Compex muscle stimulators
The preset Resistance program is the most “bang for your buck” among the training programs. By activating both Type 1 and Type 2 muscle fiber types, you can help to maximize the muscle contraction and get the greatest strength gains. Although this program can be used as a stand-alone routine (yes, even while you sit on the couch!) it may be best utilized in conjunction with some body weight exercises such as squats, push-ups, or calf raises depending on what you want to train. By taking your body through range of motion during each contraction, you’ll get even more benefit of the program to help increase your squat, vertical jump, and increase muscle mass!
Active Recovery Program
The moments immediately following a tough workout can be some of the most critical for recovery in a number of ways. Using the Active Recovery program within thirty minutes of your workout can help reduce lactic buildup, muscle soreness and fatigue so that you’re better prepared for the next session. By starting at a higher frequency and gradually tapering down, this program can be used as an effective cool down method.
Recovery Plus Program
In the hours and days following a workout, using the Recovery Plus program will have the most benefit to ensuring your preparedness for the next session. Using a low frequency pulse, this program helps to increase local blood flow back to the muscle tissue to help keep it mobile and fight muscle soreness. A perfect rest day choice, stick on your electrodes for a relaxing weekend as you plan out your next week in how to continue towards your goals.
We know you’re ready to put in work this New Year and Compex is here to help meet your fitness goals. Train, recover and PR with Compex into 2018!
Check out the review in Men's Health and Fitness on the Sport Elite and Wireless Device by Brittany Smith. Complete article here http://www.mensfitness.com/life/gearandtech/fitness-test-compex-muscle-stim-devices
YOU CAN ZAP your muscles—literally send an electric current down to nerve fibers, fire your motor neurons, and stimulate a strong muscle contraction. It's called NMES, neuro-muscular electrical nerve stimulation; more specifically, we're talking about two NMES stimulators from Compex, a company that’s been in the business of electrotherapy for over 20 years. So why should you want to try it out? For one, NMES can help you heal quicker if you're coming back from an injury. But, it's not just for guys who have been sidelined. It can also help you recover faster after a brutal WOD and even boost your performance in workouts by better activating bodyparts.
And it doesn't hurt—aside from some alien tingling sensation you quickly get used to. I can attest to this; I tested both the Compex Sport Elite Muscle Stimulator Kit and the Compex Wireless USA Muscle Stimulator Kit.
But before you read what I thought, check out everything you need to know about personal NMES devices first.
What Compex Devices Do
A NMES electrotherapy at-home device mimics the electrical pulses your brain fires to contract muscles, only it lights up the entire length of your motor neuron so you get a complete contraction—as in 100% of your muscle contracts. The average Joe can contract anywhere from 25-40% of a muscle, whereas more muscular dudes (think: Phil Heath—who actively uses Compex) can get about 65%, says Brandon Hearn, the senior director at Compex & Consumer Business Development.
Compex is approved for a multitude of goals, like increasing your muscle size, strength, and density, boosting VO2 max, honing greater explosive strength, and faster muscle recovery. And clinical studies prove athletes can increase muscle size, strength, and endurance within a few weeks when combining Compex electric muscle stim in a regimen; it's also been shown to flush lactic acid out of muscles faster, getting you back on your feet and giving you a greater capacity to perform than using traditional methods or nothing at all.
Why Athletes Use Compex
High-profile athletes like Phil Heath use the device to booststrength gains. "If you want to lift more, you need to get the right muscles firing," Hearn says.
Hearn's used a device on CrossFit Games athlete Lauren Fisher when her foot was bound in a cast, due to an ankle injury. They cut a small hole in her cast in order to place an electrode to apply electrotherapy. "It prevents atrophy," Hearn explains. Lebron Jamesand players from the San Diego Padres are just a few more of Compex's top-tier clientele, as is Mat Fraser, 2016 CrossFit Games Champion and reigning “Fittest Man on Earth."
“Compex is a big part of my training,” Fraser says. “It’s an easy-to-use tool for activation, recovery, and strength. I use the strength cycles quite frequently—especially on my quads—and pre- and post-workout to help recovery on a nagging ankle injury.”
