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Compex Electric Muscle Stimulator with TENS Blog

Get Stronger, Faster, Without Working Harder.

  1. Arnold Fitness Festival

    Compex will be at the 2017 Arnold Fitness Festival this week in Columbus Ohio.    The Arnold is a collection of  athletic competitions including Bodybuilding, Martial Arts, and Powerlifting, as well as a Fitness Expo welcome to all spectators.  Compex will be on site at the Fitness Expo March 3-5, performing demonstrations and offering special event pricing. You can find us at Location C booth #1759.  If you can't make it to the event we still have great deals available online!

     

  2. What is E-Stim and How Will Compex Help My Training?

    Electric muscle stimulation, or neuromuscular electric stimulation (NMES), is a common modality of physical therapy and rehab treatment. For serious athletes, however, it is also used as a powerful tool for training and physical recovery to optimize performance. More commonly referred to as e-stim or muscle stim, an NMES device delivers electronic pulses to motor nerves through electrodes placed on the skin, causing a motor response to achieve a number of desired results.

    Top E-Stim Picks

    Compex Mini Wireless  | Compex Wireless USA  | Compex Sport Elite

    An e-stim device allows you to contract up to 100% of your muscle fibers, an effect that is virtually impossible with exercise alone. Compex devices can add quality to your training in ways that traditional methods of exercise, mobility or recovery can’t and will give you an added edge to your sport or training. The broad variety of programs offered with Compex will allow maximal contraction of Type 1 (slow twitch, endurance) and Type 2 (fast twitch, power) muscle fibers for a better quality of performance and improved worked capacity in any domain.

    Effective Warm-Ups

    Use the Compex Warm-Up or Potentiation programs to increase the efficiency of your warmup and thoroughly prep your body for training or an event. The wireless unit is especially convenient to move through exercises as you follow a quick prep program.

    Enhanced Training

    Not only can Compex be used in addition to your training sessions, but it can be used for accessory work or even as a stand alone workout. Boost your performance by recruiting more muscle fibers by adding the Compex device to your workout routine, an extra session at home, or during travel. The Compex device can also be beneficial to reeducating muscle groups to contract correctly and can be used to target problem areas or muscle imbalances and deficiencies that you struggle to balance and correct with conventional methods.

    Rapid Recovery

    The twitches of muscles produced by your Compex recovery programs help to promote blood flow that brings vital nutrients to sore and fatigued areas that assist in healing and recovery. It can also be used to alleviate muscle spasms by breaking the pain spasm cycle, allowing it to relax.

    Using a Compex device is easy with low effort for high rewards. The Compex program instructions are simple to follow and will benefit any athlete or training enthusiast driving for the next level. E-stim is a powerful tool to move you beyond your routine!

  3. Crush The CrossFit Open with Compex

    The CrossFit Open is the opening mark of the CrossFit season and is the first step for an elite few who will advance towards the Regionals and even fewer to the international CrossFit Games. For the majority, however, it marks the single largest event of the year in which members of the fitness community push one another and get to share a leaderboard with the best athletes in the world. This all-inclusive event embodies the true spirit of CrossFit and each year, box members around the globe accomplish incredible personal feats of strength, conditioning and skill, regardless of their level. Whether this is your first time participating or you’ve signed up every year since it’s hallmark in 2011, and whether you’ll be at the bottom of the leaderboard or move on to Regionals with the best, we have some tips to share with you on how to survive and thrive in this years Open with your Compex programs.

    Warm-Up

    Start off your preparation with the Warm-Up program to activate blood flow and increase muscle movement. Whether you plan to do your Open event first thing in the morning or after a full day at your desk job, it’s important to take some time to wake up your cells and get things moving and shaking… literally! Choose a large, general area such as the quads, back, or shoulders and choose a low to moderate setting while you move around to set things up. If you have more time, you could even sit or lay down during the program and use that time to practice breathing methods or visualize the workout.

    Potentiation

    Lasting only four minutes, this is the shortest program on the Compex device but arguably the most powerful! Establish a strong connection, or proprioception, of your mind to movement and muscle so that your body knows exactly what should be working before and during the event. If the workout calls for pull-ups, place your electrodes on the lats or if it calls for a lot of squats, target your quads, hamstrings, or glutes. The strength of contractions will increase with each wave of the program so take it up as high as you can to maximize your potential!

    Recovery

    So the workout is over, now what? Maybe you’ll re-attempt the workout one more time before the deadline or maybe you’re ready to move on to the next one. Either way, recovery will be important to optimize your next performance and your training in between. The Compex Recovery program can flush out lactic acid to prevent soreness and increase blood flow to your tissues so that you’re better prepared for your next workout in a shorter period of time.

