EMS: works or not?

What is EMS training?

EMS training( E lectrical M uscle S timulation) is the effect on the muscles of a device sending electrical signals through electrodes attached to the surface of the skin. The EMS device generates impulses similar to muscle contractions in force training.

Advertising simulators and training studios EMS( brands Bodytec, Miha, TEEX and others) promises to create strong muscles with 20 minutes of classes per week, and home EMS-belts for the press "guarantee" relief cubes without twisting - you just need to put this elektropoyas when watching TV.

Do not think about how to pump up cubes on the press, but about how to get rid of a falling belly? All about how to clean your belly.

Who came up with EMS?

The history of myostimulants began in the 18th century, when scientists discovered that an electric current can trigger a contraction of a certain muscle. In the 1960s, Soviet scientists announced that they had developed an innovative mechanics for training athletes, increasing their strength by 40%( 1).

It was later found out that it was more about special restorative therapy, and not about increasing strength and muscle mass in healthy athletes. However, the very idea of ​​EMS and the possibility of creating an ideal body without any effort or training proved to be attractive.

Myostimulators - Pros and Cons

Devices for individual EMS training appeared in the US in the late 1990s. Producers tried to give their products and the method of electromyostimulation as much confidence as possible, organizing scientific congresses and conducting various equipment certifications.

In one of the attempts of such certifications, the wording "device for weight reduction" was used - but the regulators categorically rejected it. In total, EMS was certified as a method of treating muscle atrophy and relieving spasms, but not muscle growth( 2).

EMS training: feedback

Training studio EMS

EMS Training Camp - just raise your hand to make muscles grow and fat to burn.

Apparently, many of the positive feedback about EMS training are created by those who are engaged in commercial promotion of such methods or have direct benefits from this. Most EMS training studios sell not single workouts, but quarterly or even annual subscriptions.

The advertisement uses photographs of smiling athletes dressed in a special costume, while the studios of the training employ exclusively inflated guys. All this creates the impression that the EMS method is a magical way to achieve a sports body with zero efforts.

Belt for the press - a solid deception

Belt for press EMS

Home simulator EMS for the development of the press - does a guy in the photo need to lose weight?

A separate line of EMS technology is home fitness equipment belts. Beautiful advertising and feedback from "buyers" promise instant fat burning on the abdomen and hips, getting rid of cellulite, strengthening muscle tone and drawing the relief of muscles and other positive effects.

Despite the fact that such simulators can show some efficiency in completely untrained people and paralyzed patients, for most it will not be enough. In addition, the relief press is largely built on a diet, and not on physical exercises.

EMS: Contraindications

EMS simulators have a long list of contraindications - from pregnancy, to the presence of chronic diseases( circulatory disorders, gastrointestinal diseases, kidney failure, cancer) and even common colds.

A separate group of contraindications includes people who have pacemakers and other devices for correction of the heart rhythm as well as those who have suffered bone fractures, sprains, or any damage to the skin in the recent past.

Final view of

The EMS method has shown a marked effectiveness only for paralyzed patients who are not able to move independently. Electrostimulation can improve the tone of untrained muscles, but it can not cause them to grow and does not affect fat burning or getting rid of cellulite.

Manufacturers of EMS simulators have been repeatedly fined for misleading advertising and misleading promises that the miostimulation technique can replace strength training and create an "iron press with absolutely no effort and without a drop of spilled sweat"( 3).


EMS training improves muscular tone only in untrained people and in paralyzed patients. Manufacturers of such equipment were repeatedly fined for misleading advertising that EMS simulators are capable of "creating muscle effortlessly."

Scientific sources:

  1. Scientific sources:
    1. Russian electrical stimulation: the early experiments, source
    2. FDA: Import Alert 89-01, source
    3. FTC Charges Three Top-selling Electronic Abdominal Exercise Belts with Making False Claims, source

    Date of first publication:

    • January 29, 2014years