Picture this. A bulletproof-like vest is connected to a series of electrodes which is then wrapped around your body. You’re further wired to a machine which looks like a futuristic lectern but there are no moving speeches today. Instead you’ve been asked to hold a specific physical pose before an unfamiliar surge rushes through parts of your body to build muscle.
No, this isn’t shock therapy encouraged by a Meet the Parents escapade. This is the future of fitness known as EMS Training. Touted in the German press to provide up to five hours of conventional exercise at the gym in just twenty minutes, Electro Muscular Stimulation is today’s form of intensive workout for the time-poor – think business owners, stressed out suits and parents juggling multiple roles.
We catch up with Christoph Mauss, the founder of Inpuls Studio in Sydney to give us the lowdown on this new fitness trend.
Future Of Fitness?
The unique program works by exercising up to 98% of the body’s muscles through specific targeting – that is, without requiring a conscious decision from the brain to move them.
This may freak out quite a few people but there’s no denying that this movement in fitness has been growing rapidly in the past year. The program currently boasts participants including Usain Bolt, Rafael Nadal and supermodels who are supplementing regular workouts with EMS Training.
More importantly though, the twenty minute process is deemed as completely safe by one of Sydney’s earliest adopter’s of the fitness technology.
Inpuls Studio located in Bondi claims that EMS is completely safe as it only uses low electric frequency to initiate muscle contraction.
“There are no known adverse effects but caution is still advised for specific medical conditions, as covered in contraindications. The stimulation only occurs on skeletal muscle tissue and not on deeper organ tissue such as the heart,” says the site.
No doubt there will be doubters of the effectiveness of EMS training but as the service claims, EMS simply gives busy people more control of their bodies as opposed to masquerading as a magic bullet. EMS in itself has been around for decades in the medical field where rehabilitation is required.
How It Works
As mentioned, Electro Muscular Stimulation is a specialised form of intensive fitness training which relies on technology to activate muscles in the body.
To further enhance its effectiveness, the technology is merged with basic fitness training to achieve a better training response than conventional training in the gym.
In order for the human body to move any muscle in the body the brain needs to send an electric impulse through the nerves. Electro Muscular Stimulation enhances this impulse before it reaches the muscle, resulting in a more intensive muscle contraction. On the EMS gym floor, that looks like a participant wearing a vest along with arm and leg straps all fitted with electrodes. This is worn over a special undergarment made specifically for EMS training.
Prior to an impulse being induced by the machine, a user pre-activates their muscles through a familiar exercise position (think yoga). From there users will feel a slight tingle on the skin which can increase in intensity to a light ‘knock’ as they progress. After the body has passed the adaption phase the intensity can be increased, thus improving fitness response, strength and endurance.
On the technical front it combines cardiovascular and strength training all in the one session ensuring that 90% of the body’s muscles are engaged.
Should You Try It?
Whilst we don’t encourage you to live on the couch downing beers and burgers on the daily whilst strapped to an EMS machine, there has been positive studies which show that the technology can improve overall fitness as well as lowering back pain and maintaining protection of joints in the body.
Additionally there are no set levels of entry since any person who starts EMS is considered a beginner. That’s due to the fact that muscles are activated in a greater number than in conventional training, meaning that the adaptation time ranges between 4 to 6 weeks. After this period the body has made the necessary changes to increase training parameters and intensity.
You won’t be left in a room with a machine either. EMS studios these days come with their own personal trainers who are qualified to operate the machinery. This is especially important as the mental and physical fitness of clients will vary from session to session depending on external life events. A personal trainer can monitor and adjust the training accordingly.
Looking At The Stats
A mid to high intensity stint of Hypertrophy (muscle building) is the appropriate range to achieve muscle growth. After 4 EMS sessions a 10% increase in strength has been measured. This result increased to 34% after 6 EMS sessions.
If you want to try it for yourself, get over to Inpuls Studio in Bondi Junction. Tell them Uncle D’Marge sent you.