EMS Max Strength Journal

EMS Max Strength Journal


I’m 21 years old and a senior in college studying exercise science. My username may be familiar to many people on this forum as I’ve held journals on this website over the past 5-6 years. I just started seriously training for and competing in Olympic style weightlifting in November 2011 (~6 months ago). I realize that this is a very late start for this sport in which it would have been ideal to start at age 12, but this excuse will not stop me from being the best I can be in this sport.


I realize that this is a forum for sprinters mostly as I’ve been a former sprinter (very slow though), but the main purpose for this journal is to utilize the Electronic Muscle Stimulator (EMS) as an implement to my strength training. I know that this device was highly advocated by Charlie Francis after reading many of his materials (CFTS, Key Concepts, forum reviews, EMS training theory thread, etc) and also realize that this device would benefit my training more and could be used more often as a lifter. Now that I know the potential benefits for EMS, I find it hard to believe that very few athletes use this device. I’m no expert on EMS and I’m still learning new things everyday about it. I want to use this journal to track my progress and use it as a resource to people here interested in incorporating EMS Max Strength to their training.


I just finished my Base/GPP Block of doing some higher volume reps (10’s) and now going into a more specific training block (5’s). You can look at my sample training program here: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=136294381&page=1. I’ve been making some good gains in the program already, but I think EMS will be an extra aid in my “lust” for strength gains. I plan on adding two EMS sessions per week which would be at the end of the day on Mondays and Thursdays over this entire block as well as the next two blocks. Every three weeks I will unload on whatever training block I am currently in and just do one EMS session that week. This journal should have 19 EMS sessions total if everything goes as planned. I will be using EMS on the quads, glutes, hamstrings, abs, low back, and trapsezius muscle groups.

Here are my current training numbers
Height – 5’9”/175cm
Weight – 181lbs/82kg
Snatch – 220lbs/100kg
Clean and Jerk – 275lbs/125kg
Back Squat – 362lbs/~165kg x 10, 397lbs/~180kg x 2, 370lbs/168kg x 5
Front Squat – 377lbs/171kg x 1
Clean Grip DL – 363lbs/165kg x 2
Snatch Grip DL – 342lbs/155kg x 3
Bench – 232lbs x 10, 250lbs x 5, 275lbs x 2
Military Press – 127lbs x 10, 165lbs x 3
Push Press – 197lbs x 5, 227lbs x 2
BTN Push Press – 202lbs x 10


I’m using the Neurotrac Sport XL unit that I bought for $160 USD from the UK. If the unit doesn’t satisfy my needs, I’m getting a Globus unit. I will do 10 x 6sec ON/54sec OFF for each training session and just auto-regulate when I need to. I’ve only used Max Strength EMS for one block last summer on my hamstring muscles only (I’m extremely quad dominant) and the results were great. I wound up setting a PR in my 30m sprint at a bobsled combine without doing any speed work in 4 months.

Aside from Charlie Francis’ materials, I’m using Giovanni Ciriani’s “EMS Digest” manual as a resource for pad placement, etc. I’d highly encourage anyone to read this manual who is looking into incorporating EMS into their training program.

5’s Block Week 1, Monday, 5.21.12

Rack Power Jerk Cluster - 222lbs, 232lbs, 242lbs, 232lbs, 222lbs (~30sec), 2 x 5 w/ 222lbs
Back Squat - 377lbs x 4 (fail), 357 x 5, 342 x 5
BTN Push Press - 212lbs x 3 (fail), 202lbs x 4 (fail), 192lbs x 5
Bench - 252lbs x 5, 242lbs x 5, 227lbs x 5
-No military press because I ran out of time.

Back Squat - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IOMfzv2XP8&feature=youtu.be

Rough day today. I’m not worried about it though because the very same thing happened to me the last time I did this program when I transitioned from 10’s to 5’s. I should have been just a little bit more conservative with the weight jump. Still living and learning…

~4hrs later

EMS Max Strength Session 1/19

Warmup: 10min hot shower, 15 arm circles clockwise/counter clockwise, leg swings forward/lateral x 15, 6min light pulsing warmup on quads.

-Every muscle group was stimulated 6sec ON/54sec OFF

QUADS - 38 mAmps
GLUTES - 65 mAmps
CALVES - 35 mAmps
*330uS was set for all muscle groups.

Cooldown - 6min light pulsing on calves, static stretching on muscles that were stimulated.

