Training with EMS is new to most of us, myself included. As an athlete brand new to EMS with a strong foundation in aerobic endurance training, I was curious exactly how EMS affects and improves this part of fitness. Here is what I found.
In order for a muscle to get stronger or more "aerobic", the muscle fibers within the muscle need to do work. Selected muscle fibers are recruited and contract during activity, running, cycling, skiing or just plain strength training. But not all of the muscle fibers are recruited. Training with EMS recruits more muscle fibers involuntarily during activity in order to get the body stronger. So technically, the electric impulse doesn't get the muscle stronger but actually just innervates more nerves to contract and in turn, they get stronger when exercising.
When you train in the cardio setting, a lower HZ level is used (the unit of measure) and it is around 5-10 hz. This frequency innervates the slow twitch muscle fibers used during cardio endurance training. EMS training also improves the oxygen consumption of the stimulated fibers which allows the muscle to do more work at a faster rate.
My cardio has improved, hands down. And now I know exactly why. I encourage everyone to add even just 4 minutes of cardio to the end of your workout to help increase the strength of your heart, which is a vital muscle that many people forget about. If you are an athlete, a recreational runner or someone who wants to walk up the stairs with more ease, I highly recommend adding this extra bout of exercise into your week.
Healthy heart, healthy body, healthy mind.