College of Sports Science and Technology, Mahidol University, Thailand conducted a study among 15 healthy and active males which reveals the effects of energy expenditure of EMS in comparision to regular workout.
Which do you think is more effective in fat burning, EMS or regular exercise?
The outcome of the study is surprising…..read more.
Acute effects of electrical muscle stimulation on energy expenditure
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the acute effects of electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) on energy expenditure (EE) alone and to compare with exercise session (Ex) at the same duration.
Method: Fifteen healthy active males (age 21.4±1.5 yrs, weight 69.0±8.7 kg and height 173.3±6.9 cm) participated in this study. Each subject was asked to attend the laboratory on 2 occasions, 1) Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) and 2) Exercise (Ex), in a crossover study, separated by at least 3 days. In the EMS session, subjects were stimulated by electrical muscle stimulation with 85 Hz frequency for 35 min (EMS protocol in workout period; pulse duration 3.5 sec; pause duration 0.5 sec, pulse width 360 msec, impulse type of bipolar. In the Ex session, subjects were asked to perform an exercise protocol composed of 30-minute exercise using large muscle groups and 5-minute abdominal exercise. Oxygen consumption (O2), carbon dioxide production ( CO2) and heart rate (HR) were measured using a Gas analyser throughout the experiment. Energy expenditure and Respiratory Exchange Ratio (RER) were calculated.
Results: There was a significant difference in the EE between EMS and Ex (56.44±4.4 kcal and 153.94±7.22 kcal; p<0.001). HR responses were significantly higher in Ex than in EMS (59.0±1.6% of HRmax and 41.0±2.4% of HRmax respectively; p<0.001). RER was significantly lower in EMS compared to Ex session (0.78±0.09,0.92±0.07; p=0.001 during EMS and Ex respectively).
Discussion This study has shown that EE in EMS was lower by 37% than exercise alone (Ex). The HR response during EMS fell within the calculated 50-60% HRmax fat burning zone. RER indicated that the majority of substrate utilization during EMS came from fat oxidation.
Conclusion: Electrical muscle stimulation affects body metabolic processes in that there is an increase in fat oxidation and may therefore be used as an alternative method for fat burning in people who have limitations in doing weight-bearing exercise.
Linda Ritnamkam, Saiphon Kongkum, Metta Pinthong, Amornpan Ajjimaporn and Rungchai Chaunchaiyakul.
College of sports science and Technology, Mahidol University, Thailand.