Brutal stuff here… It almost felt like my hammies and quads were going to get ripped off my femurs! I already know that I’ll be extremely sore tomorrow, my VMO muscles are already beat. I kept the same pulse width for every muscle group stimulated today at 330uS. That will be something I need to look further into, especially for the smaller muscle groups. It should be interesting to see how this affects my training this week. Also decided to just to do these 5 muscle groups. This session took 2hrs btw, I will need to become more efficient in the future with these upcoming sessions.

Tuesday, 5.22.12

Block Snatch - 187lbs x 1 (fail), 177lbs x 3, 167lbs x 3
Snatch Grip DL - 317lbs x 5, 302lbs x 5, 287lbs x 5
Snatch Grip RDL - 262 x 5, 247 x 5, 235 x 5
Snatch Grip Shrug - 317 x 5, 302 x 5, 287 x 5
Bent Over Row - 202lbs x 5, 192 x 5, 182 x 5
Chin-ups - 3 x 5

I should have taken more warm-up sets before doing the block snatches today. My technique has been way off as of late, I was able to do 197 x 3 the last time I did them actually.

I actually do not have hardly any muscle soreness from yesterday’s EMS session surprisingly. I have a little in my glutes, but I thought I was going to for certainly be sore getting out of bed this morning… I was wrong.

Wednesday, 5.23.12

Power Jerk - 3 x 5, 222lbs (failed last 3 reps on last set)
Back Squat - 5 x 5 w/ 342lbs
BTN Push Press - 3 x 5 w/ 192lbs
Bench - 5 x 5 w/ 227lbs
Ab Wheel - 2 x 15
Side-ups - 2 x 10

Good day of accumulating volume.

Still no extreme soreness from the EMS. However my calves did feel more sore this morning than they did yesterday. My seconds EMS session is tomorrow evening.

Thursday, 5.24.12

Block Cleans - 277lbs x 3, 262lbs x 3, 252lbs x 3
Clean Grip DL - 347lbs x 5, 332lbs x 3, 315lbs x 3
Clean Grip RDL - 277lbs x 5, 262lbs x 5, 252lbs x 5
Clean Grip Shrug - 347 x 5, 332 x 5, 315 x 5
Bent Over Row - 3 x 5 w/ 182lbs

277 x 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPPfG-z2wjA
347 x 5: http://youtu.be/xr9X1cEyzfQ

Overall a good day hitting 2 PR’s in this workout. It’s been a while since I’ve done block cleans and they felt foreign to me. I actually failed some of my warmup sets and realized that I wasn’t starting with my hips hinged back enough (instead I was standing too upright), this could be the very reason why I failed my snatches on Tuesday.

EMS Session 2/19

Same warmup used like last time.

Quads - 45
Hamstrings - 47
Glutes - 75
Erector Spinae - 48
-No calves because they are still sore.

Another brutal session, but not near as bad as the first one. I think the battery on my unit is already dying from this stuff, it was flashing while I was stimming hte glutes. Could be the reason why the milli-Amps were much higher on the glutes and erector spinae this session. I might have to use a new battery for each session.

Saturday, 5.26.12

Snatch - 177 x 1, 187 x 1, 197 x 1, missed 202 3x
Clean and Jerk - 225 x 1, 242 x 1, 252 x 1, stopped because I ripped 3 calluses
Front Squat - 357lbs x 2

PR on the front squat today! I have video of the front squat, but shot it at a horrible angle. Other than that everything really sucked today. Lifts are down because I’m primarily more focused on becoming stronger in the less specific stuff. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. Also with the snatch I also have to keep in mind that I did change my technique by not curling my wrists inward at the start. For the time being, I’m going to start incorporating some pause snatches below the knee on Tuesdays instead of block snatches. I also need to step it up a notch on taking care of my hands. These bars here are a lot less friendlier to the hands than the bar I use back at school.

I’m not too surpised that I didn’t get any extreme soreness from the EMS this week. My biggest worry now is that the unit I’m using won’t be powerful enough to use on my glutes in the upcoming sessions. If this happens, I’m going to have to discontinue using the unit because it wouldn’t make much sense to use it on other muscle groups that are going to benefit more to this training.

Week 2, Monday, 5.28.12

Power Jerk - Cluster - 227, 237, 247, 237, 227, 227 x 5
Back Squat - 377 x 5, 357 x 5, 342 x 5
BTN Push Press - 207 x 4 (fail)
Bench - 257 x 5, 247 x 5, 232 x 5

377lbs x 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9d7vd9SLNp8

Wish I was able to get more sets in today, but I got to the gym kind of late. I hit some solid numbers today, but they were hard as hell to achieve. Next week should be interesting.

