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EMS Workouts: All About The Latest Celebrity Fitness Trend!

Written by Kate Anne Trott. Published: September 10 2023
(Photo: Hulu)


If the Kardashians do something, it's most likely to be the new trend. On Season 3, Episode 4 of “The Kardashians”, Kendall and Kylie Jenner have some sister bonding time by trying out an EMS workout together. The new fad workout has been gaining increased popularity as of recently. So what exactly is it all about?




EMS stands for "Electro Muscular Stimulation" and has been used in physical therapy for years. It was first developed in the 1960s; however, the earliest known use of EMS dates back to 500 BC in Egypt where they used certain species of fish that emit electrical impulses to treat pain. In the early-2000s, full-body EMS for sports training was developed in Europe.


In physical therapy, smaller stim unit pads are placed on areas where one has had injuries or pain. By stimulating muscles, the device allows muscle contractions to take place to increase blood flow, strengthen weakened muscles, slow muscle atrophy, and reduce pain. Recently, EMS body-sculpting has become a more common practice. Larger areas of the body are targeted in order to tone, strengthen, and firm areas of the body that are high in fat.


EMS workouts combine the benefits that are seen in physical therapy stim units and EMS body-sculpting machines with the use of wearable and more mobile technology that allows a person to work out at the same time they are receiving muscle contractions. The workouts are relatively short, usually lasting 20-30 minutes, and are FDA-regulated to maintain safety and effectiveness.


Celebrities such as Madonna, Ashley Graham, Chrissy Teigan, and Heidi Klum have also been using EMS workouts to stay fit and healthy. Over 13,000 fitness studios have begun implementing EMS workouts worldwide. The United States has been slow to hop on the new fitness fad, but the workouts are becoming more widespread.


Currently, EMS studio franchises such as BODY20 have begun taking over the United States. BODY20 is one of the fastest-growing EMS studios in the country. Currently, there are around 20 open studios in the U.S., but by the end of 2024, there will be over 250. With BODY20, a strength workout will give you 36,000 muscle contractions in a 20-minute period. Cardio sessions will keep you burning calories for up to 72 hours after a workout and increase your metabolism by up to 30% after a workout.


EMS isn't totally cheap, with the average costing between $70-100 per training session. There is a home version of the workout as well called The Katalyst Training System which costs nearly $2,400 and is FDA-cleared for consumer use. However, working with an EMS system alone without a trainer certified in the technology isn’t without risks. If you overdo it, there is a risk of getting Rhabdomyolysis, which is a condition that happens when there is a breakdown of muscle tissue that releases a damaging protein into the blood. This can damage both the kidneys and heart.


There are also some conditions that prevent you from partaking in EMS workouts. These include, but are not limited to: pregnancy, being under-age, a history of seizures or epilepsy, undergoing cancer treatment, or implanted electrical medical devices such as a pacemaker. Checking with a physician before beginning EMS workouts is always a great way to make sure you are cleared to try it out,


EMS workouts are a fantastic way to get your physical activity in if you’re wanting to improve athletic performance, reduce pain, are looking for a low-impact workout, need a workout that fits in with a busy schedule, lose weight, gain muscle, or reduce muscle imbalances. If you are interested in trying a new way to stay fit, research EMS studios near you and give it a try!