Electromuscular Stimulation Update

OK, I have to admit, my first posts certainly reflected that there appears to be some efficacy in the use of EMS units in both rehabilitation as well as actual training – improving conditioning.

As I mentioned in the last post, it does require dedication to be consistent and reap benefits from using the EMS device. I have been very diligent in using the EMS and I have logged all my treatments – or should I call them workouts?

I continue to progress with the EMS on my quads. When I started I could barely tolerate the very modest milli-amperage of 16-25. (Jonathan informed me that the usual starting point is 30 or so!)

After 4 weeks I moved to 30 milli-amps. But as of last week I am at 42 milli-amps. It feels good! I feel much stronger and there is no doubt my quads have progressed. I no longer have ANY peri-knee tendonitis issues that I had for months. And those very knee tendon (quad insertion points) were the ones that the physical therapist told me that EMS would NOT help – “so stick with traditional exercises.” In retrospect, I realize in her answer that she was not very familiar with EMS as a treatment and did not want to use it. When I had asked some “whys” the answers were vague and dismissive.

Lesson Learned: Just because you go to a physical therapist it doesn’t mean they are well versed in all modalities and it does not mean they know how to deal with athletes. Choose a PT who has extensive experience with athletes and not just rehabing 85 year olds with hip replacements (like my Dad).

As I related previously, within only a few treatments I noticed a demonstrable difference in decreased discomfort. To my surprise and pleasure that trend has continued.

It is now week seven. I hit a snag a couple weeks ago (just about the time I made the last posts). My Achilles tendonitis acted up in my right leg. So I took time off. I’ll get back at running this week I hope. But I have maintained my EMS treatments throughout.

One thought occurred to me was that perhaps it acted up due to an imbalance of muscles. Though I’ve been doing EMS to my quads there is no such thing as all our muscle groups being completely unconnected. It’s the old, foot-bone connected to the shin-bone; shin-bone connected to the thigh-bone… Imbalances can create a change in running form and yield compensation injuries. My long history of Achilles tendonitis is of course a good predictor of future injuries anyway. Next up, I may also use the EMS on my lower legs. Pretty soon I’ll be hooked up to this thing constantly!

I’ll update everyone on my use of EMS as I continue to rise back through the ranks! I’m coming back… I’m always coming back!


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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6 Responses to Electromuscular Stimulation Update

  1. Dean,I love your openness and thoughtfullness of the topics you take on. I have used this exact technique on a few of my patients myself with positive results. Many elite athletes are using this as a part of their pre work out routine as well.

    Have you used the cold laser for treatment( I love this for certain types of muscle injuries my fav is H/S ) or warm up? I am interested in this modality as a pre race warm up Hum…… more thing to check out in the pursuit of a great performance.

  2. Dean Hebert says:

    I have not used cold laser but would love to hear about it and its use.

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

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

  5. station44025 says:

    PT, unfortunately, is too often a racket to collect insurance payments for repeated visits. I have been to several PTs who are resistant to telling you any exercises to do on your own because they want to make sure you keep coming back. Obviously they are going to resist anything that will reduce the number of visits you will make. Extending your leg 25 times once a week can go forever.

    If you can find an honest PT, or one working through a running club or something it can be great. Too often, they have an incentive for you not to heal.

    • Dean Hebert says:

      Though I understand both your skepticism and negativity towards PT I disagree with your assertions. PTs specialize. The key is to get one who knows runners if that is your issue; likewise get one who knows “shoulders” if that is your problem PTs undergo regular ongoing education and can specialize in many areas (elderly, post-op), injuries (knees, shoulders), illnesses (like heart disease), post-ops (joint replacements, arthroscopic surgeries), rehab modalities (EMS, ASTYM), etc. I disagree with your assertion about their treatments. Your physician prescribes the number of treatments and your insurance company limits treatments. Over the many years of on and off again visits with PTs I have never hit my limit and have never been “encouraged” or “coerced” by a PT to keep going. I have had the exact opposite experience. Once they saw that I was competent at exercises, they have told me to stop coming and go home and do them on my own… unless I have an issue – then return. In the case I mention in my EMS article, the PT was merely ignorant of EMS units. No more and no less and therefore could not address the issue. I cannot blame her for that. It was outside her expertise.
      If your experiences are as you say, then I would strongly recommend you go elsewhere for PT – because they do not represent mainstream PT.

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