Criticisms of EMS

I was lurking another site and saw some criticisms of EMS…

What does everyone think?

For bodybuilders they’re utterly worthless, like creatine serum and snake oil. EMS units were first developed by physiotherapists for treating muscle wasting in coma patients and the high end units have some utility for that purpose. However, it’s a vast distance from there to the gym. They’re the same type of device as the Abtronic abdomenal stimulators Danoz used to sell until they were sued in Federal court by the ACCC and the judge ruled that they absolutely, positively didn’t work as advertised; they are a con, a fraud and a sad joke. You must remember them, Danoz claimed ten minutes worth was the equivalent of 600 situps but with no actual physical effort on the user’s part. The judge subsequently ruled that Danoz was guilty of engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct under the terms of the Trade Practices Act 1974. There have been similar cases in the States.

Even when you allow for the limited therapeutical uses these devices have in certain circumstances the fundamental reason they’re useless for bodybuilders is that hypertrophy requires resistance. Weight lifting is not called resistance training for nothing. IOW, if you want to get big you have to lift increasingly heavy things and whether gaining muscle or losing fat you must eat appropriately. No device can do that for you.

The reply here:

i am not a bodybuilder, i am a powerlifter, i am also a physiotherapy student. Hypertrophy is not my goal. lifting something from A to B is.

i am not in search of BIG GUNZ!!!@! or the like, im am in search of an EMS unit that is capable of delivering the protocols outlined in many well respected texts : Supertraining - Siff/verhanofsky. Scince and practise of strength training - Zatsiorsky. Training for Speed - C Francis etc etc

EMS has many uses, the use i am interested in is priming Fast oxidative mototr unit neuromuscular activty. Electrical stimulation reverses motor unit firing, allowing fats twitch MU to be fired preferentially over FOG and ST motor units.

The causes of hypertrophy are not clear, no one can accurately state what causes hypertrophy and how to maximise it, anyway that is not my goal so i wont bother with that argment.

getting stronger is not just a mechanical problem of lifting ever increasing weights. Neural activity needs to be addressed just as much as mechanical activity if not more so.

if you think they are worthless portaroo thats cool, im happy to try one out while you continue your quests for BIG GUNZ!!!

If you’re a student you should have access to a decent library. Go do some reading on how high the Soviets turned up the stim to get any noticeable improvements in athletes. One of the reasons EMS units are useful for coma patients or quadra/paraplegics is that the demand on them is so low. IOW, the muscles are so wasted they don’t need much stimulation. With athletes it’s a whole different ball game. In the Soviet studies (not replicated in the West, to my knowledge, probably for ethical reasons) they turned the stimulation up so high it sent the muscle into a rigid spasm and caused a lot of the athletes to pass out. The kind of unit you pointed to is simply too weak to be of any benefit for either strength or hypertrophy in a healthy person. If you’re recovering from serious injury it can be useful by reducing muscle wasting whilst you are not training, but for strength training I confidently predict you’ll get demonstrably superior results by simply lifting increasingly heaver things and eating properly.

ben wrote:
i am aware of how hight the soviets turned up their signals. The unit in question has been ‘approved’ for use by others more qualified in the use of EMS than you or I (no not the retailer).

Of course it’s approved by the regulatory authorities for public use. Its output is too low to do any harm. It’s also too low to do any good for what you want. You’ve as good as admitted it so why push it?
ben wrote:
Thank you for your suggestions and concern for where i spend my money.

I dare say I’ve rarely seen anyone more keen on wasting it. Why don’t you just give it away to worthy causes instead? Like me.

[QUOTE]Chris Aus wrote:

here is some good info for some of you

No, it isn’t. Thibadeau is using the same old mainly Soviet studies I already talked about. For example, he writes, “Since the studies of Soviet sport-scientist Kots (1971) reported strength gains of up to 50% in minimal time…” That wasn’t because of EMS, people, even assuming it happened at all. It was because the Soviets started with athletes with high genetic potential, trained the crap out of them, kept them going flat out with good old fashioned Soviet motivation tools (“Behind Door A, Igor, is a new flat in Moscow, complete with running hot water! But behind Door B is a one-way trip to Siberia!”), and last but not least, drugged the fuck out of them. There’s good reason nobody has ever replicated the Soviets’ “results” with EMS.

The Soviet studies showing massive strength and/or hypertrophy gains because of EMS have all the credibility of Victor Conte and ZMA. Lyle McDonald’s opinion of the Siff-Verhanosky studies, for example, is that they wouldn’t pass “muster of a 4th grade science class”.

I’ve already noted EMS does have valid applications, notably in rehab. But it is not going to give you noticeable strength and/or hypertrophy benefits (note I said noticeable, forget about significant) unless you crank up the output to unbearable levels (“You will take the pain, Comrade! Oh, shit, he’s passed out again.”).[/QUOTE]

for the full discussion you can go here

EMS is not a panacea and IS worthless without other training. Charlie has discussed EMS and its applications extensively in his training manual.

Yeah but this guy is saying that it is worthless even in addition to other training, thereby effectively saying that Charlie (as well as Christian Thib etc etc etc) is full of crap, and that all of Mel Siffs studies are useless… This didnt sit well with me which is why i brought it up!!!

I have a compex sport 500 model. Believe me when I say that it works. Be careful of bitches who criticise everything. My strength levels have gone up my squat max is now close to 200 kg and I parallel squat. I hve used the machine deligently. My muscles are more vascular and muscle hypertrophy has occured specifically in my hamstrings due to the treatments prescribed. Do not listen to bull shit. I do less volume of ab work becasue the machine has taken care of the need to do such a high volume to condition them. The settings on the compex are unbelieveable. The hypertrophy I have in my abs from approx 8 sessions of EMS over 2 weeks is equivalent to 8 weeks for me. If you know me you will know that I pack on muscle easily but the EMS is excellent.

Overall the greatest imporvements are in hamstring volume and quad explosive strength, due significantly to the EMS machine I have.