EMS Session 3/19

Quads - 52
Hamstrings - 51
Glutes - 83
Erector Spinae - 51

Another tough EMS session…

Tuesday, 5.29.12

Pause Snatch - 177 x 3, 187 x 2 (fail), 192 x failed all 3)
Snatch Grip DL - 332 x 5, 317 x 5, 302 x 5
Snatch Grip RDL - 272 x 5, 257 x 5, 247 x 5
Snatch Grip Shrug - 332 x 5, 317 x 5, 302 x 5
Ab Wheel - 2 x 20

332 x 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2qyDZSrmVY&feature=youtu.be

Rough day today. Snatches look good on camera, but still just plain weak compared to where they were a month ago.

I did have some soreness fatigue everywhere from last night’s EMS session. I really felt it today.

Hey Ku2u,

As we discussed earlier this week, the cheap “heavy duty” 9 volt batteries that come with this unit are total garbage. My Energizer 9 volt has lasted months, so with a quality 9 volt you should be set for a while. It will be interesting to see how the sessions progress and if you run out of power.

I will keep that in mind Tyrone. Stay posted with this log!

Wednesday, 5.30.12

Power Jerk - 2 x 5 w/ 222lbs
BTN Push Press - 3 x 5 w/ 192lbs
Back Squat - 5 x 5 w/ 347lbs
Bench - 5 x 5 w/ 232lbs

Tough day accumulating all of that volume. Moved back to school today, starting class tomorrow.

Thursday, 5.31.12

Block Clean - 282lbs x 2 (fail), 272lbs x 3, 257lbs x 3
Clean Grip DL - 357lbs x 5, 342 x 5, 327 x 5
CG RDL - 287lbs x 5, 272lbs x 5, 255lbs x 5
CG Shrug - 357 x 5, 342 x 5, 327 x 5
Bent Over Row - 207 x 5, 197 x 5, 187 x 5
Front/Side Plank - 1 x 60sec

282 x 2 clean fail: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGboZdM6B4I&feature=youtu.be
357 x 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZFB89iZv_Q&feature=channel&list=UL

EMS Session 4/19

Quads - 60
Hamstrings - 52
Glutes - 90
Erector Spinae - 52
Should’ve had that third rep on block cleans today. I got underneath it but just wasn’t aggressive enough with getting my elbows up. Other than this, my stress levels are about to really hit the ceiling. It’s my senior year in college and I have a lot of expectations to live up to at my job, in my classes, attaining my CSCS cert, and hitting PRs in these workouts. I also have to note that I won’t be training this Saturday because I’m going to the NSCA conference thats being held in my hometown of Waco, TX.

I made a mistake on the quad stim today by putting the negative electrodes on the bottom and the positive electrodes at the top. Not sure if this would effect the stimulation, however I was still able to handle more mAmps today. The session was definitely painful like usual.

Bol with your training. I have been writing workouts for a weightlifter you can see the exercises for the first couple blocks:

Block 1: 3 times per week
Hang power snatch
Hang power clean
Clean deadlift and shrug
Push press
Front squat
OH squat
Bench press

Block 2: Training 3x per week alt workouts
Session A:
Power snatch
Power clean
Push jerk
Front squat
Oh squat
Incline press

Session B:
Hang squat snatch
Hang squat clean
Snatch deadlift shrug
Oh squat

Block 3: Current Block
Power squat snatch
Snatch h pull
Snatch deadlift shrug
Push jerk

Oh squat
Hang squat snatch
Hang squat clean
Good morning

Power squat clean
Clean high pull
Clean dead shrug
Power snatch
Push press

Block 1: Was all prep work…

Thanks man. Thats quite a bit of comp lift exercises you’re having him do. Is there any particular reason why you aren’t doing back squats in the program?

Yes, its a higher volume program based around veteran weightlifter and 3-time Olympic coach Schmitz. Remember I only listed exercises no setsxrepsx%'s…

For example current block:
pss 2x5/x3/x2/3x2
shp 3x3
sdl 3x2
pc 2x5x/3x3
pjerk 2x5 3x3
fsq 5432/3x2
bp 10/8/6/4/3x2

Also we are still in the prep phase… We don’t get into %'s until the later phases…

I’m not very familiar with Jim Schimtz stuff. Its similar to my program in nature but has lots more OL specific exercises which is probably better from a beginner’s standpoint. After I’m done with the next two training blocks I’m going to get a lot more specific with the lifts and not focus so much on strength. My comp lifts need a ton of work.

