|Voluntary & NMES contractions for Monster Quads?|
What? Yeah... I have to admit, the subjects are not exactly bodybuilders and a regular high intensity control is missing, but even if it wasn't for the necessary fact that you'll belong to the group of "older adults" in 50 years from now, the results of the study at hand would still have a certain relevance for younger trainees. Why? Well, something that makes the elderly grow will certainly do the same in young people. Whether it does so at the same or even higher rates than "regular" strength training will obviously have to be elucidated in future studies.
|Table 1: Subject characteristics; VC = volitional contraction; NMES = neuromuscular electrical stimulation; NMES+ = NMES superimposed onto voluntary contraction. SD = standard deviation (Benavent-Caballer. 2014)|
Beware of NMES only training! In as much as a combination of voluntary contractions and NMES may make sense, you should not fall for the fallacious promises of "couch workout" advocates. Previous studies suggest that the strength increases of EMS are - just like any form of training - stimulus specific, the "incomplete muscle activation after training with electromyostimulation" will thus make your muscle stronger on the couch (during your NMES workouts), but are not necessarily going to translate into the real world (Hortobágyi. 1998).The four adhesive surface electrodes (5 × 5 cm) were placed on the distal medial and proximal lateral portions of the subject's anterior thigh, when they performed their three sets of knee extensions (15 reps each) in a single-leg fashion with 3-minute rest between sets.
|Figure 2: Changes in muscle strength (hand grup) and size (rectus femoris), as well as changes in parameters of physical functioning in response to the three training modalities (Benavent-Caballer. 2014)|
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