Is NMES safe?

Check out the article in Men’s Health and Fitness all about the safety of NMES written by Brittany Smith. www.mensfitness.com/life/entertainment/healthy

Is This Healthy?

Athletes are using personal neuro-muscular electrical nerve stimulation to get an edge in the gym and unleash their full potential. We investigated whether it’s safe and if you should try it, too.

Is This Healthy?: Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation Devices

Short answer: Yes. With very few side effects, and potential to supercharge recovery, muscle, and strength gains, using an at-home neuro-muscular electrical nerve stimulation device can be valuable for pretty much anyone.

The practice of zapping muscles to stimulate contractions was first introduced in the early 50s among European countries, like Russia, for space programs, in order to prevent muscle atrophy in astronauts, says Drew Little, C.S.C.S., a performance specialist at Michael Johnson Performance, an elite training facility in McKinney, Texas. More literature came out on the technology in the 70s before it made its way to the U.S. and Canada in the 80s and 90s.

How It Works

When you attach a device—like what’s offered from companies such as Compex, pictured above, to a muscle and begin a program (for more on the types of programs you can do—and to read our review on two Compex devices—click here), an electrical current travels through the electrodes, down your nerve fibers, sets off their motor neurons, then stimulates a strong muscle contraction, mirroring what your nervous system typically does on its own, only to a greater extent. Now, you can attach a device during a warmup to prime your body for lifts, use it during a workout to elevate bodyweight or weighted moves for better results, pop it on in lieu of a workout with a resistance setting, or use post-workout to speed up and kickstart the recovery process.

NMES devices stimulate and contract 100% of your muscle, something your body can’t voluntarily do; your body caps stimulation at about 45 percent for normal guys and around 65 for weightlifters as a protective mechanism to prevent injury. So, your body prevents you from lifting something monstrously heavy, like a car, so you don’t obliterate your body (though there are “freak” instances and scenarios where this is overrided and adrenaline kicks in so you can surpass this maximum).

A NMES device also hastens the amount of time it takes to trigger slow and fast twitch muscle fibers. “During a squat or bench press, depending on the load, your body will recruit slow-twitch muscle fibers first (which takes about 20 milliseconds), then roll into the fast twitch (which takes 50-60 milliseconds),” Little says. “But a NMES device bypasses that pathway, so all muscle fibers are recruited at the same time.”

You stimulate hard-to-get-to muscle fibers quicker and more effectively than you can with traditional weightlifting; plus, it puts less strain on your joints. And, unlike a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) unit, which delivers very small doses of electric currents to relieve pain, you can use a NMES device to accelerate your results in the gym, from warmup to cool down. Find out more about how to use it here.

Who Should Use NMES

Cyclists, runners, triathletes, lifters, baseball players, football players, basketball players, and other athletes—beginner or advanced—can use these devices to get faster, go longer, jump higher, get stronger, reduce chronic pain, enhance circulation, prevent imbalances, and strengthen the core. Basically any guy who wants a bit of an edge when it comes to health and fitness should try one out.

This doesn’t mean you should quit your gym membership, though. It’s best used to enhance your regimen, not replace it.

Precautions

There are few negative side effects. “There’s a rare possibility electrical burns can happen with poor pads or faulty, damaged wires, or that someone uses the device incorrectly,” says physical therapist Chris Kolba, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

For instance, you should never apply any muscle stim device to your neck, head, or chest. Severe spasms can close your airway and make it difficult to breathe; scientists don’t know the effects of stimulation on the brain; and electrical currents to the chest can throw off and disturb rhythms to your heart.

“The only other kind of complication that can come from this type of device is if people have pacemakers and cardiac conditions; you need to get permission from your medical provider to see if it elevates your risk of heart attack,” Little adds. People with epilepsy, have recently had acute trauma, fracture, surgery, and some other conditions shouldn’t use a device either. Speak with your healthcare provider before starting anything new.

