New York City is often considered the fitness capital of the world and with new fitness studios popping up seemingly every day, it’s hard to argue with that statement. You may be surprised that London and Israel are leading the way for what’s bound to be the next fitness craze — EMS Training. EMS works by sending impulses generated by a device, delivered through electrodes on the skin directly above the muscles you’re working out (basically, you’re getting electric shocks while you work out). The impulses cause the muscles to contract and work harder than during conventional exercise. The training lasts for 20 minutes but is said to result in the equivalent of up to five hours of conventional exercises at the gym.
“It’s an intense training as you exercise 98 percent of the muscles; with conventional workouts people can only engage up to 50 percent of the muscle groups. The training doesn’t hurt, but people will feel some vibrations all over their body,” explained Eladio de Leon and Mario Kaspers, founders of EPulsive, a private EMS training facility in London.
Is It EMS Training Safe?
“It’s a mental game. The technology stimulates your muscles without your conscious decision to move them,” said biohacker, creator of bulletproof coffee and best-selling author of Bulletproof: The Cookbook Dave Asprey. “There’s definitely a strong feeling, but it’s not really pain. It’s tingly.” As long as you’re a healthy individual, there are no dangers.
“EMS is a core biohacking technology that gives people more control of their bodies. It’s not a magic bullet, but it can save time and provide performance benefits beyond lifting heavy stuff. That said, if you have a pacemaker, cardiac issues, neurological issues or other medical problems, check with your doctor or physical therapist first,” said Asprey.
It’s More Than Just a Workout
While the trend now is to use EMS as a workout, it can also be useful for physical therapy. “It has been used in the medical field for things like rehabilitation for decades,” said personal trainer and EMS expert Giuseppe Di Leo. “The fitness industry, however, is continuously adapting, so EMS is seeing itself targeted by athletes and regular gym users because its technology enables them to work out better, simpler and in a more effective way.” Asprey added that from his experience and research, EMS can be used equally effectively to recover from an injury or to recover more quickly from a workout.
Who Is EMS Training for?
There are different training programs (metabolism, strengthening), so it works equally well for men and women. “You can use EMS to increase your energy use when you’re leaning out or you can fully exhaust muscles during bulking,” explained Asprey.
It’s Not Just for “Lazy” People
EMS is its own training method. “It’s ideal for anyone who has the desire to get fit and healthy and it’s definitely not only for lazy people. However, you achieve far superior and quicker results than with a conventional workout plan,” explained Leon and Kaspers. “Our typical clients are busy Londoners (bankers, business owners, moms), people who don’t enjoy going to the gym, fitness lovers who want to push themselves to the next level as well as people with sports injuries or weak back/joints who cannot do conventional gym workouts.”
EMS Shouldn’t Be the Only Thing You Do
“You can look really fit and grow muscle mass with EMS, but if it’s all you do, you won’t get the neurological benefits of movement-based exercises,” underlined Asprey. “That said, more muscle mass in less time is valuable because muscle mass is correlated with intelligence. So if you only have 20 minutes, EMS is a good idea. But if you have two hours, you should do some EMS and some movement-based exercises. But you probably don’t need to do five hours the way you are today. And if you can do EMS during movement-based exercises, you can get even more neurological benefits.”
Most professionals recommend starting once per week and building up to two to three times per week. “EMS training does not limit cardio workouts, but your muscles should rest for two days after every EMS strengthening workout,” said Leon and Kaspers.