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What is EMS Training?

Theoretical Background

Electrodes placed on the skin pass a gentle electrical current through its surface which activate muscles and nerves which in turn produce a contraction of the targeted muscle group.

header_ems-emaConventional Training vs. EMS Training

Conventional Training

When one performs any exercise, their brain sends a message down the spinal cord through the nerves innervating all the muscles causing them to contract

EMS Training

An outside electrical source stimulates the nerves to send these signals to your muscle to contract. This is achieved by passing electrical currents through electrode pads placed over a muscle. The current passes through electrode pads placed over a muscle. The current passes through the skin to the nerves in the contact area, stimulating the connecting muscles to contract. Electrodes are attached to muscles and wired to the XBody device that sends low-level electricity through the skin to stimulate nerve and muscle fibers.

EMS versus Conventional Training

How EMS Training works

image001The proposed advantage of using EMS is that the recruitment order is reversed relative to volitional exercise. During volitional activity, the central nervous system first activates the smallest alpha motoneurons. With increasing levels of required force, progressively larger motoneurons are activated. This recruitment order, dependent on the size of the alpha motoneuron, has been termed the ‘Hennemann´sche size principle’’ of motor unit recruitment.


The size of alpha motoneurons is related to the type of muscle fiber innervated by the motoneuron. Slow oxidative (SO) muscle fiber types are typically recruited first, whereas fast glycolitic (FG) are the most difficult to recruit during volitional activation. The order of muscle fiber recruitment is reversed when the muscle is activated via electrical stimulation, with the largest-diameter muscle fibers (FG) being recruited first and the smaller-diameter (SO) muscle fibers being recruited later.

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