Frequently Asked Questions about EMS Training

Let’s start by talking about what Electro Muscle Stimulation (EMS) training is NOT. It is NOT a quick fix. EMS training is NOT a sweat-free experience. And, BODYTEC EMS training is NOT based on false promises or gimmicks. Our members will tell you their 20-minute BODYTEC session a week is tougher than hitting a regular gym – and gets equal or better results.

EMS training allows for up to 90% of muscles to be activated simultaneously, with the contractions reaching a much higher intensity than those done voluntarily. These impulses are combined with traditional exercises for an intense full-body workout supervised by a qualified personal trainer. The all-over, high-intensity muscle activation makes this a muscle strength and endurance exercise.

BODYTEC EMS training is supported by extensive research. In short, we use medically approved technology that has the capacity to contract your muscles via an electrical current passed through your muscles for maximum strength training in minimum time.

Frequently Asked Questions about EMS

EMS training is a form of muscle stimulation using electric impulses that trigger various reactions in your body. The most common reaction is an intense and strong muscle contraction.

At BODYTEC our focus is full-body strength training by stimulating high-intensity muscle contractions of 10 seconds, followed by 5 seconds rest, using the medically certified SYMBIONT Smart Training System. This EMS training system allows up to 90% of muscles to be activated simultaneously, with the contractions reaching a much higher intensity than those done voluntarily. These impulses are combined with traditional exercises for an intense full-body workout.

EMS strength training by BODYTEC is a full-body workout that doesn’t only target one specific muscle group at a time. During EMS training, up to 90% of muscles are activated simultaneously and the muscle contractions are of higher quality and more intense than a voluntary exertion can do alone. Compared to conventional weight training, EMS strength training activates deeper muscle groups which leads to better balance amongst the muscles in the body and increased core stability.

The SYMBIONT Smart Training System that BODYTEC uses is able to stimulate multiple muscle groups simultaneously, allowing for a repeated activation of the whole body. At BODYTEC you’ll always do your EMS training under the guidance of an EMS-qualified personal trainer who can activate your muscles through eight channels on the EMS training device (such as the lower back, stomach, biceps and glutes) according to your goals and needs.

BODYTEC EMS training amplifies muscle contractions beyond what we can do naturally and fills in the gaps to achieve the maximum amount of muscle fibres being activated in our muscles.

Yes, EMS training imitates the natural principle of muscle contraction, which is a result of the interaction between the brain, the central nervous system and muscle tissue. BODYTEC uses a low-frequency stimulus to activate intense muscle contractions and your personal trainer will ensure that your individual training levels are an optimum fit for you. Compared to other strength training, EMS training is known to be particularly gentle on joints.

BODYTEC exclusively uses the medically certified SYMBIONT Smart Training System developed by schwa-medico, a 45-year-old Frankfurt-based medical company.

Whilst EMS training is generally safe, certain medical conditions are known to be contraindications. EMS training at BODYTEC is not recommended for the following conditions:

  1. Pregnancy;
  2. Pacemaker or other electrical implants;
  3. Acute illness, such as fever, viral infections or acute inflammatory processes.

Medical consent may be necessary for some physical conditions. These should be discussed with your personal trainer before any training commences.

Please see further details in our answer to: Can anyone do EMS training? (below).

EMS training with BODYTEC has been scientifically proven to be effective for people of different age groups and different physical fitness levels. This means a performance athlete with many years of training experience can train next to a person who has been physically inactive for many years. However, certain medical conditions are known to be contraindications and EMS training with BODYTEC is not recommended in certain cases. See “Is EMS Training Safe?” (above).

For some medical conditions, a doctor’s consent may be needed and suitability for the training needs to be assessed on an individual basis.

