Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) training is touted to be a very effective way of working out. It employs the use of electrical currents that are targeted to specific areas on the body.
I had seen many photos on social media of people going through their EMS training. It looked a little scary but I was intrigued, so I decided to try it out myself and booked myself a session.
Upon arrival, I was required to fill in a form which gave my trainer some background on my level of health, fitness and lifestyle. Measurements were also taken, of course – a part that I don’t fancy! Then we sat down and discussed what I wanted to achieve, and what I’d need to do to get there. We were having a pretty good chat and I was starting to relax… until they said it was time to start!
One of the great things about this session is that you can just go as you are – no shoes, workout gear or towels necessary as everything you need is provided (of course this may not be so appealing to those who don’t fancy wearing something that has been worn by others!).
Anyway, once I had changed into my gear, I was sprayed with warm water for perfect impulse conduction and then I was suited up (I felt like I was going into battle) and given two grip balls - one for each hand. I think the balls helped me to stay focussed as gripping them seemed to make the task at hand easier.
I’d just like to say that my trainer was very patient with me as I was asking a dozen questions a minute! Some of these questions were:
- Will it hurt? No.
- Can I stop if I get tired? No. (Well, you can really but she was just being ‘fierce’)
- How long do I have to do this for? ‘Just 10 more seconds’ seemed to be the standard reply.
- Are you paying attention to the timer?? Yes.
- Can I stop now? No.
- Can I please stop now? No.
- Are you timing me properly?? Yes.
- Are we done? Yes.
So what exercises did my session consist of? Nothing too difficult at all! I warmed-up with jumping jacks, running on the spot, knee-ups and other such ‘easy’ exercises. Then they move you on to exercises which focus on your arms, legs and butt. The electrical impulses are intensified as the session moves along,
with the trainer keeping a close eye on it. And each move you make is in sync with an impulse. Your trainer will let you know when an impulse is about to start and you time your movement according to it. This is also a good distracting tool as you’re busy timing your movement!
I’m sure some of you are wondering how it feels to have electrical currents directed to your muscles. I’m happy to report that the trainer was NOT lying and it didn’t hurt. You feel vibrations and that’s about it. However, I did find it quite amusing sometimes when my muscles seemed to want to do their own thing. For example, when I was doing tricep extensions, my arms would want to head outwards and I’d have to clench them to my sides. And yes, I did giggle which my trainer took in good stride. And at the end of it all, you get a little treat! While still hooked up to the machine, you lie down and relax while the vibrations give you a massage. And that’s it!
So How Does It Work Exactly?
EMS works by reproducing the body’s natural process of muscular contraction. Muscular contraction takes place naturally when the brain sends electrical impulses through your central nervous system to your muscles. EMS mimics this, bypassing your central nervous system; in effect having you work those muscles without even trying. A study has shown that EMS proves to be effective even when a person does not work out so imagine how beneficial an EMS workout can be in helping you burn fat and tone up.
EMS has long been used in rehabilitation and physiotherapy for its many benefits which include pain relief and muscle re-education, and now for weight loss and fitness. EMS is also claimed to help you achieve firmer and more toned skin, improve the appearance of cellulite, and make bones stronger.
All in all, it was a pretty good session that I wouldn’t mind repeating. I loved that it was only a 20-minute workout as I’m not a fan of long classes or sessions. And the promise of it being more effective than a ‘normal’ workout is something that I’d like to believe. I would also recommend this to people who are ‘too busy’ to work out as you just have to spare 20 minutes twice a week – a sweet deal! And you can just pop by without worrying about not having your gym gear with you – assuming they have spots available.
And yes, my muscles did ache. And while you could argue that I was hurting because I don’t work out on a regular basis (true), I know of others who work out regularly who still get their butts kicked in an EMS training session.
Why don’t you give it a try and let me know what you think!
Photo credit: Impulse Studio