Chronic effects of superimposed electromyostimulation during cycling on aerobic and anaerobic capacity

Sebastian Mathes, Niklas Lehnen, Tobias Link, Wilhelm Bloch, Joachim Mester, Patrick Wahl

Publication: Contribution to journalJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


PURPOSE: To examine if chronic endurance training by means of simultaneously applied, superimposed electromyostimulation (EMS) can be used to improve performance and physiological core parameters compared to the traditional cycling.

METHODS: Twenty-one male subjects (VO2peak 55.2 ± 5.1 ml min(- 1) kg(- 1)) were assigned to either a cycling (C) or cycling with superimposed EMS (C + E) group. Before and after the 4-week training period, including 14 sessions of moderate cycling [60 min at 60% peak power output (PPO)], participants performed a 20-min time-trial, a step test to exhaustion, a 30-s isokinetic sprint test, and maximum force- and power-tests. Markers of muscle damage and metabolic condition were assessed during the training period.

RESULTS: Step test results revealed increases in PPO, VO2peak, lactate threshold 1, and the anaerobic threshold for both groups (p < 0.05). Mean power output (MPO) obtained from time-trial was improved in C and C + E (p < 0.05). Isokinetic sprint test revealed increased PPO in both groups, whereas MPO was only changed in C (p < 0.05). Strength parameters were unaffected. Although metabolic stimuli and markers of muscle damage were higher in C + E compared to C, improvements of endurance performance and capacity were not significantly different between C and C + E.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite a higher metabolic, respiratory, and muscular demand, chronic additional superimposed EMS during cycling does not result in superior improvements in endurance and strength performance compared to the traditional cycling.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean journal of applied physiology
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)881-892
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 05.2017

Research areas and keywords

  • Journal Article


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