Medical conditions requiring assessment before commencing EMS training include the following*:

  • Circulatory disorders, acute stroke, stent, thrombosis and cardiovascular diseases (e.g., arteriosclerosis).
  • Bleeding, bleeding tendency, haemophilia, blood thinning medication (e.g., Warfarin, Heparin)
  • Untreated hypertension
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hernia (e.g., abdominal, inguinal hernia)
  • Diseases of the spine (e.g., spondylosis, herniated discs, undiagnosed back pain)
  • Neurological disorders (e.g., epilepsy)
  • Acute neuralgia
  • Acute operation (< 8 weeks)
  • Cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
  • Implants older than 6 months
  • Open skin wounds or lesions


Medical conditions that prohibit EMS training:

  • Pacemaker and/or other electrical implants (e.g. insulin pumps)
  • Pregnancy
  • Acute illness (e.g. fever, bacterial infection, kidney diseases; inflammation and inflammatory processes e.g. arthritis, tumours)


*NOTE: the above list is not exhaustive. If you have any medical condition which could be affected by EMS training, it is your responsibility to inform your trainer and doctor so an appropriate assessment can be made before commencing with EMS training.

EMS training has been used for decades in the fields of sports medicine and rehabilitation. Over the last 10 years EMS training has widened its spectrum of application to include general fitness and sports performance. Therefore a wealth of research information exists on EMS training amongst its different areas of application and has proven its scientific effectiveness. Some of the most significant research findings have shown positive training effects on muscle mass (Kemmler & Von Stengel, 2013).

Research from the German Sports University Cologne (Filipovic et al., 2012; Speicher et al., 2008) found significant improvements in speed and maximum strength after a period of EMS training.

EMS training has been shown to be highly effective for significantly enhancing soccer-relevant performance capacities in professional players during competitive season contrary to conventional training of the same nature (Filipovic et al., 2016).

Research in the field of rehabilitation done at the German Sports University of Cologne (Weissenfels et al., 2018) has shown significant levels of pain relief in participants suffering from back pain.

EMS training has been further shown to be an effective training method for the elderly (Kemmler & Von Stengel, 2012).

Marathon runners can also improve their performance through EMS training: Whole-Body Electromyostimulation Improves Performance-Related Parameters in Runners (Amaro-Gahete et al., 2018).

BODYTEC studios specialise in weight-free EMS training, ensuring that we primarily work with the more powerful EMS involuntary contractions. At BODYTEC we use the SYMBIONT Smart Training System, which is offered exclusively at our studios only in South Africa. With this innovative technology, we offer wireless, waterless, data-driven, strength-based EMS training.

A qualified personal trainer guides and coaches you through your EMS training session ensuring you get the full benefit of each and every workout.

Every member at BODYTEC gets their personal SYMBIONT Tec Suit to take home.

During BODYTEC EMS training, the majority of the major muscle groups are activated in each session, therefore one 20-minute training session per week is sufficient.

In order to achieve the most effective results for muscular adaptation and physical functioning, your body needs time to rest and recover. Research shows that in EMS training, recovery and adaptation periods are significantly longer than for conventional weight and resistance training. BODYTEC members have the option to train twice a week provided that a minimum 4-night recovery period in between sessions is adhered to.

We have noticed that a fixed weekly time slot is helpful in maintaining training consistency and results.

Creatine Kinase (CK) is a metabolic by-product, released into the blood when we perform exercise. CK is recycled through the kidneys and therefore places a strain on them and the immune system in general.

A BODYTEC EMS session causes the release of high amounts of CK due to the amount of musculature activated and the intensity of the contractions. Initial EMS sessions could cause an extremely high CK release which is why we do not allow more than one 20-minute session per week within the first 6 weeks of training. Following this 6-week adaptation period, the body will have adapted and the CK release will not be as high.

CK levels will still place a strain on the immune system however and peak 72-96 hours following training. Therefore, we apply a minimum 4-night rest period between BODYTEC EMS sessions, to ensure CK levels are not still rising when the next session is performed but would have peaked and begun to lower. Our members’ safety and long-term health and training results are a priority.

You’ll feel a difference after your first EMS training session. As your body releases endorphins and as most major muscle groups in your body have been activated, you will experience increased physical awareness, resulting in an improved posture. After a day or two, you’ll feel some muscle stiffness, which is normal and is indicative of your body’s recovery process. Within a period of about 4 weeks, you’ll feel stronger and different muscles will improve to coordinate movements more effectively.

