We Tried An EMS Training Session And This Is What Went Down

By Sophie Oddo
12th May 2021

woman in an EMS training vest lifting a barbell

Finding the motivation to get up at 5am so I can slog it out at the gym for an hour before work is a real mission sometimes. Like most people out there, I just wish staying fit and healthy could be just as easy and painless as it is to go and get a buttery croissant from my local every morning. 

So, when I was asked if I wanted to give EMS training a go, I was all over it. This progressive style of exercise can get results in a matter of weeks and the best part? The sessions are only 20 minutes long—yes please. 

Here’s what happened when I headed along to Fit X EMS, Brisbane’s first boutique EMS training studio in Ascot. 

What Is EMS Training? 

EMS (that’s Electro Muscle Stimulation) is a new way to workout without having to spend hours in the gym. Just one or two 20-minute sessions a week is all it takes for you to have a bangin’ beach bod. It works by sending low-frequency electric impulses to contract your muscles while you’re working out. Long story short, it’s basically triple the workout in half the time—amazing, right? It’s actually what astronauts use to workout in space, and it’s used by sporting legends like Usain Bolt and Tiger Woods—if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.

So How Does It Work? 

I’m not gonna lie, I was a little nervous walking into my first appointment. The thought of being hooked up to a machine that sends electrical impulses shooting into my body was a little intimidating. What was it going to feel like? Was it going to hurt?

First up, you’re given your training gear—a tight-fitting pair of shorts and a top made out of wetsuit like material. The training actually doesn’t require any of your own workout gear—not even a pair of shoes. How handy is that for sessions straight from the office?

You get put into a vest with cords hooked to it, with a strap around your glutes, arms and legs, and hooked up to the machine by a cord, with the final look akin to Lara Croft in Tomb Raider. Unfortunately, there’s only the trainer around to see you looking so fly—Fit X EMS sessions are one-on-one, or two-on-one if you want to train with a friend. There might be some weights involved, but don’t worry, they’ll only light—it’s all about those impulses baby.

a woman in a vest swinging a kettle bell

Does EMS Training Hurt? 

I know the question you really want answered—does EMS training hurt? Well, kinda, but not really. The buzzes started up and they first felt like pins and needles to me. It’s kinda like that electrical zap you get from static, but across a whole muscle group, not just your finger. The good thing is though, the impulses are adjustable—so the trainer will turn them up, but only to a point where you still feel comfortable, and at different levels on different muscle groups. 

What Happens In An EMS Training Session?

The first thing to know is that the movements you’ll do aren’t overly difficult. The trainer took me through basic movements like squats, lunges and bicep curls, with the impulses doing most of the work. For example, you’ll hold a squat while getting zapped for four seconds, then the impulses will stop for four seconds while you release and relax. Pop a squat again and the impulses are back—sounds easy, but you’ll be sweating within minutes, let me tell you. 

So, Does EMS Training Work?

The session goes fast, but by the end I was legit exhausted. A 20 minute workout felt like the equivalent of an hour-long weights session at the gym—the burn was real. The real fun started over the next few days. DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) is 100 per cent a thing and EMS training doesn’t take any prisoners. 

I only did one session (though I’d go back in a heartbeat), but one of our Kiwi team members who does it regularly swears by it: “Can confirm that at around the five week mark I was seeing ‘wow hi’ results from EMS” (Jaiden Bhaga, 2021). 

So there you have it. If you want to give it a try, but you’re not quite ready to commit long term, Fit X EMS offers your first 20-minute session for free. What have you got to lose, right? 

If you're more into the 'recovery' side of fitness, check out this epic wellness centre heading for Newstead.

Image credit: mladenbalinovac |Getty

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