By Bertus Albertse, Managing Director, Body20 EMS Studio
Before making comparisons, it’s important to understand what is involved in electrical muscle stimulation (EMS).
It is a modern adaptation of the electrical impulse effect the body creates to initiate a muscle contraction, which was first discovered by Luigi Galvani in 1761.
The resulting contraction is no different from that produced during resistance training, such as lifting weights or performing press-ups. Consequently, when suitably controlled, this application of a pulsed current can serve as a means to enhance the effects of conventional exercise, and its results.
Of the various advantages offered by this form of fitness training, the fact that it is suitable for almost everyone, including dedicated couch potatoes, is perhaps the most valuable. With the exception of those suffering from certain acute febrile conditions and those who are dependent upon a pacemaker, electrical muscle stimulation offers everyone else a viable alternative to the more strenuous exercise regimens.
There is, however, little doubt that the greatest appeal of the type of EMS training offered at Body20 is that it requires much less exertion on the part of the customer, yet is able to deliver the same benefits as a full-on, unassisted workout with all the attendant aches, pains and perspiration.
Of course, the fact that it can also produce those results in as little as a fifth of the time possible with weights and circuit training alone, is also a huge bonus.
So why is this technique so much quicker than conventional exercise methods?
The answer is quite simple. While a conventional, full-body workout only activates the more superficial muscles, the pulsed current applied during a session of EMS penetrates deep, causing a contraction of the deeper tissue and stimulating more than 90% of the total muscle mass in the targeted areas. This supplementary stimulation makes it possible to produce results that, without the benefit of Body20 EMS, would normally require far greater physical effort.
Also keep in mind that it is next to impossible to primarily isolate every major muscle group at the same time with conventional training. Body20 may be used alone, as a form of primary training, or in conjunction with other exercise equipment to enhance the effect for more experienced trainers.
In addition to the more obvious application favoured by bodybuilders, because it is possible to vary the intensity and frequency of the pulsed charges, Body20 EMS may also be used to achieve a variety of goals, including fat loss and cellulite reduction. Used by professional athletes to assist their recovery from sports injuries, EMS is also widely adopted as a means to provide general physiotherapy treatments, which is why Body20 offers a unique relax programme.
Body20 studios offer 20-minute weekly sessions with trained experts to produce visible results in just a few weeks. For more info, visit www.body20.co.za
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.