    Our electric stimulation devices can help you prep, train and recover in ways that you simply can’t with traditional workouts or methods. For many CrossFitters, the Open is a momentous community event and an opportunity to test the hard work of the past year. For some, it may even be a chance at moving on to the next level - the CrossFit Regionals. Whether you’re aiming at the CrossFit Games or just to crush your own standings from last year, be more ready than ever for this years CrossFit Open with Compex!

  4. Tuesday Tip - Posture

    Just in case you missed it:

    Follow Us on Instagram at @compexusa for a new Tip every Tuesday at noon

    This tip is about how to use Compex to correct your posture. As most of us spend our day hunched over at a desk, working on a computer, being able to strengthen our postural muscles can be valuable and help reduce the risk for future injuries.

    Transcript:
    Kiki: Hey guys. Today's tip, posture. Its important for so many reasons. I'm here with Casey Parlett of CrossFit 760, Casey how can you help me with that perfect posture.
    Casey: Alright so if we turn Kiki around I can show you the pad placement. So we can hook up Post Delt, and hook up the Sub Scap. That will allows us to pull that shoulder down and back into a good position with the Compex. We can use a double pad here, a single, and one more single here. Alright, we have Kiki set up on the resistance setting and thats going to allow us to hit as much muscle as we can with a nice long contraction to get as much out of it as we can. You can see as she relaxes that shoulder will roll forward again, and as we contract you'll see that shoulder will pull down and back into that correct posture that we're looking for.
    Kiki: There you have it. Better posture with compex. Find out more at Compexusa.com

  5. TENS VS. NMES: What’s the Main Difference?

    Whether looking for a tool to boost your fitness and strength or recover from an injury quickly, electric muscle stimulation (EMS) can help you achieve your goal. With that comes many questions, like what exactly is NMES and TENS? This is a common question we get at events when we are demonstrating the Compex’s uses and benefits. To avoid further confusion, we want to clarify the differences between NMES (NeuroMuscular Electrical Stimulation) and TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation). Many people have been in physical therapy and may have had an experience with TENS and NMES devices, but were not educated on the difference between these types of stimulus.

    TENS vs NMES

    TENS and NMES target different nerve groups of the body. TENS is specifically targets the sensory nerves, which are responsible for sending pain signals to the brain. NMES targets the muscle itself, specifically through the motor nerves. This allows the NMES machine to create a muscle contraction to recruit more muscle fibers when training; warming up or recovering. Sensory and motor nerves fire at different frequencies, which is why NMES and TENS devices affect the body differently.

    TENS - Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation

    TENS is the use of an electrical current to stimulate the nerves for therapeutic purposes. TENS stimulates the sensory nerves, suppressing the pain signals that are being sent to the brain to give the user relief. In other words, TENS “tricks” the brain to ignore the pain for a short duration of time by applying a non-painful stimulus to the same area. 

    NMES – NeuroMuscular Electrical Stimulation

    NMES uses electric muscle stimulation (EMS) to cause excitement in the muscle tissue. This stimulus is designed to mimic the same type of signal the brain sends to the muscle when working out. There are two types of muscle fiber: slow twitch and fast twitch. Both muscle fibers contract at different frequencies. Compex Electric Muscle Stimulators offer various pre-programed settings which target the specific muscle types differently by adjusting the frequencies and work to rest cycles.  To learn more about the variety of settings, click here. The training settings are set to run in time intervals that depend on the goal of the muscle stimulus. For example, an Endurance Program will run at a lower frequency to target slow twitch fibers, have a longer contraction time and a shorter rest cycle. The more you increase the intensity of the device, the more muscle fiber you recruit. This is how users see big strength gains, increases in vertical and reduce the risk for injury.

  6. How to Squat with Good Form

    Love or hate them; the squat is one of the most effective exercises for athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike. They are completely versatile. You can do them anywhere, at any time—with or without weights.  Also, the squat can help tone your legs and glutes, allow you to log a few more miles, increase speed, boost power, and prevent injury. However, to reap all the benefits from this one move, you must perform it with proper form.

    Whether you’re new to the squat or not, it’s best to do this move with no weights to develop the good form. Once you’ve mastered the technique of a perfect squat, then you can switch it up and add Compex or weights to the move.

    How to Squat with Proper Form

    Starting Position:

    • Stand tall with feet a little more than shoulder-width apart.
    • Slightly point toes outward.

           

    The Move:

    • Begin to sit down, pushing the hips back (as you sit into the squat push your knees out to stay in line with your toes).
    • Make sure your weight is on your heels, because if you are too forward or on your toes you can add stress onto the knee joint.

