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Urban Sport of the Week: EMS Training

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Urban Sport of the Week: EMS Training
Photo: Groupon
This content is an advertisement. It was not produced by The Local's journalists.
08:59 CEST+02:00
Urban Sports Club is the largest, most flexible and diverse sports offer in your city with over 50 types of sports and over 2000 partner venues in 20+ cities across Germany.*

*This content is an advertisement. It was not produced by The Local's journalists.

Visit your local yoga studio, go swimming, bouldering, have a gym session, take a dance class or make new friends in Urban Sports Club's team sport communities. All of this in one membership at a fixed cost that you can cancel at just one month's notice.

In the Urban Sport of the Week series, a member of the USC team tries a different sport to encourage members to do the same - because new sports lead to new hobbies and new friends.

This week, the brave (and slightly scared) USC member went to EMS Training (that stands for Electrical Muscle Stimulation)…

What is EMS Training?

When we exercise, our muscles contract. Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) training heightens and intensifies these natural contractions using electrical impulses. During these electrical impulses, doing even simple movements is the equivalent to lifting heavy weights in the gym.

Slim-Gym is a fitness studio that specialises in EMS Training and nutrition. They're all about time efficiency. Their EMS workouts last no longer than 16 minutes and are the equivalent to a three or four hour workout in the gym. So far, so good...

Sign up to Urban Sports Club today - get fit, discover new hobbies and make new friends.

What can you expect?

When I arrived at Slim-Gym Tiergarten, my trainer Rick gave me a form to fill out about my general health and fitness goals and sat me down to explain the basics. I was about to have electrical impulses stimulating the deep muscles in my body and, in 16 minutes I would have done a full-body workout.

The large studio had three EMS machines facing a mirror with about 15 black vests hanging on a rack. They looked a bit like bullet-proof vests and had lots of straps and wires hanging from them. Not at all scary.

I was given a towel, socks and black workout gear made out of 100 percent cotton to effectively channel the electrical impulses. When I was changed Rick laid a vest on the table and showed me which electronic pads belonged to which muscle group. Lower back, upper back, side back, abs, chest and shoulders. He then proceeded to hose down the jacket with water “so the electrical impulses can travel into your body”. Rick's explanations weren't making me feel any less nervous.

I put on the electric shock jacket and Rick plugged some of the attached wires into other gadgety-looking things. He also strapped separate pads around my arms, waist and thighs. I turned to face the mirror. I looked like a pale, confused extra from a sci-fi movie.

Photo: Slim Gym Tiergarten

How was the workout?

The podium in front of me had a large dial that controlled all of the electrical currents at once. Under that was a screen with a line (similar to a life support machine) which showed me when the next electrical impulse was coming. Under that were nine different knobs that determined the electrical current for each separate muscle group.

The first minute was spent determining the level of electrical current I could manage for each muscle group. Rick told me to say stop when it was getting too much. “How do I know when it's too much?”, I asked with trepidation. “It'll stop feeling like a massage,” he replied.

We started with the glutes. Rick turned the glute dial up and I felt a bizarre tingling in my thighs that slowly turned into aggressive pins and needles. “That's fine!” I squawked. It felt like my legs had been put on vibrate. At no point did I find this reminiscent of a massage.

The other people I observed seemed cool and calm during their EMS training. Not me. Every time a new muscle group was activated I had to suppress a shriek and then started laughing uncontrollably which really, really hurt because my ab pads were on full vibrate.

My workout consisted of four seconds of electrical impulses and four seconds' rest for 16 minutes. After I'd got used to the initial feeling of being electrically charged, Rick gave me a wooden stick and instructed me to push it out in front of me.

As my entire body vibrated manically, the effort to push this almost weightless wooden stick was ludicrous. Over the course of 16 minutes the stick and I did standing ab crunches, bicep curls and tricep curls. I also had to lift a leg up, one after the other. I should note that throughout the workout Rick was using the aforementioned main dial to increase the overall intensity of the electrical impulses. Every time he did so I would swear involuntarily.

For the final 30 seconds, Rick cranked up the big dial and I just stood there enduring one long, intense electric shock until it was all over.

As I left I was rewarded with a delicious vanilla and coconut protein shake to complement my workout, all part of the Slim-Gym experience.

Sign up to Urban Sports Club today - get fit, discover new hobbies and make new friends.

How did I feel after?

Immediately afterwards my body felt a bit tingly, but overall I felt fine. I wasn't particularly sweaty and it definitely didn't feel like I'd just done a 4 hour workout at the gym. Later that day I started to feel my glutes hurting, but apart from that the rest of the day was just like normal.

Although it was new and slightly scary, I would definitely do this again. It's just 16 minutes for a full-body workout, everybody was super friendly and I could feel new muscles had been awoken after the training.

Benefits of EMS Training

It's extremely time-efficient. If you want a full body workout in just 16 minutes then this is the sport for you.

Research has proved that this really works, but it works best when paired with a well-prepared training schedule and nutrition plan.

It's the only way to workout hard-to-reach muscles, especially in your back and shoulders.

It's suitable for all fitness levels - anyone can begin EMS training and it won't leave you feeling physically exhausted afterwards.

EMS Training helps facilitate muscle recovery and allows you to focus on specific problem areas.

It certainly beats a long workout in the gym - it's easy to stay motivated when you only need to train for 16 minutes, and the time flies by.

Sign up to Urban Sports Club today - get fit, discover new hobbies and make new friends.

Don't forget to bring…

Water. Slim-Gym provides everything you need including workout gear, towels, shampoo, shower gel and deodorant. They also wash your workout gear so it's ready next time you train. You can just walk in and walk out like nothing ever happened.

Fancy giving EMS Training a go yourself? Have a look at our other EMS Training partners across Germany and France.

*This content is an advertisement. It was not produced by The Local's journalists.

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