Updated: Mar 10, 2021
Discover how this revolutionary technology is reinventing the meaning of transformation across the UK fitness industry by enhancing the workout and leaving no room for excuses thanks to its practicality, safety and time efficiency.
As a successful fitness professional, here are some excuses you’ve probably heard all too often. ‘I don’t have time to train anymore’ is a common one. ‘I can’t train this month because I’m injured’ is another, and ‘I’m not seeing results so I quit’. 9 times out of 10, the events that led up to that excuse being shared aren’t your fault. Nonetheless, they have a dramatic effect on your business and your reputation.
Whilst taking excuses with a pinch of salt, it’s important that you respond to the changing desires of the market and pay attention to what your clients are communicating with you. You can do this by transforming and enhancing the fitness services that you deliver in order to guarantee results in a shorter time frame, whilst preventing or treating injury and building long-term trust. Problem solved.
Over the last decade, a super-charged unit of disruptive fitness professionals have been kissing goodbye to excuses for good and incorporating the fitness technology of the future into their existing services. Whole Body Electric Muscle Stimulation (WB-EMS) Training is a scientifically backed, battle tested training and treatment solution in one which is transforming the UK market right now.
What exactly is this Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS) Training and why is it so effective?
EMS is the elicitation of muscle contraction using electrical impulses which target 12 main muscle groups and deep muscles simultaneously. The impulses are generated by a sleek device and delivered through electrodes on the skin directly above the muscles. The impulses cause the muscles to contract, so the result is similar to the actual movement of the muscles. Electrical impulses are usually generated by the Central Nervous System to cause muscle contraction. The EMS device duplicates this through the external application of the electrical stimulus with the same outcome. Crucially though, not all muscles have good natural connections to the brain and so do not fire up optimally. EMS helps develop the motor nerve connections by sending electrical impulses directly to the muscle, so even the weakly connected muscles are activated.
EMS Training is guided by a qualified professional using a full body suit with carefully positioned electrodes stimulating key muscle groups, connected wirelessly to an intelligent control panel. It’s expert led, personalised training; much more robust and effectual than anything created for home use. Today, whole body EMS Training is available at over 5000 studio locations globally, with over 35,000 training sessions being delivered every single day.
Millions of raving super-fans combined with powerful scientific research completed over the last decade or so, indicate that EMS training can complement the common training structure, as it is able to enhance the athletic performance even of highly trained athletes.1 EMS supports more effective muscle building and faster fat burning processes, creating an all-around fit body without putting pressure on the joints, therefore can be used for rehabilitation purposes too. EMS is truly a 21st century training solution.
What makes EMS so attractive to clients?
Concerning the overall attractiveness of EMS, most studios report high adherence with low drop-out (0–10%) and high attendance (76–100%) rates. However, one main reason for the attractiveness might not relate to the EMS technology per se, but to the high level of assistance, supervision and interaction between instructor, in effect, a very personal training.3 Award winning XBody technology now allows for groups of up to 6 to train simultaneously and wirelessly too, however more commonly found is the delivery of sessions with 1 or 2 participants.
EMS training sessions are short, with 2 x 20 minutes per week being the maximum recommended programme. Hearing from instructors and users alike however, EMS training is not an easy option. The deep muscle contractions caused by electrical stimulation create a high intensity experience during sessions. The UK market is young, yet exponential growth is predicted in the next 24 months. In Germany for example, EMS training is available on every street corner. EMS Training is a highly lucrative business model due to shorter session times, higher hourly rates, enhanced results and wider market reach. Data shows that the application of whole body EMS will be increasingly implemented in commercial and non-commercial fitness settings.4
Reputation is everything in the saturated fitness market and EMS can truly give you the edge to create that wow factor and take you further. EMS has a unique ability to straddle both the high and low impact markets, opening whole new service options to yourself and your team.
Across the UK, the boutique studio concept has become a popular choice for fitness enthusiasts from all corners of the market. Fitness Boutiques re-defined the industry, driving much of the membership growth over the past decade. They adapted to the unique preferences of millennials and younger generations who sought more specialised experiences, a sense of community, and flexible participation. EMS studios fit all the criteria here, allowing hyper-personalised training programmes and a true 1:1 service in a private space if desired.