The Difference Between Devices
The Compex Sport Elite Muscle Stimulator Kit has 9 pre-set programs (so no guess work!): Endurance is designed to build your resistance to long-duration aerobic fatigue by promoting the growthof more slow-twitch muscle fibers over a span of 45 minutes. Resistance encompasses endurance and strength, activating the growth of both slow- and fast-twitch fibers for running and lifting in just 12 minutes. Strength boosts pure muscle strength more efficiently than weight lifting alone and reduces your risk of muscleand tendon injuries in 20+ minutes. Explosive Strength can bolster your vertical leap by developing greater short bursts of powerwithout the strain of plyometrics; you'll work in very brief durations, completing exercises like jumps, sprints, and throws in this program. Potentiation warms up your muscles, getting them up to their max working potential, without the usual fatigue of a warmup. ActiveRecovery helps diminish soreness and relaxes your muscles post-workout. Recovery Plus flushes lactic acid from your muscles in just 7 minutes, Hearn says; this program doesn't actually contract your muscles, but increases blood flow, perfect after competitions, races, and vigorous routines. Pre-Warmup doesn't contract your muscles either; it runs a current at a certain frequency designed to oxygenate muscles before a workout and increase blood flow. Massageimproves the movement of blood and oxygen through your blood vessels, too.
The Compex Wireless USA has all the same beneficial programs as the Sport Elite Muscle Stimulator. The only difference is it's portable. By going wire-free, you can attach the pods to the electrode pads, and go through your workout without fear of yanking anything out of place.
Ease of Use
You don't have to have a certificate in physical therapy, but you definitely need to read the instructions and electrode placement guide for the best results. The electrode pads are sticky and you don't want to handle the side you'll place skin-down too much. Clean your skin with soap and water (sweat, oil, and lotion break down the pads' stickiness, but they'll typically last 15-30 uses). Then, follow the placement guide and apply the pads.
Now, for the Sport Elite, you'll snap the electrodes right on the pads, making sure the red cable (positive electrode) is on the pad over the "motor point of the muscle" and the black cable (negative electrode) is placed on the "muscle trajectory." Don't worry. This sounds complicated, like you're jumping a car, but everything is color-coded and spelled out on the online manual.
For the Wireless, you connect the pods onto the pads by sliding them onto the metal applicators; they'll snap right into place.
The biggest difference you'll notice between the two is in the control unit. The Wireless device is superior in its usability. The LED screen lights up when you power on, giving way to the pre-made settings. Choosing which setting you want, the area of your bodyyou're working, and adjusting the intensity of the resistance is intuitive and seamless. The Sport Elite takes a bit longer to get used to. Sometimes you'll power the device off when you're trying to get a program started, so it takes some putzing around to get used to the controls.
When you're done, you just snap or slide the electrodes off, and stick the pads back on their plastic for storage. The Wireless electrodes fit into their own docking unit.
When I met with Hearn, I tested the Wireless USA unit. With electrodes in place on our biceps, we went through the Resistanceprogram together. Now, to reach a significant percentage of working fibers, you need to hit a minimum intensity of 30 mAmp (the red zone, about 250 mAmp, will deliver surprising soreness). Sitting in chairs with hands resting on our thighs, palms facing up, Hearn started the workout, using resistance level 3. The current is strong; Hearn describes it as a biting sensation—and that's no joke. Your arms will probably jerk uncontrollably at first in response to the buzzing energy coursing through your body. (Mine did.) These contractions should be powerful, but you don't want them to be intolerable or overpowering.
From here, the program begins. You only need about 6-10 contraction phases for a solid strength and performance workout, Hearn says. During the stronger "work" contractions, we completed bodyweight arm curls. During the "rest" phases, I relaxed my armsand rested my hands on my thighs; the intensity automatically drops to 50 percent during each rest phase to promote blood flow and improve recovery rate. Once the work phase begins again, Hearn raised the stimulation energy to recruit a higher number of musclefibers. The idea is to keep raising the intensity after each bout. FYI, the ceiling is 999 mAmp on power.
The workout only lasted a few minutes. "In two days, your biceps will be more sore than you've ever felt before," Hearn says. He wasn't kidding. The next day, a significant amount of soreness was sinking in; by day 2 I had a hard time extending my arms out straight. It's like the first time you ever did a significant lifting session, or tried a brand new program for the first time.
I was equally as impressed during the Massage and Active Recoveryprograms, too.
How to Use During a Workout/Everyday Life
Electrical stim devices can be used every day. Use them to prime your muscles during a warmup and activate muscles that have become dormant from sitting all day before a heavy lifting session. If you want to work out with a stim device, you can use it 3 days per week per muscle group, Hearn says.
