Compex Electric Muscle Stimulator with TENS Blog
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Check out the latest Compex® blog written by 1st time CrossFit® Games athlete and Compex athlete Sarah Loogman, where she interviews her Invictus teammate and Compex Athlete Lauren Fisher.
Mindset, Goals and Baking with Lauren Fisher
If you’re a fitness fan, chances are you’ve heard of Lauren Fisher. At 23 years old, Lauren is an accomplished professional CrossFit athlete and internationally competitive weightlifter. Battling back from a surgery following last season, Lauren will be making her 5th appearance this year at the 2017 CrossFit Games, hosted for the first time in Madison, where she will compete against the “fittest on earth” in a four-day competition that tests athletes endurance, strength, athleticism and will power.
Despite her young age, Lauren has placed herself among the CrossFit elite with top performances including a 9th place finish at the 2014 international CrossFit Games and 1st place in the 2016 California Regionals. As a weightlifter, she claimed the 2014 USAW Junior National championship in the 63kg category and earned the Best Overall Lifter award. On the international stage, she earned a bronze medal in the clean and jerk at the 2014 World University Championships.
Needless to say, she’s pretty fit.
But what makes Lauren stand out among her peers goes beyond the scoreboard with her demonstration of intense focus and work ethic. With two weeks left before the 2017 CrossFit Games, I asked Lauren to answer a few questions to peer into the mindset of a professional fitness athlete:
What has been one of your greatest obstacles that you’ve had to face, either as an athlete or in your personal growth? How did you overcome it and what was the greater lesson that you’ve learned that allows you to be who you are now?
I think the biggest obstacle that I had to face actually happened this past year. After the 2016 CrossFit Games, I knew something was wrong with my ankle and I got an MRI right after the Games to find out that I had a 2cm longitudinal tear in my peroneal tendon and an ostechondrial lesion that needed repairing. I couldn’t run and push off my ankle without pain. August 30th, 2016 I had ankle surgery. The doctor said I would be out for 5 to 6 months which meant I would be back just in time for the Open, but my conditioning and strength numbers would be nowhere near where they were the previous years. I was able to grow mentally as an athlete during this time. My goals this year had shifted to just making it through the Open, then qualifying for Regionals and now making it back to the Games. Looking back, I thought this year was just going to be a growing year and I wouldn’t even be able to compete but I did just that and surpassed my expectations. I think this helped me understand that if you set your mind to something, you can do anything. Don’t let one little obstacle get in the way of your goals. There is always something meant to come out of any hard situation and I think for me it helped me realize how grateful I am when I am able to compete and train healthy. No one likes to be injured, but I’ll tell you what I got a really strong upper body out of it.
There is obviously a lot of sacrifice that comes with elite performance so where do you most find reward in what you do? What’s the “light at the end of the tunnel” that you look to or that you would encourage others to look to when things get tough?
For me, I love what I’m doing and I love trying to be the best athlete that I can be. Since I don’t play sports anymore, CrossFit has been my outlet to have fun and be competitive. I love all the people I train with and every single one of us pushing each other to get better. I think that’s what gets me going when things start to get tough. I have to remind myself how lucky I am to have this opportunity to train for a living and travel the world. All the long hours and exhausted nights are worth it when you’re out there competing on the biggest stage.
What are your goals or intentions for the 2017 CrossFit Games?
For the 2017 Games, my goal is to leave it all out on the floor every single workout knowing that I had nothing left. If I can do that, I will be happy with my performance. Obviously, a top 10 finish would be nice.
What are a few of your most important daily habits, aside from training?
Aside from training, my nutrition is very important to me. I weigh and measure all my food so I can make sure I am getting in enough calories during my long training days. Rehab exercises, stretching, and reading all make the list as well.
How do you maintain balance to your life, or do you? What are some of the non-training of non-CrossFit things that are most important to you and how do you manage those things, values, or relationships?
I definitely have balance in my life. I think if I didn’t have any balance that training wouldn’t be fun to me anymore. My family, boyfriend, and friends are all very important to me and they understand what I’m doing so its very easy to balance my relationships with training.
What is something about you that most people don’t know?
I think a lot of people don’t know that I love to bake desserts. When I was little, I wanted to start my own bakery. I’m already planning the things I want to bake after Games and enjoy!
Lauren recently graduated with her degree in Business Marketing from San Diego State University - congratulations, Lauren!
(* CrossFit is a registered mark of CrossFit, Inc.)
Resistance Program: The King of Gains
The researchers behind your Compex® device have been able to create highly effective training and recovery programs using electric stimulation and highlighted the best of technology into the programs you find on your personal device. Each program contains it’s own unique programs but among those used for training, one program stands out: Resistance.
What is it?
