“Electricity sports”: EMS sports often lead to muscle damage and kidney problems

“Electricity sports”: EMS sports often lead to muscle damage and kidney problems

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Trend sport EMS training: Experts warn of overloading and kidney damage

The fitness industry in Germany is booming. One of these is EMS training, in which the muscles are additionally stimulated with electrical current during normal training. However, health experts are now warning that this sport can damage muscles and kidneys.

EMS training is trendy

Fitness training is “in”. However, in today's fast-paced world, more and more athletes want to get their training sessions done as quickly as possible. EMS training seems to be just right for people who have little time. Finally, it is advertised that this sport leads to a slim and toned body without effort by only 20 minutes of training per week. But how effective is electrical muscle stimulation? Health experts say: With this training, the dose makes the poison.

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 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 only be completed once to a maximum of twice a week."

Too intense 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 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)

Author and source information

Video: Electrocution HazardsConstruction - PART I - Hazard Types - V0001529ET (May 2022).


  1. Deverel

    I would not refuse,

  2. Loxias


  3. Berford

    Does not work

  4. Cahal

    In my opinion, you are wrong. I can defend my position.

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