So with EMS, you’ll never hear the following excuses again. Here’s exactly why:
‘I don’t have time to train’ - the modern lifestyle is hectic and people require training that fits around their busy lifestyle. EMS training takes just 2 x 20 minutes per week in order to achieve results. When compared over 16 weeks to 2 x 90 minute HIIT sessions, EMS produced similar changes in lean body mass and leg extensor strength.4 Thus, whole body EMS can be considered as an attractive, time-efficient, and effective option for people seeking to improve general strength and body composition.4
‘I can’t train this month because I’m injured’ - above all else, EMS technology has been used as a rehabilitation tool for decades and EMS Training itself reduces the chance of injury from the outset. EMS is a safe yet effective training option for everyone, including people who are unable to participate in daily activities or in regular physical exercise.5 EMS does not require additional weights in order to build strength, therefore does not place stress on joints. During periods of injury rehabilitation, EMS Training has enormous benefits for professional athletes who can even maintain hypertrophy and increase dynamic strength. With EMS Training it’s possible to achieve hypertrophy even through isometric exercise.2
Of further crucial importance, none of the studies, even when focusing on the vulnerable cohort, the functionally limited and/or the elederly, reported any adverse or unintended side effect of whole body EMS application, even though study periods ran for up to 12 months of intervention. Thus, whole body EMS can be considered as a safe training technology at least when practiced in the closely supervised setting which the XBody Technology makes possible.3
‘I’m not seeing results so I’m going to quit’ - with all things considered, EMS ticks the boxes that create long-term transformations and excellent client relations. Electrodes activate muscles which would usually sit back and let larger groups do the work. By activating and causing these deeper muscles to fire, posture is improved alongside strength. No matter the goals of your client, EMS can support them. Training with an EMS device burns calories effectively because fast twitch fibres (those responsible for explosive force) contract from the word go, which require more energy in order to do so. With a growing army of global super-fans, it’s clear that EMS really is the training solution of the future.
What exactly does the scientific research show?
As well as the study comparing EMS to HIIT, another study took place comparing EMS training to Resistance Training (RT). The results demonstrated that EMS improves muscle strength in the same way as RT. Furthermore, it showed that EMS has not only equal, but better potential than classical RT, regarding knee joint extensor muscles, because overload during EMS is minimal and the produced force of muscle contraction is equal on both sides. All these findings open new possibilities in application of superimposed EMS in strength training for both sport and rehabilitation purposes.6
In other studies, scientists have gone biochemical to measure growth hormone (GH) release, blood lactate concentration, creatine kinase activity and muscle soreness between traditional exercises and the same exercises whilst wearing a whole body EMS suit. During EMS training, muscle fibres are activated in an irregular order which resulted in a greater increase in GH, delayed-onset muscle soreness and muscle damage when compared to voluntary contractions. It has been documented that the magnitude of GH release is dependent mainly on the intensity and duration of the exercise, showing that EMS creates a higher intensity of contraction and promotes enhanced hypertrophy. Those findings have significant implications for the use of EMS as a powerful training modality.2
Some studies were able to directly transfer the strength gain into an improved vertical jumping and sprinting performance of up to 4.8% within 3-6 weeks.1 Despite an already high level of strength of elite athletes, several studies were able to verify high gains of >30% in the maximal strength of the lower body muscles.1 High- and low-frequency EMS training can increase functional endurance, with the magnitude of the effects being dependent on the initial condition.5
Finally, reaching a training plateau with a client is difficult for both parties to say the least. In order to break-through, you know as a professional that weight and intensity, for example, need to be increased yet doing so would pose great risk of injury for your client. EMS training can fill that gap by promoting hypertrophy without the need for additional weights.
Who is leading the way in EMS technology?
In an interview, Matthias Winter-Morel, XBody International Business Developer and XBody Master Trainer ®, he explained where his career with XBody has taken him and why now is an especially great time to join the XBody family.
“It all began 7 years ago when I worked in a health centre which delivered injury rehabilitation, physiotherapy and fitness in one hybrid space. I came across XBody and the concept of EMS Training and began to experiment with it’s applications in both training and treatment. When I was personally wearing the device and training with EMS for the first few times, I could feel those hard to target muscle groups such as the core unit and legs contracting without using any additional weights. I experienced muscle soreness in the following days, so clearly it was powerful.
