purchasing EMS units

Jamirok, glad you asked the question.

The Active Recovery program makes the muscles twitch at frequencies between 1 and 9 Hz. This means that the muscle pulsates from 1 to 9 times per second. However, you can do this in different fashions. At Globus we experimented with different ways of doing this, and found that people seemed to get a better recovery and in a shorter time with a specific variation on this theme. This was adopted as the standard program.

In a nutshell, the change from 1 to 9 Hz can be done in a cycle lasting a certain number of minutes. The cycle adopted by Globus lasts a fraction of a minute and is repeated over and over. The cycle adopted by Compex takes 25 minutes and is done only once. I have my own theory, why cycling active recovery in shorter cycles apparently produces better results. But I would be interested in the opinion of others in this thread.

Some detail: the Compex program increases the frequency gradually during the course of 25 minutes. Every four minutes the frequency increases by 1 Hz, thus at the end you reach 9 Hz. At Globus we tested this against cycles taking 5 minutes, and repeated four times. Then we tried the same with even shorter cycles. Users manifested their preference for the shorter cycle, they also volunteered that they were obtaining their recovery faster. Therefore we were able to shorten the program from 25 to 20 minutes. Younger subjects even claimed they needed only 15 minutes.

If you use the programmable version of the Globus Premium, you should be able to try your own variations of the program and find out for yourself what works best.

I think I’m right if a say that with the Compex the frequency decreases every 4 minutes and at the end you have 1 Hz.

Thank you for the correction svincenz. My fault :o, I wrote the sentence up-side down.

thank you.

How would one use EMS for IT Band tightness which is giving knee pain?

Personally I use “the Stick” (do a google search) to address IT band tightness. You can use EMS on the VMO. This does not address IT band tightness directly but may help the knee pain.

IT band tightness = is the symptom of something else? Like tight hamstrings and or quads or glutes? I don’t know but the EMS can be used to address any of these large muscle groups initially through an active recovery mode or something that will promote blood flow to loosen the area.
Sounds to me that you need to combine several approaches to get a result.
Massage, epson salt, contrast therapy and follow up with EMS and Travel Roller or a stick or something in this category.
Are both knees bothering you?
I was told a long time ago sprinters often do not address the tband and over time it can lead to issues with your knee. Find someone knowledgeable to show you proper stretches for your hamstrings and quads.

Yes my IT band tightness/ knee pain is a symptom of chronic tight quads/gluts/hip flexors. I have used massage/stretching/foam roller which gives temp relief.

I was thinking of buying a Globus EMS, to work out the knots/ break up any scar tissue in quad and hopefully loosen out IT bands/tendons around the knee. The quad is very tight beside the IT band,with lots of knots .

Both legs are tight, but right only has knee pain( walking up steps, bending) Also i have noticed my glutes feel weak when walking up steps.

I have no expereince of EMS, any advice would be helpful in terms of pad placement for loosing out the quad and the breaking down of knots/scar tissue etc.

The Globus has the features you’re looking for.

What do you guys think of this unit? http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Muscle-Toner-EMS-Unit-2-channels-4-pads-NEW-Top-Value-/230482282705?cmd=ViewItem&pt=UK_Sporting_Goods_Exercise_Fitness_Fitness_Accessories_ET&hash=item35a9d088d1

I’m considering getting an ems unit depite being a little skeptical still (in terms of enchancements in power, recovery etc), what results have people here seen from them???

I bought an EMS unit a couple of years ago, and I have to say that spending at least a bit of extra money will get you a LOT more usability. First, if you can get a unit that will allow you to set the rest periods (as well as number of repetitions and sets) that allow for Charlie’s max contraction settings. Most inexpensive EMS units I found have rest settings of only 30 seconds, not the 50 seconds needed.

In addition, I think the number of channels and pads is really important. If you have four channels with two pads each, you can get through your max contraction work twice as fast as a basic unit. That’s a big deal over the long term!