"Traditionally you'd use a device like this two hours after training—but before bed is ideal," says Drew Little, C.S.C.S., a performance specialist at Michael Johnson Performance, an elite training facility in McKinney, Texas. That's because men have a big spike in growth hormone and testosterone at night, which helps burn off fat and build more muscle. "Shower, so your skin is clean for the electrodes, muscles are warm, and your blood vessels are open, as this will lower the resistance to the electric current, make for a cleaner contraction, and provide better recovery and stimulation," Little explains. Now, if you did a high-intensity sprintor heavy squat, you don't want to complete a program on a device thats just as intensive. "Post-workout, use programs that have a short duration of work and long periods of rest—like a 1:4 or 1:5 work to rest tatio—compared to ones that are 1:1," he suggests. The concentric contraction won’t fatigue your muscles, because it pumps blood in, then releases, which is what your heartdoes.
You can also use a device in tandem with resistance training. On legday, before your workout, set the electrodes on your quads or glutes. Complete 6-8 (max) contraction cycles on a resistance level 3 or 5; squat or lunge for 8 seconds on, 4 second off. Then complete the remainder of your leg workout. After, throw on the Recovery Plus program for about 7 minutes to clear lactic acid. Or, use a device after your workout. Do your typical leg day routine. Next, apply Compex first to your quads, and choose resistance, strength, or explosive strength. Turn the intensity up with each contraction, and then do the same for hamstrings.
Want bigger calves? Put a bar on your back and do calf raises with the electrodes in the proper place; that's more than enough to blast your weaknesses.
If you're a baseball player, playing in a rec league with some buddies or competing competitively, use the Massage or Pre-Warmup programs to keep your muscles ready to go during breaks.
If you're traveling, use the Massage or Pre-Warmup programs tokeep oxygen flowing through your legs on a flight.
Strain something during your WOD? Pop on the electrodes with ice or stim and complete Massage or Active Recovery.
*You don't want to use a device like Compex on the resistance setting every day. To periodize your training, Little suggests doing 10-15 treatments as a strength stimulus if you lift heavy weight (that's 3-4 weeks). Then give your body about a month break, only using the device for recovery. This will revert your body back to its natural tendency, so you can progress and further gains the next time you use a resistance program again.
If you're serious about your overall fitness and recovery, this is a sound investment. The Compex Sport Elite Muscle Stimulator Kit is $649.99 and the Compex Wireless USA Muscle Stimulator Kit is $1,149.99. For the ease of use and added mobility, opt for the Wireless.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
- Stand tall with feet a little more than shoulder-width apart.
- Slightly point toes outward.
- 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
Mark Bell is a professional powerlifter, former professional wrestler, inventor, and award winning gym owner that also hosts his own Podcast called PowerCast. As an inventor Mark has his own line of “Sling Shot products” designed to help weight lifters go heavier safely. No stranger to incorporating effective tools into his training, Mark Bell took the time to review our Compex Sport Elite. Check it out!
Learn more about Mark and his podcast here.
We caught up with Compex triathlete Josh Amberger to talk about his favorite Compex program he uses and how he incorporates it into his weekly workout routine. Here's what Josh had to say:
I love the strength mode on my Compex and I use it twice weekly to compliment my strength sessions on the bike. We can only stress the heart and lungs to a certain point before fatigue, but I find I can use the Compex in strength mode to get a little bit more from the muscles without stressing the heart and lungs beyond the bike ride. Once I get in the door from a key bike ride, I prepare a meal and then sit down to eat whilst dialing the Compex into a strength program. The strength program has different levels of operation, which I can adjust depending on how hard and low I pushed on the bike, what training I have tomorrow, and how far away from a key event I am. It's the perfect mode for going one step further in my training.
To learn more about the different Compex units and which electric muscle simulator device is right for you, check out our product comparison page. There we talk about the differences and benefits to using the Comepx Edge, Performance US and our Sport Elite unit. ShopCompex.com/Muscle-Stimulators
IRONMAN Arizona is one of the most popular triathlon events in the world because the spectator friendly non-ocean swim, atypical flat and fast bike route and its relatively flat running course. Compex athletes Jordan Rapp, Timothy O'Donnell, Amanda Stevens, Mike Zafirovski, and Neily Mathias competed this year under unusually adverse conditions ranging from cold temps to high winds on each leg of the race. Learn more about how Compex athletes Jordan Rapp and Timothy O'Donnell incorporated Compex into their post-race recovery programs after IRONMAN Arizona.
