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Front. Physiol. | doi: 10.3389/fphys.2019.00920

Adjustment effects of maximum current tolerance during whole-body electromyostimulation training

  • 1University of Kaiserslautern, Germany
  • 2Deutsche Hochschule für Prävention und Gesundheitsmanagement, Germany
  • 3Institute of Medical Physics, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany

Intensity regulation during whole-body electromyostimulation (WB-EMS) training is mostly controlled by subjective scales such as CR-10 Borg scale. To determine objective training intensities derived from a maximum as it is used in conventional strength training using the one-repetition-maximum (1-RM), a comparable maximum in WB-EMS is necessary. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine, if there is an individual maximum current tolerance plateau after multiple consecutive EMS application sessions. A total of 52 subjects (24.1 ± 3.2 years; 76.8 ± 11.1 kg; 1.77 ± 0.9 m) participated in the longitudinal, observational study (38 male, 14 female). Each participant carried out four consecutive maximal EMS applications (T1-T4) separated by one week. All muscle groups were stimulated successively until their individual maximum and combined to a whole-body stimulation index to carry out a possible statement for the development of the maximum current tolerance of the whole body. There was a significant main effect between the measurement times for all participants (p < 0.001; 𝜂2 = 0.39) as well as gender specific for male (p = 0.001; 𝜂2 = 0.18) and female (p < 0.001; 𝜂2 = 0.57). There were no interaction effects of gender*measurement time (p = 0.394). The maximum current tolerance increased significantly from T1 to T2 (p = 0.001) and T2 to T3 (p < 0.001). There was no significant difference between T3 and T4 (p = 1.0). These results indicate that there is an adjustment of the individual maximum current tolerance to a WB-EMS training after three consecutive tests. Therefore, there is a need of several habituation units comparable to the identification of the individual 1-RM in conventional strength training. Further research should focus on an objective intensity specific regulation of the WB-EMS based on the individual maximum current tolerance to characterize different training areas and therefore generate specific adaptations to a WB-EMS training compared to conventional strength training methods.

Keywords: Adjustment effects, familiarization, current tolerance plateau, Specific adaptations, WB-EMS whole-body electromyostimulation

Received: 21 Jan 2019; Accepted: 08 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

Shi Zhou, Southern Cross University, Australia

Reviewed by:

Luis M. Rama, University of Coimbra, Portugal
Francisco J. Amaro-Gahete, University of Granada, Spain
Conor M. Minogue, University College Dublin, Ireland  

Copyright: © 2019 Berger, Becker, Backfisch, Eifler, Kemmler and Fröhlich. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mr. Joshua Berger, University of Kaiserslautern, Kaiserslautern, Germany, joshua.berger@sowi.uni-kl.de