Being an athlete requires a great deal of discipline, routine and regimen. Besides sport training, athletes are always looking for other ways to boost their performance and muscular strength. Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS), also known as Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES), plays an integral part in their training regimen. It gives them an edge in their sport by enabling them to monitor and combat fatigue, improve recovery from training and ultimately improve their sports performance and overall physical health. Over the course of several decades, various research studies have shown EMS training to offer promising results.
EMS for muscle strengthening
Essentially, electrical muscle stimulation training is a technique of eliciting muscle activity through applied electrical current. It involves a high-intensity, full-body workout with the use of low-frequency electrical signals to stimulate those muscles that are usually dormant in traditional training methods. When we fully contract a muscle, only about 30% of all the muscle fibres are in the contraction state. The remaining 70% are inactive because the muscle fibres start to fatigue. EMS lets us stimulate these resting muscle fibres electrically to improve muscle strength. During an EMS training session, which lasts for about 20 minutes, all big groups of muscles — including the underlying muscles — are stimulated. This effective muscle building also helps the body to lose weight and decrease body fat. A short duration of EMS is as effective as several hours of conventional strength training.
EMS for injury recovery
Electrical muscle stimulation is also highly effective in preventing and decreasing muscle pain and spasms. Injured athletes suffering from pain or restricted functional mobility use EMS as a part of their rehabilitation program. Any time there is an injury that immobilizes a muscle group, those muscles become shortened and are prone to spasm. EMS stimulates blood flow to the injured and immobilized area, in turn stimulating the muscle fiber. As improving recovery process is rather fundamental for sportspersons, EMS training is ideally started early on, when the injury is still in the acute stage. This increases its benefits during the later phases of healing and recovery. In addition to assisting with recovery from injuries, EMS is also widely used for spinal manipulation and mobilization for issues related to the spine and nervous system.
EMS for muscle recruitment
The trauma of injury and the procedures that often follow an injury, such as surgeries, can create considerable disruptions to the central nervous system and the way the brain interacts with the body. Muscle systems can shut down to protect further damages. EMS is used in such cases to help improve the nerve conduction rates. It takes thousands of repetitions for our brain to wire new pathways and learn how to quickly send a signal to our muscles, which then becomes our memory engram. The more often a muscle is recruited, the quicker our body becomes at recruiting that muscle. Electrical muscle stimulation induces a pattern of activity to accelerate this learning process.
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