Bodybuilding by sending small electrical impulses has changed since teleshopping in the 1990s. However, is electrostimulation effective for muscle or even lose weight? Opinion, testimonials, our beauty and fitness editor has tested the time of a course the effects of the electrostimulation.
Did you keep the image of the electrodes touted in the teleshopping of the 90s, which promised to carve a dream body without moving from his couch? Forget. Today, no more manufacturer – or almost – talks about getting muscle without doing anything. Home appliances are modernizing for greater efficiency. It can also be used in sports halls and places dedicated to electrostimulation. “It is estimated that 20 minutes of this technique is equivalent to four hours of bodybuilding,” says Mehdi, coach at the center My Big Bang in the 15th district of Paris that uses the MihaBodytec method.
A boost to sculpt your muscles, not to lose weight
The principle of electrostimulation is electrodes placed on the skin that send small impulses to force the muscle to contract. If the device is not going to act on weight loss, “we will work the muscles, so lose fat and redraw the silhouette,” Mehdi analysis. “With electrostimulation, you’re not going to lose weight, the idea is only to work the muscle and shaping it,” adds Caroline Dupouy, marketing manager for the Complex brand.
At the rate of three sessions per week, the result is seen in the mirror, with buttocks or thighs firmer and a little less cellulite because the device also has a draining effect. But not on the scale if you do not change your diet parallel. That’s what Anne-Lise found: “Last year, I tested the Sport-Elec device that my companion had bought for knee rehabilitation, and I followed a complete ‘abdominal strengthening’ program. : 4 times 30 minutes a week for three months, I climbed to about 50% of the maximum intensity, and the results were right; I felt my abs ‘harder,’ except that, of course, it did not disappear me This time, I decided to start with a diet to lose 3-4 kilograms before re-attaching a new electrostimulation program. “
Muscle, in addition to the sport
“You can always use this type of device alone, without doing any other sport, but the interest is limited: at best, it will be a little more tonic. We must not believe in the miracle: it will never allow having chocolate bars if you do not do abs in parallel. To work a muscle completely, you need a variety of movements and contractions that electrostimulation alone cannot perform, even with many electrodes, explains Jean-Marc Delorme, sports coach, and co-author of the book Trail, running: prepare your challenges(Ed Amphora). The only exception is that electrostimulation can be used alone for rehabilitation, for example, after surgery or wearing a cast. “It is interesting to solicit the muscles and not lose muscle trophy, but only in the meantime to resume the sport,” notes the coach.
Apart from this particular case, these devices must be used in parallel with a sports activity, for example, 20 minutes to complete a jog or a session on a day ‘off’ during which one does not train. “You can also use the device while you practice bodybuilding movements: we will then solicit both muscle fibers in-depth and on the surface, which allows you to build muscles more effectively,” said Jean-Marc Delorme. A technique adopted by the center My Big Bang. “During the entire session of Miha Bodytec, we will perform bodybuilding movements like squats or lunges to amplify muscle contraction and maximize efficiency,” says Mehdi, who uses the
Marine, 28, opted for this option: “Despite the running and indoor sports, I still had little soft legs. I heard about electrostimulation on running forums, and I bought a Compex device at € 250. I use it on the abs by doing the cladding type plank by lifting a leg on the contractions, and the buttocks and thighs by making lunges or squats. I do not have the same pleasure as when I run, but it is somewhat useful; I find my muscles more drawn, and I do only two sessions a week. The big flat? The adhesive patches to stick the electrodes that deteriorate quickly, and that you have to replace it every two months, it’s not very economical. “
At home: more connected devices to move at the same time
Electrostimulation benefits from the trend towards connected health devices. If the good old Sport-Elec has not disappeared, it has changed a little. Most brands now offer wireless devices, which are less intrusive and less complicated to use. The programs are exact ( tone your glutes, strengthen your thighs …), and the screen – sometimes touch – indicates how to place the electrodes. Some high-end models even choose the right intensity on their own.
But the significant progress is the smartphone applications and video tutorials that accompany the electrostimulation. “We show people how to use our devices, for example, by accompanying the contraction with a movement to make it more comfortable, so they use it instead of storing it in the closet,” explains Caroline Dupouy. The complex offers indeed free on YouTube various muscle-building sessions to be performed using his device. At Slendertone, the Connect Abs belt is connected to an iOS app, and the coach Julie Ferrez gives exercises to do with the belt and tips to get a flat stomach.
Useful also to relieve his legs or tone his perineum
In addition to the silhouette lens, electrostimulation devices are often recommended by physiotherapists themselves for health reasons. They help, for example, to lighten the heavy legs: the muscular contractions stimulate the calf pump and relaunch the circulation. The “anti-pain” programs can also relieve tendonitis or lumbago by stimulating the production of endorphins with analgesic action. They should be used, preferably on the advice of a doctor or a physiotherapist, even if the risks are almost nonexistent – we cannot hurt ourselves with electrostimulation.
The most popular programs for athletes are those dedicated to recovery, with lighter stimulation, to have less muscle soreness after a workout or to be able to link more easily two exercises. “The muscle contractions act on the circulatory and lymphatic system, there is a draining effect, so the toxins are evacuated more quickly, a little like with a massage,” confirms Christophe Cozzolino, physiotherapist of sport at the French Swimming Federation.
There is even an electrostimulation device to rehabilitate the superficial perineum at home after childbirth or to prevent urinary leakage. No vaginal probe to insert, one puts on the thighs that send stimulations to the muscles of the pelvic floor. Clinical studies are encouraging, but the cost is high, and the device does not dispense with a consultation with the physiotherapist or the midwife.
The new trend: use indoor electrostimulation
You do not see yourself using these devices alone? Do you want to work your whole body, not a particular area? Maybe it’s better to turn to accompanied electrostimulation. This new concept was launched by the pioneer MihaBodytech two years ago. We put on a shorty type jumpsuit on which are placed a vest and straps equipped with electrodes at the strategic places – shins, thighs, back, chest, abs … Result: a dozen electrodes – against four on average for devices at home – which allows you to work all areas of the body at the same time, on a single session of about 20 minutes. And no worries about hygiene: the clothes used are washed after each user, we do not.
Two similar methods have emerged recently. Xbody was launched by a physio and two rugby teams France. Wave, it offers the same kind of training on a wireless console, connected in Bluetooth, with electrodes directly integrated into the combination: it feels less “harnessed,” and it offers real freedom of movement to vary the exercises.
A real lesson with a coach
With these concepts, electrostimulation is no longer a solitary activity at home but a real fitness session. While the machine sends the pulses, simple movements are shown on the screen or by the coach. We must hold positions, type abs or squats, alternating a few seconds of contraction and a few seconds of rest. The exercises are chosen according to the objectives and areas that you want to tone. The coach adapts the intensity as and when, and thanks to a smart card, the machine retains our settings between two sessions.
I began to have aches and pains – the pain of which is mainly bearable – a sign that my muscles had worked but moderately. It was my fear before testing the concept, rushing my body, and feeling violent pains then. I think that in addition to a sports activity, it can be an excellent method to have quick results. On the other hand, I would not let go of my weekly visits to the gym; it’s for me a moment to let go and release something I did not find during the session. “
The people around me were asking me what I had done … Now I’m stopping a weekly maintenance class when I have time. That’s a significant advantage: with a busy schedule, it takes a lot less time than the gym. “