In practice, it seems unlikely that any new technology could fully replace the gyms we know and love. However, what does seem to be likely is that more and more conventional gyms will be driven to embrace the EMS (electro-muscular stimulation) fitness methods that are proving to be so effective in South Africa and many other countries around the world.
Although it was first used in a practical application during the 1960s, the principle upon which electro-muscular stimulation is based was actually discovered a full two centuries earlier. The discovery can be attributed to an Italian physician named Luigi Galvani who inadvertently applied an electric current, with a scalpel that had become charged, to the dissected leg muscle of a frog and observed that this caused it to contract involuntarily. From this, he correctly deduced that electricity was somehow involved in muscle activity, a finding later employed by the authoress Mary Shelley as the basis for re-animating her iconic character of Frankenstein’s monster’.
No lightning bolts, however, are harnessed in order to power EMS fitness equipment. Instead, its equally dramatic effects are achieved through the application of a minute current at a modest sixty volts or so. The pulsed charges are applied through the skin via conductive pads that are positioned around the muscle groups targeted for toning or bulking.
When lifting weights, performing press-ups or pedalling an exercise bicycle, the body is required to overcome a set level of resistance. This, in turn, requires a voluntary contraction of the appropriate muscle group. A virtually identical effect, however, may be induced, even in the absences of any physical resistance, by the controlled application of a pulsed electrical current generated using the appropriate EMS fitness system.
Correctly applied, this technology employs precisely the same principles that are essential when managing conventional exercise programmes. This consists of progressively increasing the loads, setting suitable work-to-rest ratios and recovery times, and the use of complementary training elements, in order to achieve a balanced outcome. Where electro-muscular stimulation differs dramatically from the more traditional approach, however, is that it requires only about twenty percent of the time and even less of the effort that it normally takes to achieve the same result by pumping iron and circuit training. That said, those who have the capacity to handle these more strenuous routines and enjoy them can also benefit. By combining their usual exercise routine with the use of EMS fitness equipment, they can significantly speed up and further enhance their normal results.
It is, in practice, those people who are less able or willing to pursue the more physically demanding options who are positioned to benefit most from this breakthrough, electro-muscular stimulation technology. With the electrodes in place, it is only necessary to mimic the motions associated with a given exercise to experience its benefits. Unless seriously ill, pregnant or fitted with a pacemaker, anyone, regardless of how sedentary their lifestyle may be, is able to benefit substantially by giving this increasingly-popular, new option a try. With no more than a single 20-minute session per week, participants can expect to see visible improvements in just a few weeks. Call a Body20 studio to book your life-changing EMS fitness sessions.