Physical exercise and body composition
As we already know, physical exercise not only helps to attain significant benefits in body composition, such as weight loss, toning and muscular hypertrophy; it also reduces the risk of developing some illnesses such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.
There are different types of training according to the objectives we are pursuing. Below, we have outlined some of them:
This training combines strength and cardio exercises with the aim of reducing body and visceral fat and increasing muscle mass in sedentary men and women.
This combination can be carried out in a single session (Intra-Session), on the same day (Inter-Session) or in the same week of training (Intra-Cycle).
It is also worth highlighting that strength resistance training improves bone mineral density in sedentary men and women.
Concurrent training applying muscular electrostimulation can boost results. In this case, as it is concurrent training, it boosts the loss of fat and calorie burning, and increases muscle toning.
This is due to the fact that muscle burns calories with activity; and the more activity, the more calories burned. The electrostimulation vest boosts this consumption of energy, and thus helps to obtain better results.
Strength exercise is based on the movement of external loads (weights, elastic bands and other materials) in order to produce a muscle contraction, and thus increase anaerobic resistance, strength and muscle size.
The success of results will largely depend on the caloric deficit you impose on yourself (provided that it isn´t sudden and is controlled by trained professionals), as well as the repetitions and series of each exercise, and different routines (the result depends on variety). In order to prevent the body from getting used to the routine, it shouldn’t last for more than three months.
Types of strength training
- Weight training. Also known as maximal strength training. It can also be dynamic if we have to move the maximum load; or static if we have to exert tension to try to overcome an insurmountable resistance. This training causes damage to the muscles (microtrauma), and its repair forms part of muscle growth (hypertrophy).
- Resistance training. This is not an exercise prepared for gaining muscle. Resistance training increases the number of repetitions and lowers the weight load. The aim is to get the muscles used to withstanding strain that is not very high for a longer time. This training is ideal for quickly depleting energy reserves and moving on to aerobic exercise.
- Isotonic/isometric training. Training is isotonic if a part of the body moves against a force; and it is isometric if that part of the body is held against that force, in this case, the angle and the position of the muscle worked does not change during the movement.
- Hypertrophy. This is an exercise prepared for gaining muscle, and it is very common in gyms. Unlike muscular resistance, it involves reducing the number of repetitions and increasing the maximum weight load in order to make the muscle swell up.
- Muscle or explosive strength. In this type of strength training the variable of the implementation time is drastically reduced. The repetitions are reduced even more, and the maximum weight load is increased even more, thus achieving lean and dense muscle. This training is ideal for training maximum strength in the least possible time.
Using muscular electrostimulation in strength training is the key to attaining good muscle definition and toning. Electrostimulation is the perfect complement for any kind of training, whether to slim, increase muscle or recover from an injury.
We often wonder how to lose weight by doing sport, or what exercises we should do to lose weight. Doing cardio regularly offers several benefits for our body, but why is it so important for our health?
Cardio training is also known cardiovascular training or aerobic training, and it not only helps to burn fat and calories in relation to body composition, it is also beneficial for our health because it reduces the risk of suffering illnesses such as cholesterol or obesity.
Also, it helps the heart and lungs to work correctly, it strengthens the immune system, and it improves mood thanks to the release of endorphins (also known as the so-called happiness hormones).
The intensity of a cardio training session is a crucial factor as the higher the intensity of the exercise, the greater and better the capacity of our body to carry out future activities at an increasing intensity.
In addition to intensity, there is the duration of the exercise: a high exercise intensity and duration causes an increase in our cardiorespiratory rate, thus we burn more calories while speeding up our metabolism, and we improve our resistance.
Types of cardio training
- HIIT or High intensity interval training. This is high intensity training for a short duration, alternating between short periods of very high effort. This type of training is perfect for losing weight and burning calories, and it not only does not result in muscle loss, but rather it benefits muscle definition and toning.
- LISS (Low intensity steady state): This is low intensity aerobic training, keeping the heart rate at a steady rate.
One of the objectives that is normally pursued with electrostimulation is weight loss, therefore applying electrostimulation to slim in this type of cardiovascular training can offer several benefits, especially when it comes to losing abdominal fat (as electrostimulation helps to speed up the fat loss process in the waist area).
Therefore, good cardiovascular or aerobic EMS training helps to exercise muscle, making our body consume more calories, protein and fat, and consequently, it promotes weight loss.
We have a frenetic pace of life: we don’t have time to train, and we want to achieve the best results in the shortest possible time. This new need has encouraged the emergence of new sporting technologies: electrostimulation.
Electrostimulation has two main functions: the therapeutic function for treating injuries, contractures or ailments, and that of complementing training.
This new form of training with whole-body electrostimulation (WB-EMS) has been shown to be highly effective in terms of attaining results. EMS training helps to reduce body fat and increase muscle mass in elderly sedentary men and women who have sarcopenic obesity (with a loss of muscle mass), in runners, and in healthy middle-aged men and women.
As we already mentioned, using electrostimulation to slim offers several benefits in addition to weight loss: such as the toning and tightening of the buttocks, arms, thighs, abdomen and calves; and although slimming with electrostimulation can be a process with relatively quick results thanks to its effectiveness, the technology applied in this type of training with electrostimulation makes it possible to prevent the sagging skin that can occur when shedding pounds in a short space of time.
