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Old 06-10-2019, 04:16 PM
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Are electrical muscle trainers bullshit?


I mean like this: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07HFQ62WC/...v_ov_lig_dp_it

I realize that you can't just sit around and let a machine do it for you but is there anything to them? Do they have a significant effect? Potential pitfalls? How are they best used?
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Old 06-10-2019, 06:09 PM
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don't know about muscle training , but 55 years ago they were sold to work your fat off and lose weight.
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Old 06-10-2019, 06:14 PM
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They arent bullshit, exactly, but the way they are or were advertised was deceptive.
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Old 06-10-2019, 06:37 PM
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I remember looking at them at the late, lamented Museum of Questionable Medical devices. They were next to the breast enhancement machine.
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Old 06-11-2019, 11:06 AM
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A while ago I was rehabbing a broken ankle, and these ab stimulators were being advertised a lot. I asked my physical therapist about them, and he told me an interesting story.
He had been involved with a (pretty cool) project that was using robotic aids to help parapalegics walk. Microcontrollers would operate the motors so that the aids could move the legs. But even to use the robotics, these patients needed to develop some muscle mass/strength to support their body. So they were using these (professional grade) electrical stimulators to build up their leg muscles.
The (non-paralyzed) staff were curious about the stimulators and one day they decided to try them to see what it was like. None of them could endure the pain from even the lowest setting on the stimulator (yet they would use the mid range setting on the test patients). He said they each tried to see who could last even 10 seconds !

So the conclusion is that those commercial electrical stimulators do what they describe. But in order to use them to increase strength/mass, no one can withstand the pain from the charge required to actually "work" the muscle adequately.
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Old 06-11-2019, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cormac262 View Post
A while ago I was rehabbing a broken ankle, and these ab stimulators were being advertised a lot. I asked my physical therapist about them, and he told me an interesting story.
He had been involved with a (pretty cool) project that was using robotic aids to help parapalegics walk. Microcontrollers would operate the motors so that the aids could move the legs. But even to use the robotics, these patients needed to develop some muscle mass/strength to support their body. So they were using these (professional grade) electrical stimulators to build up their leg muscles.
The (non-paralyzed) staff were curious about the stimulators and one day they decided to try them to see what it was like. None of them could endure the pain from even the lowest setting on the stimulator (yet they would use the mid range setting on the test patients). He said they each tried to see who could last even 10 seconds !

So the conclusion is that those commercial electrical stimulators do what they describe. But in order to use them to increase strength/mass, no one can withstand the pain from the charge required to actually "work" the muscle adequately.
The electrical stim devices used to build muscle on paralyzed limbs, etc. use a *significantly* higher electric voltage than the advertised "ab belts" and such. It takes a much less intense electrical force to strengthen *functioning* muscle tissue than it does to strengthen paralyzed tissue.
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Old 06-11-2019, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambivalid View Post
The electrical stim devices used to build muscle on paralyzed limbs, etc. use a *significantly* higher electric voltage than the advertised "ab belts" and such. It takes a much less intense electrical force to strengthen *functioning* muscle tissue than it does to strengthen paralyzed tissue.
If it's paralyzed, it's also likely insensitive to pain. Hopefully anyway.

What do you think of them? Everything other than my abs is coming along fine but I'm just not getting much there. I'm not primarily after aesthetics; I know that's largely about weightloss for abs. It's more about posture and lower back pain.
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Old 06-11-2019, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelEmouse View Post
If it's paralyzed, it's also likely insensitive to pain. Hopefully anyway.

What do you think of them? Everything other than my abs is coming along fine but I'm just not getting much there. I'm not primarily after aesthetics; I know that's largely about weightloss for abs. It's more about posture and lower back pain.
What are you doing for core work?
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Old 06-11-2019, 02:52 PM
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What are you doing for core work?
I don't remember the names of some of these but here goes: I tried the plank, laying on back and raising the pelvis/legs vertically, scissors, raising legs from chin-up bar, leg windmill (raising and rotating pelvis from chin-up bar), ab roller.

I'm trying not to use my hip flexors much since that can pull on the lower back. I'd like a high intensity isolation exercise . I've found moving the pelvis to be either awkward or too easy.
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Old 06-11-2019, 03:15 PM
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1. AIUI, they work, but don't really make exercising as much easier as you might think. You still have to get into the habit of actually using it, you still need to push through muscle fatigue / aching.
Unless you have a bad back or something, there's not really much benefit. And there are possible downsides like not feeling like you're doing exercise (so less of a "buzz", ironically) and possibly not a natural range of motion.

2. Not directly addressing the OP, but important to always point out: a prerequisite for washboard abs is low bodyfat. Arguably an unhealthily-low bodyfat.
If you're looking at a fat belly right now and are thinking "I need to work out my stomach", I'm afraid it doesn't work like that.
(I'm not saying this to make excuses. Until recently I had a pretty good six-pack. And I probably still have it...somewhere, but my bodyfat recently has gone up to 13% so there's nothing to see. I need to get back down to about 8% to be able to flaunt it again)
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Old 06-11-2019, 03:24 PM
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Thanks Mijin,

I'm at a healthy weight. I will lose fat but that's not that priority compared to improving my core and posture.

An exercise that would tire me out after 5-10 reps would be nice, especially if I could get some eccentric overload, like the equivalent of doing a bicep curl with high weight but without contracting the hip flexors much.
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Old 06-11-2019, 09:22 PM
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I used one of those when I was a young and impressionable teen. It did absolutely nothing and sometimes stung my skin if the electrode wasn't firmly pressed on.

What I do remember though was that I needed to start on the rapid pulse setting to stretch and warm up the muscle. If I skipped right to the long-contraction phase, it hurt like hell. But after about 5 minutes of the pulses, I could go up to the highest level without discomfort.

Maybe those doctors could've lasted longer if they stretched first and jogged a bit of the hallways.
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Old 06-11-2019, 09:29 PM
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It actually would be nice to have one of these that works; my biggest problem with exercise isn't the difficulty or even the pain and soreness...it's the damned TIME it takes to do it while I can't do anything else and am therefore bored out of my everloving skull. If I could wear a gadget that makes my muscles work while I'm sitting in my chair playing something on my computer, that'd be great. I did say 'or watching tv' but I realized I don't actually do that, and it's boring - I don't JUST watch TV, I watch TV while doing other things. I can't stand just watching TV anymore, which is why it doesn't work while I'm exercising.

Last edited by Mnemnosyne; 06-11-2019 at 09:30 PM.
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