Losing weight without sweaty weight training and endless endurance units? With electrostimulation training, or EMS for short, this should be possible. Instead of actively moving our muscles, the stimulation takes place through impulses from adhesive electrodes that are applied to the skin over a large area.
The command to contract the muscle is therefore not sent by a nerve impulse from the brain, but hits the muscles directly through electromagnetic stimulation, or EMS for short. In order to reach all muscle groups and to address the body holistically, during an EMS workout one wears a tight-fitting "Bodyformer" suit to which up to 20 electrodes are attached. This full-body suit is in turn wired to the actual pulse generator, the "Bodyformer". But is EMS training safe for our health and is a jumpsuit and some electricity enough to replace conventional fitness and strength training?
Although EMS training for hobby athletes and weight loss enthusiasts has only been on the rise for a few years, electromagnetic stimulation has been used in physiotherapy since the 1970s. Especially during rehabilitation, conventional strength training is often not possible - this is where electromagnetic stimulation is successfully used: "For example, if someone has lost a lot of muscle as a result of an injury and finds it difficult to rebuild it in a conventional way," sports physician Prof. Holger Schmitt reports in an interview with "Die Welt".
And EMS has also long been used in professional sports, especially for regeneration purposes. The circulation-promoting properties of EMS can therefore have a positive effect on our health if used correctly. But what about weight reduction and muscle building?
For fitness athletes and weight loss enthusiasts, this means: EMS training can only develop its full effect in combination with real movement and proper strength training. Those who wear the electric full-body suit during a workout can increase the effect many times over through the additional blood circulation and stimulation of the muscles. Regeneration can also be significantly improved by the stimulation current, so that you can start the next workout again more quickly. In order to avoid the danger of overstraining and thus damaging your health, however, training monitoring or medical consultation is urgently recommended before the first EMS workout.
In order to set an effective training stimulus, the classic bodyweight exercises such as squats, push-ups or sit-ups are completely sufficient for EMS training for beginners. It is important to perform the exercises slowly and in a controlled manner so that the electromagnetic stimulation can take place during the contraction of the muscle. As a rule, the electrical impulses emitted by the Bodyformer are four seconds long - followed by a four-second break. Optimally, each repetition should be performed within the four-second window of stimulation. The slow execution in combination with the targeted stimulation of the muscle groups leads to a demonstrably higher training effect - so those who want to get rid of their excess pounds quickly are best advised with an EMS-supported strength training. For advanced athletes, EMS can also be used for strength training with dumbbells or on the treadmill.
Basically, stimulation current alone is not enough to build up strength and get our bodies in shape. So the dream of growing the desired Adonis body on the sofa via EMS does not correspond to reality. However, this does not mean that electromagnetic stimulation has no benefit on the way to the desired body: "The effect of EMS on the muscles is beyond question. From the offerers however partly too much is promised. 20 minutes of light exercise are comparable to several hours of conventional training," reveals EMS expert Johannes Pommern in "Die Welt".
EMS workouts can be effective but only under the right circumstances. The technology alone won't help you to achieve the body of your dreams but in combination with weights or HIIT training you can actually achieve your goals. It is recommended to have a professional coach on your side to help you achieve electrostimulation weight loss.
Lastly, we will answer frequently asked questions about EMS workouts.
Consider that you shouldn't use EMS technology too often. One up to two times a week is totally fine. Always remember to give your muscles enough time to recover.
Many providers offer a monthly membership which is between 80 und 150 euros. Buying EMS technology is pretty expensive and not available for under 1.000 euros.
EMS is a safe method to use. It's best to use this technology under the supervision of a personal trainer who has enough knowledge about EMS to provide you with the required safety.