Electromuscular Stimulation and Performance II

For and overview on EMS please refer to my previous post.

To get going I had a phone consultation with Jonathan Siegel,CSCS Jonathan was very knowledgeable and obviously was well versed in the units themselves but more importantly the application of training programs with them.

Here is a sample of how the EMS can be integrated into a comprehensive training program.

Week 1
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Workout Power-VO2 Active Recovery Medium Endurance Lactate Threshold Active Recovery Extensive endurance Active Recovery
EMS Globus Globus
EMS Active rec. Active rec. Active rec. Active rec. Active rec. Active rec. Active rec.

I’ve now had 6 weeks and a total of 21 treatments. I’ve been good at tracking each treatment and the milliamps per treatment. I did the EMS treatment every 2-3 days. I built up to a setting of 35 milliamps.

Finding #1:
Jonathan stated that the range is up to 130 milliamps though treatments and workouts typically start around 30. I started with the warm-up and massage programs and could only manage 12 milliamps. Yikes! This was an eyeopener. This was going to take some getting used to! The electrodes provide you with a vibrating near burning sensation where they are placed.

Finding #2:
Within only 3 treatments I already felt a reduction in the previous symptoms of peri-knee discomforts due to weak quad muscle group.

I comfortably ran 20-25 miles per week. And contrary to almost all data out there (regarding time off – I should be completely de-trained by now), I am able to run 6 miles @ well sub-7 minute pace on only 3 weeks of training. I do feel stronger by the week. I continue to try to wrap my mind around this of course being the skeptic. I work on tuning in astutely to my body and specifically those muscle groups. I don’t have a definitive answer yet; but there is no doubt a difference. Almost no pain at all around my knees.

Finding #3:
By week 3 I had moved up to 30+ milliamps. This is quite a challenge. Each treatment is 30 minutes. As I mentioned the electrodes give you a funky sensation somewhere between vibrating-numbing-burning. There is no doubt that not everyone will find this pleasurable. It is indeed a workout. The muscle groups tense up quite dramatically. (Think of it like doing a leg extension at the gym and holding your leg out locking your knee. Your quads ripple!) This is NOT like an easy massage. It is NOT anything like a TENS unit.

Finding #4:
I found that on days I ran doing these treatments posed an issue. Doing them before a workout very clearly fatigued my quads to the point that it was very difficult to finish the run. So, I changed to doing the treatments only on an off day or after the workout. If you do the light treatment options (warm-up, massage) it is fine. These levels are designed to get you ready to go workout.

Finding #5:
You need to be motivated to do this. It requires time. Set up is simple (more on that in my next post) but the treatments last about 30 minutes.
So, you really need to schedule this time commitment just like a workout.

I found that the electrodes made it through 21 uses. They state they should last 20-25 uses.

This is an intriguing experiment on returning to high level competition. I am getting stronger by the week. I really look forward to continued progress. Stay tuned, my next post will be a review of the product itself.


About Dean Hebert

I’m a mental game coach, author and speaker. I work with individual athletes, parents, coaches, and teams on sports performance enhancement. Beyond my academic post-graduate work in sports psychology - the psychology behind athlete performance – I am a certified Mental Games Coaching Professional (MGCP) and certified hypnotherapist. I’ve authored several books and hundreds of articles. “Coach, I didn’t run because…” (2008) is a seriously light-hearted look at making excuses not to workout and how to overcome them. “Focus for Fitness” (2009) and “Screw the Goals Give me the Donut” (2010) are two of my eBooks on mental game approaches for the everyday athlete. I wrote these because I believe that everyone can benefit from the powerful mental techniques that the world’s best athletes use. I have been cited in Runners World, Best Health magazine (CN), SWEAT Magazine, and the Washington Examiner amongst many other publications. I have been a featured mental games coach in Runner’s World and for the internationally acclaimed trail running resource - trailrunningclub.com. I also regularly appear on sports and fitness talk shows such as LTKFitness, Runnersroundtable and for more than three years I have co-hosted a weekly video series with Coach Joe English for Running-Advice.com. I specialize in mental toughness training. My clients include tennis, synchronized swimming, golf, race-kart, soccer, motocross, volleyball, MMA, cycling (road, off-road, time-trialist), running, duathlon and triathlon, basketball, football and baseball athletes. I have coached world-class athletes and athletes internationally. I have a passion for working with youth athletes and helping them apply mental game skills and techniques to all areas of life. Most importantly, my aim is to have people enjoy sports and life to their fullest through peak performances.
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2 Responses to Electromuscular Stimulation and Performance II

  1. Christina says:

    It is impressive that after your time off you should be “de-trained” yet you had very successful runs.

  2. Pingback: EMS – Electrical Muscle Stimulation: A Tool to Complement Training Part I « The Running World According to Dean

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