Electric Muscle Stimulation vs. Traditional Strength Training: Which is Better?

EMS or Strength: Pick Your Fitness Champion!

Examine fitness methodologies: Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS) vs. Traditional Strength Training – explore the nuances to optimize your fitness routine.
Electric Muscle Stimulation Vs. Traditional Strength Training

Past gone are the days when working out in the GYM for long hours was a necessity to obtain your dream physique. Do it right from the comfort of your home and see yourself losing those extra pounds, as the muscles will start to get visible. Adopt EMS (Electric Muscle Stimulation) as your training partner and benefit from the technological advancements happening.

Fitness and exercise don’t need to take on one single form, as each one of them carries its own set of unique benefits and some cons as well. Whereas traditional strength training carries the risk of injury, there’s almost zero risk of it in the case of EMS, as muscles get activated in it instead of getting strained, pulled, or shocked.

Despite sounding new to many, electric muscle stimulation Training has deep roots. Once being used to counter muscle atrophy for astronauts and to aid athletes and other training professionals, now EMS is commonly used for increasing strength, improving overall fitness, and building muscles. Keep on reading as we dig deep into knowing what exactly electric muscle stimulation and traditional strength training are, which one is better for you, and why.

Know About Electric Muscle Stimulation

EMS is a training method in which the muscles of the body are activated by placing electrodes on the skin and delivering electrical impulses. These sent signals work just like the ones generated by the human central nervous system. The benefits yielded from it are so many, of which repairing the damaged tissues and strengthening the muscle group are the main ones.

This method of training is also referred to as e-stim and is sometimes combined with transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation in many individuals. The eclectic current sent to the specified area works to cause pulsing muscle contractions that form the basis for muscle growth and recovery at later stages.

Their applicability isn’t just limited to helping in muscle growth and recovery; it works fine for a time-efficient full-body workout as well. The robustness of this training method can be personalized as per an individual’s fitness level and goal. In most cases, people target multiple muscle groups simultaneously, making it a time-efficient method of training and fitness.

Understanding Traditional Strength Training

It’s the most commonly adopted approach for improving your health. Under it, an individual aims to perform a specific task, like squatting or lifting a weight, to target one or more muscle groups. In simpler terms, this kind of training involves exercises performed with resistance. In it, machines can also be used for building resistance over time. 

The mechanical load taken works just fine to stimulate the muscle fibers so that they can adapt to the weight taken and the muscles can grow stronger over time. This sort of training method is focused on gradually increasing an individual’s strength and muscle growth by introducing a progressive overload with time. 

Along with muscle growth, this training method also works wonders for enhancing bone density, joint stability, and promoting better neuromuscular coordination. Not just from a physical perspective, adding some strength training to your regime also helps you reap various mental health benefits, such as reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Benefits Of Electric Muscle Stimulation

Being based on various technological advancements, the training method of EMS has undergone a lot of changes and upgrades, making it one of the best ways to attain your fitness goals. Once used by scientists for full-body workouts, now it’s used for many other crucial benefits as well. People have started opting for it as a time-efficient workout method instead of time-consuming traditional training methods.

1. Better Muscle Activation

Those using electric muscle stimulation Training (EMS) as their training method are able to target a higher percentage of muscle fibers in their body. This way, they successfully activate around 90% of their muscle fibers. Those electric pulses, when given, work to reach the muscle tissues present deep down in the skin, including fast-twitch muscle fibers that aren’t targeted easily. This kind of increased muscle activation leads to an elevated level of strength gains and muscle growth as well.

2. Time Effective

Almost all of the electric muscle stimulation training sessions are generally shorter in duration. Plus, numerous muscle groups are stimulated in it concurrently. The average time it takes to do a full-body EMS session is as little as 20 minutes. This 20-minute workout using the EMS method is equivalent to at least a 1.5-hour traditional workout session. This is one of the most advantageous features that these EMS training sessions hold.

3. Target Specific Muscles

By choosing and adjusting the placement and intensity of the electrodes, one can easily target a specific range of specific muscle groups. This makes it easier for individuals to isolate and activate those targeted muscles more effectively. It’s best suited for those who have some sort of asymmetries or muscle imbalances in them and for those who are also aiming to enhance their specific muscle development capability.

4. Excellent For Womens in Post-Birth Period 

For women, EMS can be a game changer, as it can help them get back in shape after their pregnancy. As this training method targets both deep muscle and superficial fibers, the lady would get a more comprehensive workout, making it easier for them to get back in shape. Through its continuous usage, new mothers would be able to strengthen their abdominal muscles and pelvic floor. Furthermore, this training method can also improve their bladder and bowel incontinence.

5. Corrects Your Posture

Poor posture leads to concurrent back and shoulder pains in almost all individuals. By using the EMS training methods, one can improve their body posture, as they will be required to make use of their shoulders and core muscles to do the workout. While over-bending in traditional methods of training would only do harm, the same is not the case with EMS, as under it the electrical impulses reach deeper muscles that are responsible for an individual’s posture.

Benefits Of Traditional Strength Training

Traditional Strength Training is aimed at boosting your ability to perform all different daily tasks, improving your overall health, and preventing common illnesses as well. The most common inclusions in it are exercises like lifting weights, push-ups, and pull-ups. Despite technology being so advanced, many people still get a sense of achievement and gratification from doing hour-long fitness training sessions at their gym.

