Author: Jim Bruskewitz
If you’ve discovered training with electromuscular stimulation (EMS), you’ve no doubt found that you can cut your recovery time down significantly and increase the training load that you can absorb. We all wish we could recover more quickly, fit in more high quality training, and enjoy the increased fitness that results. Athletes find that the Globus Muscle Stimulator active recovery program is an easy and effective start to using EMS to improve their performance. Once the unit is charged, the pads placed, and the program started, the Globus Muscle Stimulator does the rest. It is programmed to flush the muscle beds of the metabolites that remain after training and make room for a fresh supple of oxygen rich, nutrient laden blood. Fitting the active recovery program sessions into a typical training week is easy. Since this program is used to enhance recovery from training, it can be used after any training session with positive results. Since the active recovery program has so much utility, it is generally the most used program.
Some have taken another step and use the preparatory programs. These programs do an excellent job of warming up the muscle tissue and removing some of the neural inhibition that hampers the muscle from contracting efficiently. Those I’ve worked with report that on days when the muscles are lethargic and normally take a fair amount of warm up and training before they respond as desired, the muscles feel ready to accept a training load right after the warm up, sprint prep, or endurance prep programs. Warming up effectively improves performance by decreasing the viscosity of the muscle cell making it easier to deform while contracting, increases the rate at which all the reactions required to contract a muscle occur, increases the dissociation of oxygen needed for aerobic energy delivery from hemoglobin and myoglobin molecules, and as mentioned helps remove the normally occurring neural inhibition. There need be no confusion about when to use these programs. They’ll deliver a tremendous warm up before any activity you have planned.
Most of the programs stored in the Globus Muscle Stimulator deliver a training load. Where these programs will fit with your normal training schedule deserves consideration. What kinds of training load will the Globus deliver? If you have a hard run or bike coming up tomorrow, how can you best use the Globus to improve that session and like sessions to come throughout your year? Let’s start with the first question.
The Globus programs that deliver a training load will build strength. Strength can be divided up into categories dependent upon which kinds of muscle fiber are being recruited to produce the desired tension. Are you looking for a maximal one time contraction, strong contractions produced over relatively short periods of time for sprinting, or longer efforts that are best served with the strength of muscular endurance? The Globus has programs to specifically improve each of these desired adaptations. Whether one moves from maximal strength to resistive strength to endurance throughout the season as is commonly practiced, or focuses on one of these categories of strength, a session to build specific strength with the Globus will deliver a training load that needs recovery like any training session. You can choose how intensely you want to train with Globus. Because of this, the amount of recovery you’ll need from a Globus session is in your hands.
Since you will need to recover, how will you fit this in to your planned training week? Strength training requires 36 to 48 hours of recovery. The amount of recovery time depends on how long one has been strength training. A small training load can take 48 hours when an individual starts adding Globus strength training to their schedule. Within a couple of weeks, the size of the training load can be increased without increasing the amount of time needed to recover. You’ll get stronger and require less time to recover from the training that gets you there.
How many times per week should you strength train a muscle group with Globus? Three times per week is maximal. If you spread the strength training out throughout the week while giving ample time to recover between sessions, three times per week is all you will have time for. Each muscle group can be trained independently however. For instance, if you train your legs on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, you could use a split routine and train the upper body on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. The strength training will impact the amount of training that you can absorb in your chosen sport. If you performed a strenuous Globus strength training session on Monday and then planned to ride hills hard the next day on your bike, you could notice the effects of the Globus session while riding the hills. After a couple of weeks of doing this you would be able to absorb both the Globus strength session and the hills on your bike because you will have gained the adaptations needed to do so. A prudent approach to enjoying the benefits of Globus strength training is to do a Globus session on the same day after your intense sport specific workout. This approach will maximize the recovery time between the more intensive sport specific workouts while adding strength training with Globus to your weekly routine.
In order to become accustomed to strength training with Globus, start with a low training stimulus, maintain consistency, and gradually increase the stimulus (training load) weekly. Within a couple of weeks you will see significant increases in your strength while training in your chosen sport. Now that is something we could all use.
Jim is a multiple-time World and National Age Group Triathlon champion, a coach (www.enduranceperformance.com), and former lecturer at UW-Madison-Department of Kinesiology. He recently left teaching at UW to study and teach EMS training.