EMS Fitness

Range of motion and EMS Fitness

They ask: How low can you go?

We say: Why go low when we can reap all the benefits of electro muscle stimulation at a range of motion with which we are comfortable?

In the fitness industry, we often hear the expression “ass to grass” which implies that we should be squatting as far down as possible or at least “squat to parallel” meaning getting your thighs to run parallel to the floor.

These expressions and other terms such as “not a real push-up unless your chest touches the floor” or “don’t lift your body up, push the world down”  (that’s a Chuck Norris joke) belong to a perfectionist mindset with all its flaws, but not in the fitness industry that, in my opinion, should increasingly be more accessible to more people.

The origin of these expressions is rooted in the concept that there are benefits to moving through each joint’s entire range of motion. It helps keep the joints healthy, strong through the entire length of the muscle, and can increase flexibility.

Exercising through a full range of motion, however, is not all that it’s hyped up to be.

Studies such as this one, show the benefits of partial ranges of motion for muscle growth. Bodybuilders typically do partial repetitions for big chunks of their programming.

Anecdotally, one of my professors at A.T. Still University used to train NBA athletes for the Phoenix Suns. He explained that he had players squatting only a quarter down (think closing your car door with your butt because you’re carrying groceries) because jumping to get a rebound or a layup never requires a full-range-of-motion squat.

We could draw the line between training for health (full range of motion) and training for performance (partial repetitions). Bodybuilders and athletes, even at amateur levels, are aiming for a very specific goal that may or may not have anything to do with health.

The health/performance line becomes blurry when transposing it to someone with knee issues for example. If your knees hurt when walking, squatting to get into a car could be considered a relative performance. So where do we draw the line in this case?

One of the great benefits of electro muscle stimulation is that it allows us to bend the laws of fitness to the client’s advantage. The pads will stimulate the muscles underneath it, full range of motion or not. The best results occur when the client co-contracts their muscles along with the stimulation, but the angle of the joint is not as important as with traditional weightlifting.

Taking the squat example, you are able to do a quarter squat, a half squat, or an “ass to grass” squat, and the stimulation will still be as intense as appropriate for you.

The stronger you get, the better you will be able to move, eventually pushing the range of motion further.

We detailed how EMS fitness gets people stronger faster in our previous blog entries here and here, so just like an NBA athlete doing quarter squats, we can almost guarantee that you will get stronger even at shorter ranges of motion.

Do your knees hurt when walking up the stairs or sitting down? Do you have trouble reaching for things over your head? Let us know.

Book a 30-minute call with me to see if EMS would be right for you 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 are 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. It is a full-body workout that 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.