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EMS Research | EMS training has positive effects on health of non-athletic adults

Efficacy and Safety of Low-Frequency Whole-Body Electromyostimulation (WB-EMS) to Improve Health-Related Outcomes in non-athletic Adults

Regular exercise benefits musculoskeletal, cardio-metabolic and cognitive health. However, many adults do not meet the minimum amount of recommended exercise per week. Whole-Body EMS (WB-EMS) training may be a promising alternative for adults who lack motivation, time or are unable to exercise conventionally. The following research completed by Kemmler and colleagues in 2018 systematically reviewed the effect of WB-EMS on health-related outcomes in non-athletic adults.

Research description and outcomes

The primary aim of this review was to assess the effects, limitations and risks of WB-EMS as a preventative or therapeutic tool for non-athletic adults. A total of 23 studies were summarized and the effect of WB-EMS on musculoskeletal risk factors, functional capacity and cardiometabolic risk factors was analyzed.

The research results highlighted the following:

Musculoskeletal risk factors

All but one study found significant improvements in muscle mass independent of age, gender and training status. This means that WB-EMS increased muscle mass in both males and females, young and old, fit and unfit individuals. Furthermore, it was found that lower back pain improved significantly with WB-EMS compared to non-training groups.

Functional capacity

Functional capacity including walking speed and grip strength also improved significantly with WB-EMS. This is important as these improvements translate into benefits in activities of daily living which enhances the quality of life, particularly in older or overweight clients.

Cardiometabolic risk factors

Significant improvements were found in body composition particularly in the abdominal region. Some improvements were noted in mean arterial pressure and waist circumference with no changes in triglycerides, glucose or cholesterol levels, however, these factors are largely influenced by nutrition.

Conclusion

No adverse or negative effects were noted across all WB-EMS studies and the authors concluded that “Properly applied and guided WB-EMS application according to the present guidelines is a safe training technology for unfit and physically limited subjects with low time budgets.

The analysis of the test data showed highly significant posture improvement after the BODYTEC training, with an average improvement of 11,3% per participant, which can potentially lead to increased spinal stability and the prevention of back injuries or pains.

German professional soccer players who incorporated EMS training into their workouts improved significantly in maximum strength, speed, jumping and running performance.

The maximum body strength of the participants in a 6 week test increased by 12% and their endurance by 69%.

Cardiac patients who were tested after 6 months of EMS training showed improvements in performance, muscle strength, physiology and metabolic rates far in excess of the the results of conventional aerobic training.

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