Frequently Asked Questions About Muscle Stimulators


Compex Frequently Asked Questions

ARE ALL COMPEX DEVICES FDA CLEARED?

Yes. All of our devices have been FDA cleared.

  • Compex Sport Elite: K083140
    1. Compex Edge and Compex Performance were submitted as a Letter to File under this K number
  • Compex Wireless USA: K143551

ARE THE STIMULATORS SUPPLIED WITH ELECTRODES?

Yes. When you purchase a Compex device you'll receive four small and two large electrodes.

HOW LONG IS THE COMPEX WARRANTY?

2-Year Warranty on your Device for Manufacture Defects (Register Device to Upgrade to 3 Years) - 60 Day Warranty for battery, cables, wall charger and electrodes

HOW LONG DO THE BATTERIES REMAIN CHARGED?

Battery life varies depending on the programs used and the intensities selected. The average battery life is between 15 and 20 hours.

HOW DO YOU INSERT THE CHARGER INTO THE SPORT ELITE / PERFORMANCE US UNITS?

Remove all the cable leads from the device. Make sure the power pin is aligned along the bottom curved portion of the port entrance. See diagram below for detail.

HOW MANY TIMES CAN THE ELECTRODES BE USED?

Life of an electrode can vary greatly due to multiple variables. Things that can affect the life of an electrode include if you have oily skin, are placing the electrodes on a hairy surface, and if you store the electrodes in a warm humid area. When the electrodes have dry parts and are not adhering completely to the skin, or if you are feeling discomfort at the pad surface then it is time to replace them.

WHAT IS THE REASON FOR THE PAIN THAT CAN SOMETIMES BE FELT UNDER THE ELECTRODES?

There are certain areas where the skin has more sensitive nerve endings. A bad connection between the skin and the electrodes reduces the comfort level. It's important to use the electrodes when they're in good condition apply them correctly to the skin, and if necessary, move them to a less sensitive area.

WHERE DO I PLACE THE ELECTRODES?

Electrode Placement Guide

The positive electrode (red cable) must be placed in the area of the motor point of the muscle. The negative electrode (black cable) is placed on the muscle trajectory. The position of the electrodes is shown on the photos for each specific application in the training section of the user manual.

The choice of electrode size (large or small) and the correct positioning of the electrodes on the muscular group are essential factors for the comfort and effectiveness of the stimulation.

WHICH ENERGY LEVEL MUST BE REACHED FOR THE TRAINING PROGRAMS (STRENGTH, RESISTANCE, ENDURANCE)?

The highest level possible (but it must remain bearable) in order to recruit the most muscle fibers. The most effective way to decide your level is your own judgment: The contractions must be powerful without ever becoming intolerable. The progress of a stimulated muscle will be greater if the Compex device recruits a high number of its fibers.

There is no need for you to reach the maximum current strength right from the first contraction of the first session of the first cycle. After the warm-up, which must produce very clear muscular twitches, you should raise the stimulation energy progressively, from contraction to contraction, during the first three or four minutes of the work sequence. You should also progress with stimulation energy levels used from session to session, particularly during the first three sessions of a cycle. A well-prepared athlete will already reach very significant stimulation energies during the fourth session.

ARE THERE ANY ABSOLUTE CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR USING THE DEVICE?

Yes. The muscle stimulation device must not be used in the case of epilepsy or on patients who wear a pacemaker. In addition, stimulation must never be applied around the stomach area in women who are pregnant, or for people suffering from a hernia or have cancerous legions.

CAN I APPLY THE ELECTRODES ANYWHERE?

Never apply the electrodes to the head and throat, and avoid the area around the heart. It is important to read the user guide completely, as misuse of the product can lead to harm.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COMPEX (EMS) AND A TENS UNIT?

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a unit prescribed for both acute pain and chronic pain conditions and sends electrical impulses to certain parts of the body to block pain signals from being transmitted to the brain. It's primarily used at the sensory level and does not cause muscle contraction.

Compex (EMS) when used for strength training sends a signal to the motor nerve of the muscle causing it to contract and build muscle mass. The Active Recovery program uses specific low-level frequencies to increase blood flow, remove lactic acid, release endorphins, and promote muscle relaxation. (ELECTROSTIMULATION: ACTIVE RECOVERY WITH THE COMPEX-SPORT. Compex Technologies, Inc, 2003)

HOW DO I FIND THE EXACT MOTOR POINT?

The photos in the user manual show the recommended placements of the electrodes. To locate your own motor point more accurately, you can move the positive electrode slightly (red cable) and watch where the muscle response is the best (strongest twitch at the same intensity).

WHAT POSITION SHOULD I BE IN DURING ELECTROSTIMULATION SESSIONS?

For programs involving powerful muscular contractions (tetanic contractions), the muscle should always be stimulated in an isometric fashion. To do this, place the body part against an immovable object (such as the floor). Example: If you're working the quads, sit in a chair and plant your feet firmly on the ground.

