4 BENEFITS OF ELECTRICAL MUSCLE STIMULATION (EMS)?
Below are four (4) main benefits of electrical muscle stimulation, and why coaches/athletes can find these beneficial for recovery and performance.
1. STIMULATES MUSCULAR BLOOD FLOW
EMS has been shown to increase blood flood (often when done at lower frequencies) to muscle tissues (1). Due to the contraction and relaxation cycles of the electrical impulses, the muscle acts as a pump to increase oxygen rich blood flow into the muscle belly while also aiding in metabolite clearance from the muscle.
2. ENHANCED MUSCULAR STRENGTH AND POWER
While EMS is not a viable substitute for strength and power training, it has been shown to be effective at increasing muscular contraction rates and strength in athletes (2). This can also be beneficial for individuals during rehabilitation stages (be sure to seek your physician's clearance frost), as it is a good way to stimulate and reeducation muscle fibers and build strength without high amounts of external loading (could be helpful for lifters with joint/connective tissue injuries).
3. REDUCED MUSCLE PAIN
Some studies have shown that following EMS protocols, that athletes self-reported decreased muscle pain than without any intervention (3). Athletes with lower pain (either perceived or actual) often are able to train harder and feel more recovered leading into successive training sessions, furthering performance outcomes.
4. IMPROVED PSYCHOLOGICAL RECOVERY
EMS has been shown to improve the psychological recovery and perceived recovery of an athlete (4). This is important because an athlete who “feels” recovered (and often is recovered due to the above reasons and sound programming” often will be able to attack training hard, and reap greater training outcomes from it.