Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) technology is literally exercising with electricity. The special device sends electrical currents to the muscles through electrodes, causing the muscles to contract and relax, just like they do with conventional weight training. Specific strengths of electrical current are already used in other fields such as physical therapy and cosmetology. The history of electrical muscle stimulation began in 1780 with Luigi Galvani, an Italian anatomist and physician. In his experiment, he stimulated a dead frog’s muscles with a low frequency electricity (Piccolino, M. Oct. 20, 1997) and his findings are the origins of where we are today.
E-Fit is a full-body EMS workout device. The current E-Fit machine (EF 1280), is FDA 510(k) cleared and is part of the fifth generation equipment series specifically developed to stimulate the entire body throughout an entire training session. The 4U Fitness method of working out with E-Fit allows users to achieve their fitness goals in a short period of time. The user responds immediately to the electrical muscle stimulation, and almost all of the muscle groups are activated simultaneously, even the hard-to-reach muscles on the waist and hips.
After a few weeks, most users notice a change in muscle tone and increased endurance. EMS training can be up to 50 percent more intense than conventional strength training with weights because E-Fit activates about 80 percent of the body’s muscle fibers at any given time during the workout.
The E-Fit training program at 4U Fitness is one of the most effective full-body stimulating workouts and the client results show it!
How does it Work?
At any given moment, the brain sends electrical impulses to the muscles to achieve movement. EMS uses the same principle and allows for an immediate and stronger muscle-mind connection. The E-Fit device (machine that controls the strength of the electrical current, or “load”) is used with a vest and pants filled with electrodes. The electrodes in the suit are positioned on top of the large muscle groups.
4U Fitness uses a combination of E-Fit and conventional training with compound movements such as: squats, rows, presses, deadlifts, etc. to produce a client’s desired results. The E-Fit device sends electrical pulses from the device, through a tube of wires, to the electrode-filled suit. When the electrical pulses reach the electrodes, it causes the muscles underneath to contract and relax as the user performs an exercise (often with two, 2lb dumbbells). An E-Fit-certified personal trainer controls the intensity of the workout by raising or lowering the amount of electricity (load) sent to the muscles. The higher the number, the more the muscles are loaded and the more intense the contraction.
Full-body Stimulation and Target Areas
The electrode-filled suits come in several sizes and the electrodes are connected to the following muscle groups: pectoral, latissimus dorsi, bicep and tricep, lower back, abdominals, gluteal, quadriceps femoris, hamstrings, and calf muscles.
At 4U Fitness, most clients practice strength and conditioning in conjunction with E-Fit to build muscle and burn fat. The 4U Fitness team believes strength training is the only way to track progress, and consistently see the best results with two E-Fit sessions per week. The E-Fit workouts can vary! From TRX to spin, barre, aerobics, rowing, strength and conditioning, and even powerlifting, all can be done with E-Fit machines although with the machines, the user will experience a much greater intensity and a much higher level of difficulty as compared to conventional methods.
The intensity of EMS workouts is so high that a mandatory 48-hour period of recovery is strictly followed at 4U Fitness. For safety purposes and to ensure proper recovery is maximized, clients are not allowed to do E-Fit back to back within a 48-hour period nor are they allowed to do weight or HITT training back to back with E-Fit.
Daniel Nyiri, owner and CEO of 4U Fitness, on working out: When workouts vary, the mind and body can be all over the place. It is like building a skyscraper by guessing what goes on next and it is impossible to buy and place furniture until after the building has been built. The best workouts are when the mind and body are connected. When the mind is 100 percent aware of each movement and how each movement affects the muscles, each exercise is performed deliberately, maximizing the efficiency of the workout. For people that are introducing exercise to their lives, it is difficult to make the mind and body connection right away. EMS workouts allow that mind and body connection to occur right from the start of the workout, thus allowing for results and proper building of muscles to take place quicker than through regular weight training.
The Benefits of EMS Training
- Quick, efficient workouts
The EMS system caters to today’s busy lifestyles. In about 30 minutes, a client can get dressed, workout, and be out the door. The personal trainer-led E-Fit workout is only 20 minutes! Which is very different from the typical one hour (or more) conventional gym workouts. During the training session, the device works 350 different muscles, contracting them a total of 36,000 times—that alone tells you how intense a workout it is. While it takes, on average, four sessions to see results, research has proven that working out with E-Fit is 18 times more effective than traditional training.
- Builds muscle
During each exercise with E-Fit, electrical current flows to the selected group of electrodes in the suit. Increasing the intensity of the pulses loads the muscles. In some cases, the personal trainer might add electrodes to the suit in areas that require more stimulation.
- Train entire body simultaneously
E-Fit uses electro-stimulation to achieve stronger and more intense muscle contractions than a voluntary exertion can achieve alone. For example, during squats, the personal trainer can increase the pulse intensity on the electrodes placed on the glutes, quads and hamstrings to make those muscles work harder. The abs, calves, biceps and chest might still receive stimulation, but less intense. Personal trainers can create an appropriate, customized training program for each client to maximize every session.
EMS training does not depend on weights or high-impact exercises. The magnitude of the workout is determined by the level of intensity from the electrical pulses. Every session is performed with a personal trainer, who ensures the client uses correct form and the intensity is at the right level for each exercise.
This workout program is very low-risk of injury and muscle strain. Because the muscles are directly stimulated, the joints do not experience the same stress as they would if they were lifting a weight comparable to the amount of electrical load. 4U Fitness usually trains clients with anywhere from 2lb to 5lb dumbbells to make the exercise comfortable for the user, though the workouts can be done without any weights. This minimal-impact training is ideal for older clients or those with joint problems or injuries as well.
- Burns fat
The improved fat-burning and weight loss capabilities with E-FIT training are the indirect benefits of the highly efficient, short and concentrated workout sessions. As the muscles work, metabolism increases because the cells demand increased energy. When a client keeps a healthy diet, weight loss and a toned body will soon follow.
- Reduces the appearance of cellulite
Cellulite is caused by the weakened connective tissues. Fat cells accumulate between the skin and the muscle tissue, and causes visible bumps on the skin–often located on the thighs, buttocks and abdomen. The E-FIT machine has a special mode that efficiently treats the appearance of cellulite. The best way to stimulate the tissue in these common problem areas is with lower impulse intensity, which increases blood circulation to the problem areas, activating fat removal.
- Reduces back pain
One of the key effects of electro muscle stimulation is that it also reaches and activates deeper into the muscles than conventional training. Many people suffer from a muscular imbalance in the back, stomach or pelvic floor, which often results in recurring back pain. Sedentary lifestyles weaken the muscles, resulting in poor posture, leading to back pain (Boeckh-Behrens, W. 2002).
E-Fit training makes it easy to target commonly weak areas and can help strengthen the supportive muscle groups and correct any imbalances. Stimulating the muscle groups that support the back makes the muscles stronger and able to support the back without any pain.
- Personal training
At 4U Fitness, every client has a personalized E-Fit program. One trainer deals with one client at a time. Within the E-Fit system, the workout is customized and saved to each client’s profile. Each 4U Fitness trainer provides high-quality service to assist each client with achieving fitness goals.
- Good for all ages, regardless of fitness level
Regardless of the individual’s level of fitness, even the slightest stimulation in an E-Fit workout can be effective and benefit the user. The trainer can adjust settings so that each client is challenged appropriately.