Electrostimulation for sports
Muscle electrostimulation has been used for many years by top athletes and physiotherapists. Today, this new training concept is becoming more widely used and is available to individuals. Electrostimulation consists of sending an electrical impulse to the muscle so that it contracts through the use of electrodes.
These electrodes boost the strength training in the different muscle groups in your body: glutes, abs, legs, etc. The method promises muscle strengthening in specific areas, while reducing risk to the joints and the cardiovascular system. Practicing sports by using electrostimulation is becoming more and more common, but also particularly effective.
What is electrostimulation?
Electrostimulation stimulates the muscles in the body using low intensity electrical impulses sent through electrodes which are connected to a machine. This technique reproduces the process of muscle contraction and relaxation.
When you exercise, your brain tells your muscle to contract. The electrostimulation device replaces the brain by directly asking the muscles to contract using an electric current.
Muscle contraction thus takes place without the central nervous system being put under stress. The impulse sent stimulates the nerve fibers that surround the muscles. It is this stimulation that causes the contraction of the muscles in question.
However, it is not enough to plug electrodes into strategic areas and wait for your body to build muscle on its own. For the operation to be effective, it is necessary to use it in addition to sports training, involving abs, squats or muscle building, for example.
Does electrostimulation replace a classic sports session?
Sports coaches are unanimous: electrostimulation can give you the benefits that you would get from four hours of sport in just twenty minutes if you combine it with bodybuilding movements. And for good reason, 100% of muscle fibers are mobilized during a sports session using electrostimulation, compared to 60% during conventional training.
To say that playing sports using electrostimulation replaces a classic sports session is not entirely correct. It is the combination of the two that offers optimal and fast results.
The muscle groups are simultaneously stimulated by the electrodes for several seconds. A few extra seconds should be devoted to recovery time between pulses.
By multiplying the pure contraction time by the number of main muscle groups stimulated (pectorals, arms, abs, glutes, thighs, etc.), we obtain the total muscle contraction time.
Performing a fitness session using electrostimulation
Today, there are two possibilities for doing sport using electrostimulation. You can either choose a home gym session or go to the gym.
Performing a fitness session using electrostimulation at the gym
The first step of a sports session using electrostimulation is to put on a special suit. This is covered with electrodes, which will be placed on the muscles that you want to work.
The suit is then connected to a screen. You just have to follow the instructions and perform the specific movements indicated. A small avatar will guide you, and help you to adopt the correct timing. In this way, the muscle contraction takes place at the same time as the stimulation by the electrodes. It is important to focus on your posture and the number of repetitions of each exercise.
At the gym, a coach will be at your side to make sure that you are performing the movements correctly. The program is personalized according to each person’s needs and expectations, and lasts twenty minutes on average. Between each exercise, you will have a few seconds of rest before continuing with the next one.
If you want to strengthen your buttocks using this method, the electrodes will mainly be placed on this area. Then you will do exercises targeting this muscle group: squats, hip raises or leg raises.
To see definite results, it is advised that you do this at least twice a week.
At the gym, a sports session using electrostimulation costs, on average, 45 euros.
Performance of a fitness session using electrostimulation at home
Today, there are electrostimulation devices available to the public. These allow you to do your sport directly at home.
In this case, you won’t wear a special suit. You will, however, have to place the different electrodes on the areas you want to work on.
With regards to the duration and intensity of the pulses, this all depends on the device you are using as well as what your goals are:
- Muscle toning,
To find the program that is adapted to suit your needs, it is best to consult the instructions for your machine. In any case, it should be set to the maximum bearable. You should not be in pain but feel sharp contractions.
If you want to strengthen your abdominal muscles, place the electrodes on your stomach. Take care to install the electrodes correctly in order to stimulate the right nerves and create a good muscle contraction. The more precise your placement, the better your results will be.
Start a program, then do your work out with exercises that target this area. Hold the muscle contraction while the device sends the current. Then relax for a few seconds, according to the rhythm imposed by your device, before continuing the repetitions.
It is advisable to practice this between fifteen to thirty minutes on each area once a day and to alternate the programs. Count on at least three sessions per week and six weeks of work before seeing the first results.
What device should you choose to do exercise using electrostimulation at your home?
Electrostimulation boxes cost, on average, between 200 and 400 euros. They generally send two types of current:
● An excito-motor current that activates muscle contraction,
● A TENS current which activates the nociceptive nerve fibers (pain fibers) for analgesic action.
There are currently several brands of electrostimulation devices on the market, each one has its own specifications. Also, before purchasing one you should check:
● The programs offered,
● The number of electrodes provided: each pair is connected to a channel. The more channels you have, the more muscle areas you can work on simultaneously,
● The intensity levels: with different intensity levels, you will be able to progress faster,
● Ease of use: ideally, the placement of the electrodes should be clearly shown on an app or directly on the device.
Advantages of fitness using electrostimulation
Exercising using electrostimulation has many benefits. In this case, your body will become toned and your muscles developed. This method, combined with a balanced diet and physical exercise, helps reduce cellulite and reduce the orange peel appearance.
Another advantage is that building muscle using electrostimulation prevents damage to your joints and injured areas of the body. If you have a recent injury, for example, preventing you from doing sport as you would like to, electrostimulation is the ideal solution to avoid muscle wasting during your rehabilitation.
This method is ideal for fitness and for people who want to get results quickly and boost their performance. Electrostimulation automatically works on the so-called fast muscle fibers, which provide muscle tone.
During a classic sports session during which the brain controls the contraction, the slow fibers, which are responsible for muscle endurance, are the first to be worked on.
Thanks to the electrodes, it is also possible to reach areas that are sometimes difficult to access or difficult to strengthen.
Finally, electrostimulation is excellent for recovery after a sports session because the method allows you to drain toxins and reduce aches.
On the other hand, electrostimulation is not magic and does not make you lose weight. The concept, although it is perfect for getting a more toned look and for sculpting the muscles of your body, does not, alone, make you burn fat.