Training with full body global electrostimulation (WB EMS) has become a brand new training method whose worldwide popularity has grown exponentially in recent years (Ismael Alfaro Gomila 2018). Through this technology, thanks to muscle electrostimulation suits, we can stimulate several muscle groups by means of electrical impulses, covering a body area of over 2800 cm2 (Kemmler, et al., 2016). This muscle activation can be performed simultaneously or sequentially, in passive or during the performance of physical exercise.
Surely you’ve heard many opinions related to the use of full-body electrostimulation. Some of them come from users of the system, others from people who have heard about it and many others (not a few) from professionals of physical exercise.
Many of these opinions are based on personal intuitions or mere assumptions about what this system is. This has generated a lot of affirmations, for and against, that are not based on solid foundations.
The WB EMS is safe
Today we will provide information related to the safety and usefulness of this technology when applied correctly.
As usual, we will begin by clarifying that full-body electrostimulation has to be understood as a complement to training, that is, as a tool in the service of the coach. Therefore, we are going to separate ourselves from the extremist discourses that see in it little less than a miracle of the s. XXI, or a deadly trap. It will be the ability of the professional in charge who determines the degree of achievement of objectives and adherence to the training program by the user.
Once this has been clarified, we must say that the number of scientific publications in this regard has grown in recent years. Analyzing the situation we could say that the scientific production of this subject is beginning to mature. Today, better research methodologies are used that address various problems related to health and sports performance. The stage in which full-body electrostimulation was seen exclusively as a way to increase energy expenditure has been overcome.
Scientific studies on the safety of the WB EMS
Today we want to highlight a recent publication in Seoul (Jee, 2018). It investigates the effect of the WB EMS on health-related parameters in young adults, men and women.
A training program was applied. It consisted of training 3 times a week (yes, you read correctly, 3 times a week), with a 48-hour break between both workouts. The study lasted 6 weeks. They used the following parameters:
- 85 Hz frequency.
- 350 μsec pulse width.
- 6 “work / 4” rest.
During these sessions 10 isometric exercises were carried out consecutively, until a total time of 10 minutes.
Fig1. Exercises used during the study of Jee YS.
Measurements were made related to the stress to which the organism is subjected during the effort, determining that the WB EMS does not negatively affect any of the following parameters:
- Blood pressure.
- Behavior curve of oxygen consumption (VO2) during the test.
- Psychosocial factors: pain, anxiety, fatigue and insomnia.
Therefore, we see how the training system with full-body electrostimulation is a safe tool that does not cause any mishap for health itself. We consider essential that qualified professionals are those who manage the system and guarantee its proper use.
In spite of this, some ways of application will be better than others, always taking into account the context and the needs of the people who use them. Knowing how to customize the electrostimulation programs and the training itself will be key to offer a service of the highest quality. This personalization depends on the technology used and the skills of the professional in charge.
The Wiemspro App is the perfect tool to have total control of the training of up to 12 people at a time.
Despite having seen that in healthy, young and active people we can apply 3 sessions a week (even with 85Hz and high pulse widths), in subjects of other populations or of low physical condition, the physiological impact of the WB-EMS can be greater (Kemler, 2016).
This is why, at a general level, we usually recommend for people who start using full-body electrostimulation:
- Use low frequency programs.
- Begin by doing 1-2 sessions a week, for at least 4 weeks.
- Do not use high values of current intensity.
- Take care of hydration pre-during-post training.
- Choose the most appropriate exercises at the user level.
- Do not emphasize the eccentric phases of the movement or perform them in the resting times of the electrical impulse.
Full body electrostimulation is considered by science as a safe form of training. The more we take care of the methodology and know our client, the better results we will have.
It is the responsibility of the professional to be in a constant training process that allows him to adapt his workouts to the needs of his clients. A good use of full body electrostimulation does not have acute or chronic negative physiological effects, it is more, it gives a great amount of benefits that we will show in our blog.
1- Ismael Alfaro Gomila. Adaptaciones fisiológicas al entrenamiento con electroestimulación de cuerpo completo: Revisión sistemática- Review article- 2018
2- Wolfgang Kemler y otros. Whole-Body Electromyostimulation – The Need for Common Sense! Rationale and Guideline for a Safe and Effective Training- Short Report. 2016
3- Yong-Seok Jee. The efficacy and safety of whole-body electromyostimulation in applying to human body: based from graded exercise test. Original Article. 2018