EMS Training – Urban Sport of the Week
In our weekly series we send a heroic member of the Urban Sports Club team to try out some of the weird and wonderful sports we have on offer. This week, despite being genuinely quite scared, we sent them off to EMS Training (that stands for Electrical Muscle Stimulation)…
What is EMS Training?
When we exercise, our muscles contract. Electrical Muscle Stimulation Training heightens and intensifies these natural contractions using electrical impulses. During these electrical impulses, doing simple movements is the equivalent to lifting heavy weights in the gym.
Slim-Gym is a fitness studio that specialises in EMS Training and nutrition. They’re all about time efficiency. Their EMS workouts last no longer than 16 minutes and are the equivalent to a 3 or 4 hour workout in the gym.
What can you expect?
Like many EMS studios, Slim-Gym Tiergarten faces out on to the street and could be mistaken for a shop front. When I arrived my trainer, Rick, gave me a form to fill out about my general health and fitness goals and sat me down to explain the basics. I was about to have electrical impulses stimulating the deep muscles in my body, and, in 16 minutes I would have done a full-body workout.
The large studio had three EMS machines facing a mirror with about 15 black vests hanging on a rack. They looked a bit like bullet-proof vests and had lots of straps and wires hanging from them.
I was given a towel, socks and black workout gear made of 100% cotton to effectively channel the electrical impulses. When I was changed Rick laid a vest on the table and showed me which electronic pads belonged to which muscle group. Lower back, upper back, side back, abs, chest and shoulders. He then proceeded to hose down the jacket with water “so the electrical impulses can travel into your body”. Rick’s explanations weren’t making me feel any less nervous.
I put on the electric shock jacket and Rick plugged some of the attached wires into other gadgety-looking things. He also strapped separate pads around my arms, waist and thighs. I turned to face the mirror. I looked like a pale, confused extra from a sci-fi movie.
How was the workout?
The podium in front of me had a large dial that controlled all of the electrical currents at once. Under that was a screen with a line (similar to a life support machine) which showed me when the next electrical impulse was coming. Under that were 9 different knobs that determined the electrical current for each separate muscle group.
The first minute was spent determining the level of electrical current I could manage for each muscle group. Rick told me to say stop when it was getting too much. “How do I know when it’s too much?” “It’ll stop feeling like a massage.”
We started with the glutes. Rick turned the glute dial up and I felt a bizarre tingling in my thighs that slowly turned into aggressive pins and needles. “That’s fine!” I squawked. It felt like my legs had been put on vibrate. At no point did I find this reminiscent of a massage. The other people I observed seemed cool and calm during their EMS training. Not me.
Every time a new muscle group was activated I had to suppress a shriek and then started laughing uncontrollably which really, really hurt because my ab pads were on full vibrate. My workout consisted of 4 seconds of electrical impulses and 4 seconds rest for 16 minutes. After I’d got used to the initial feeling of being electrically charged, Rick gave me a wooden stick and instructed me to push it out in front of me.
As my entire body vibrated manically, the effort to push this almost weightless wooden stick was ludicrous. Over the course of 16 minutes me and the stick did standing ab crunches, bicep curls and tricep curls. I also had to lift a leg up, one after the other. I should note that throughout the workout Rick was using the aforementioned main dial to increase the overall intensity of the electrical impulses. Every time he did so I would swear involuntarily. For the final 30 seconds Rick cranked up the big dial and I just stood there enduring one long, intense electric shock until it was all over.
As I left I was rewarded with a delicious vanilla and coconut protein shake to complement my workout, all part of the Slim-Gym experience.
How did I feel after?
Immediately afterwards my body felt a bit tingly, but overall I felt fine. I wasn’t particularly sweaty and it definitely didn’t feel like I’d just done a 4 hour workout at the gym. Later that day I started to feel my glutes hurting, but apart from that the rest of the day was just like normal.
The following days my muscles felt slightly sore but not too painful. Although it was new and slightly scary, I would definitely do this again. It’s just 16 minutes for a full-body workout, everybody was super friendly and I could feel new muscles had been awoken after the training.
Benefits of EMS Training
It’s extremely time-efficient. If you want a full body workout in 16 minutes than this is the sport for you. Research has proved that this really works, but it works best when paired with a well-prepared training schedule and nutrition plan.
It’s the only way to workout hard-to-reach muscles, especially in your back and shoulders It’s suitable for all fitness levels – anyone can begin EMS training and it won’t leave you feeling physically exhausted afterwards.
EMS Training helps facilitate muscle recovery and allows you to focus on specific problem areas.
It certainly beats a long workout in the gym – it’s easy to stay motivated when you only need to train for 16 minutes, and the time flies by.
Don’t forget to bring…
Water. Slim-Gym provides everything you need including workout gear, towels, shampoo, shower gel and deodorant. They also wash your workout gear so it’s ready next time you train. You can just walk in and walk out like nothing ever happened.
Fancy giving EMS Training a go yourself? Have a look at our other EMS Training partners across Germany and France.