Frequently Asked Questions About Muscle Stimulators

Compex Frequently Asked Questions

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?

Two years (Fill out the warranty registration form for an additional year or warranty.)

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?

Depending on your skin type, between 15 and 30 times.

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 when it comes to the electrical stimulation of muscles?

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 eventration. Never apply the electrodes to the head and avoid the area around the heart.

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.

How do I find the exact motor point?

The photos in the user manual show the precise 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?

No. If you progressively increase the intensity during the contraction period, then you'll prevent any risk of muscle tear or injury.

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.

Are there any long-term risks with electrical stimulation of muscles?

No. Muscular stimulation has existed for decades and no problems have been found.

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 (maximum of 30 sessions), apply them correctly to the skin, and if necessary, move them to a less sensitive area.

Is there any danger from badly-positioned electrodes?

No. There is no danger if the electrodes are poorly placed. The stimulation will simply become less effective.

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.

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 relaxation 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 vast improvement in explosive strength that far exceeded the other group (+30°).

Have any studies been carried out demonstrating an improvement in endurance?

A study carried out on cross-country skiers showed an improvement in endurance and strength after training with a Compex device (Leipzig, 1999).

Does Compex electrostimulation also provide endurance training?

Yes. The Endurance program improves the ability of short twitch muscle fibers to gain more oxygen (develops mitochondria and increases oxidative enzymes), which increases the average effort that you can maintain over a long period. 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?

No. Using Compex electric muscle stimulation allows you to train specific muscle groups that seem to be weaker to improve any imbalances. A Compex device helps to improve the muscle chain responsible for a movement, strengthening the weakest link!

Is training with a Compex device also suitable for adolescents or children?

A Compex device is obviously not a toy and must not be used on a person under the age of 18.

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 always develop gradually with no sudden pull on the tendons or joints. This means that it's not possible 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. You trigger new muscles to work, which creates soreness.