EMS Research

Long-term WB-EMS Intervention on Body Composition

Maintaining lifelong fitness is crucial for overall health and well-being. As we age, it becomes even more essential to stay physically active to prevent various health issues and maintain our strength. However, busy schedules, physical limitations, and a lack of motivation often hinder regular exercise. A recent study explores a potential solution to these challenges: Whole-body electrical muscle stimulation. This time-efficient training method involves involuntary muscle contractions, making it suitable for individuals of all ages. 

This recent study by the Scientific Journal of Sports and Performance aims to investigate the impact of WB-EMS on body composition and physical performance in people ranging from their twenties to their eighties.


The study took place over 24 weeks, involving 14 participants from age groups spanning 19 to 80 years. Measurements were conducted before and after the intervention to assess body composition, including weight, body fat, and skeletal muscle mass. Physical performance parameters, such as strength in trunk and knee flexion/extension and hand grip strength, were also evaluated. The participants underwent WB-EMS training once a week for 20 minutes. The training content was designed to challenge all participants while ensuring they could perform the exercises safely and effectively.


The study employed a quasi-experimental design with a pretest-posttest approach. It took place between July 2021 and February 2022 at two centers in Germany. The research aimed to assess the impact of 24 weeks of EMS training on body composition and muscular performance in individuals of different age groups.

To create a representative sample, the researchers recruited participants across various age groups ranging from 19 to 80 years old. Specifically, one male and one female from each age decade were included, allowing for a margin of one year within each decade. This approach resulted in a total of 14 participants, with ages spanning from 19 to 81 years.

To be eligible, participants had to meet specific criteria:

  • Age between 19 and 81 years.
  • No previous experience with WB-EMS.
  • Absence of internal or orthopedic limitations.
  • No regular exercise for at least 24 months before the study.
  • All participants were asked to maintain their typical lifestyle throughout the study and refrain from engaging in any other forms of physical activity apart from the guided WB-EMS training sessions.


The researchers conducted measurements before and after the 24-week intervention on three consecutive days at similar times to minimize day-dependent variations. During each test session, measurements were performed three times in a row with one-minute rest intervals between measurements. The highest value from these repetitions was used for data analysis.

Recorded measurements:

Body Composition: weight, body fat percentage, and skeletal muscle mass. 

Muscular Performance: Muscular performance parameters were evaluated for both upper and lower body strength. For participants under 60 years old, knee flexion and extension strength of the non-dominant side. Those aged 60 and above had their hip and knee extension and flexion strength assessed in a closed kinetic chain. Both sets of tests were designed to measure maximal voluntary effort.

Static Trunk Strength: Isometric force tests for static trunk extension and flexion. Measurements were taken in both directions.

Hand Grip Strength: Hand grip strength of the dominant hand was measured using a hand dynamometer. 


The WB-EMS training sessions occurred once a week for 20 minutes each. The training protocol used a stimulation cycle of 6 seconds on, 4 seconds off, at a frequency of 85 Hz, and a pulse width of 350 microseconds

The training was standardized and consisted of six different exercises performed during the impulse. The exercises aimed to challenge participants while ensuring safe execution. The intensity was controlled using the Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale, with an intensity target between six (strenuous) and seven (very strenuous). The researchers regularly checked and adjusted impulse intensity during training.


The study’s primary focus was on assessing changes in muscular performance across different age groups, which were summarized in an unweighted additive index called the Muscular Change Index (MCI).

The study’s methodology aimed to provide a comprehensive assessment of the impact of WB-EMS on body composition and muscular performance in individuals of varying ages while ensuring standardized and consistent data collection procedures.


Remarkable improvements in muscular performance were observed across all age groups. The Muscular Change Index (MCI), which combined percentage changes in various strength parameters, demonstrated significant gains in strength for participants in their twenties through their eighties. This suggests that WB-EMS is an efficient and effective form of training that can enhance muscular performance in individuals of different age groups.

Overall Implications:

The results of this study provide strong evidence that WB-EMS is a highly effective training method for improving muscular performance across various age groups. It’s important to note that this effectiveness extended from young adults in their twenties to individuals in their eighties. These findings have several important implications:

Age-Related Muscle Loss Mitigation: WB-EMS can help mitigate the age-related loss of muscle mass and strength (known as sarcopenia) that commonly occurs as people grow older. This has significant implications for maintaining overall health and independence in later life.

Time-Efficiency: The 20-minute weekly WB-EMS sessions proved to be highly time-efficient, making it a practical option for individuals with busy schedules or those who may have limited time for exercise.

Versatility: The study demonstrated the adaptability of WB-EMS to different age groups and fitness levels. This versatility means that the training can be tailored to individual needs and physical capabilities.

Motivation: For those who may struggle with motivation to engage in regular strength training, WB-EMS offers an attractive alternative, as it requires minimal time commitment and can produce tangible results.

Broader Implications: Beyond the study, these findings have broader implications for the use of WB-EMS in fitness and health contexts. It underscores the importance of considering this training method as part of a comprehensive fitness regimen, especially for individuals seeking to maintain or improve their muscle strength throughout their lives.

My thoughts on the study: 

It is great to see positive changes at all ages. However, this study has some limitations. The sample group was very small, especially for a study looking at changes over six different decades. There was no control group, or additional intervention group doing something else to compare to.

Measuring hand grip strength has been a staple in many resistance training studies. It is normal to assume hand grip strength will increase when using weights, but EMS fitness doesn’t usually employ weights and this study didn’t either. This means that hand grip strength didn’t improve much and brought the average strength gain percentages down significantly. 

Finally, the study used standard EMS personal training protocols but didn’t adjust the baseline for all 24 weeks and used the same exercises. 

Despite all these limitations, every single outcome they measured improved for every age group. 

At Bodybuzz, we progress baseline protocols every eight sessions while also changing the exercises according to strength training protocols to avoid plateaus. 

If you are interested in learning more about EMS book a free consultation with me here: https://calendly.com/conradfitness/30min


Director of Education and Technology



Bodybuzz combines Certified Personal Training with Electrical Muscle Stimulation, giving your body a deeper, safer, and more effective workout. 20 minutes twice a week is all it takes!

Our personal trainers will guide you through a custom EMS workout designed specifically for you. Whether you’re looking to build strength, lose weight, get toned, or recover from an injury or illness, we offer a safe, low-impact solution to help get you there.

EMS has now been FDA-cleared for use in the US and we are proud to be one of the first companies to introduce this technology. This full-body workout uses a special muscle stimulating suit that sends low-level impulses to your major muscle groups to trigger muscle contractions. It’s a unique sensation that is painless and invigorating. EMS workouts are designed to achieve optimal conditioning, burn fat, develop strength, build muscle, tighten skin, combat cellulite, jump-start your metabolism, and restore your body’s natural balance.