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Everything you need to know about EMS training

A short history of electro-stimulation training

EMS Training has been introduced to the world, in the sports industry, in 1970 by the Russian Federation, at the Olympic Games. 

It was for the first time that EMS was used for something else rather than medical recovery, and it worked out perfectly for them. 

They won 30% more gold medals than any other participant country at that Olympic Games Edition. 

After years of studies, it was proved that EMS Training doesn’t help only muscle medical recovery and increase performance for athletes, but also reduces osteoporosis, lose weight, tone muscles, increase blood flow, etc. 

In the early 2000’ the first ems full vest device was created & that’s when it all started. 

GYM ON EMS Dubai provides a unique training type by using EMS technology as a tool to enhance all personal training sessions. 

EMS training offers a smart solution for every possible need in fitness and wellness. It is a progressive training method, which assures visible results in a few weeks. One of the best things in EMS training is that one session takes only 20-30 minutes. 

Electrical muscle stimulation directly stimulates the muscles with low-strength electrical impulses. While the brain is capable of stimulating a big part of the muscle fibers, the EMS device stimulates nearly 100% of it. This leads to better and safer performance growth than in the case of individually pursued traditional training methods. 

Recommendations Before Training 

There are some necessary preparations before beginning the training. To achieve the best results it is recommended to consume food that is rich in carbohydrates 2-3 hours before the session in order to accumulate the amount of glycogen needed for intense training. 


Drink at least half a liter 30-35 minutes before the session. The best is to drink liquids at room temperature and avoid the consumption of caffeine and alcoholic beverages, which stimulate fluid secretion. The consumption of juice should also be avoided as the stomach has only limited capability to process it. 

Immediately before training, it is recommended to drink beverages that are rich in minerals. Sufficient liquid supply is important throughout the entire session as well. 

Recommendations after EMS Training 

Immediately after training high protein intake is recommended in order to help quick recovery and muscle development (e.g. protein shake). 

It is important to have a break after each session (no further training!) so as to let the body recover. 

EMS is an effective training, therapeutic and cosmetic tool 

In medicine EMS is used for rehabilitation, for example, physiotherapy aims at preventing muscular atrophy, which can occur after musculoskeletal damage such as bones, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligament injuries. Don’t confuse EMS with TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator) which is used for treating pain. 

EMS is frequently used for aesthetic reasons as it tones muscles; stronger muscles have bigger cross-sections as well. EMS training furthermore requires significant consumption of calories (calorie burning), which only occurs when the entire body is trained, that is, muscles, the heart, and the circulatory system are all involved at the same time. 

EMS, which has for some time been used in electrotherapy, is now becoming widely used in sports too. Pain alleviation, the stimulation of blood circulation, and muscle stimulation are the focus of EMS training depending on the given target group. Literature on EMS training shows the following results regarding partial and entire body training. Results with regards to partial EMS training: 

EMS training strengths: 

  • EMS training increases isokinetic-eccentric and isometric power 
  • EMS training has a positive effect on jumping power 
  • EMS training significantly increases isometric and eccentric power
  • EMS training maximally increases strength according to the increase in muscles’ myoelectric activity 
  • EMS training hardly shows any changes in antagonist muscle activity and efforts made 

EMS training in rehabilitation: 

  • EMS training enhances isometric and isokinetic power 
  • EMS training enhances muscle resistance 
  • EMS training enhances general functioning 
  • Results with regards to entire EMS body training: 
  • EMS training enhances maximum power and fitness 
  • EMS training reduces back pains 
  • EMS training reduces urinary incontinence 

To present the mechanism of electric stimulation we shall start by explaining important concepts and the basic principles of physics.

Voltage: Voltage describes the quantity of charge of an electric field. Its the symbol: U, [U] = V (volt) 

Ampere: the amount of electric charge passing a point in an electric circuit per unit of time. Its the symbol: I, [I]=A (amper) 

Conductors: a conductor is a type of material that allows the flow of electrical current thanks to their movable charged particles (electrons, protons, ions). Metals are first-class conductors, while electrolytes, such as saline constituting a major part of the human body, are second-class conductors. 

Good conductors: blood, urine, lymph, muscles 

Bad conductors: fat tissues, tendons, joint capsules, bones 

Insulators: An electrical insulator is a material whose internal electric charge does not flow freely, and therefore makes it very hard to conduct an electric current. For example skin, nails, hair 

Electric stimulation uses milliamperes, hence it is not harmful to humans.

Because of different conductivity, electricity does not flow in a straight direction inside the body but toward the minimum electric resistance, through blood and lymphatic vessels. 

The bigger the subcutaneous fat layer, the smaller the muscle tension becomes, which reduces training efficiency. 

The direction of Electric Current and the Stimulation Principle 

We differentiate between monophasic (direct) and biphasic (alternating) currents, where the first one flows in one direction, while the other has a bidirectional flow. 

Direct current flows in one direction with a constant 0 Hz. 