And while there aren’t particularly harmful outcomes from using NMES, there are times when the device can hinder your progress and goals. “You want to periodize your training regimen with a device, so you’re not using resistance programs 52 weeks a year,” Little explains. To keep your body from adapting, you need to provide new foreign stimuli. In other words, you can over-use a device like this for strength, power, and resistance (though using it daily for recovery, warmups, and cool downs is perfectly fine).

Kolba concludes: “I prefer foam rolling, soft tissue and mobility work, sleep, nutrition, and a proper strength and power program for significant gains.” That said, a device could help enhance and assist all of the above. For a more in-depth profile of how to incorporate a device in your regimen, read our review on two of Compex’s most high-tech devices.

 

Mark Bell Talks Compex

Mark Bell is a professional powerlifter, former professional wrestler, inventor, and award winning gym owner that also hosts his own Podcast called PowerCast.  As an inventor Mark has his own line of “Sling Shot products” designed to help weight lifters go heavier safely.  No stranger to incorporating effective tools into his training, Mark Bell took the time to review our Compex Sport Elite. Check it out!

Learn more about Mark and his podcast here.

 

Adding Compex to Your Workout Routine

One of the big questions we get from athletes is how to use Compex for more than Recovery. We sat down with Casey Parlett, Co-Owner of CrossFit760, to discuss how they introduce Compex to their athlete’s at all different levels.

What is the CrossFit 760 philosophy?

CrossFit760’s philosophy is directly in line with what CrossFit has been doing since the beginning: Constantly varied, Functional movements executed at a high intensity.  To take that a step further at CrossFit760 we are adement the proper movement mechanics and consistency must be in place before adding intensity.

How does Compex fit in with that Philosophy?

Compex fits right in with what we are doing because of its ability to teach proper muscle recruitment to improve movement flaws.  Also the recovery and strength building with Compex allow our athletes to be in the gym more consistently – they’re constantly being able to work at those high intensities that produce the greatest results.

How do you recommend someone new to lifting use Compex?

New athletes wanting to use Compex will generally feel most comfortable using it for the recovery aspect. However, starting a new lifter on the resistance setting in a static position on a low intensity level, allows the athlete to start acheiving strength and muscle building benefits, while getting comfortable with how to use and feel of the unit.

When do you progress?

As with any other training protocol it is important to have a slow and steady linear progression over 4-8 weeks, gradually increasing intensity. Everyone is different in their level of fitness and how they’ll adapt to Compex.  Some people have more experience with form and technique, or have years of lifting experience so they may find they progress faster as they get comfortable with the device.

Example of a Squat Progression for a person new to lifting.

What gains have you seen compared to before recommending Compex?

In the gym we’ve seen improvements across the board from our athletes that are using it.  From increased recovery, to strength gains, to injury rehabilitation.

How does that change for a more experienced lifter?

The more experienced lifter is going to see smaller gains, but that little bit more work the device  allows through increased recovery and the small strength gains pay off huge long term.

 

Stay Tuned as we continue to dive deeper into incorporating Compex into specific lifting techniques, for beginners to advanced lifters, throughout the year.

Compex Kicks off 2017 at Wodapalooza

Join Compex at Wodapalooza this weekend in Miami.  Competition starts Thursday January 12th at the Downtown Miami Bayfront Park and runs through Sunday January 15th.  You can join us at the Festival to test out a device and talk with our experts on how to incorporate Compex into your current routine.  Compex can help athletes with power, speed, endurance, and recovery.

Good luck to all of our athletes competing this weekend!

 

Introducing Compex Wireless USA

Introducing the first FDA-cleared wireless electric muscle stimulation device designed to enhance performance and speed recovery. For over 20 years Compex has been the global leader in electrotherapy, with products beneficial for muscle recovery, injury prevention and intense training programs. Now with the release of the Compex Wireless USA athletes can experience freedom from wires which raises the training experience and allows athletes to take their workout to the next level.