In other words, you get what you pay for, so consider paying a bit more. You don’t have to go as high as buying a Globus. I bought this model:


It’s not bad for an entry level unit. The fact that it is a million times easier to use than a rudimentary unit means that you will likely use it much more often.


chalet fresh,
there is the vast experience shared by Charlie, the detailed information provided by gciriani and others, EMS works, nothing to be skeptical about. Provided its use is integrated in a sound plane, that’s for sure.

Chalet Fresh,
The reason many people don’t get results, is they don’t use the correct programs. Now, the link you showed is a cheap TENS, which will not allow you to train properly. I would suggest a unit that has the EMS parameter programmed in different protocols already labeled in the menus of the unit.

As in voluntary training, different EMS training protocols have to be employed for different goals you’d like to obtain. Take a look at the following table, to get a glimpse of the different protocols that you could use. In voluntary exercise you wouldn’t do 1 rep at 95% of 1RM exercises to pursue the same training goals that you would pursue with 8 rep at 70%. There are about half a dozen parameters to set; getting a decent machine with ready made protocols takes you half way through it. The remaining other half of the way, since you are new to the field, is to work with a coach who is familiar with EMS.

A very common issue in beginning any type of training or rehab protocol is not working from the goal backwards. In other words use your destination as reference point to identify where to begin your journey.

If you have had chronic issues in the IT area, then you must have had an altered neuromuscular firing pattern which allowed the issue to propagate.
Poor functioning glutes, hams, psoas, vmo, spinal erectors etc. If any of these things are underperforming or have poor firing patterns this will create an environment that will allow it to become a long term issue.

As mentioned above the Globus device will allow you to enhance your recovery and augment your training stimulus; however to identify your imbalance(s) you will need to find a skilled coach/therapist.

thanks alot for the advice guys. Only problem is i have no idea what coaches use ems in england so makes it bit tough. Gonna try to have to just learn as much as i can about it. What are peoples opinions of ems model that T-slow posted???

Thanks :slight_smile:

Hi Chalet,

I suggested that model if you don’t have the budget yet for a Globus or equivalent model. It does have a ton of pre-set programs and you can do custom programs (e.g. 10 second on 50 second rest) that will get you started at least. I’ve had mine for two years and I like it.


I looked up the Myo XT that you have and it says the max freq is only 80hz. Is this enough to work max strength for each athlete you have? I realize that 80 is working on max strength but wouldn’t you need/want more in some cases?

It has an explosive strength program as well but I don’t see how since again the freq is only 80?

I think that you will find the 80Hz upper end will be satisfactory for all of the athletes you use it with. I’ve tried it on several fast twitch dominant athletes (i.e. vertical jump of 40+ inches) and it always seems to pick up the muscle pretty good.

Number Two,
In general all muscles will be picked up at any frequency one selects. Because the stimulation is involuntary, all fibers are involuntarily recruited. Even at 20 or 30 Hz, you will be able to recruit 100% of fibers if the current intensity (milli-Amps) is strong enough to penetrate deeply enough in the muscle bundle: slow twitch type I, fast twitch type IIa, and fast twitch type IIb will all contract. In my opinion, with EMS we are trying to squeeze out a little extra force, i.e. little extra recruitment. Experimental recruitment curves show that at 80Hz muscle force and recruitment have not peaked yet. The trick I think is to work at the frequency closest to the frequency at which the fiber to train would naturally peak. If this line of reasoning is correct, to tweak explosive force fibers it may be better to work above 80 Hz, that is between 100 Hz and 120 Hz; these are at least the frequencies utilized for explosive force programs found in Globus and Compex machines. My reasoning is based on the theory of muscle electrophysiology I’ve learned from various research papers, but again I do not have your S&C background and experience and you may prove me correct in theory and incorrect in practice.
Graph from:
Enoka, Roger. 2008. Neuromechanics of human movement. 4th ed. Champaign IL [u.a.]: Human Kinetics.

I was under the impression that microcurrent therapy device would cost more


what you guys think of this unit?