As a competitive athlete or fitness enthusiast, you know that off season training is a number one priority to prepare for a successful season in your chosen sport. For healthy athletes looking to build strength, speed and endurance throughout the year, electrical muscle stimulation, or EMS technology can offer surprising benefits. Cycling professionals and long distance runners can improve their performance with an EMS regimen that balances muscle stimulation and EMS aided recovery.
The timing of the season’s first event will determine when to start training aggressively. Cycling professionals and long distance runners undoubtedly emphasize leg muscle training, which requires a focus on the quads, hamstrings, glutes and abs. Let’s look at 4 training strategies that cyclists and long distance runners can use to optimize off season training.
Strength Training Strategy
Improve overall muscle strength and leg muscle strength by pairing EMS with workouts that focus on pushing, pressing and pulling. Strength training leverages anaerobic exercises, which are done in repeated, short bursts with recovery time in between. Examples of anaerobic activities include HIIT, plyometric exercises and weight lifting. Working at this level means you’ve got to go hard during each burst for up to 2 minutes. Use electric muscle stimulation in between bursts of activity or after strength training workouts up to 3 times a week per muscle group.
Speed Training Strategy
You really want to work on speed all year. The key to building speed and staying fast is to avoid anaerobic exercises. Runners will want to keep their strides fast, but controlled, avoiding bursts of speed or other high intensity activities that result in heavy breathing. You can easily incorporate electric muscle stimulation to support your speed training. In this case, electrical muscle stimulation engages Type 1 slow-twitch muscle fibers. Strategically apply EMS pads to your quad muscle groups to jumpstart your warm up and prepare your muscles to work harder. You can use electric muscle stimulation and the end of your run too, to help overcome performance plateaus.
Endurance Training Strategy
On the other end of the spectrum is aerobic exercise, which is performed at a low to moderate pace over an extended period of time. Endurance training is critical for cycling professionals and long distance runners due to the nature of the two sports. Athletes can leverage electrical muscle stimulation before or after endurance workouts up to 4 times a week per muscle group. In this case, EMS also stimulates slow-twitch muscle fibers, which are most used during workouts that last many minutes to hours. Boost your muscles’ ability to handle more powerful workouts by incorporating electrical muscle stimulation.
Now that you’ve really worked up a sweat, it’s time to cool down. PowerDot EMS technology offers 4 different recovery programs including active recovery, light recovery, extended recovery and massage. Cyclists and long distance runners will want to give themselves up to 48 hours of rest and recovery in between workouts. You can use our active recovery EMS program to accelerate and improve muscle recovery within 2 hours of your workouts or practice races. The same goes for light recovery, with the only difference being that light recovery training offers a lower frequency of electric muscle stimulation. Get all the same benefits of active recovery with a longer muscle stimulation period, also within 2 hours of your workout; this is extended recovery. Last, but not least, our massage feature helps decrease soreness, stiffness and risk of injury in between workouts.
Ideally, you want to train muscle groups using electrical muscle stimulation 3 times a week for optimal results. Recovery programs can be applied daily. Train with strength and resistance programs for a minimum of 3 weeks and no more than 8; endurance no more than 12 weeks. Your muscles will adapt to strength training and endurance training within 2-3 weeks. After this period, find your threshold of electric muscle stimulation tolerance and let this serve as a gauge to help you determine how forcefully you want your muscles to contract. Your threshold will increase as you continue your strength and endurance training programs, so make sure to continuously increase the level of electric muscle stimulation.
Electric muscle stimulation is the perfect complement to a balanced workout, offering athletes the ability to run harder, faster and for longer distances during off season. Cyclists like Lawson Craddox, who trains for the Tour de France, and long distance runners will almost immediately feel the difference EMS makes in supporting performance, strength, endurance and recovery.
Learn more about the fascinating science behind EMS technology, and gear up for your next marathon!