A woman recovering her quad muscles using the Compex SP 8.0 muscle stimulator

The role of muscle recovery is becoming more and more important amongst athletes, recreational sports people and fitness enthusiasts. The logic makes sense, why wouldn't you want to be as close to 100% as possible before each training session and/or competition?

Here we delve into the reasons you should be optimising muscle recovery and how Compex muscle stimulators can help you optimise yours.

1. The Principle of Overload

First of all, let's see why the reason recovery is needed: fatigued muscles.

Muscle progression is based on the principle of the body's ability to adapt. After a major strain on a function (cardiac, respiratory, etc.) or an organ (muscles, etc.), the body will put measures in place to repair the tissues, letting physical condition develop.

The immediate effect of a training session is initially a reduced level of performance, followed by a slow return, to a slightly higher level of performance.

This is why, with well planned training and the repetition of training stimuli, alternated with sufficient recovery time, will enable the athlete to reach optimum level of performance. Conversely, training stimuli which are too intensive, too long or too close together can lead to the opposite of the desired effect: a reduction in physical qualities.

A woman recovering her quad muscles using the Compex FIT 5.0 muscle stimulator

2. The Importance of Muscle Recovery

Training in an uncontrolled way without giving the body time to repair the micro injuries caused by the previous session or Sunday's race can be a crucial mistake. In the best case scenario, it can lead to stagnation in performance levels, in worst cases it can invite a reduction in physical condition, or even injury.

Everyone knows a sports person who has performed poorly because they have over trained and peaked too soon. It's quite simply because this athlete's body was able to unable to cope with the training they were putting their body through. This then overwhelms their body and preventing progression.

All the effective methods that enable you to recover better and/or quicker help you to cope with training sessions better as well as being more efficient during training. It is with this in mind that electrostimulation (also known as muscle stimulation and EMS) has established itself. Over the last few years as a technique which has become essential in the world of muscle recovery.

3. Muscle Recovery with Compex Muscle Stimulators

The Post-training recovery and Post-competition recovery programs do not provoke real muscle contractions.

Instead, when the motor nerve which controls the muscle only transmits a small amount of nerve impulses, the muscle in question responds with a sort of large vibration or muscle twitch.

During a twitch that lasts less than a tenth of a second, the muscle shortens and immediately returns to its initial length. It is therefore capable of performing up to ten twitches per second, acting as a pump that efficiently promotes circulation.

Training Recovery Program

The Training Recovery program is for use immediately after intensive exercise.

The first effect of the program is to provoke a very sharp increase in blood circulation in the stimulated muscle/s. This encourages the drainage of the various toxins accumulated in the muscles, promoting muscle recovery.

The second effect is well known in the medical world. It relieves pain by releasing natural substances, known as endorphins and enkephalins.

Finally, the third and last effect is the reduction in muscle tone, i.e. the reduction in muscle fibre tension which is most often at its worst after intensive effort, loosening muscles.

Competition Recovery Program

The Competition Recovery program is used just after a strenuous effort. The particular rhythm of this program reduces the risk of muscle cramp, aiding improved muscle recovery.

It begins, for the first 4 minutes, with a reduction in muscle tone to reduce the risk of cramps. Then, it continues with the same effects as the Post-Training Recovery program.

A man utilising the Compex SP 8,0 muscle stimulator for his muscle recovery

4. Setting up Recovery Sessions with a Compex Muscle Stimulator


Post-Training Recovery, Post-Competition Recovery.

When to do your session

This program lasts 24 minutes. If possible, within 3 hours of stopping exercise to optimise muscle recovery.

Electrode Placement

This program can be applied simultaneously to the calf muscles (sural triceps) and the quadriceps. To do this, use the 4 cables / 4 modules and 8 large electrodes.

To see where to position your electrodes, head over to our Electrode Placement page.

Body Position

Comfortable resting position, lying down or sitting up, if possible with legs raised.

Desired Effect

To obtain visible muscle twitches while remaining comfortable.

Controlling the Intensity

Increase the intensity until you obtain a muscle response that resembles a vibration, also known as muscle twitches. This muscle activity, which is very different from a real contraction, acts like a pump and is critical in causing a sharp increase in blood flow to the stimulated muscle to speed up muscle recovery.

When the intensity is raised, the muscle twitching is initially discreet. Then it becomes increasingly pronounced before it reaches a ceiling where the muscular response is maximal.

It is, however, possible to increase the intensity, but this does not bring any extra benefits.
For devices with mi-RANGE technology, the intensity zone that induces optimal stimulation is shown on the screen:

  • On the Compex SP 4.0, there is a small hook shows the optimum zone. Simply keep the intensity within the hook and if possible at its maximum level.
  • On the Compex FIT 5.0 and Compex SP 6.0, simply increase the intensity until it says "Optimum intensity level found". Once comfortable, you can increase the intensity to a slightly higher level to make the twitches more pronounced.
  • On the Compex SP 8.0, the mi-AUTORANGE function will automatically adjust the intensity. It will say "Optimum intensity level found", once the intensity has been found. Once comfortable, you can increase the intensity to a slightly higher level to make the twitches more pronounced.

Compex Recovery Electrode Pack

To recover without worrying about running out of electrodes, opt for the electrodes recovery pack (10 bags of electrodes) on the site.

A woman recovering her quad muscles with Compex FIT 5.0 muscle stimulator

Compex - Always with you

We're on the side of athletes, amateurs and also ordinary people. From the search for better performance to post injury recovery, from post fatigue massage to pain treatment. At Compex, we have just one goal: people's well being.

To choose the one that's right for you, take a look at our buying guide.

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