The Resistance program begins with a pre-warmup phase to prepare the muscle by gently increasing blood flow. The “working” portion of the program rotates through cycles of a more intense contraction phase, followed by an active recovery phase. After the last cycle, the program finishes with a cool down phase to ramp down the activity of the muscle fiber.
How does it work?
The Resistance program is one of the strength programs offered in personal Compex devices and is found in all four devices. The program targets both Type 1 (“slow twitch oxidative”) and Type 2a (“fast twitch oxidative”) muscle fibers. Although slow twitch is generally associated to aerobic performance, such as long distance running, and fast twitch often credited to power athletes. Most people are about 50/50 in the division of slow and fast twitch muscles so general fitness enthusiasts, especially those who train in CrossFit-like methods, will benefit most from this program.
How should I use it?
The Resistance program could be used as a stand-alone training session or in conjunction to your regular routine. Although you could literally sit on your couch and benefit with some muscle activity with your device, the most effective way is to take your body through a controlled range of motion while using the device. Common practices would be to perform bodyweight or lightweight squats with electrodes on the glutes, hamstrings, or quads or to exercise an upper body pulling exercise with placement on the lats or mid back. You can find many of these recommendations on the Compex website or blog!
An “electric stimulation device” might seem extreme, but the use of electric currents to activate the muscle can be a powerful tool made available through scientific understandings of our body and is becoming increasingly more mainstream among both fitness hobbyists and elite competitors. With programs such as Resistance in your Compex device paired with healthful living practices, you can achieve greater performance potential which can lead to a healthier and stronger self.
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Check out @compexusa on Instagram for a new tip every Tuesday
Today's tip is about utilizing the resistance program to get the most out of your workout.
I remember the exact moment that I decided I wanted to be a CrossFit athlete. I was a spectator at the 2013 Nor Cal Regionals standing in the dusty bleachers near the pull-up rig, watching the individual women division complete Event #4. The entire floor of competitors was rallied around the final finisher of the heat and the whole venue erupted with energy to cheer her on. I remember in that moment telling myself “I want to do that.”
So I turned down an overseas career opportunity to dive into CrossFit.
Two years later, I would compete at my first Regionals on a team and then the following year, make my first individual appearance in 2016. But as it almost always goes, when you accomplish one dream you must move on to the next and in this sport, the next step is the CrossFit Games.
The road to worthwhile success is not usually the easy one. I had a comfortable home, comfortable income and comfortable community where I was just beginning to feel like I was rising out of the hustle. But nothing really grows out of comfort - if you dream boldly, you must expect to do bold things.
So I moved to San Diego.
It was an unexpected opportunity and spontaneous decision to train at CrossFit Invictus, something that even one year ago I would not have dreamed of and probably not agreed to, either. I left my home, fiance, family, friends and community very close to my heart to actualize my “all in” mentality for 2017, something I never intended to do until the path was laid out.
There were new obstacles, challenges and fears as I prepared for the Open and Regionals with then-strangers. The idea that my ultimate success or failure would lie outside of my own control made me nervous, to say the least. Would my new teammates be willing to sacrifice as much as I have? Do they want it as bad as I do? Am I good enough to be a part of this? But that’s the thing about commitment; you choose to trust the process and move forward regardless of your fears and you let reality outrun your dreams.
And now we are headed to the CrossFit Games.
See you in Madison!
“Imagine if we decided what we wanted in our life and we figured out a away to make that happen. How cool would that be versus just waking up and being busy.”
- Cameron Harold
Check out the review by Steven John from The Manual. Please note that Steven was provided a device to keep by Compex at no charge, and his opinions in the review are his own. Go to https://www.themanual.com/culture/compex-sport-estim/ to see this article and more.
First of all, forgive the “shockingly easy to use” pun. I went for the low-hanging fruit, yes; this device does not actually shock you, no. Rather the Compex Sport Elite uses electrostimulation (estim) — brief pulses of electricity transmitted through the muscles via electrode, e.g. — to aid with everything from improved blood circulation to increased muscle mass to faster post-exercise recovery. And yes, this Electric Muscle Stimulator really can do all that, and more. You just have to spend the time to learn to use it properly, and you have to get over the fact that using the Compex EMS is kind of really strange at first.
First, let’s take a basic look at what electric muscle stimulation is: it’s making muscles work. There. I mean… I said basic, didn’t I? OK, we’ll go a bit deeper.
When you pick up a barbell (or a cup of coffee or a copy of War and Peace), your brain is sending electrical impulses to your muscles via the trusty nervous system. All the right muscles contract, and the result is you lifting the weight (or other object). Or typing, playing the violin, running from a tiger, etc. The point is that your brain controls all sorts of voluntary muscle contractions. (And involuntary ones, yes, Mr. Scientician.)
