Of the many men and, more recently, women who, over the years have chosen to pursue a course of stringent exercising to expand and strengthen their musculature, most will be quick to assert that there can be no real gain without pain. In fact, in the context of muscle building, this assertion does hold a certain amount of truth. During resistance training, participants are often instructed to “go for the burn”, because it is at the time when their efforts start to become painful that the maximum benefit will be gained.
At this point, in a process known as microtrauma, the overstrained muscle fibres become damaged, and over time, the body will not only repair them, but will also grow additional fibres in an attempt to prevent any further damage, resulting in the desired bulking effect. To continue the bulking process, multiple repetitions of the same load are of little value. Instead, it is necessary to keep increasing the resistance load progressively, so as to continue provoking the required additional microtrauma. On the other hand, for those whose goal is simply to tone up and build strength, one can limit the size of the weights used and simply pile on the repetitions, until fatigue begins to set in.
In practice, however, with the aid of a rapidly growing exercise technology known as electro-muscular stimulation (EMS), both effective muscle building and body toning are now readily achievable by anyone, and in far less time than with conventional resistance training, with little of the usual discomfort. Rather than depending upon the voluntary muscular contractions required to lift weights or perform abdominal crunches, a pulsed electric current is used to stimulate the body to perform the same contractions, but involuntarily and in greater numbers. The results are no longer a product of the physical effort applied, but of the current strength, the frequency and the duration of the pulsed charges.
The technology is not new, but one long proven by many years of use, first as an aid to recovery from sports injuries, and later as an aid to accelerated fitness employed by athletes from all branches of sport. Now available to the general public at selected health studios, in just 20 minutes, an EMS workout produces up to 150 times more contractions than with conventional training methods, so you get the results you want faster, even with just a single session per week.
In South Africa, Body20 studios offer people of all ages and fitness levels personalised EMS programmes for muscle building, toning, weight loss, and even cellulite reduction, to give them the body they have always wanted.