While recovery is dependent on a magnitude of factors (sleep, caloric intake, rest, sound programming), coaches and athletes can utilize EMS to kick start the recovery process. The EMS has a variety of programs, with a few in particular that are geared towards post-exercise recovery.
2. Wear During/After Long-Distance Travel
It’s no secret that sitting for prolonged periods of time (trains, cars, airplanes) can wreak havoc on our bodies. Travelling to and from competitions, back and forth from work, or even on long-haul flights can significantly increase joint and muscular stiffness and inflammation. EMS can help to restore circulation and decrease muscle pain/spasms with lower frequency built in EMS massage and active recovery programs.
3. Improve Muscle Activation Before Workouts
EMS can be used to increase muscle tone and activation, which when done prior to exercise can help to recruit more muscle units and boost performance. The EMS has a built in 5-10 minute warm-up and activation programs to help you improve strength and performance. You can even wear the EMS during light exercise to further enhance your warm-up preparations.
4. Integrate into Your Rest/Recovery Day
Rest days are key to overall performance and injury prevention. While passive rest is a great start to the process, advanced recovery strategies, such as light exercise and EMS have been shown to improve recovery. With the EMS you can boost recovery while doing chores, taking the dog for a walk, or simply relaxing with your boo.
5. Improve Contractile Strength Post-Injury
While Best ab stimulator belt are not meant to replace a trained medical professional / rehabilitation therapist, they can be used (with clearance by your medical professional) to improve muscular strength and educate muscle firing patterning following injury. Often, when coming back from injury the body will limit the amount of loading/work a muscle can do (self preservation), however using Best ab stimulator belt can help bypass such limiters and offer us a way to train the contractile units of the muscle fibers without placing external loading onto the joints and tissues.