Use EMS to Hit Your PR

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By: Kevin Rail

By: Kevin Rail

Certified Fitness Coach with a Bachelor Science in Sports Fitness and Wellness.

Your muscles can only take so much abuse for so long before they start to break down and cause problems. And sitting at home, nursing injuries when you could be slinging weights at the gym is not a very fun place to be. 

That’s why you should take your recoveries very seriously. The better you are able to recover, the more intensely you can approach your PRs in and out of the gym. And here’s where you can benefit from electronic muscle stimulation, or EMS for short. 

What is EMS?

If you like to get fancy, the actual full name of this protocol is neuromuscular electric stimulation. You will also hear it referred to as e-stim or muscle stim, just for the record. 

With this process, small signals of electricity are sent to the muscles by way of these adhesive pads that are placed on the skin. The end result is your muscles contract without you having to really lift a finger. 

It sounds kind of awesome, doesn’t it? So in theory, you can literally sit on the couch, watching TV while you get a dose of EMS. 

How Does EMS Specifically Benefit You?

In the big picture, recovery really IS the name of the game. Who cares how many pounds you can push off your chest if you don’t have good recoveries. 

Well, by way of EMS, you can help flush built-up toxins from your muscles AND promote oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood flow to them in one fell swoop. This will then aid your herculean bench press attempts. 

The best way to tap into this protocol is right after a workout. Simply place the adhesive pads of the unit on a muscle group that you just pulverized and let them sit there for a few minutes. 

Once you are done, the end goal is for your muscles to heal up and build faster, so you can hit your next workout at 100% again. 

You will also find these units in a lot of physical therapy offices. If you remember from above, you can literally sit still and get muscle contractions. This proves beneficial for people that have joint injuries and can’t go through the act of lifting weights. 

How to Take Further Advantage of EMS

Aside from using EMS for recovery, you can also benefit from it during your workouts. This strategy is deployed if you are looking to get more muscle recruitment than a normal set of exercises can afford you. 

By hooking up the unit to say, your biceps during curls, you will be getting two forms of stimulation at the same time. This, in turn, will enhance the overall muscle recruitment, and you can theoretically build your physique faster. 

In addition to this, a study done by the European Journal of Applied Physiology claims that jump performance and sprint ability were both improved through the use of EMS in conjunction with dynamic exercise. 

Once your workouts are over, you can then default back to using the unit to spark a faster recovery. It’s pretty much a best of both worlds situation.  

It should also be known that EMS is beneficial when the spinal cord has been damaged. According to the Mayo Clinic, electrical stimulation can help regain range of motion, promote bigger muscle size and strength, increase bone density and also promote better aerobic capacity. 

Final Thoughts

Whether you are looking to build muscle faster, stay free of muscle soreness, steer clear of injuries or expedite the recovery process of an existing injury, electronic muscle stimulation is definitely worth looking into. 

Just be aware that it could be a little uncomfortable at first. You best bet is to visit a PT office and see if they can give you a treatment, so you know what to expect. If you feel it resonates well with you, then you can look into getting your own system. 

Either way, always remember to honor your body and do not do anything beyond your limitations. 

Keep Up With The Info

Recover-Zone Recommendations:

Amazon Expert Recommendations

Best Value

Santamedical TENS Unit


  • High Frequency Stimulation
  • Versatile Settings
  • Soothes Sore and Stiff Muscles


  • Provides Less Deep of Massage
Best of the Best

iReliev Muscle Stimulator 


  • 2-in-1 Option EMS and TENS
  • 25 Intensity Levels
  • Compact Design
  • Compact Design
  • Easy to Navigate Interface


  • Uncomfortable at High Levels
  • Battery Only Operation
Also Consider

Roscoe Medical TENS 7000 


  • Roughly 48 Hour Battery Life
  • Carrying Case Included
  • 5 Therapy Modes


  • No Precise Adjustment