On the contrary, alternating current flows with a cyclically changing voltage. It usually follows a sinus shape. From 0 on, its voltage peaks and then drops to zero, take an opposite direction and again the voltage peaks, and then drops to zero. This process is constantly repeated. In addition, there are the monopolar and bipolar stimulation principles as well. 

The monopolar stimulation principle occurs when an electric stimulus targets the so-called muscular motor stimulus point. This is located close to the synaptic gap. This stimulation technique makes it possible to induce muscular contractions even with a low electric current. In addition, it can only target a single muscle, including just a separate section of that same muscle. 

However, since training generally aims at stimulating the entire or a part of the muscle, it is more common to apply bipolar stimulation instead. Therefore, electrodes are placed on the transitions between the muscles and the tendons of the targeted muscles. 

Frequency Range (Impulse Frequency) 

Impulse frequency shows the number of impulses per second affecting the muscles while an electric current is flowing. 

A single pulse induces a single muscle contraction. Thus, the higher the impulse frequency range, the more muscle contractions are induced. Frequency is measured in terms of Hertz (Hz). In electro-stimulation strength training mostly low impulse frequency current is applied. 

Between 1 and 15 Hz induces only individual muscle twitches followed by a temporary relaxation. The strength of contractions is usually 30% of a full contraction. 

On 1 to 15 Hz, in general, the vibration frequency is induced. In this case, muscles are fully flexed but are relaxed completely between each impulse. This frequency only serves the de-tonization or training of atrophic muscles. 

Between 20 and 50 Hz, full contraction is induced in type I fibers. 

Frequencies of 50 to 90 Hz stimulate type II fibers. (For general strength training it is recommended to apply frequencies of 80-85 Hz .)

90-120 Hz mostly activates type IIB fibers, which is accompanied by neuromuscular fatigue in a short time. This level of frequency may be applied among professional athletes for special fast twitch training. 

Muscle contractions become less frequent when stimulated by 120 and 200 Hz electric currents. In summary: 

• Slow fibers (type I) 20-50 Hz 

• Fast fibers (type IIA) 50-90 Hz 

• Fast fibers (type IIB) 90-120 Hz 

Impulse Intervals 

The impulse interval indicates the time during which the muscle remains in contraction while being exposed to an electric current; it is measured in terms of s or ms. Impulse interval should exceed the threshold in order to raise efficiency. However, it cannot exceed 8 – 10 seconds as it may lead to muscle periphery fatigue, which results in an inefficient functioning of the muscle fibers. This may cause a strong decline in training quality (“electric fatigue”). 

The orientation values of different frequencies are the following impulse intervals:
• above 100 Hz: twitches of 1-2 s pulse interval
• between 70-100 Hz: 2-5 s impulse interval
• below 70 Hz: 5-10 s impulse interval
• below 20 Hz: constant. 

Pause Intervals 

The pause interval is the period of time (s or ms) during which the electric current is not flowing. Load density indicates two consecutive individual impulses. The optimal impulse-pause rate is between 1:1 and 1:5. 200 ms pause is the minimum. Otherwise, recovery of transporting substances is not ensured. Pause interval must be determined in view of the muscle fibers involved in the work that can be calculated based on the impulse frequency and twitch period. In EMS strength training we keep longer pauses in between individual twitches since there is a demand for high performance during each and every contraction. Precisely for this reason are load and pause principles so similar to traditional strength training methods. 

Impulse Raising Interval

Impulse raising interval is the time it takes for the impulse frequency to reach its highest configured rate. Both slow and abrupt impulse increases are applied in electrotherapy. A faster impulse raising interval is used in maximal strength training. Slower pulse-raising intervals are more common for fitness training. Nevertheless, these are less efficient than abrupt impulse increases, which in turn induces a more disagreeable impact. 

Impulse Width 

The duration of an individual impulse determines impulse width. The longer an individual impulse is, the deeper it penetrates into the muscle tissue and the better it recruits motor units. Electrodes applied in EMS training need an impulse width of 10-500 μs in order to be efficient. The usual range of pulse width is approx. 150-350 μs. Impulses exceeding 500 μs cause pain. 

Ampere and Modulation 

EMS uses milliampere for electric stimulation. It is the Ampere that determines the extent of nerve and muscle stimulation. The stronger the ampere the greater the muscle twitch becomes. 

Nevertheless, there are no data available yet on optimal ampere as skin resistance (e.g. high subcutaneous fat layer) and tissue resistance modify the strength of the entering electric current. As everybody reacts differently to different levels of electricity, ampere needs to be set individually for each client. 

The human body’s ability to adapt to higher ampere levels has to be strengthened by shortening the ampere rising time. 

Duration of EMS Training and number of repetitions 

These parameters allow for determining the number of contraction cycles throughout the EMS training. The unit size of training is defined by its time or the number of repetitions. 

An average EMS training is 20 minutes. If someone suffers from strong muscular atrophy, the maximum duration of training is 30 minutes in a 6-week-long period. 

Quantity of Repetitions According to Training Objectives 

• fast twitch training: less than 30 repetitions
• strength training: 30-100 repetitions
• fitness training: over 100 repetitions

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