Electric stimulation and vibration are both massive fields in the fitness industry for optimizing the way that people workout and recover.
EMS uses electrical impulses to induce contractions in the muscle. Most EMS devices are meant for home-use and can be used when just sitting on the couch. EMS technology is typically used post-workout in order to aid athletes with recovery and optimize performance .
EMS is used to induce contractions in a singular muscle whereas the Pulse Device is used to focus on the target muscle while still engaging secondary muscles to a lesser degree.
The vibrations from the Pulse Device are set at a low-frequency and are emitted directly onto a muscle. The Pulse Device utilizes these vibrations to provide more complete muscle activation in a target area and facilitate better contractions.
The Pulse Device makes workouts substantially more effective by combining these low-frequency vibrations with attentional cues that mimic muscle tapping. By replicating this tapping feeling onto the user, lifters are able to strengthen their mind-muscle connection. Current vibration technology mainly consists of whole body vibration (WBV) plates. These plates vibrate the entire body to make your muscles work to stabilize you, making your workout substantially more intense. The Pulse Device uses similar ideas as WBV but only targets a specific muscle since it’s applied directly to that muscle.
The Problem with EMS
Part of what you get from a good workout is learning a neuronal firing pattern, or in other words how to activate muscles in a coordinated way that is relevant to real life. EMS activates a muscle but with no regard to how that muscle is used in real world activities. This makes the EMS device great for rehabilitation and building muscle, but does very little to build functional muscle and to strengthen the mind-muscle connection.
EMS targets the muscles without involvement from the brain. This results in little to no benefit to the mind-muscle connection.
The Advantages of Targeted Muscle Vibration
The Pulse Device gives users similar benefits to EMS by using vibration technology. Because of this, you can use the Pulse Device while you workout with minimal changes to your routine. This gives vibration technology the advantage of building more functional muscle.
In addition to the benefits of EMS, TMV can provide unique benefits to users. Using the Pulse Device while lifting allows for users to strengthen their muscles while enhancing their control over their muscles. This connection known as the mind-muscle connection gives the user lasting benefits in lifting even when the Pulse Device is not being used. This better control results in faster results in the gym and workout sessions that can be more focused on building the targeted muscles.
Interval vibration provides a more comfortable experience using gentle vibration as compared to electrical signals which can be a highly uncomfortable feeling for some individuals. This provides a more user-friendly experience as the user can simply put the device on the muscle they’re training and workout as normal.
Maffiuletti, N.A. Physiological and methodological considerations for the use of neuromuscular electrical stimulation. Eur J Appl Physiol 110, 223–234 (2010). [Link]