EMS Clinical Studies

Still not convinced that EMS fitness training is right for you? Read the excerpts from the clinical studies below. EMS is fairly new to the North American market, but European researchers have been studying the benefits of electronic muscle stimulation for decades.

In 1791, Luigi Galvani was the first to document scientific evidence that electrical current can activate muscles. During the 19th and 20th centuries, researchers continued to study and document the exact electrical properties that generate muscle movement.

In the 1960s, Soviet sport scientists applied EMS in the training of elite athletes, claiming 40% force gains. In the 1970s, these studies were shared during conferences with Western sport establishments. Further medical physiology research pinpointed the mechanisms by which electrical stimulation causes adaptation of cells of muscles, blood vessels, and nerves.

The first widespread use of EMS was by physiotherapists for injury rehabilitation and prevention. As the effectiveness and benefits became widely studied and recognized, EMS is increasingly being employed as a strength training tool for athletes and as a fitness tool for health savvy individuals. The XVIII Congress of the International Society of Electrophysiology and Kinesiology focused on EMS training and performance in sports. Numerous scientific studies have been conducted on its effectiveness for general and specific athletic and health enhancements.

Research from Bayreuth University in Germany, 2009

The following results were reported after a six week training program with EMS.

  • 88% of people tested reduced their back pain. Over 30% of those reported their recurring back problems had disappeared.
  • 75% showed improvement with incontinence problems, while 33% of those were cured of incontinence altogether.
  • Overall maximum strength ability increased by 12% while endurance/fitness levels improved by 69%.
  • Training with higher intensity produced effective results, especially with subjects who suffered from recurring pain and other ailments. It also resulted in enhanced muscle definition and tone. On average, 85% of people tested felt an improvement of their body shape and 90% ranked the EMS training method as positive.

The values that were measured underscore the fact that whole body EMS-training is up to 40% more intensive than traditional strength training with weights.

EMS for Seniors

Research from the University of Erlanghen-Nurnberg (2009):

“Full body EMS training leads to significant effects on body composition of elderly people, which occur already after a short training period (45 min/week) and a short intervention period (14 weeks). Therefore, EMS training is a valuable alternative to conventional training methods for people with low cardiac and orthopedic strength.”

EMS for Back Pain

Research from the University of Bayreuth (2003):

“The full body EMS-training is a good method to reduce widespread back pain yet also increases the body strength and is equal to or better than results from conventional strength training. Improvements to body shape and overall mood were appealing to men and women of all age groups alike. In conclusion, the study supports full body EMS training as an effective training method, which will benefits a broad range of target groups.”

EMS for Strength and Speed

Research from the German Sport University Cologne (2009):

“Full body EMS training was the only training method that succeeded in improving the speed factor within the overall performance. In addition, the results achieved by this training methodology open up new possibilities for frequency and duration of training. The regular use of EMS training in combination with dynamic movement is a promising combination for improved strength, endurance and speed work.”

EMS for Incontinence

Research from the University of Bayreuth (2002):

“The full body EMS training is an effective training that achieves therapeutic effects for the relief of discomforts caused by incontinence. It is also a preventive training that builds muscles, enhances body physique, improves mood, and increases vitality, body stability and overall performance.”

Further Reading on EMS

If you would like to read more studies on the positive effects of EMS training, check out this link at PubMed.gov for a list of studies.