The introduction of technology-enhanced training methods, such as electro muscle stimulation (EMS) as a new and more time efficient option for general and whole body strength training, has peaked the interest of many researchers to validate its effects on the human body. These research results across different age, training and population groups have shown positive results. A question that often comes up is: how does this technology-enhanced training work in contrast to other strength training methods?
Mester et al, German Sport University Cologne
The research aimed to compare different types of strength training by testing and analysing classical and modern strength parameters. A total of 80 participants were divided into 8 groups and trained twice a week over a period of 4 weeks. They were all tested 3 times: (1) a pre-test before the first training, (2) post-test directly after the study period and (3) 2 weeks after the end of the study period.
The results showed that EMS training increases strength of the tested muscle groups and significantly improved the maximum power output of participants. This is highly relevant for sports performance, as well as the daily requirement for the muscular system. Most notably, it was found that EMS training was the only training method that succeeded in improving the speed factor within overall performance. Another interesting finding was the EMS training group was the only group to show improvements after the conclusion of the 4-week training intervention, which indicated EMS training requires a longer recovery period as the training effects have a delayed onset.
A range of different strength parameters were tested in this EMS research project and some of the most interesting and significant results were found for maximum strength and maximum power outputs. Compared to the other training methods that were tested in this research, the EMS training accounted for similar and even better test results than traditional strength training methods. The authors also found EMS training to be more intense than classical strength training and thus requires longer recovery periods.