           

    • Keep your chest up and eyes looking straight ahead as you continue to sit down.
    • Once your hips descend below the knees, pause, the descent part of the move is now complete.

           

    • Continue to shift your weight into your heels and push your feet into the ground.
    • Press your body back up to extend you knees and hips, to finish in the starting position

    Advance the Squat

    Once you’ve perfected the basic squat, you can progress to a more advanced move. You can use weights, bands, or your Compex to increase the load on the muscles. It’s important to maintain your form, especially when you increase resistance, to prevent injury.

    Here are some views that show how to use a regular barbell as well as how to set up your Compex device to complete these squats.  You can use your Compex with body weight, a bar or PVC pipe as you work on proper squat form.

    Squatting with the bar

           

    More Quad Activation with Compex

           

         

  7. Tuesday Tip- Pad Placement Made Easy

    Just in case you missed it:

    Follow Us on Instagram at @compexusa for a new Tip every Tuesday at noon

    This tip is understanding how to place electrodes. Whether on our main larger muscle groups, or smaller accessory muscles, the way you think about how to place the pads will be the same.

    Transcript:
    Kiki: Hey guys. Pad placement made easy is todays tip. Brandon here is showing us how to do it.
    Brandon: Your quad goes vertically, it doesn't go Horizontal. SO you'll never want to go positive negate, you'll always want to run the line of the muscle group. You can use any 2 x 4 snap to go at the start of a muscle group. Quad will typically start here and bottom of the quad ends right here and right here. So we're going to put this 2x4 single snap across like this. And now when you put the wireless device you're going to use gravity as your friend, slide this down, and then slide this down again on the bottom. Power it on and there you go. For the wired devices its the exact same process, only you have your black lead on top. You can go here if you so choose, and then down here as well. And that way you can fire the quad and if you so choose you can do the glute at the same time.
    Kiki: Summer Body here I come!

    Follow Us on Instagram at @compexusa for a new Tip every Tuesday at noon

  8. 5 Tips to Prepare for the CrossFit Open

     5 Tips to Prepare for the CrossFit Open

    Whether this is your first or seventh, it’s important to make sure you take the necessary steps to peak at the right time for the fast approaching CrossFit Open!  Not only peak, but stay consistent through the 5-week competition.

    1. Have a clear, realistic plan and stick to it. The last thing you want is to get caught up in each individual workout because you’ve got five weeks of back to back competition ahead of you. Talk to your coach, as they are most familiar with your skill set, and can help you set up a plan to follow over the course of the competition. If you are new to The Open, be prepared to be humbled in various ways but remember to enjoy the journey. Sometimes people can get caught up in the modifications, don’t.  Realize there are thousands of others doing the exact same modifications you are.  Also, keep it all in perspective – if you have a bad showing, let it go and move on to the next week with an even better plan of attack.
    2. Maintain skills, strength, and work capacity throughout the 5 weeks. Don’t exhaust yourself before the next Open event, but certainly don’t sit out during the week and get stiff. Choose activities that will help continue your form development, keep your fitness up, and help you stay loose for the next test. Your Compex device should be your best friend throughout the event! Rely heavily on the appropriate programs to keep your body top notch.
    3. Have a weekly taper to be fresh for "game day". This is key if you are going to make it all 5 weeks in the CrossFit Open. These workouts are designed to test your body to the max, so make sure you’re giving your body time to recover from the last workout so you can peak accordingly. Utilize your Compex device to flush lactic acid and give your muscles the attention they need to recover.
    4. You’ve got this. Follow what you know. Your normal warm-up and cool down routine will work, no need to reinvent the wheel. Take time to set up your workout station and make sure everything you need is in its place. This could shave a couple of seconds off your time, as well as keep you organized and help alleviate any potential frustrations.
    5. Don’t forget nutrition. As you push yourself to peak performance for The Open, it’s important to keep fueling your body with nutrients that help with recovery. It’s well known that protein is the building block of muscle so make sure you are get adequate protein, particularly amino acids.  Healthy fats like coconut oil and avocados are great ways to help fuel you through the day as you may notice your appetite continuing to grow.

  9. Is NMES safe?

    Check out the article in Men's Health and Fitness all about the safety of NMES written by Brittany Smith. www.mensfitness.com/life/entertainment/healthy

    Is This Healthy?

    Athletes are using personal neuro-muscular electrical nerve stimulation to get an edge in the gym and unleash their full potential. We investigated whether it's safe and if you should try it, too.