Professional athletes of all sports from running, functional-fitness and cycling, to basketball and football can integrate Wireless USA into their daily training routines to achieve peak performance and desired results.

From fast recovery to muscle-strength gains and endurance improvements, the use of Wireless USA provides athletes and fitness enthusiasts with an intelligent tool to supercharge their performance and prevent future injuries. The device recruits specific motor nerves by targeting muscle fibers that cannot be reached through traditional workouts and training.

“Compex has been a key tool to enhance my performance since I started training,” said Josh Bridges, 2014 CrossFit Games Competitor. “It allows me to activate all my muscle fibers, dig deeper and ultimately get stronger for competition day. With the introduction of Wireless USA, I’m now able to have more freedom and increase the usage of NMES in my training.”

Additional Compex enthusiasts include: Chad Mendes (UFC), Steve Weatherford (NFL), Andy Potts (Ironman), John Wellborn (Strength Coach), among others.

 

IRONMAN World Championship: Andy Potts

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Tomorrow the top athletes in the world will come together to compete in the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. The IRONMAN Triathlon is considered one of the hardest one-day competitions in the world and consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bicycle ride and finishes up with a marathon which is a 26.2 mile run. Professional triathlete and 2007 IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion Andy Potts will be among those elite athletes competing for the prestigious win. Compex caught up with Andy earlier this week to talk about his pre-race routines, recovery program, advise he has for newcomers and more.

Compex Interview with Andy Potts:

After finishing in the top 5 last year have you done anything different for your preparation this time?
Every year, I am always trying to introduce different things, so we are constantly improving. Contrary to most triathlon advice, I try something new every race too. Sometimes it works and sometimes it’s a flop but it helps me learn and get better. In preparation for Kona, one year, we tried to do more moto-pacing, another year I spent a month out on Big Island before the race. This year, my focus has been on a few key things- A specific focus on the bike, given how important it has been to the race in recent years, and recovery. My recovery routine has developed extensively and is as important to my racing success as any other element. Some of the key things I am doing include active stretching for about 30 minutes each day, weekly massage, daily use of my Compex Muscle Stimulator and a renewed focus on nutrition pre and post workout.

What’s your pre-race meal?
I try to keep it really simple and fairly light pre-race. I will eat what’s available but typically stay away from foods high in fiber as that could be dangerous on race day.

How do you include Compex in your daily routine?
I typically use Compex during and after my stretching routine. With that, I sometimes use Compex at the beginning of the day as a way to activate my muscles and also provide a little bit of ‘work’ before I head out for the day.

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What’s one piece of advice you would give some who wants to do an Ironman?
First thing is listen to your heart. If Ironman is something that you will both enjoy and challenge you, jump right in. I highly recommend racing all types of events and distances, not just Ironman. There is an amazing network of local races at varying distances that provide a great opportunity to race locally, connect with your community, make friends and learn a lot about racing and yourself. In addition, it’s important to to make a commitment to yourself by eating right, gaining strength, and learning about your new pursuit. The last step would be to reach out to trusted people to find out how you can get more engaged and dive in.

What’s the one thing you look forward to most after swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and running a marathon?
I love the finish chute. There is so much energy and excitement. Whether you are first or 50th, there is a real energy that gets me pumped. A big part of the finishing chute for me is seeing my wife and family. There is nothing more important to me in the world than them and being able to see them after a hard fought day is truly special.

What’s one thing people may be surprised you eat out on the race course?
My race day diet has really refined itself over time. I am almost exclusively on Powerbar products, so nothing too earth shattering there. It wasn’t always that way and I have experimented with everything from muffins in my bento box(btw- they get really crumby) to skittles in my special needs bag.

WATCH LIVE footage of the IRONMAN Kona World Championships here: IronMan.com

To learn more about integrating Compex electric muscle stimulation into your workouts visit our Compex Training page, and to discover more information about electric muscle stimulation visit our page on How Electric Muscle Stimulation Works.

