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p.s. I have a Cefar, and it has saved me much money in terms of massage. A basic model that has the features mentioned is sufficient.
No evidence of building muscle or preventing injury.
For a few dollars more, the Recovery Legs are much better. But they are only for the legs as the compex can be used all over the body.
Looks like people seem to like it. It seems like an intriguing product but I've had no experience with it.
http://www.MattRussellTri.com -Pro Triathlete -Tri Coach
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im all for reading studies, but i cant seem to find anything beyond the title.
who's smarter than you're? i'm!
The essential question with electrical stimulation and performance is can you get anything with the stimulation that you can't get with volitional training?
No one doubts it's effects in people who have some sort of impairment in their CNS ability to recruit their muscles but that doesn't apply to most able-bodied persons. Whether you can get any gains beyond what you can get with typical volitional training seems equivocal at best, at worse the answer is you can't.
In principal you might because electrical stimulation violates the size principle so you may be training some large, Type II motor units at relatively low forces that otherwise only get recruited when performing high force activities (or in a highly fatigued state).
im all for reading studies, but i cant seem to find anything beyond the title.
I couldn't find that specific study available online, but I did find a scholarly review of this and other research done on EST:
I'm drinking from the fire hose when reading it, but I get the impression that the results are mixed. It would be really useful to see some studies with cyclists using it and measuring their performance change over time while using it.
I and others tested the strength and how it changed with strength training for literally tens of thousands of students enrolled in classes in the Kinesiology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. With each student, we tested 1 repetition maximums (1RM) for four exercises. We did this twice, once pre- and once post-exercise program that we had the students follow.
While post-testing for the 1 rep max for the bench press, we assisted the lift with a Compex Strength Program for a dozen individuals. 8 pads – 4 channels were applied to the pectoralis major and the triceps brachii muscles. The voluntary lift was performed in concert with the involuntary contraction produced by the Compex Strength Program. All twelve lifted more weight (at least 2.5% and not more than 15%) when assisted with the Compex Strength Program. An involuntary contraction with E-stim can recruit more motor units than a maximal voluntary contraction. These observations have implications regarding neural inhibition and it’s partial removal.
I measure watts while training on the bike. I’ve experimented over the years with my normal bike training without Compex strength programs and the bike training with Compex strength programs. My wattage held at the anaerobic threshold is ~10% higher when training on the bike and supplementing my training with Compex strength programs than when training on the bike with no E-stim supplementation.
I'll compare IMWI 2011 and IMWI 2012. Generally the same course, 2011 was a bit warmer and 2012 was more windy. Actual temps and wind speeds I do not remember... I also did IMWI in 2010 (my first IM)
IMWI 2011 - no Compex use
IMWI 2012 - Compex use
2011 - 58:30 and 11th AG out of water (2 loops)
2012 - 59:17 and 6th AG out of water (1 loop)
2011 - 5:21:28 and 4th AG off bike
2012 - 5:19:07 and 6th AG off bike
2011 - 3:44:42 and 10th AG finish
2012 - 3:14:55 and 3rd AG finish
2011 Finish Time - 10:12:05 - 10th AG
2012 Finish Time - 9:41:38 - 3rd AG
Yes one could argue that I was more "tenured" of a IM racers but there is no doubt in my mind and I believe the proof is in the results. That without Compex I could not have raced as strong as I did without the added benefit of Compex.
ALSO - - I did a 20 minute all out "power test" in Feb. of 2011 and the same 20 minute "power test" in Feb. of 2012 and saw a 25% increase...same bike (and position), power meter, computer, and trainer. That was with 4 months of training and using Compex. Both times I had the exact same amount of saddle/trainer time before doing my "power test".
For me it's a no brainer to use Compex. Not to mention the added benefits of Active Recovery and Massage. I know several cyclists and triathletes that use Compex and not a single one would stop using it. Not to mention I can do strength or recovery while eating dinner, watching tv, etc with my wife. vs being at the gym more or sitting in an ice bath.
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Somebody wrote in this thread that EMS does not build strength: actually it does. Recent metastudies* of all the research available pointed out that differences between research that obtained improvements vs research that didn't obtain improvements: correct stimulation parameters and stimulation intensity. The main factor was stimulation intensity strong enough to recruit at least 50% of the muscle fibers. It's a little bit like the difference using 10-lb vs 100-lb weights.
Please take a look at this page for videos on the use of EMS in sprinting.
1. Filipovic A, Kleinöder H, Dörmann U, Mester J. Electromyostimulation--a systematic review of the effects of different electromyostimulation methods on selected strength parameters in trained and elite athletes. J Strength Cond Res. 2012;26(9):2600–2614.
2. Filipovic A, Kleinöder H, Dörmann U, Mester J. Electromyostimulation-a systematic review of the influence of training regimens and stimulation parameters on effectiveness in electromyostimulation training of selected strength parameters - part 2. J Strength Cond Res. 2011;25(11):3218–3238.
Is it worth to buy it ? It's not a cheap product, but looks miraculous to prevent injury and strenght.
Makes shaving excusable, otherwise removing those sticky pads can be painful.
I'm the importer of a competing brand that is used by NFL strength and conditioning coaches, and by coaches of world class sprinters. We always recommend users to crank the stimulation intensity up to the maximum of the comfortable and then turn it down a notch. Here is a discussion in a forum where EMS is better known.
Can you cite some research that shows that? I've tested hundreds of people over the years with Estim for various research endeavors sometimes specifically looking at their maximum voluntary force (MVF) vs. maximum Estim force. Most people fall somewhere in roughly the 40 - 60% range of MVF with Estim. Some don't even get to 30% some get to around 80%, I've seen one person that possibly got above 100% of their MVF and again that was really exceptional as the typical outlier is more around 80%. There's plenty of research showing how much force you can get out someone's muscles with Estim and it's usually relatively modest. Very little if any has ever confirmed the claims of the Russian researcher who initially claimed to get supramaximal forces with Estim.
For years our standard protocol also looked at neural inhibition as we had subjects perform maximum efforts and superimposed a brief burst of stimulation on top of the voluntary contraction and again most people were pretty good at recruiting what was available, usually getting above 95%. Although we never explicitly tested it I will say it was often the folks who were endurance athletes who appeared to have some difficulty getting to above 95%. I've always thought it may have been because they are use to chronically activating their muscles at sub-maximal intensities.
I'm not sure how germane it is anyway, most folks seem to use these sorts of machines for "recovery" not for strengthening, which isn't surprising given that producing high enough forces with Estim to get strengthening is typically pretty painful.
I don't know how current you are with EMS research. However, in 2010 there was a world conference on the subject with the foremost researchers in the field. One statement alone from the summary article* refutes what you wrote: "Chronic effects - Strength training by NMES does promote neural and muscular adaptations that are complementary to the well-known effects of voluntary resistance training".
After that, two more recent research articles (2011 and 2012) have pointed out what allowed certain research paper to obtain good results, and why others did not. See my previous post. You also state: "producing high enough forces with Estim to get strengthening is typically pretty painful". That is also not true; it depends on what parameters one uses and how good the machine is at producing those parameters.
Article downloadable from my website research page
Maffiuletti NA, Minetto MA, Farina D, Bottinelli R. Electrical stimulation for neuromuscular testing and training: state-of-the art and unresolved issues. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. 2011;111(10):2391–2397.
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