When you apply electrodes to your muscle groups and send charges through the muscle using a battery instead of your brain, your muscles will contract as well, albeit this time the contraction is involuntary. But guess what? Muscle fibers don’t care whether it was you’re brain or the Compex Sport Elite EMS device that made them contract; if they do so enough times, the fibers will endure the slight tears that lead to new growth and result in larger, stronger muscles. Using a Compex device can help you build muscle even if you are sitting in a chair, stuck in traffic, or even lying in bed; using the device during an active workout or as part of your warm-up or recovery can help you build a hell-of alot more muscle, and can keep your body limber and feeling great. Yes, many people see using EMS devices as a rather lazy approach to muscle building and fitness, but that’s largely a misconception of this type of hardware generally, and a diametric misunderstanding of the intended use of the Compex Sport Elite. This is not a way for the lazy person to exercise, it is a tool to help the fitness devotee make the most of his or her workouts. But it didn’t start out that way…
I spoke to Brandon Hearn, Senior Director of Consumer Business Development with Compex, and got the lowdown on the brand’s backstory. He told me that the company “has been around for 31 years now. [Compex] was founded in Switzerland, and started out as a medical device company.” The products were developed for “people who had muscle atrophy issues, who needed rehab, that sort of purpose. But slowly and steadily we began getting more and more requests from fitness-related clients, and we became more geared toward sports and fitness products.” People realized the potential top quality EMS devices offered beyond keeping muscles of injured or elderly patients functioning, seeing that Compex products could also help fit people achieve ever greater strength and endurance capabilities.
What sets the Compex Sport Elite apart from many other EMS hardware options is the fact that this device can “grab” almost 100% of the muscle tissue in a given area, providing your muscles with a productive, complete workout and avoiding dysmorphic issues many electric stimulation devices can cause. Think about it like this: when you lift a weight, you are using multiple muscles to heft and balance the load. When you use an electric pulse to contract a muscle, you run the risk of hitting and therefore working only a few fibers. The Compex sends electric pulses deep into the fibers, contracting almost every tissue in a muscle group, therefore ensuring the muscle is developed evenly.
Alright, now let’ talk about me. I’m a runner/hiker and I do daily calisthenics and some moderate weightlifting. I was circumspect about EMS technology primarily because it kind of freaks me out, and also because I just wasn’t sure this type of device would do me much good. After all, I’m not looking to build huge muscles for competitive weightlifting or anything. But I do like making the most of my two to three weekly weightlifting sessions, and I do know the agony of severe lactic acid build up after a serious hike. So when I learned that of the nine programs the Compex Sport Elite offers, one was all about recovery and rapid lactic acid processing, and that many of the strength and endurance regimens could make those lifting sessions more productive, I figured hey, let’s give this thing a whirl.
The first time I applied the electrodes to my body, I managed to put them on wrong and nothing happened. About 45 seconds of reading later and I realized I needed to reposition the adhesive pads and boom, my left bicep was twitching away without me doing anything more than watching in mild consternation. But y’know what? You get used to the involuntary muscle twitching pretty fast.
I tried out the Compex on my quads, calves, and other arm, and then started trying it out on my abs some, too. While I have by no means had the time to become an expert with this device, I’ll say that I (and you will too) quickly got down the proper electrode placement for larger, distinct muscles and muscle groups, such as the biceps and quadriceps. Getting everything in just the right place to feel I was properly working my abdominals was a bit harder, and the fact that I have a moderately hairy chest wasn’t a benefit here. The goo on the pads is pretty forgiving on skin and even hair, I’ll allow, but it definitely took a bit of hair with it. Oh well.
I’m sure over time I will become more comfortable with the strength and endurance building programs, but it was the post-workout recovery assistance that caught my attention initially and that I see myself making the most use of going forward.
The Compex Sport Elite can help you stave off delayed onset muscle soreness (which they call DOMS), therefore precluding one of the most common issues the athlete/outdoorsman faces. If you are a serious hiker, you know the score: you get off the mountain feeling great, but within hours, your legs are locked up and throbbing and your back is sore as all hell. But not if you spent some time with the Compex’s recovery programs. In this modem, the device produces a constant but low-intensity frequency of pulses that induce gentle muscle contraction akin to getting a massage. The result in increased blood flow that helps move lactic acid out of there muscles and bring oxygen and nutrients in. I have tried the recovery program out after runs and workouts, and I can’t wait to try it after my next big hike.
And hell, I might even start building some muscle while sitting at this desk.
In case you missed it:
Follow us on Instagram @compexusa for a new tip every Tuesday
Todays tips is all about learning how Compex can help you build muscle mass.
incase you missed it:
Follow us on Instagram @compexusa for a new tip every Tuesday
Todays tip is about how to bypass the warm up setting in your device.
In case you missed it:
Check out @compexusa on Instagram for a new tip every Tuesday
Todays tip is all about turning up the intensity when using your device.