EMS training is popping up all over the UK and we’re seeing lots of people asking about it here at our Studio Society gyms. So, here’s a guide on what exactly EMS training is, and why you might want to give it a go.  

Firstly, what is EMS training? 

Before we take you through the key benefits of EMS training, let’s take a moment to make sure we all fully understand what it is. EMS strands for Electrical Muscle Stimulation and it is sometimes also known as E-Stim.  

For anyone who has suffered a muscle injury or had reduced motion range in a particular area of your body, you may have had EMS therapy at physiotherapy. A device which brings electrical currents to your muscles via conduction pads attached to your skin is used for the stimulation. The currents gently making contact with your nerve endings is what makes your muscles contract and relax. It’s the tightening and loosening of your muscles in this way that aids the healing process.  

Well, some experts believe that we can use small amounts of electrical stimulation in the same way all over our bodies while we train to help maximise the results. This is done through wearing an EMS vest or suit during training. While your muscles are engaged during your workout, the additional stimulation means the work you’re putting in goes that little bit further. 

Why do EMS training? | EMS FAQs 

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we get from our members about EMS training: 

Is EMS training better than gym? 

Choosing to use EMS alongside your regular training sessions can only benefit your exercise routine. In a 15–20 minute workout while using EMS, you’ll be engaging 98% of your muscles, compared to around 60% you’d be engaging during a regular gym workout. The number of calories burnt in a quick EMS session will vary from person to person, but it can be around the 400-500 calorie mark. Plus, in an EMS workout, you’ll be doing exercises with a lower impact on your joints and muscles which greatly reduces the risk of injury and generally overdoing it. So, you can see why so many people are choosing EMS training sessions over their regular gym routine. 

So, once you’ve given it a go a couple of times, you might want to swap some of your regular gym sessions to training with EMS for the huge time-saving benefit.  

Can EMS training build muscle? 

Generally speaking, EMS training allows you to elevate your strength training sessions at the gym so that you can build muscle faster (over time) by putting in fewer hours.  

Delivering the stimulating pulse to your muscles to contract them, while you’re already working them, means that your muscles are put under more stress with less effort from you during your session at the gym. It means you can train for shorter periods of time (15-20 minutes per session) but achieve the same or even better results. This means that you can avoid tiring during lengthy sessions and you can really maximise your efforts at each session you throw yourself into. 

Does EMS reduce belly fat? 

It’s good news – the EMS research out there tells us that EMS training helps to reduce abdominal obesity as well as decreasing waist circumference and body fat percentage.  

If fat loss is at the top of your list of goals, tell your trainer this. They’ll be able to focus your EMS training on your problem areas.  

Does EMS get rid of cellulite? 

There has been some research to say that EMS can help reduce cellulite. The electrical pulses to the muscle make it contract, tightening and loosening it again and again. This can help tighten the muscle over time that’s just under the skin in your thighs or other areas.  

It’s important to note though, that EMS training sessions you’ll find at any gym will not be focussed on the aesthetic benefits of EMS. The placement of the EMS suits or vests on your body will be chosen for the benefits to your workout rather than any cellulite loss. But, you can hope to see this as a positive side effect.  

Does EMS build collagen? 

While EMS does not encourage collagen growth, there is some evidence to show that it can have a positive effect on your skin if it is applied to the right muscles. However, gyms will be focussed on the benefits of EMS on your health, strength fitness and that’s where the knowledge of our trainers lies.  

And now for the practical stuff…  

How much is EMS training UK? 

EMS training is certainly on the rise, but there are still a limited number of places offering it. Because of this, prices vary extensively from city to city. Studio Society offer first EMS training sessions for £20.  

How long should you use electrical muscle stimulation? 

Because during a workout you are already putting your body under a certain amount of stress, it’s recommended that EMS is performed for shorter periods of time. Any EMS training class you find at any gym will tend to be 15-20 minutes long in duration. This is partly because we are still learning about EMS during training and wouldn’t want to put anyone at any risk, but also because 15-20 minutes is really enough. You will find that after a 15 minute EMS training session, you will really be feeling the burn. And when it comes to the following day, the burn continues as your muscles repair themselves. Remember, it mightn’t feel like you’ve done an intensive workout, but the electric currents are doing much of the work. 

So, if you’re thinking about picking up EMS training, consider the above when you first start. It’s tempting to go hard from the offset to see the results, but you’ll be at risk of overdoing it. Take it slow at the beginning until you learn what your muscles are capable of with the additional stimulation. 

Those 15-20 minutes of EMS training can be made up of anything from cardio, to strength training and even massage. Exercises while undergoing EMS will be kept low-impact with exercises like lunges, squats and planks. The intensity can increase gradually over time as you gain experience with EMS and figure out what it does for your body. 

Who cannot use EMS? 

If you have a defibrillator or a pacemaker, it is recommended that you do not take up EMS training. This is also the case if you have epilepsy, diabetes mellitus or you have a severe circulatory disorder. 

It is also the case for pregnant women. However, for post-natal women, EMS is considered a useful tool for muscle repair after having given birth. It’s proven to help new mums build up the strength in their pelvic floor, helping with incontinence and general abdominal strength. 

Is it good to use EMS every day? 

We do not recommend that EMS training is done every day. That’s because your muscles need time to recover fully between each session, which is the case with any kind of strength training. Here at Studio Society, we recommend that our clients keep their EMS training to only once or twice a week, especially while they get used to the effect EMS has on their individual body. 

Some people choose to purchase an EMS device for themselves. Remember that not every EMS device out there will be safe. If you’re attending an EMS training session at a gym, that trainer will be qualified in using a machine which is FDA approved. If you’re feeling unsure about this, it’s always a good idea to ask for peace of mind. Any trainer will understand.  

Is EMS training painful? 

Generally speaking, an EMS workout will feel a little bit tougher than the same workout without EMS. That’s because the pulse activity acts as resistance. Every move you make will feel that little bit harder than it would normally, meaning you will tire more quickly. But, remember that most EMS training sessions will last 15-20 minutes only – so try to focus on that as you feel the burn. This time saving benefit of EMS is one of main reasons trainers see people coming back again and again.  

What are the side effects of EMS training? 

There are no known negative side effects to EMS training. The electrical impulses felt by your muscles are at a low frequency and do not harm the body in any way if delivered by safe machines and in a safe way.  

The key benefits EMS will have on your body are muscle strength and fat loss, but remember that you can also reap the rewards of the additional positive side effects – reduction in cellulite and the physical appearance of tightened flesh.  

What do I need to bring to an EMS training session? 

There’s nothing you will need to bring to your EMS training class. You will be provided with the EMS device in the form of a suit or vest to wear over or under your clothing. So other than the usual things (water bottle, towel etc), just bring some energy and motivation to put the work in. 

Is the EMS equipment clean and sterile? 

The vests or suits you wear during an EMS training session are usually made from cotton and these are of course washed between every single use. The electric pads that sit within the vests or suits can work through the material that’s washed, and they don’t make contact with the skin directly. The pads are replaced regularly and covered with special anti-bacterial fabric for additional hygiene.  

EMS training at Studio Society | Unique immersive studios  

Studio society includes two of the UK’s most advanced immersive training studios, featuring floor to ceiling visuals, surround sound and choreographed lighting. We offer a truly unique workout experience.  

We currently offer EMS training from in our West Hampstead studio every Tuesday and Thursday, with classes running from 7am to 5pm.  

You can book your first introductory EMS session here, or you can have a look at our studios on our website and find out what becoming a member of Studio Society means here