Essentially, the muscle doesn't know what caused it to contract - the EMS unit or your volition (using your built in nerves), It contracts. It works. And if you get it to contract and work hard enough and often enough some of the same things will happen, EMS or typical workout. Physical therapists sometimes use similar devices to create focused physical activity, typically of small muscles that a guy would have trouble identifying, isolating, and working in a routine.
There are some differences. When you move a weight naturally, you do a lot of coordinated contraction and relaxation of a whole collection of muscles. Particularly when you're doing arms. Shoulders brace for the motion, Opposing muscles make the movement smooth. There is a lot going on. All of that coordinated collection is exercised in normal exercise and is why exercise form is important. With EMS you stimulate what the electrodes touch. There may be some coordination as the body responds to movement. Much more limited. Doesn't seem to me that there's much danger here, but very limited good. I've not met anyone who used these devices for strength building over an extended period of time, so I have no idea what other possible side effects of patch contact and small electric currents through the skin.
By the way. A physical therapy clinic I've used will not use electrical stimulation of muscles in people with a diagnosis of cancer. Their explanation to me was that they don't want any possibility of being blamed for passing electric currents through patients and causing some negative change in the course of the illness. I'd be surprised to find that backed up by medical studies, but that's their policy.
Other thoughts out there?
Fitness Minutes: (27,060)
262 10/2/12 9:23 A
However, the folks that I respect and track in fitness all say it's a scam.
I tend to be skeptical against this kind of thing. I would go with some of the more tried and true workout varieties.
Fitness Minutes: (52,531)
9/22/12 3:05 P
I threw some money away and got one of those things, I tried it for a couple months but did not see any results so I quit using it. I am not sure about any negative side effect as everyone is different but I did not have any in the short time I used it but to me it was about the same as just flexing your muscles...lol
9/21/12 10:44 A
EMS = Electronic Muscle Stimulator
I recently went to a state fair, where there was a group of sales people selling a electronic massage device. This was a small device about the size of a ipod and had wire leads that went to these sticky pads and attached to your shoulder blades (or anywhere you wanted a massage).
The sales person said it was also something he used to do workouts with. He demonstrated by putting one sticky on the outside of my bicept, and one on the inside. When he turned it on, my arm flexed hard and curled up. He told me, every time it pulses like that he tries to straighten his arm. After a few days, he would add dumb bells. He finished his sales pitch, with this method can be used anywhere, abs, legs, arms, chest.
Does this really work? Is it something harmful to the body?