When using EMS with my clients, I found that rehab times could be significantly cut down. During rehab, muscles undergo atrophy and strength is lost. It’s the fast twitch fibres that lose strength first yet EMS activated these fast twitch fibres creating a very effective component in injury rehab. Naturally, I fell in love with EMS and began to work directly with the new (at the time) yet growing company XBody at a studio in Vienna. This really was the future of training in my opinion and I have never looked back.
XBody creates such a phenomenal technology because everything is done in house. We’re constantly innovating, gaining new patents, adding new safety features, and helping trainers who deliver the equipment and training to their clients be more and more effective and responsive to the demanding market. For example, the control panel on our devices has the option to operate a virtual on screen trainer, pre-programmable with any combination of exercises and movements an instructor may choose. This frees up the professional instructor to pay close attention to alignment and positioning within each individual movement. It’s hyper-personalised.
For me, as a user of EMS and somebody who likes to stay fit and strong, EMS works because I have a lifestyle which makes it impossible to stay in shape. I am constantly travelling to train our instructors across the globe and showcase our technology at the biggest and most sought after industry events. I take my device with me wherever I go in the world and manage to squeeze in a 20 minute workout in my hotel room or whatever space is available to me. It truly is the answer to the problems of the modern world. I’ve trained my entire life and EMS training easily matches in 20 minutes what I can achieve with weights at the gym in 1 - 2 hours. Basically, I’m in the best shape of my life and that’s purely down to EMS.
The XBody technology allows the instructor to take full control over the training that they are delivering, right down to the last detail. It’s a technology which will effortlessly integrate into your own style of delivery with your clients whilst providing a serious enhancement to the results that you achieve with them. This is the perfect time for professionals in the UK to diversify and adopt a truly 21st century fitness technology.”
Why is now the best time to enhance your services with EMS?
In conclusion, EMS Training is a scientifically backed, dynamic and powerful global movement and the UK fitness market is rapidly accepting this futuristic and time-efficient training solution as the new norm. Integrating EMS into your existing personal training studio or gym space will open your doors to entirely new markets, as well as enhancing the results of your existing clients.
From a business perspective, EMS training sessions are shorter and can be marketed at a higher price due to the incorporation of a cutting edge and in demand technology. With most of the UK EMS market still untouched, it’s the optimum moment to enter into this extraordinary new world of training.
The Global XBody instructor family are a competent, qualified and experienced group of fitness professionals who seized the opportunity to stand out in a saturated market and push their services to the highest possible standard. To find out more about joining the family and trying EMS yourself for the first time in the company of one of our experts, get in touch anytime.
Filipovic, A. et al (2016) Effects of a Whole-Body Electrostimulation Program on Strength, Sprinting, Jumping, and Kicking Capacity in Elite Soccer Players Journal of Sports Science and Medicine 2016 15, 639-648 https://www.jssm.org/jssm-15-639.xml%3EFulltext#
Jubeau, M. et al (2007) Comparison between voluntary and stimulated contractions of the quadriceps femoris for growth hormone response and muscle damage. J Appl Physiol 104: 75–81, 2008 https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00335.2007
Kemmler, W. et al (2018) Efficacy and Safety of Low Frequency Whole-Body Electromyostimulation (WB-EMS) to Improve Health-Related Outcomes in Non-athletic Adults. A Systematic Review Frontiers in Physiology 23 May 2018, 9 https://www.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fphys.2018.00573
Kemmer, W. et al (2016) Effects of Whole-Body Electromyostimulation versus High-Intensity Resistance Exercise on Body Composition and Strength. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2016, Article ID 9236809, 9 pages. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/9236809
Veldman, M.P. et al (2016) Effects of Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation Training on Endurance Performance. Frontiers in Physiology 7. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2016.00544
Pantovic, Milan. (2014). Effects of Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation and Resistance Training on Knee Extensor/Flexor Muscles. Coll. Antropol. 39 (2015) Suppl. 1: 153–15. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282367347_Effects_of_Neuromuscular_Electrical_Stimulation_and_Resistance_Training_on_Knee_ExtensorFlexor_Muscles
7. Berger, J. (2020) Effects of an Impulse Frequency Dependent 10-Week Whole-body
Electromyostimulation Training Program on Specific Sport Performance Parameters
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2020) 19, 271 - 281.