Increasing Your Vertical Jump: Plyometrics and Electrostimulation.
A new study from the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine by Martinez-Lopez et al, Effects of electrostimulation and plyometric training program combination on jump height in teenage athletes found that after eight weeks of training EMS combined with plyometrics (two days per week) was significantly effective for increasing vertical jump ability. "A high-frequency (> 150 Hz) EMS and its simultaneous application with PT can significantly contribute to the improvement of the three different types of strength manifestations (explosive, explosive-elastic, and explosive-elastic-reactive strength)". The outline for training procedure below, follows after a 10 minute warm-up of dynamic stretching.
What This Means For You
Unless you are a part of the Exercise Science Club at your University, chances are you won't be able to capitalize on the effects of EMS combined with plyometrics. If you have access to high-trained professionals with advanced EMS machines, you the have an opportunity to put this study to the test yourself and seek improvements.
For the average Joe, however, it offers a highly unorthodox method for exercise and it is more than likely frowned upon in commercial gyms despite the studies' impressive results. In fact, without trained professionals, EMS technology can be "ineffective, time-consuming, and at times, even painful" according to John Porcari, University of Wisconsin. Porcari put popular EMS toning technology to the test in a study for the American Council For Exercise and found that EMS technology alone did not significantly improve body weight, percent body fat, strength or appearance.
Ultimately, EMS will not help you 'tone' or lose weight. However, it can be beneficial for athletes looking to increase power output; who have access to professionals and research labs of course.
However, if you are interested in improving your ability to produce power and jump higher without making the commute to your local University, don't let it slow you down. A simple change of mindset can mean a world of difference. Check out my article Muscle Power and Muscle Contraction to learn how to achieve your specific exercise goals through visualization.