THE BASICS: How does one describe Exerceo Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS) training? Hmmm. It’s like…. a powerplate machine. But with wires. And kind of like getting a tattoo without hurting to much.
It has to be felt to fully appreciate it. But know this: You get into a damp suit, electric pulses get zinged through your muscles thousands of times a minute, and you flump about doing a workout while it’s happening. Exerceo promise you get fit, fast (sesisons last 20 mins) Classes are only small (2 people max).
First session FREE and £50 a class after that, although it gets much cheaper if you book a block (which you’re advised to do in order to start to see results).
THE HBs: Carly
THE CLASS: 7.45am and I was shown into a little studio that was probably big enough for two people and a trainer, max. The workout bit itself was partially behing a screen. As I peeked round I saw what looked a bit like a power plate, glowing in the morning light. Good morning, crack-of-dawn torture machine!
Behind me- racks of what looked like warm-water diving gear; shorts and sleeveless zip-up jackets, with plenty of toggles to strap the wearer in tight.
I was given a plastic pack with a tight but comfy long sleeved top and calf-length trousers. Starting a workout by getting into some pyjamas. I was well happy!
I was changed and ready to get strapped in to the mains. Antonio my PT helped me to get into the shorts and jacket, which made me yelp straight away because they were damp. “Are these sweaty from the last guy?!?!” I shreiked, horrified. “NO no no!” lauged Antonio. They’re damp to help the electricity!
I’m not quite sure how much this reassured me about what I was in for, to be honest. Next to me lay a clothes power-washer, which was used to clean the clothes from the last person, and also to make them nice and damp for the next person. Mmmmmm.
I squirmed into the gear, and when my arm straps were on, I was plugged into the powerplate. I said a silent prayer.
I had absolutely no idea what to expect, and was a bit nervous. “Is this going to be like when I electrocuted myself by mistake?!!!!!!!!!” I asked Antonio, my voice shrill enough to break glass. After he finished laughing, he spent the next couple of minutes describing what the session would be like, to calm me down.
Apparently, it was going to contract and relax my muscles in isolated areas (controlled from the main machine), thousands of times a minute, while I used those same muscles in a standard workout. So a squat wasn’t just a squat. Electric pulses would penetrate the muscles in my butt and turn an innocent set of squats into Mega-Squats.
There were three types of pulse, those which penetrated deep muscle, shallower muscle, and the layer of fat between my skin and muscle- the latter being the most like your skin feels after a slap or after it’s been exposed to really cold weather. This was quite normal, Antonio explained.
The pulses were never uncomfortable, just a little bit of a strange sensation at times- and intensity grew as the class progressed. A couple of times he switched them on and I jumped in the air or let out a yelp, which was pretty funny.
This first session was designed to get my body used to the feeling, and also to set the intensity levels; so I didn’t feel like I’d worked up a huge sweat despite some burpees (frustratingly in this suit!), squats, lunges, and some short explosive plyometrics during our 20 min session. If I was to go back again, he assured me the workout would get harder, and I’d get a proper sweat on.
It was tricky to complete everything as normal, and I’m not sure if that’s because I was struggling getting used to the impulses, or if the suit just made me bulky. I would be curious to go back for a few more sessions and see if I started to tone up or the sessions started to feel harder.
And as the session drew to a close? Well I got a full body 2 minute massage, courtesy of the pulse machine. It was truly blissful. No yelping during this move!
THE VERDICT: I didn’t feel like I’d caned it in a HIIT class during this sesh, but I’d been told to expect this. It was good to get used to the machine, the suit, and set my levels. It was a LOT of fun, and I enjoyed the new experience hugely. There may or may not have been one point when I laughed so much, I spluttered “I’m going to wee myself, turn the machine off!!!!” to a worried looking Antonio.
I went into the class with serious DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) from the previous night’s run. By lunchtime, they had completely gone, which made me wonder if the stimulation from the machine had helped rid my muscles of lactic acid I’d built up the night before. I was pretty impressed with that.
You can read more about the benefits of EMS by CLICKING HERE.