1. Helps Develop Strong Bones

Doing strength training over a period of time is most likely to increase bone density in an individual. It also does its job to decrease the level of overall bone loss that an individual might face. For it, experts suggest that one needs to strength train at least twice each week to get the most benefits from doing so. Having proper bone density is crucial for all, as it aids in preventing issues like fractures and other bone-related issues like osteoporosis as well.

2. Elevates Your Self-esteem

Not everyone is fond of gadgets and technology, especially when it doesn’t give them a sigh of relief and accomplishment. This is where traditional strength training pushes past other modern-day training methods. By getting equipped in regular training sessions, one can easily build their mind so strong that it can overcome multiple kinds of challenges with ease. This also gives them an opportunity to appreciate their body’s strength. A lot of studies have already proven that there’s a remarkable association between doing strength training and having more physical strength, high self-esteem, and more physical self-worth as well.

3. Sharpening Thinking Skills

Not just for your mental well-being, but regular strength training also helps an individual to sharpen their cognitive abilities. A lot of researchers have concluded that doing some sort of aerobic exercise paired with regular strength training can help an individual improve their thinking and learning skills in the long run. In addition to that, having a good mind-body connection boosts an individual’s self-confidence and also helps to improve his or her mood.

4. Body Fat Reduction

What better way to get rid of those love handles and extra belly fat peeking through your shirt? Burn more calories and increase your lean muscle mass while engaging in traditional strength training. To get the most benefit from this activity, try combining it with some aerobic exercises and a balanced diet as well. Making it easier for individuals to lose their fat comes the metabolic rate that rises up to 72% after being engaged in a strength-training exercise. 

5. Good For Sports Rehabilitation Training

When it comes to rehabilitation training, resistance training and strength training prove to be the best ways to do so. In comparison to other forms of training, this single form offers a tremendous amount of benefits that it carries with it. A combo of functional and traditional movements is used to improve the process of rehabilitation, which results in an increase in strength and durability as well. Most people opt for different methods to get the best results for them, which include using their own body weight, weight machines, free weights, resistance bands, plyometrics, and more.

How Do They Differ?

While the kinds of movements involved in both of the training methods look almost similar, there are a lot of ways in which both of them vary from each other. While EMS can be costly for some individuals, the range and number of benefits it yields an individual can’t be underestimated at all. To get a better grasp on their cruciality, have a look at the following table to know how exactly they differ from each other.

S. NoBasisTraditional Strength TrainingElectric Muscle Stimulation
1. Risk of injuryMore risk due to strain, muscle pull or impact.Zero risk, as muscles get activated instead of getting strained, shocked, or pulled.
2. Time For ResultsMore time required to see visible results/progress.Much faster results in it.
3. Workout Time RequiredAround 4-5 hours a week.Just around 20 minutes a week.
4. GuidanceAlmost zero motivation.A personal trainer is there for guidance.
5. Additional CostBear an additional cost per trainerA trainer is already there in your training sessions.
6. Muscle Fibres UsedUpto 30% of the muscle fibres are used.Upto 60% of the muscle fibres are used.
7. Targeted Muscle GroupsTargets some muscle groups only.Works fine for activating deeper muscle groups as well.

Which is More Effective?

With its increased popularity, EMS is now becoming the next big thing in most European countries. Especially in Australia, people are more interested in relying on it over the traditional strength training methods that require more investment of time from their end. Plus, a lot of research has already proven that the electric muscle stimulation method of training proves to be more effective for building stamina and endurance and elevating people’s fitness levels, all possible without depleting their savings.


It’s never too late to start working on yourself to achieve a great health and fitness level. Irrespective of whether you sign up for a traditional gym or go for the EMS alternative, your main aim must be to embrace good health and remain fit. To make sure you get the best for everything, prefer integrating traditional strength training with modern-day electric muscle stimulation. Doing so will allow you to boost the process of muscle activation and build extra muscle fibers. 

Last but not least, ensure you choose the best EMS trainer to use your EMS suit that guarantees you the best results.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is EMS training?

It’s a kind of training in which electrical impulses are given to specific muscle areas using electrodes placed on the skin. This allows the user to accelerate their workout regime and enhance their body-toning results at the end.

Does EMS training really work?

Yes, Electronic Muscle Stimulation Fitness training is one of the modern-day wonders that works like a charm to strengthen the body’s muscles. Along with it, this kind of training also gives beneficial results for weight management, boosting metabolism, and increasing muscle mass.

What are the benefits of EMS training compared to traditional strength training?

Electric muscle stimulation training can activate up to 60% more muscle fiber in comparison to traditional strength training workouts.

Can EMS replace workouts?

No, EMS is only aimed at accompanying regular exercise or workouts and should not be used as a replacement for them. Doing so isn’t advisable, as there isn’t enough evidence supporting it.

How often do I need electrical muscle stimulation?

As per experts, during the first 3 to 5 weeks of your training, don’t take more than one or two weekly sessions of electrical muscle stimulation training.

What is the duration of electrical muscle stimulation?

The recommended duration of an electric muscle stimulation training session is around 30 minutes.

Is EMS training good or bad?

Being generally considered safe, many people should restrain taking this training, especially pregnant women and those who have an underlying health condition. Those with a pacemaker, active blood clots, or a seizure disorder must not take this kind of training at all.