Effects of Whole-Body Electromyostimulation on Strength-, Sprint-, and Jump Performance in Moderately Trained Young Adults: A Mini-Meta-Analysis of Five Homogenous RCTs of Our Work Group

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Background: Whole-body electromyostimulation (WB-EMS) gained increasing interest in sports within recent years. However, few intervention studies have examined the effects of WB-EMS on trained subjects in comparison to conventional strength training. Objective: The aim of the present mini-meta-analysis of 5 recently conducted and published randomized controlled WB-EMS trails of our work group was to evaluate potentially favorable effects of WB-EMS in comparison to conventional strength training. Methods: We included parameter of selected leg muscle's strength and power as well as sprint and jump performance. All subjects were moderately trained athletes [>2 training sessions/week, >2 years of experience in strength training; experimental group (n = 58): 21.5 ± 3.3 y; 178 ± 8 cm; 74.0 ± 11 kg; control group (n = 54): 21.0 ± 2.3 y; 179.0 ± 9 cm; 72.6 ± 10 kg]. The following WB-EMS protocols were applied to the experimental group (EG): 2 WB-EMS sessions/week, bipolar current superimposed to dynamic exercises, 85 Hz, 350 μs, 70% of the individual pain threshold amperage. The control groups (CG) underwent the same training protocols without WB-EMS, but with external resistance. Results: Five extremely homogenous studies (all studies revealed an I2 = 0%) with 112 subjects in total were analyzed with respect to lower limb strength and power in leg curl, leg extension and leg press machines, sprint-and jump performance. Negligible effects in favor of WB-EMS were found for Fmax of leg muscle groups [SMD: 0.11 (90% CI: -0.08, 0.33), p = 0.73, I2 = 0%] and for CMJ [SMD: 0.01 (90% CI: -0.34, 0.33), p = 0.81, I2 = 0%]. Small effects, were found for linear sprint [SMD: 0.22 (90% CI: -0.15, 0.60), p = 0.77, I2 = 0%] in favor of the EMS-group compared to CON. Conclusion: We conclude that WB-EMS is a feasible complementary training stimulus for performance enhancement. However, additional effects on strength and power indices seem to be limited and sprint and jump-performance appear to be benefiting only slightly. Longer training periods and more frequent application times and a slightly larger stimulus could be investigated in larger samples to further elucidate beneficial effects of WB-EMS on performance parameters in athletes.

ZeitschriftFrontiers in Physiology
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 08.11.2019

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Copyright © 2019 Wirtz, Dörmann, Micke, Filipovic, Kleinöder and Donath.

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