Electronic Muscle Stimulators (EMS) Anyone used?

Please share your Q+A's...

For either recovery, or strength & conditioning, has anyone had any experience with them?

I'm more interested in people who have experience with high end consumer units like the COMPEX Elite models, or uni performance lab units like the Mettler unit.

But for those of you who used the cheaper models for massage and recovery, do share.

I had a complex unit when I used to race triathlons.

The recovery cycle was awesome on the quads and ended up being what I used it for mostly.

I tried to use it for strength gains and I did get faster on the bike during that time but I'm not sure it was due to the complex unit, I was putting in a lot of miles at the time as well.

Be aware that it takes an enormous amount of time to use it to build strength. You can't do only quads and neglect the hams or you will end up with muscle imbalances.

My personal experience is that it wasn't worth the money. Like all gadgets, I used it a lot at first but given the time involved, I slowly started skipping the workouts and then gave up altogether, only using it for recovery after long rides. In time, I quit doing that as well.

I ended up loaning it to a buddy and never got it back.
If you can stay dedicated to it, you might get some gains from it. Be aware to build muscle, you have to turn up the watts pretty high and it's no walk in the park, hurts pretty bad. I actually kind of liked that part though.

I'd see if I could rent one before buying it Phone Post 3.0

^compex Phone Post 3.0

Thanks for sharing. Everythign I've read says they're best used as an adjunct to conventional resistance training- EMS shouldnt be useed as a standalone training system.

While I have no experience with them, I think any hypertrophic effect from them is minimal, but there is pretty firm empirical data regarding neural factor potentiation and modulation effects.

I am also interested in the muscle preservation effects when one has an injury, to stave off atrophy during a training layoff or when travelling for extended periods.

Yeah, I was using it in conjunction/support of my cycling and running. I was surprised how sore it made my legs on anything other than recovery mode.
If that's indication of it doing something, I guess it was.

What was so time consuming to me was changing the pads for multiple muscle groups. Plus, if I remember correctly, it was about a 30 minute cycle . So, to do quads and hams was a full hour. Phone Post 3.0

Here's some interesting articles on EMS I've come across, written by coaches with high level accolades:



I think it would be of best value to athletes who have achieved high strength levels, or a low strength deficit in their given sport.

An aspect that intrigues me is the reverse order of MU recruitment; this is where I could see it being of particular merit towards preventing atrophy, given that the first fibers to atrophy in the absence of training are the ones EMS preferrentially recruits.

I use the Marc pro for recovery and like it a lot. Let some of my triathlon friends use it and they ended buying one of their own. Phone Post 3.0

They're good for recovery purposes and decreasing sore/discomfort. They have merit for muscle re-education after surgery or injury but solely for strength gains it falls short. Phone Post 3.0

MattB ATC - They're good for recovery purposes and decreasing sore/discomfort. They have merit for muscle re-education after surgery or injury but solely for strength gains it falls short. Phone Post 3.0

That's what I used to think, but I've read enough involving trained athletes to pique my curiosity for other potential uses.

Bruce lee