Can EMS Training Really Get You Fit In 20 Minutes A Week?

Get the lowdown on the latest fitness trend.

EMS training
Image: The Urban List

Imagine there was a way you could reap the benefits of a three hour weights session in just 20 minutes per week. Sounds too good to be true, right? But thanks to the opening of Australia’s first EMS gym chain, SpeedFit , it could soon be a reality.

What is EMS Training?

EMS stands for electrical muscle stimulation. In training terms, it involves wearing a device that delivers electrical pulses that make your muscles contract. Which, of course, already happens during resistance training. But what EMS does is heighten those contractions in a way the body can’t do itself.

Every day our brain sends electrical impulses to muscles to achieve movement. EMS uses the same natural principle to stimulate your muscles.

– Jose Luis Zamorano, founder of San Francisco EMS training studio METAFIT Club via Popsugar.

However, EMS training isn’t just sitting around while a sci-fi looking device does all the hard work for you. It’s more like a personal training session where everything feels way harder than it actually is. So, those three kilo weights you’re lifting will feel more like nines! In one 20-minute workout, EMS targets eight muscle groups with over 150 contractions per group. So while it’s not exactly an easy breezy workout, it is efficient.

This style of training has actually been around for decades — originating in Europe to help get athletes in peak condition. However, it’s only recently hit the mainstream, with EMS studios opening in cities like London and San Francisco. SpeedFit is likely to be the first of many in Australia, as they already have five locations in Perth and have just opened one in Sydney. Keen to give it a go? Here’s what you’re in for.

What to expect

Before your SpeedFit session, you’re given an isotonic drink that helps to keep you hydrated during and after your workout. Then, you’re fitted with a vest that hooks up to the EMS machine. During the 20-minute session, your SpeedFit trainer guides you through you some simple exercises to hold, like squats and lunges. Throughout the workout, your muscles will contract for 6 seconds, followed by a 4-second recovery period (and repeat!) According to a The Urban List writer, the contractions don’t hurt but they feel a little uncomfortable — like a vibrating sensation. She also reported some serious post-workout aches in the following days.

Soreness aside, you may be wondering if EMS training is actually safe. Various doctors have warned about the dangers of hurting yourself during this type of workout. However, Safar has said that due to the many safety precautions taken at SpeedFit, injury is very unlikely. Basically, it’s easy to see if a muscle is being overstimulated. So, your trainer would have to be pretty irresponsible not to notice  — and you would have to have an extremely high pain threshold! That said, Safar recommends waiting at least two days between session to minimise risk of injury.

You find out more about SpeedFit here and see their locations here.

The Urban List