how does it work?
How Does EMS Work?
EMS is designed to “reproduce” the body’s natural process of voluntary muscle contractions with targeted electrical impulses. When your body wants to contract a muscle, it sends an electrical impulse from your brain to the muscles through your Central Nervous System (CNS) this causes the contraction. EMS is able to serve as its own CNS to elicit deep, intense and complete muscular contractions – the benefit of this is that it avoids putting any further tax on your CNS, joints and tendons. Just as your body does not know the difference between squats or deadlifts, it also does not know the difference between voluntary contraction or an electrically induced one, it only recognises stimulus.
The different intensities of the EMS stimulation, the length of the contraction and the rhythm of the contraction allows you to target specific muscle types. This means you are able to target fast and slow twitch fibres exclusively to train for strength, endurance or to potentiate or relax muscles. Surely the same can be said for voluntary contractions, you may ask. As EMS is not a natural process it has the ability to create more powerful contractions, which can be up to 30% more intense than a voluntary one and therefore show results quicker (according to KOTS). In addition, EMS is able to bypass the body’s energy conservation system and enable you to engage your fast twitch fibres far earlier than the body would normally allow, again, giving a greater effect on the muscles. These types of contractions elicited by EMS training enhance strength without increasing muscular cross-section and also optimises the conversion of intermediate fibres to fast twitch fibres.