After roughly 6 to 8 sessions of consistent training (6 to 8 weeks), you will not only feel but also start seeing a visible difference from the EMS training in the form of gradually increased muscle formation and a possible reduction in body fat (depending on your diet). As with conventional training, EMS training should be done regularly to ensure and maintain optimal results. Results may vary and depend on your body type and lifestyle.

All of our standard memberships include Free National Membership.

When on holiday or travelling for work domestically, you can train at any other BODYTEC studio at no extra charge (max. 4 times a month), as long as you have an active membership.

REMEMBER: you will need to bring along your personal SYMBIONT Tec Suit to be able to train.

All trainers at BODYTEC are experienced and qualified personal trainers, health professionals or sports scientists and have received training through our in-house BODYTEC Academy, to be able to understand and operate the SYMBIONT Smart Training System safely and effectively.

Due to the lack of EMS education in most personal training colleges in South Africa, BODYTEC established its own in-house BODYTEC Training Academy, where all trainers receive further annual (introduction and advanced) EMS-specific training based on scientific sports knowledge and the latest international developments in the field of EMS.

Every BODYTEC trainer must complete extensive EMS learning and onboarding before they can train members.

No. EMS training has been extensively researched over the past few decades. See an extensive review of the research findings via this link.

EMS training with BODYTEC is a form of high-intensity training (HIIT). It is therefore important to have a sustainable meal (carbohydrate and protein-based) 2 to 3 hours before training.

We also recommend drinking at least 500ml of water an hour before training to ensure proper hydration.

Avoid heavy meals and sugary or carbonated drinks directly before your EMS training session.

Come as you are!

For your trial session, we will provide you with a SYMBIONT Tec Suit that you need to wear during your EMS training session.

When you sign up for a BODYTEC membership, you will rent your personal Tec Suit via the SYMBIONT online shop.

Footwear: You can train barefoot, in BODYTEC anti-slip socks (issued on sign-up) or wear trainers, depending on your preference.

Yes. Each training session can accommodate two people. It’s often more fun and motivating if you train with someone you know, so we actively encourage it.

There are many nutrition programmes out there and there is no perfect fit for all. We offer general nutritional guidelines free of charge, available in each studio.

We also partner with nutrition and wellness expert, Lisa Raleigh, to offer a range of nutrition programmes to BODYTEC members at exclusive savings. These programs include a cleanse and reset program, various healthy eating plans, DNA-based eating plans, and private nutrition consultations. You will receive all detailed information about our partnership options and discounts in your welcome email after you’ve signed up for your BODYTEC membership.

EMS training from BODYTEC is full-body strength training that doesn’t only target one specific muscle group but activates up to 90% of your muscles simultaneously. You’ll always train under the guidance of a qualified personal trainer who can activate each muscle group according to your goals and needs.

Another essential difference is that the BODYTEC EMS device is able to stimulate the agonist and antagonist muscles simultaneously. Deeper muscle tissue, which is often underused due to the dominance of the bigger muscles, is also activated to a higher degree in comparison to conventional tele-EMS or weight training in a gym.

The frequency set on the BODYTEC EMS device used in every training session predominantly works the more energy-hungry and underused fast-twitch muscle fibres during the session.

From a technical perspective, BODYTEC EMS training is based on a bipolar impulse mode, which allows us to achieve 90% of our skeletal muscles to contract. This form of whole-body training, combined with our selected exercises and the guidance of a personal trainer, leads to effective and quick training results.

We offer flexible cancellation terms, should you require to cancel your membership at any time.

During the first half of your membership (standard 3-, 6-, or 12-month), a 30-day written notice period and a cancellation fee of R1100 applies.

In the 2nd half of your membership, we require a 30-day written notice only and won’t’ charge a cancellation fee.

NOTE: You will need to cancel your Tec Suit rental separately via the SYMBIONT online shop. Once the Tec Suit has been returned to the SYMBIONT warehouse, you will no longer be charged a subscription fee.

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