    Is This Healthy?: Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation Devices

    Short answer: Yes. With very few side effects, and potential to supercharge recovery, muscle, and strength gains, using an at-home neuro-muscular electrical nerve stimulation device can be valuable for pretty much anyone.

    The practice of zapping muscles to stimulate contractions was first introduced in the early 50s among European countries, like Russia, for space programs, in order to prevent muscle atrophy in astronauts, says Drew Little, C.S.C.S., a performance specialist at Michael Johnson Performance, an elite training facility in McKinney, Texas. More literature came out on the technology in the 70s before it made its way to the U.S. and Canada in the 80s and 90s.

    How It Works

    When you attach a device—like what's offered from companies such as Compex, pictured above, to a muscle and begin a program (for more on the types of programs you can do—and to read our review on two Compex devices—click here), an electrical current travels through the electrodes, down your nerve fibers, sets off their motor neurons, then stimulates a strong muscle contraction, mirroring what your nervous system typically does on its own, only to a greater extent. Now, you can attach a device during a warmup to prime your body for lifts, use it during a workout to elevate bodyweight or weighted moves for better results, pop it on in lieu of a workout with a resistance setting, or use post-workout to speed up and kickstart the recovery process.

    NMES devices stimulate and contract 100% of your muscle, something your body can't voluntarily do; your body caps stimulation at about 45 percent for normal guys and around 65 for weightlifters as a protective mechanism to prevent injury. So, your body prevents you from lifting something monstrously heavy, like a car, so you don't obliterate your body (though there are "freak" instances and scenarios where this is overrided and adrenaline kicks in so you can surpass this maximum).

    A NMES device also hastens the amount of time it takes to trigger slow and fast twitch muscle fibers. "During a squat or bench press, depending on the load, your body will recruit slow-twitch muscle fibers first (which takes about 20 milliseconds), then roll into the fast twitch (which takes 50-60 milliseconds)," Little says. "But a NMES device bypasses that pathway, so all muscle fibers are recruited at the same time."

    You stimulate hard-to-get-to muscle fibers quicker and more effectively than you can with traditional weightlifting; plus, it puts less strain on your joints. And, unlike a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) unit, which delivers very small doses of electric currents to relieve pain, you can use a NMES device to accelerate your results in the gym, from warmup to cool down. Find out more about how to use it here.

    Who Should Use NMES

    Cyclists, runners, triathletes, lifters, baseball players, football players, basketball players, and other athletes—beginner or advanced—can use these devices to get faster, go longer, jump higher, get stronger, reduce chronic pain, enhance circulation, prevent imbalances, and strengthen the core. Basically any guy who wants a bit of an edge when it comes to health and fitness should try one out.

    This doesn't mean you should quit your gym membership, though. It's best used to enhance your regimen, not replace it.

    Precautions

    There are few negative side effects. "There's a rare possibility electrical burns can happen with poor pads or faulty, damaged wires, or that someone uses the device incorrectly," says physical therapist Chris Kolba, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

    For instance, you should never apply any muscle stim device to your neck, head, or chest. Severe spasms can close your airway and make it difficult to breathe; scientists don't know the effects of stimulation on the brain; and electrical currents to the chest can throw off and disturb rhythms to your heart.

    "The only other kind of complication that can come from this type of device is if people have pacemakers and cardiac conditions; you need to get permission from your medical provider to see if it elevates your risk of heart attack," Little adds. People with epilepsy, have recently had acute trauma, fracture, surgery, and some other conditions shouldn't use a device either. Speak with your healthcare provider before starting anything new.

    And while there aren't particularly harmful outcomes from using NMES, there are times when the device can hinder your progress and goals. "You want to periodize your training regimen with a device, so you're not using resistance programs 52 weeks a year," Little explains. To keep your body from adapting, you need to provide new foreign stimuli. In other words, you can over-use a device like this for strength, power, and resistance (though using it daily for recovery, warmups, and cool downs is perfectly fine).

    Kolba concludes: "I prefer foam rolling, soft tissue and mobility work, sleep, nutrition, and a proper strength and power program for significant gains." That said, a device could help enhance and assist all of the above. For a more in-depth profile of how to incorporate a device in your regimen, read our review on two of Compex's most high-tech devices.

     

  10. Tuesday Tip - Extend the Life of your Electrode

    Just in case you missed it:

    This tip is all about extending the life of your electrodes.

    Transcript:
    Kiki: Todays Tip, extending the life of your electrodes. If they're almost done and you want to try to get a little more use out of them all you need to do is put a drop of water on them. Also always recommended store them in the refrigerator and they'll last longer.

    Follow Us on Instagram at @compexusa for a new Tip every Tuesday at noon