Through the years of using EMS to enhance my training and recovery, I’ve come up with a few tips and shortcuts that not everyone is likely to be aware of. One trick in particular has been most helpful in saving time and allowing me to work two muscle groups at once without needing the optional splitter cables. This tip I am about to describe is only recommended for Active Recovery, Massage, and Warm-Up programs, not strength building programs such as Aerobic Endurance, Resistance Strength, Base Training, etc. When performing strength programs such as these, it is recommended to use the maximum number of pad placements possible. The more surface area you can cover, the more muscle fibers you can reach and fire, thus the more benefit you will receive from these programs. As an example, please see the photos below for standard pad placements for the calves and quads:
You can see that the pad placements above are using as many placements as possible, so you will use all four cables to connect these pad placements which leaves you no room to connect more than one muscle group at a time.
However, in the case of Active Recovery, Massage and Warm-Up programs, covering the maximum surface possible is not important. With these programs all you are trying to do is force the muscle to function as a pump to stimulate blood flow through the muscle. By combining or overlapping pad placements that are in close proximity to each other, you can reduce the number of pads you need to place by half, and allow for two muscle groups to be connected, which saves a significant amount of time compared to working each muscle group individually. See below for examples of pad placements on the calves and quads:
With the placements pictured above I’m only using two lead cables per muscle group, which allows me to run quads and calves simultaneously, or any other combination of muscles I wish. If you did have the splitter cables, you could use this method to run AR on 4 muscle groups at a once! I’m a big fan of running AR on the lower back and upper shoulders at the same time, which promotes blood flow to the entirety of the back, and is great for relieving tension and tightness after long workouts, or even long days of driving. Feel free to experiment with this idea, and see what other muscle groups you can combine to promote a more complete recovery and save yourself some time. After all, who couldn’t use a bit more time in their day?