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Systematic Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Physiol. | doi: 10.3389/fphys.2019.01336

Effects of Whole-Body Electromyostimulation on Strength-, Sprint-, and Jump Performance in moderately trained young adults: A mini-meta-analysis of five homogenous RCTs of our work group

  • 1German Sport University Cologne, Germany

Background
Whole-body electromyostimulation (WB-EMS) has gained increasing interest in sports within recent years.
Objective
The aim of the present mini-meta-analysis of 5 recently conducted and published randomized controlled WB-EMS trails of our work group was to evaluate the favorable effects of WB-EMS in comparison to conventional strength training.
Methods
We included parameter of selected leg muscle´s strength and power as well as sprint and jump performance. All subjects were moderately trained athletes (> 2 training sessions/week, > 2 years of experience in strength training; experimental group (n=58): 21.5 ± 3.3 y; 178 ± 8 cm; 74.0 ± 11 kg; control group (n=54): 21.0 ± 2.3 y; 179.0 ± 9 cm; 72.6 ± 10 kg). The following WB-EMS protocols were applied to the experimental group (EG): 2 WB-EMS sessions/week, bipolar current superimposed to dynamic exercises, 85Hz, 350𝜇s, 70% of the individual pain threshold amperage. The control groups (CG) applied the same training protocols without WB-EMS, but with external resistance.
Results
In summary, five extremely homogenous studies (all studies revealed an I² = 0%) with 112 subjects in total were analyzed with respect to lower limb strength and power in leg curl, leg extension and leg press machines, sprint - and jump performance. Negligible effects with very low within-analyses heterogeneity were found for Fmax of leg muscle groups (SMD: 0.11 (90% CI: -0.08, 0.33), p = 0.73, I² = 0%) and for CMJ (SMD: 0.01 (90% CI: -0.34, 0.33), p = 0.81, I² = 0%). Small effects, also with low heterogeneity were found for linear sprint (SMD: 0.22 (90% CI: -0.15, 0.60), p = 0.77, I² = 0%) in favor of the EMS-group compared to CON.
Conclusion
We conclude that WB-EMS is a feasible complementary training stimulus for performance enhancement. However, additional effects on strength and power indices seem to be limited and sprint and jump-performance appear to be benefiting only slightly. Longer training periods and more frequent application times and a slightly larger stimulus could be investigated in larger samples to further elucidate beneficial effects of WB-EMS on performance parameters in athletes.

Keywords: whole-body-EMS, Electrical stimulation (ES), strength training, MVC, peak power output

Received: 10 Apr 2019; Accepted: 07 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Wirtz. 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: Dr. Nicolas Wirtz, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany, n.wirtz@dshs-koeln.de