Congratulations to all Compex athletes:
3rd Place: Jordan Rappor
5th Place: Timmothy O'Donnell
5th Place: Amanda Stevens
10th Place: Mike Zafirovski
21st Place: Neels Mathias
Compex triathlete Jordan Rapp, who placed 3rd, talks about his IRONMAN Arizona post-race recovery and how he incorporated Compex into this recovery plan:
"Post race, I typically wait to see how the body sorts out for a few days. In the immediate aftermath, everything hurts. If there's long travel involved (not the case in this race), then I'd use the Recovery Plus or massage settings on a very low current just to keep the muscles moving my legs on the plane ride. I thought of this after racing IMMEL in 2013, and sitting on that 16 hour plane ride after the race and just locking up, I thought, "I have to figure out how to do this differently." And that's when I started experimenting, and the Compex is so easy in that regard. But since I fly to Tempe and it's just an hour flight, there's a lot of walking - too much! - at the airport and such and so I don't worry as much about keeping the muscles moving. This race is also different because as the last race of the season, I'm less worried about bouncing back as quickly as possible. I try to mentally unwind as well and just sort of let things flow. I take this approach with vitamins and stuff as well. I just sort of step back away from being an athlete for a couple weeks at the end of the season.
But I'm very keen to get back into swimming, since I find that is a great way to stay active, recover fast, and continue to work on my biggest weakness. So I'll probably start to getting back into swimming before the end of the week. For swimming, I personally have found the Compex to be great for obliques. All the rib muscles take a beating with the various demands and super long day of an Ironman, but I seem to have particular trouble with some of my obliques. So again, I'd start with using that to get those firing. Some light massage, recovery plus, and then maybe some potentiation before I swim. Mid-season, I'd probably focus more on doing something with my legs, especially in the peroneals and anterior tibialis to get my toes and sub-talar joint control working again. But since I'll take at least a week off of running and cycling, I'll just wait to use the Compex as normal and as needed once I start back up there.
I'm sure that as I unwind from the race, sore spots will crop up - like in my neck from lugging the bike box and suitcase on a beat-up body - and I can just get some relief with massage or recovery plus modes, again with super low current.
And, at least for this time of year, it's also good to use the Compex to get your abdominals working after you stretch your gut out to 5X its normal size at Thanksgiving!"
Compex triathlete Timothy O'Donnell, who placed 5th, talks about how he speeds up his post-race IRONMAN Arizona recovery with the Compex Active Recovery program.
"Recovering from an Ironman is never quick or easy, especially IM Arizona where the concrete run course take a huge toll on your legs. I rely heavily on my Compex post to get me moving and speed up my recovery. The active recovery program is my go to for my calves and to increase blood flow across my IT band and quads I rely on Recovery Plus Program. Thanks Compex!"
Compex is the Neuromuscular Electrical Muscle Stimulation (NMES) device of choice for athletes, coaches and trainers around the world. Pioneering electrotherapy techniques through extensive research and innovation spanning the last three decades, Compex’s flagship “Muscle Stim” devices are used to improve physical performance, speed recovery in preparation for the next performance, and for rehabilitating the muscle for peak performance.
Compex enables athletes to safely customize their training, exercise more muscle fibers in less time, and recover faster. The result is a more efficient workout with less risk of injury and virtually no cardiovascular fatigue. Learn more at www.ShopCompex.com
Ready to spring forward with your fitness in 2014? World Champion Ironman Coach Siri Lindley presents how Team Sirius uses Compex muscle stimulators for a more effective workout.
Compex is fortunate and excited to work with Siri Lindley and Team Sirius.
Siri is not only a Word Champion Triathlete in her own rite:
- She coaches an amazing group of professional triathletes to World Championship records and wins across the globe.
- Siri was voted the 5th most influential person in triathlon this year by Trathlete Magazine.
Siri, Team Sirius, and Compex have partnered to share a workout that incorporates a "Sirius" style hill run workout followed by a Compex recovery session that gets you ready for more in a hurry. Check it out!
The Compex Muscle Stimulator's electrical impulses reproduce the body's natural process of voluntary muscle contractions. When these impulses fully trigger the motor nerves, the muscle responds with a deeper and more complete contraction. A muscle cannot tell the difference between the signal for a voluntary contraction from the brain versus a signal from a muscle stimulator
The results are:
- a more efficient workout regimen
- less risk of injury to joints and tendons
- minimized cardiovascular fatigue
The Benefits of Compex Muscle Stimulators include:
- Quickly improve strength, endurance, speed and power
- Tone muscle
- Build up more muscle with each contraction
- Customized workouts for your individual needs
- Thoroughly warm up to decrease injury
- Faster recovery from workouts
SPRING INTO ACTION
Train, Recover and Compete like the Pros do with Compex.
Learn more about Compex.
If you're unsure of how Compex works when it comes to the stimulation of the muscles, check out our video guides. These videos will show you how to use a Compex device, how the electrostimulation technology works, and testimonials from professional athletes who train with Compex.