Electro-muscle stimulation: Exercise with EMS a maximum of twice a week
Fitness training is healthy. However, some people simply do not have the time to regularly exercise longer. For these people, so-called electro-muscle stimulation (EMS) seems to be just the thing. Health experts point out, however, that you should not exercise more than twice a week.
Extremely effective training
For years, the booming fitness industry in Germany has brought huge profits to the respective providers. In today's fast-paced world, more and more athletes want to get their training sessions done as quickly as possible. For people with little time, electro-muscle stimulation (EMS) seems to be just the thing. This training is extremely effective. However, more than two units a week can harm health. And the training is not intended for the masses anyway. This is pointed out by the German Society for Clinical Neurophysiology and Functional Imaging (DGKN).
Muscles are stimulated with electrical current
Many fitness studios in Germany advertise the new sport trend EMS (electromyostimulation), in which the muscles are additionally stimulated with electrical current during normal training.
But the alleged “miracle method” is tricky: whether the training really has the desired effect has not been proven and if used incorrectly, EMS can even damage muscles and kidneys.
The German Society for Clinical Neurophysiology and Functional Imaging (DGKN) therefore advises against EMS training in mass sports.
The method should only be used under the guidance of trained sports doctors and physiotherapists.
Faster muscle building
Gyms attract customers with electromyostimulation training (EMS), a full body workout under stimulation current, and promise highly efficient training with only 20 minutes of use per week.
The reason for the quick effect: The targeted power supply leads to stronger muscle contractions that also reach deeper muscle fibers and thus to the faster building of the muscles.
In physiotherapy and high-performance sports, EMS has been used for years to build muscle after an operation or after being bedridden for a long time.
However, the mass application of the method is still new territory, says Professor Dr. med. Stefan Knecht, chief physician of the Clinic for Neurology, St. Mauritius Therapy Clinic, Meerbusch and press spokesman for the DGKN:
"While doctors and physiotherapists were trained in this method, the staff in fitness studios are often not sufficiently trained to correctly assess the stress."
Maximum twice a week
During the EMS training, the athlete wears a special suit that directs the current into the muscles.
The trainer gives instructions and regulates the current intensity for the individual body regions via a control panel.
Different muscle groups are specifically tensed for a few seconds and then relieved again - a short workout is sufficient due to the intense tension with additional power supply.
“The little effort is tricky and can lead to training more often or more extensively than recommended,” says Knecht. "The EMS training should be completed a maximum of one to a maximum of twice a week."
Too intensive strength training leads to an increased release of creatine kinase (CK), an enzyme that supplies the muscles with energy.
Scientists at the Cologne Sport University have found that the increase in CK in EMS training is up to 18 times higher than in conventional training. These extreme values can lead to kidney damage in individual cases.
If in doubt: Anyone who feels pain, rapid heartbeat or a feeling of weakness after training should consult a doctor.
The dose makes the poison
In EMS training, the dose makes the poison. In addition to sufficient recovery phases between training sessions, moderate power intensity is also important. Danger arises if someone uncritically turns the controller upwards.
"Trained personnel must monitor the current intensity and the trainers must point out the danger of overtraining", emphasizes the DGKN press spokesman.
Also important for kidney function: Even if the training sessions are short, you have to drink enough.
"EMS training is not suitable for getting in shape comfortably and without effort, because the training effect has not been proven and if used incorrectly, the method is even risky," summarizes Knecht. He recommends: regular fitness training - that is effective and safe. (ad)