What is Compex (muscle-stim) and how it works?
Muscle stim is now an integral part of physiotherapy and pain management protocols. It has been a technique used by physical therapists for many years. Today, many leading athletes use electrostimulation in their training programme to optimise results. It is a perfect solution to prevent injuries and give the muscles the exact treatment they need at a certain point of time in a training schedule.
Electrostimulation is not a miraculous technique; it respects how your body works.
The principle of electrostimulation is very simple. It precisely reproduces the processes that occur when our brain orders muscles to contract. When we decide to contract a muscle, our brain sends a signal in the form of an electric current that travels at high speed along the nerve fibres up to the muscle, which reacts by contracting.
In the case of electrostimulation, excitation occurs directly on the motor nerve using electrical pulses perfectly controlled to guarantee effectiveness, safety and comfort in use. In fact, muscles cannot tell the difference between a voluntary contraction (triggered by the brain) and an electrically induced contraction: the work done is exactly the same. It's completely natural!
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."
Connect with Josh and follow him on Facebook.com/Josh.Amberger and Twitter.com/JoshAmberger
Compex Interview with Andy Potts (Professional triathlete and 2007 IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion)
After finishing in the top 5 last year have you done anything different for your preparation this time? Every year, I am always trying to introduce different things, so we are constantly improving. Contrary to most triathlon advice, I try something new every race too. Sometimes it works and sometimes it’s a flop but it helps me learn and get better. In preparation for Kona, one year, we tried to do more moto-pacing, another year I spent a month out on Big Island before the race. This year, my focus has been on a few key things- A specific focus on the bike, given how important it has been to the race in recent years, and recovery. My recovery routine has developed extensively and is as important to my racing success as any other element. Some of the key things I am doing include active stretching for about 30 minutes each day, weekly massage, daily use of my Compex Muscle Stimulator and a renewed focus on nutrition pre and post workout.
What’s your pre-race meal?
I try to keep it really simple and fairly light pre-race. I will eat what’s available but typically stay away from foods high in fiber as that could be dangerous on race day.
How do you include Compex in your daily routine?
I typically use Compex during and after my stretching routine. With that, I sometimes use Compex at the beginning of the day as a way to activate my muscles and also provide a little bit of ‘work’ before I head out for the day. [andy-potts-compex-athlete]
What’s one piece of advice you would give some who wants to do an Ironman?
First thing is listen to your heart. If Ironman is something that you will both enjoy and challenge you, jump right in. I highly recommend racing all types of events and distances, not just Ironman. There is an amazing network of local races at varying distances that provide a great opportunity to race locally, connect with your community, make friends and learn a lot about racing and yourself. In addition, it’s important to to make a commitment to yourself by eating right, gaining strength, and learning about your new pursuit. The last step would be to reach out to trusted people to find out how you can get more engaged and dive in. What’s the one thing you look forward to most after swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and running a marathon? I love the finish chute. There is so much energy and excitement. Whether you are first or 50th, there is a real energy that gets me pumped. A big part of the finishing chute for me is seeing my wife and family. There is nothing more important to me in the world than them and being able to see them after a hard fought day is truly special.
What’s one thing people may be surprised you eat out on the race course?
My race day diet has really refined itself over time. I am almost exclusively on Powerbar products, so nothing too earth shattering there. It wasn’t always that way and I have experimented with everything from muffins in my bento box(btw- they get really crumby) to skittles in my special needs bag. WATCH LIVE footage of the IRONMAN Kona World Championships here: IronMan.com To learn more about integrating Compex electric muscle stimulation into your workouts visit our Compex Training page, and to discover more information about electric muscle stimulation visit our page on How Electric Muscle Stimulation Works.
Stay Connect with Andy Potts by following him on his social media channels: