I’ve recently tried out a few EMS workouts at EMS Body Studio at the Bedford Wellness Centre, all in the name of satisfying my curiosity and being able to share my experience with you. Imagine getting the effects of a three-hour workout in only 20 minutes. Is that even a possibility? It very well might be possible so I could not resist giving EMS training a bash.
EMS workouts are really making waves in the fitness industry and with people scrambling for more time, this kind of workout claims to be the future of fitness.
What is an EMS workout?
EMS stands for electrical muscle stimulation. In training, a machine delivers electrical pulses that stimulate muscle contraction. EMS workouts heighten the contractions and intensify your workout in a way that your body could not possibly do on its own. So it basically mimics the natural action of our central nervous system, sending electrical impulses to contract our deep muscle fibres.
How does it work?
In just a 20 minute training session, a personal trainer will put you through a customised 1 on 1 program – giving your body over 150 times more muscle contractions than a conventional workout.
Upon arrival you are asked to change into a suit that is provided. You don’t wear underwear under the suit provided to ensure maximum contact with your skin. Just so you know, the items are washed and sterilised after each wear.
Your weight and measurements are fed into the computer and then loaded on a card that is assigned to you. Basically it stores your progress.
My PT gave a gentle spray of warm water over the electronic pads attached to the vest. I was strapped into a vest with fabric similar to what’s used in a wetsuit with red and yellow cords poking in and out. These all come together into a singular plug and are then attached to the unit. Next came the leg straps and the armbands followed.
Shortly after that, an initial assessment is performed to determine your level of tolerance to the actual EMS workout. Depending on your level of fitness and goals, your training session is either low impact (with basic exercises to awaken muscles) or highly intense, with strong contractions and dynamic exercises to activate deep muscle hypertrophy. Workouts are customised to suit each client, from heavy strength training to fat and cellulite reduction regimes.
The system activates upwards of 90% of total deep muscle tissue as opposed to conventional weight training which on a good day hits about 50%. I have a super high pain threshold so the majority of my initial settings were extremely high. This is where I have to caution you. If you are known to have a high pain threshold, then I strongly recommend that you ease into these sessions as you need to allow your body to adjust to the intensity that EMS workouts provide. As the repetitions increased so did the impulses. I followed a routine of basic exercises which was illustrated and communicated by my PT. Your movements are extremely slow but I caution you not to underestimate the impact.
I would describe the entire experience as intense but rewarding. Your muscles contract to the maximum whilst you complete the movements and slowly work those particular muscle groups. I experienced muscle pain like never before and I was sore for a few days thereafter, but that was the assurance that EMS workouts are indeed the next level of fitness.