Every integral electrostimulation machine or device, listed as professional, must have the capacity to modify its parameters to adapt and personalize the training to each user.
The parameters used in any EMS machine are the following ones: wave type, pulse width, frequency, muscle contraction time and rest time.
The effects obtained are due to not only internal factors of our organism such as body composition or genetic factors, but they also depend on external factors such as an adequate personalization of the training.
As we have already mentioned in the principle of personalization of the load, we must provide each user with the appropriate stimulus for their particular conditions.
To achieve this personalization of the training, our electrostimulation machine must give us the option of modifying the parameters responsible for influencing the effect of training.
We highlight the following parameters:
The time parameter represents the total duration in minutes of the planned training session.
We must take into account the excessive contraction in more than 350 muscles simultaneously. Therefore, our training session with an EMS training suit should be shorter than a conventional workout.
Twenty-minute sessions are proposed for this purpose, but they may be modified depending on the subject’s level of physical condition.
DEPTH OF STIMULUS
Also technically known as pulse width. It is the duration of each current pulse or the width of each hemicycle, normally expressed in microseconds (μs).
In practice, the change in the depth parameter means that we can influence the muscle layer we want to work on. With the following example, you will understand this better:
- An elevated depth will achieve the stimulation of a deeper musculature.
As an example applied to EMS training, we could be referring to specific sessions to stimulate deep abdominal muscles or to carry out a healthy back workout by activating the stabilizer muscles.
- A lower depth will stimulate a more superficial musculature.
As an applied example, we could be referring to specific sessions to lose weight, which do not need deep stimulation.
The frequency represents the number of electrostimulation pulses per second expressed in Hertz (Hz).
Thanks to the frequency modification, we will be able to choose the type of fiber to work with.
What type of fibers exist?
- Fast fibers
- Slow fibers
Each type of fiber is specific to a different type of physical activity.
So depending on the sport discipline we do or the goal we have set ourselves, we will have to work with one type of fiber or another.
A user used to practicing strength sports will work with fast fibers. On the other hand, a user used to practicing endurance sports will stimulate slow fibers.
Therefore, the frequency used will determine the type of white or red fiber with which the user will work with.
- Low frequencies allow stimulating slow fibers.
- High frequencies allow the user to work with fast fibers.
Contraction time is the period of time in seconds during which the device emits electrostimulation signals at a certain frequency, causing the muscles to contract.
At the end of this period, the user moves on to the relaxation time. Afterwards, he returns to a cyclic contraction again during the 20-minute EMS training session.
We have to take into account a correct relationship between contraction and inactivity or relaxation time.
If we saturate the muscles with a high contraction time and a low relaxation time, far from achieving benefits, we will be making it difficult for the muscles to adapt.
TIME OF REST OR RELAXATION
Relaxation time is the period of time in seconds during which the device does not emit electrostimulation signals and therefore the muscles are relaxed.
At the end of this period, the user returns to the moment of contraction. Afterwards, he/she returns to the relaxation phase in a cyclical manner during the training session.
As we have already mentioned, the most important factor is the right relationship between the contraction time and the relaxation time in order to avoid muscular fatigue and stress.
In electrostimulation training, the intensity of contraction in more than 350 muscles simultaneously means that we have to limit the time the stimulus lasts, taking care that the rest time is long enough to support the next cycle of contraction.
THE INTENSITY OF THE STIMULUS
There are numerous factors to determine the intensity of the stimulus, but if we focus on the intensity emitted by the equipment, we will find that it is identified with the width of the wave expressed in millivolts (mV) or milliamps (mA).
In EMS training, four types of thresholds can be defined:
- Sensitivity threshold: When we perceive the stimulus.
- Soft motor threshold: When we perceive the muscle contraction.
- Intense motor threshold: When we perceive a strong contraction.
- Pain threshold: When the contraction is perceived as pain or an uncomfortable stimulus.
Studies allow us to claim that in a training session, the greater is the intensity of the current administered to the muscles, the greater is the adaptation achieved.
It is very important that in electrostimulation sessions, we know how to differentiate adequately between moderate contraction and pain since this is the key or perfect range for achieving the improvements we seek.