Dynamic work should be done without such resistance. For the other types of programs (Pain relief and Recovery, Cramp prevention, Long-run optimization and Overcompensation), place yourself in a comfortable position.

CAN THE USE OF EXCESSIVELY HIGH ENERGY LEVELS CAUSE INJURY?

If you progressively increase the intensity during the contraction period then risk of muscle tear or injury is minimal. If you use this at a high energy you will experience high levels of soreness. Please make sure you have read the manual completely before starting to use the unit and are aware of the progression based on your activity level.

WHY DO I ALSO FEEL TWITCHES DURING THE REST PHASES?

The muscle is also stimulated during the rest phases, which causes muscle twitches. These twitches help to improve recovery between contractions.

WHICH ENERGY LEVEL SHOULD BE REACHED DURING REST PHASES?

During rest phases, the intensity of the twitches is automatically set to 50 percent. The aim of the twitches between the contractions is to increase blood flow and improve the recovery rate.

IS TOLERANCE TO THE LEVEL OF ELECTRICAL INTENSITY THE SAME FOR EVERYBODY?

No. Everyone has his or her own level of sensitivity. Please make sure you have read the manual completely before starting to use the unit and are aware of the progression based on your activity level.

IS THERE ANY RISK FROM BADLY-POSITIONED ELECTRODES?

There is no increase in risk if the electrodes are poorly placed. The stimulation on the muscle will not be as effective. Never apply the electrodes to the head and throat, and avoid the area around the heart. It is important to read the user guide completely, as misuse of the product can lead to harm.

WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF THE ACTIVE RECOVERY PROGRAM?

This program doesn't cause contractions; it causes muscular twitches. The frequency of the pulse drops gradually during the session, resulting in three types of effect: an increase in blood flow (flushes out toxins faster), an endorphin analgesic effect, a relaxing effect. The end result: faster restoration of the muscular balance. (ELECTROSTIMULATION: ACTIVE RECOVERY WITH THE COMPEX-SPORT. Compex Technologies, Inc, 2003)

HAS A SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT IN STRENGTH BEEN OBSERVED WITH A COMPEX DEVICE?

Yes. A good example for us to look at is the study carried out on professional basketball players. This study compared the relationship of a group of players who trained with a Compex device, and a group that trained without it. The group that combined a Compex device with their normal routine showed a significant (P<0.05) improvement in explosive strength over the other group. (Maffiuletti, 2000)

DOES COMPEX ELECTROSTIMULATION ALSO PROVIDE ENDURANCE TRAINING?

Yes. All of the devices feature an Endurance Program. This program is programmed to target slow twitch muscle that is associated with long durations of activity. Check out our Increase Endurance Training Plan.

AS IT IS POSSIBLE TO TRAIN ISOLATED MUSCLE GROUPS, IS THERE ANY RISK OF DEVELOPING A MUSCULAR IMBALANCE?

Using Compex electric muscle stimulation allows you to train specific muscle groups that seem to be weaker to help improve any imbalances. A Compex device helps to improve the muscle chain responsible for a movement, strengthening the weakest link, so it's important to use according to your activity level. It is up to the end user to work out all muscle groups equally.

WHAT DOES COMPEX BRING TO TRADITIONAL TRAINING?

It will allow you to maximize your training time. Using Compex will give you higher-quality workouts because you can train at your maximum effort and recover faster. Check out our performance training workouts with Compex.

Regardless of the type of sport practiced, the level of muscle stimulation of the Compex programs always enhances performance. You can train better and in less time to reach optimal performance. Check out our sports-specific muscle stim training workouts to maximize your performance.

CAN A COMPEX DEVICE SIMPLY REPLACE VOLUNTARY TRAINING IN GENERAL?

Compex muscle stimulation complements your workouts; it's not to replace them. It's essential to continue practicing movements, technique, cardio-vascular development and more to boost overall training performance.

IS IT POSSIBLE TO CARRY OUT COMPEX SESSIONS ON THE SAME DAYS AS VOLUNTARY TRAINING SESSIONS?

Compex sessions can be carried out outside or during voluntary training. If you wish to do both types of training at the same time, we recommend that you start with voluntary training. In some cases, particularly for resistance work, it can be beneficial to start with a Compex session in order to generate a state of "pre-fatigue" in the muscle fibers.

WHY DOES TRAINING WITH A COMPEX DEVICE NOT CAUSE TRAUMA?

With a Compex device, the muscle contractions are programmed to develop gradually with no sudden pull on the tendons or joints. This means that it's less likely to cause muscle or tendon trauma. However, as the muscle work is intense, muscle soreness sets in, just like when you begin a new weight lifting program. Please make sure you have read the manual completely before starting to use the unit and are aware of the progression based on your activity level.