Electro Muscle Stimulation machines

Anybody have any experience with these Electro Muscle Stimulation (EMS) machines that I keep hearing about - there was a guy at one of the recent shows selling his, claiming that it helped somebody achieve pro status a few months after placing in the top 25 previously. I don’t think its a replacement for hitting the weights hard, but I’m thinking about it for abs and for recouperation.

I have had a little experience with these machines. I’m only 18, but I’ve had alot of injuries in my career. In response to your question, I injured my lower back about 7 months ago. I strained the ligaments that hold the 4th and 5th vertebrae in line. They twisted and caused other problems. As part of therapy, I had to go on a muscle stimulation program using shock treatment. This is similar to the machines that are sold on t.v. It helped me gain some lost strength, but that was it. If you get one, I recommend using it in conjunction with any normal lifting routine that you use. The only real way to get abs is to have a good diet and work your ass off. I hope this helps a little.


In Charlie Francis’ book “Training for Speed,” he talks about the use of EMS. Many of his athletes benefitted from its use.

They used it for strength gains and also for recuperation. For strength gains, he had his athletes use it for 8 seconds followed by a 50 second rest for 10-15 repetitions. For recuperation, they used short, one-second pulsing repetitions.

They used it on the quads, hams, calves, abs, soles of feet and lower back. I don’t know if I’m a believer yet, but it worked for Charlie’s athletes. He recommended a particular brand, but I can’t remember the name of it offhand!

My training partner is on a EMS program: Whenever he starts to falter on a set of heavy squats, I give him a prod with my stun gun. I find the Taser brand works best. Be sure to use the low setting, as the higher setting may cause spontanious bowel emptying.

My experience with EMS machines is similar to Tim’s. In my case, it was a knee injury. I don’t think it would be worthwhile for strength/size, but it is helpful for rehabing an injury. As for those home kits, don’t waste your money.