EMS training combined with carrying out some strength, cardio or HIIT exercise, as we have seen before; and alongside a healthy diet, will mean that we boost results which would be harder to achieve by only doing conventional exercise, as the electrodes on the electrostimulation vest strategically placed on the muscles of our body, will enable them to work more; and a muscle that works more is more effective and burns more calories; which leads to the muscle being stronger, and in turn means that the exercise is carried out with greater intensity, thus increasing our caloric expenditure.
Therefore, training with electrostimulation is not only an effective method for losing weight and fat, it is also effective for increasing physical strength and recovering from injuries.
For greater effectiveness, we simply need to consider making the right choice between the different electrostimulation programmes, and choosing the one that best suits our routine and objectives.
Case study: Effects of electrostimulation on body composition
This study has been carried out for the purpose of researching the effects of different training programmes:
- Concurrent training based on the recommendation of physical activity of the WHO (World Health Organisation) (PAR group)
- HIIT Group:
- HIIT Group with electrostimulation exercises (WB-EMS) on the body composition parameters in sedentary middle-aged adults.
This study involved 89 middle-aged adults aged 45-65 (52.7% women). The participants were randomly assigned into four groups:
a) Control group (without exercise).
b) PAR Group.
c) HIIT Group.
- WB-EMS Group.
With regard to the training programmes, the PAR group carried out concurrent training based on the minimum physical activity recommended by the WHO:
● The training frequency was 3 sessions a week for 12 weeks.
● The training volume was 150 mins/week at 60%-65% of the heart rate reserve in cardio training.
To this end, a treadmill, a cycle-ergometer and an elliptical trainer were used.
Strength resistance training
For the strength resistance training, the training volume was 60 mins/week with an intensity of 40%-50% of a maximum repetition.
For the strength resistance training, machines and weights were used (squats, bench press, deadlift or pull exercises).
The HIIT training was carried out with short and intermittent intervals of high intensity interspersed with periods of passive rest or low intensity exercises.
The participants carried out two types of training protocols alternatively 2 days/week for 12 weeks:
a) HIIT with long intervals (type A session)
b) HIIT with short intervals (type B session).
The training volume was 40-65 mins/week and the training intensity was >95% maximum oxygen consumption in the type A session, and a rating of perceived exertion (RPE) of 6-9 out of 10 in the type B session.
Type A sessions were carried out on a treadmill with a personalised incline, and in type B sessions, 8 strength exercises were carried out (squat, deadlift, side plank, push up, dumbbell row…) in a circuit.
HIIT Group with electrostimulation (WB-EMS)
The HIIT electrostimulation (WB-EMS) training followed the same training programme as the HIIT group in order to establish if WB-EMS has an additional effect on body composition parameters.
For this training programme, the Wiemspro device (Malaga, Spain) was used with a bipolar, symmetrical, and rectangular wave with the following characteristics between TYPE A and TYPE B sessions:
|TYPE A||TYPE B|
|Frequency parameters between 15 and 20 Hz||Frequency parameters between 35-75 Hz|
|Intensity of 100 milliamps||Intensity of 80 milliamps|
|Continuous electrical impulse||Electrical impulse 50%-63%|
● The pulse width was between 200-400 µs:
○ Quads/ischium= 400 µs.
○ Glutes= 350 µs.
○ Abdomen= 300 µs.
○ Dorsal= 250 µs.
○ Trapezius= 200 µs.
○ Pectoral= 200 µs.
○ Arms= 200 µs.
Results of the study
- All the sessions began with a dynamic mobility warm-up routine and cool down with global active stretching.
- Analysis of the body mass index (BMI) results showed that it reduced in the PAR group in comparison with the HIIT group and the WB-EMS group.
- As for waist circumference (WC), it was significantly lower in the HIIT and WB-EMS group compared with the control group.
- Body fat, the body fat percentage, body mass index and visceral fat significantly reduced in the PAR group and in the WB-EMS group compared with the control group.
- On the other hand, muscle mass significantly increased in the HIIT group and in the WB-EMS group compared to the control group.
- And the muscle mass index significantly increased in the WB-EMS group compared to the PAR group and the control group.
- Also, bone mineral content increased significantly in the WB-EMS group compared to the control group.
Conclusion of the case study
In view of the results found in this study, we can reach the conclusion that concurrent training based on the recommendation of physical activity of the WHO (PAR group), HIIT training and HIIT training with electrostimulation (WB-EMS) can result in a reduction of body fat.
Also, only HIIT training and HIIT training with electrostimulation (WB-EMS) can result in an increase of muscle mass in middle-aged sedentary adults.
Lastly, HIIT training with electrostimulation (WB-EMS) can improve bone mineral content in sedentary middle-aged adults. Also, the study shows that HIIT training along with electrostimulation (WB-EMS) obtains better results than in other types of training.
Therefore, we can say that HIIT training with electrostimulation (WB-EMS) is more efficient for improving body composition in middle-aged sedentary people.
This study aims to contribute to improving the health of people and, more specifically, those who choose programmed physical activity.