Stay Connect with Andy Potts by following him on his social media channels:
Facebook.com/AndyPottsRacing
Twitter.com/Andy_Potts

Compex at the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games

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Join Compex this weekend at the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Stop by our Compex booth inside the Vendor Village which is open daily from 8am-7pm Thursday July 23rd- Sunday July 26th 2015 to test out a device, learn about the benefits of electric muscle stimulation and how you can use it to target your training and increase power, speed, endurance and recovery, meet Compex athletes, win prizes and more.

Compex athletes Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet, the 2014 CrossFit Games winner and Graham Holmberg, the 2010 CrossFit Games winner will both be competing this year in The Games.

Learn more event details on our CrossFit Event Page

Compex Athlete Chad Mendes in UFC Fight 189

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Support Compex sponsored athlete Chad Mendes in his upcoming UFC 189 Interim Featherweight Title Fight against Conor McGregor on Saturday, July 11th 2015 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former All-American wrestler Chad “Money” Mendes who has ended five of his last six wins by knock out (KO) will fight Ireland’s Conor McGregor in the main event on Pay-Per-View at 10pm/7pm ETPT.

Learn more about how Chad Mendes supercharges his workouts and trains with Compex on his athlete page: ShopCompex.com/athletes/chad-mendes

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“Time to get some @CompexUSA training in before bed.” -Chad Mendes

Step up your game by adding Compex into your workout regimen. Even the most elite athletes use less than half of their muscle potential. By integrating Compex electric muscle stimulation into your workouts you can activate 100% of your muscle fibers for the ultimate in warmup, performance and recovery.
Learn more about Electric Muscle Stimulation.

Get daily updates from Chad by following him on his social media channels:
Facebook @ChadMoneyMendes
Twitter @ChadMendes
Instagram @ChadMendes

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Compex Partners with CrossFit

LeBron James with Compex Athletes
LeBron James wishes good luck to Compex athletes (Camille LeBlanc Bazinet, Josh Bridges, and Mike Mancias) at the CrossFit Games

Last week, Compex announced an exciting partnership with CrossFit and the CrossFit Games. This is a great opportunity for the CrossFit community to experience the benefits of training and recovering with Compex, a muscle stimulator.

Read the full press release here: Compex and CrossFit Partner Together

Tune in for the live announcement with the 15.4 CrossFit Open airing on the CrossFit website on March 19 at 5pm Pacific.

Follow our athletes on their CrossFit journeys on Twitter & Instagram

Camille LeBlanc Bazinet | Twitter | Instagram

Josh Bridges | Twitter | Instagram

Mike Mancias | Twitter | Instagram

LeBron James | Twitter | Instagram

Follow Compex to gets updates on our athletes and learn more about our muscle stimulators
Compex USA | Twitter | Instagram

Compex Athlete Josh Amberger’s Favorite Program

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We caught up with Compex triathlete Josh Amberger to talk about his favorite Compex program he uses and how he incorporates it into his weekly workout routine. Here’s what Josh had to say:

I love the strength mode on my Compex and I use it twice weekly to compliment my strength sessions on the bike. We can only stress the heart and lungs to a certain point before fatigue, but I find I can use the Compex in strength mode to get a little bit more from the muscles without stressing the heart and lungs beyond the bike ride. Once I get in the door from a key bike ride, I prepare a meal and then sit down to eat whilst dialing the Compex into a strength program. The strength program has different levels of operation, which I can adjust depending on how hard and low I pushed on the bike, what training I have tomorrow, and how far away from a key event I am. It’s the perfect mode for going one step further in my training.

Connect with Josh and follow him on Facebook.com/Josh.Amberger and Twitter.com/JoshAmberger

To learn more about the different Compex units and which electric muscle simulator device is right for you, check out our product comparison page. There we talk about the differences and benefits to using the Comepx Edge, Performance US and our Sport Elite unit. ShopCompex.com/Muscle-Stimulators