This wasn’t my first go at EMS Training, I had a few sessions with a friend back in 2015 on a different branded machine, so when Michael Boon at Miha-Bodytec got in contact I couldn’t resist giving it another go, especially as right now I’m exploring training techniques to stimulate chest muscle growth whilst reducing the loads on my shoulder to avoid an old shoulder bursitis injury.
What is EMS?
Electrical Muscular Stimulation often called “e-stim” or “TENS” — is a type of treatment often used in physical therapy or other rehabilitation settings. The two primary uses for this treatment are pain relief and muscle re-education. In most settings, there is a machine that provides an electrical current. Wires from the machine are connected to adhesive patches that are placed on the skin over a predetermined area. Electrical current is then sent from the machine to the patches and delivered into the muscle tissue below, causing a sensory or motor response.
One of the exciting things about this technology is it’s ability to teach or relearn motor patterns, which can take the body upto 1,000 repetitions to learn the most effective route for signalling through the Central Nervous System (CNS) to muscle fiber, this then has a huge potential of use for not just rehab but on totally untrained individuals learning or relearning new movements more effectively and much safer than in a conventional setting and on helping well trained individuals and athletes to improve or fine tune their movement and muscular contractions.
My First Session
I arrived at the Miha-Bodytec studio in East London nr Aldgate East and sat down with Michael Boon a successful ex Persona Trainer himself who oversees Business Development.
After talking shop for a while Michael suited me up with the bodytec suit. It looks a lot like a Scuba Diving vest but instead of a tank on the back it has a series of electrodes attached throughout that cover the major muscle groups of the body.
All the pads are sprayed with a little water to help with the conductivity and connection between the pads and the muscles, this then goes over the top of a tight fitting, pair of black pyjama looking tshirt and shorts, which they supply. As modelled here by some athlete I forget the name of….
Once you’re in the suit and attached to the machine the next job is to assign a relevant intensity to the contraction of each muscle group, which is done through a screen with dials that relate to each muscle group.
Michael then took me through a series of simple lower and upper body exercises which included, jump squats, squats and bicep curls with a band.
We only trained for about 20-30 minutes chatting in between but no word of a lie, I had DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) in my Glutes and Biceps peak for 4 days!!
Performing Bicep curls during my first session.
This Got Me Thinking…
When trying to build muscle in the gym we all get overly focussed with the weight and object that we are lifting, rather than the feeling of the muscle and it’s contraction, ego gets in the way and ineffective training steps in.
For instance when training Chest many people are quite shoulder dominant due to the way we lift, and after years of bad habits this can lead to overuse injuries on the joints, which makes it then very hard to load the muscles effectively for Hypertrophy (muscle growth).
I’ve always had very well developed forearms which I think has been at the expense of my bicep development, so feeling this level of soreness in my bicep peak was really interesting.
Due to my shoulder injury in 2014 and it’s slight aggravation recently from higher volume and frequency training, I realised that this technology could offer me a really effective level of muscular stimulation without the stress on the joints, or at least I could lower the frequency of my weight training and include this as a supplement to my training.
So today I went back to see Michael and we did a more specific Chest and Back workout, we upped the intensity on my upper body muscle specifically Mid Back, Lats, Lower Back and Chest.
We used bands to perform rowing and straight arm pulldowns for the back, along with slow eccentric/explosive press-ups and standing chest flyes for my chest. I had an incredible pump and will give you feedback as to how my body feels over the next 24-48 hours post session.
Performing the Press-ups.
Where can you find a studio to use EMS?
One of the best studios in London using this technology from Miha-Bodytec is Surge in Hammersmith https://www.surge.co.uk/
If you give EMS training a go let me know how you get on, I’d love to hear your stories.