Boosting Muscle Performance

Did you know if you contract your muscle you only recruit about 50% of the muscle group? It doesn't sound like a lot, but it's the norm. However, you don't have to be stuck with the norm. When you utilize e-stim (electro muscluar stimulation or EMS) you contract a much higher percentage of the muscle. This is why Powerdot can help you achieve performance goals like running faster, jumping higher, and lifting more.

Since many Powerdot users want to increase muscle performance I’m going to walk you through how to do this. Access the app, go to the Performance Workouts section and select the program that matches what you’re trying to improve. 

How performance programs work

We use performance programs within the Powerdot app to create change in muscle tissue. During these programs an electrical signal is sent into the muscle. By holding our body part in the recommended static position (noted in the app) and resisting the contraction we create a Titanic (strong hold) isometric contraction in the muscle. The goal of this is to improve our ability to contract the muscle on our own (a carry-over effect).

Typically, the Powerdot sessions are used in a static fashion (described above). We are usually sitting, not moving, and resisting the stimulus from shortening our muscle (a contraction with no muscle length change is an isometric contraction).

Maximizing results with the performance programs

A muscle grows (hypertrophy) when it is stressed beyond its capacity. During weight training we load the tissue to create micro tears. When the tissue (muscle) heals it is "bigger and stronger". The Eccentric (lengthening) portion of the exercise or movement is where these micro tears occur. If we apply this concept to the use of e-stim during weight training we can increase strength and power.

E-stim sends a signal to create a concentric contraction (shortening of the muscle). As I stated above, we usually utilize this in a static fashion and resist the contraction and hold the muscle in place, which is an isometric contraction. If we can run a Powerdot session and move eccentrically (elongating the muscle) when the unit is trying to pull us concentrically (shortening of the muscle) we can boost the effect of an exercise. 

It would be equivalent to moving more weight than you are used to thus creating more change in the muscle. Which means more hypertrophy or more strength/power increases. Please note the muscle must be primed for this though. You must have experience using the units in a static fashion and increasing the intensity before using the units in a dynamic fashion or during exercise. 

How to use performance programs during training

You would start by using Powerdot with bodyweight movements. You’ll want to move in the opposite direction of the contracting muscle. An example of this is descending on the squat when the unit is contracting. The key to this type of training is to progress slowly. Once you feel comfortable managing the bodyweight movements during the muscle stim contractions you can begin to add light weight or more dynamic movements. There is no need to load heavy resistance while wearing E-Stim. 

Remember this type of training should be used as an accessory tool and not a primary concept in a training program. Make sure you implement this approach appropriately. Send us an email if you have questions about how to apply this to your training.

-by CJ Palma, D.P.T.

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