T Nation

Electronic Stim Machine... Need Help

Hey guys…

I’ve been on and off in physical therapy for the last 5-6 years of my life (I play basketball and have terrible connective joints where the muscle connects to the bone, so I’m always having hamstring / groin problems). When I focus on just lifting, the problems go away, because my strength goes up and all the cutting and running and all that bullshit is out the window. However, I love the game too much, so I’ve dealt with the therapy.

However, I’ve noticed that for all the therapy, it’s mostly just rub-downs (which I can do, or get someone else to do), and electric stim…so I’ve decided to just flat out buy one of those fancy machines.

My question is which models are the best, and what should I expect to pay for it?

Additionally - is it smart to use a machine like that (on lower settings) on off days? Say, after a heavy chest day, put it on my chest for like ten minutes, to say, stimulate recovery?

I’m not a physical therapist or a trainer, so I don’t really know, so I’m asking y’alls advice.

Thanks, looking forward to hearing from you…

(btw, links are appreciated!)

Well, they’re mostly illegal to sell in the states without a doctor’s prescription. But they’re easy to order from the UK. My dad got a TENS with no problems. Sorry I don’t remember the company. I think the TENS were under $100 and EMS were $125-$200.

I have an EMS 7500. It is not as strong as many of the units, but you can get a decent contraction for most muscles short of the quads. I have experimented with it a little with a strength-type protocol (10/50 on/off on the highest contractions I could stand) and I found that I gained strength nicely but it may or may not have been the EMS. I have also used it in-season at low intensities for 15-20 minutes for recovery purposes. I feel like it helped but again I cannot say for sure.

I feel like an EMS may be a worthwhile purchase (the 7500 is only like 50 bucks) but I will say that I do not use mine all that often. I have had it for about a year and a half and have used it in three (maybe four) 4-6 week periods over that time. During both periods I think it helped but again I am not totally positive.

I will say that there are coaches (especially in the T&F realm) who get a ton of use out of EMS. So if you think it could hep you, get one and experiment. Carry out a systematic plan and record results. I would advise you however to learn how to use one properly. It’s not super-complicated but it’s not quite as simple as hooking it up and going to town.

Wait are we sure we’re on the same page here? I was once told by a therapist that the real machines were hundreds and even thousands of dollars.

FIFTY BUX?! Damn…

I’ll check out EMS…thanks so much…

Anyone else have any ideas?

[quote]CarpeD1em500 wrote:
Wait are we sure we’re on the same page here? I was once told by a therapist that the real machines were hundreds and even thousands of dollars.

FIFTY BUX?! Damn…

I’ll check out EMS…thanks so much…

Anyone else have any ideas?[/quote]

Limited machines that do a small range or therapies might be under a100. Good things that do tens, muscle stim, interferential and other forms of stimulation cost 1000-2000$

Don’t forget the electrolyte gell and some good cloth tape. They will burn you if the pads are not properly fixed to the skin.

[quote]tom63 wrote:
CarpeD1em500 wrote:
Wait are we sure we’re on the same page here? I was once told by a therapist that the real machines were hundreds and even thousands of dollars.

FIFTY BUX?! Damn…

I’ll check out EMS…thanks so much…

Anyone else have any ideas?

Limited machines that do a small range or therapies might be under a100. Good things that do tens, muscle stim, interferential and other forms of stimulation cost 1000-2000$

[/quote]

Yeah. The 7500 is low-powered and pretty much completely manual, there is no pulse settings or anything where you can pre-program it. You pretty much put the pads on and turn the knob. The power is also nowhere near a unit like the Compex ones. I would say that most trained athletes will not be able to get a full quad contraction with the 7500 and after a few sessions you’ll find the same thing for the hamstrings. However, I found that after a few sessions of doing that on my hams (along with GHRs and other lifts in the weightroom) that I was able to recruit them better. The same thing goes for the VMO.

My advice to you would be to start with a cheaper unit, learn how it works and get some use out of it. If you feel it is limiting you, then maybe upgrade. However, I would be hesitant to drop a lot of cash for something that most athletes aren’t going to get a ton of use out of.

[quote]However, I found that after a few sessions of doing that on my hams (along with GHRs and other lifts in the weightroom) that I was able to recruit them better. The same thing goes for the VMO.
[/quote]

I find this interesting. I don’t have symmetric, balanced muscle recruitment between the right to the left side of my body when doing certain lifts. For example, my right pec is smaller than my left because my right shoulder picks up the slack when I bench press. Consequently that shoulder is bigger. My VMO on my left legs appears to be underrecruited also. As a powerlifter, I don’t really want to spend alot of extra time bringing up hypertrophy weak areas. I wonder if a unit like this could help this.

I was going to post a new thread but this seems recent enough.

Has anyone seen any new research over the past couple years on EMS for performance in athletes? My searches have led to nothing but a pile of things on ab belts which have no relevance.