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Effects of WB-EMS on undulating training periodization in runners

Effects of WB-EMS on undulating training periodization in runners


WB-EMS improves muscle strength in elite soccer players (Filipovic et al., 2016), in postmenopausal women (Kemmler et al., 2010) and in healthy middle-aged men without training (Kemmler et al., 2016).


Fifteen healthy male recreational runners were recruited, who had been running 2-3 times a week and had no previous experience with WB-EMS. Three participants did not complete the study (due to work and family reasons) and were excluded from the additional analysis (total number 12 runners).

The WB-EMS training program consisted of six sessions (1 per week). Before starting the program, participants held a familiarization session to learn movement patterns and adapt to electrical stimuli.

The 12 runners were divided into two groups: Functionalized and periodized career training group with WB-EMS (PFG) (n = 6) and traditional training group with WB-EMS (TG) (N = 6).

Functionalized and periodized career training group with WB-EMS (PGF) (n = 6)

The training sessions were divided into four parts (participants only made movements when receiving electrical impulse in all cases):

  1. Warm-up (W).
  2. Strength workout (S).
  3. High intensity interval power training (HP).
  4. High intensity interval training (HT).

The electrical parameters, except the pulse intensity, were modified in different parts of the session.

Traditional training group with WB-EMS (TG) (n = 6).

The TG program consisted of training interventions applied in previous WB-EMS studies (Kemmler et al., 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016; Kemmler and von Stengel, 2013). Electric impulse and training load increased throughout the program. Pulse intensity was individually adjusted by RPE (Borg, 1982) every 2 minutes during all sessions. The sessions were structured in a circuit format and consisted of 10 dynamic and general exercises without external load.

The VO2max increased in the group in the PGF group while in the TG group there were no significant changes in the VO2max.
As for the maximum aerobic speed increase in the PGF group and in the TG group no changes were observed.
The career economy improved in the PGF group but not in the TG group. An improvement in the strength of the lower train
was observed in both groups.
A functionalized WB-EMS training program for periods of 6 weeks produces a considerable improvement in VO2max, VT2,
running economy and lower train strength in recreational runners compared to a traditional WB-EMS training program.
More studies are needed to better understand the practical applications of this new training methodology in other
  1. Amaro-Gahete FJ., De-la-OA., Sanchez-Delgado G., Robles-Gonzalez L., Jurado-Fasoli L., Ruiz JR., y Gutiérrez A. (2018) Functional Exercise Training and Undulating Periodization Enhances the Effect of Whole-Body Electromyostimulation Training on Running Performance. Front Physiol, 9 (720).
  2. Filipovic, A., Grau, M., Kleinöder, H., Zimmer, P., Hollmann, W., and Bloch, W. (2016). Effects of a whole-body electrostimulation program on strength, sprinting, jumping, and kicking capacity in elite soccer players. J. Sports Sci. Med. 15, 639–648.
  3. Kemmler, W., Schliffka, R., Mayhew, J. L., and von Stengel, S., et al. (2010). Effects of whole-body electromyostimulation on resting metabolic rate, body composition, and maximum strength in postmenopausal women: the training and electrostimulation trial. J. Strength Cond. Res. 24, 1880–1887. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181ddaeee.
  4. Kemmler, W., Von Stengel, S., Schwarz, J., and Mayhew, J. L. (2012). Effect of whole-body electromyostimulation on energy expenditure during exercise. J. Strength Cond. Res. 26, 240–245. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31821a3a11.
  5. Kemmler, W., Bebenek, M., Engelke, K., and von Stengel, S. (2014). Impact of whole-body electromyostimulation on body composition in elderly women at risk for sarcopenia: the training and electrostimulation trial (TEST-III). Age 36, 395–406. doi: 10.1007/s11357-013-9575-2.
  6. Kemmler, W., Teschler, M., Weißenfels, A., Bebenek, M., Fröhlich, M., Kohl, M., et al. (2016). Effects of whole-body electromyostimulation versus high-intensity resistance exercise on body composition and strength: a randomized controlled study. Evid. Based Complement. Altern. Med. 3, 44–55. doi: 10.1155/2016/9236809. 

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