Coach Schmitz is great - always willing to help.

Sample program he wrote for me during college - fr year…

Week #1

(A) - Monday
BS – 135x10, 225x5, 315x4, 385x3, 405x3x2
PS – 135x3x3, 175x2, 185x3x2
PC – 135x3x3, 205x2, 255x3x2
BP – 135x10, 225x5, 295x4, 315x3, 335x3x2
(B) – Wednesday
PS – 135x3x3, 175x2, 195x2, 205x3x2
PC – 135x3x3, 205x2, 255x2, 275x3x2
CHP – 295x3x3
BP – 135x0, 225x5, 275x3x4
© – Friday
PS – 135x3x3, 175x2, 195x2, 205x2, 215x3x1
PC – 135x3x3, 205x2, 255x2, 275x2, 295x3x1
FS – 135x5, 225x4, 295x3x3
BP – 135x10, 225x5, 295x4, 315x3x3

5’s Block week 3, Monday, 6.4.12

Back Squat - 382lbs x 3 (fail), 362lbs x 3 (fail)
Bench - 260lbs x 3 (fail), 235 x 5

Just not a good day today. I even cut out two lifts today and everything was still bad. I’m pretty sure my poor performance today probably happened because I’m stressing myself out a lot more than normal. I believe I will become acclimated to this “new” lifestyle soon.

Tuesday, 6.5.12

Pause Snatch Below Knee - 187lbs x 3, 192 x 3, 172 x 3
Snatch Grip DL - 342 x 3 (fail), 327 x 2 (fail), 307 x 5
Snatch Grip RDL - 275 x 5, 260 x 5, 245 x 5
Snatch Grip Shrug - 345 x 5, 325 x 5, 315 x 5
Bent Over BB Row - 210 x 5

192 x 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyDwi8H2rsY

Tied my 3RM pr on the snatches today and I’m very happy with that after how bad they were last week. I can’t explain the snatch grip DL today, just a horrible performance like yesterday probably because of the many lifestyle changes happening this week.

Wednesday, 6.6.12

Back Squat - 5 x 5 w/ 352lbs
Bench - 5 x 5 w 237lbs

Good day of getting volume. Felt stronger than Monday.

Thursday, 6.7.12

Block Clean - 287lbs x 3, 302lbs x 1
Clean Grip DL - 367lbs x 5, 347 x 5, 332 x 5
CG RDL - 302 x 5, 287 x 5, 277 x 5
CG Shrug - 367 x 5, 347 x 5, 332 x 5

287 x 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE2_L_P_iDw&feature=channel&list=UL
My first 302lb clean: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aj-bw9P_TlA
CGDL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjzguWF4_V4&feature=channel&list=UL

It’s about time that I racked 300+lbs to my shoulders. I know its from blocks but it was an awesome feeling and I almost had the second rep. Also I think its finally safe to say that my deadlift is higher than my front squat! My deadlift has come a long way since the start of round two of this LSUS program. Overall lot’s of struggles this week, but finished strong. I’m unloading next week to prepare for the 3’s block. I won’t be training this Saturday either because I’m supposed to see my older cousin who plays TE/FB for theTexans if he shows up to my family reunion.

EMS info: Ok, I did not do any EMS this week because I really just can’t handle it in my life right now. I literally almost fell asleep at 7pm everyday this week! For the time being, my new plan is to do 2weeks on/2 weeks off with EMS. So this means this week and next week will not include EMS, but at the start of the new 3’s block I will go back to incorporating it again. Perhaps I might start incorporating it 3 days per week instead of two days per week when I start it back again. I cannot say if I am noticing any strength gains from the four sessions that I’ve done thus far. If anything, the gains I have made have just come from training alone.

How’s the ems treatments going?

Just realized it was a bad time to do all of this. Lot of unexpected things happened to me all at once and now I don’t even have access to OLs in that garage anymore. When I get my undergrad classes done in mid December, I may be able to get back to doing EMS again depending on how stressful my internship is.

If this helps any, the four sessions that I did with EMS didn’t show any strength gains really. But four sessions isn’t near the recommended range that Charlie advocated (10-15 sessions). I will update this journal whenever I start incorporating EMS in my training again, it will happen someday.

Sorry to hear that- I don’t think max strength ems treatments are worth the stress for part time athletes/full time students/healthy athletes. BOL with everything else…