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Electrical muscle stimulation (abs) belts reviews

2009-Aug

Education

2002 study: Porcari JP, McLean KP, Foster C, Kernozek T, Crenshaw B, Swenson C. - Effects of electrical muscle stimulation on body composition, muscle strength, and physical appearance:

Electrical muscle stimulation devices (EMS) have been advertised to increase muscle strength, to decrease body weight and body fat, and to improve muscle firmness and tone in healthy individuals. This study sought to test those claims. Twenty-seven college-aged volunteers were assigned to either an EMS (n = 16) or control group (n = 11). The EMS group underwent stimulation 3 times per week following the manufacturer's recommendations, whereas the control group underwent concurrent sham stimulation sessions. Bilaterally, the muscles stimulated included the biceps femoris, quadriceps, biceps, triceps, and abdominals (rectus abdominus and obliques). An identical pre- and posttesting battery included measurements of body weight, body fat (via skinfolds), girths, isometric and isokinetic strength (biceps, triceps, quadriceps, hamstrings), and appearance (via photographs from the front, side, and back). EMS had no significant effect on the any of the measured parameters. Thus, claims relative to the effectiveness of EMS for the apparently healthy individual are not supported by the findings of this study.

2004 study by Porcari of a superior device, the Slendertone Flex, indicated increased muscle strength but no fat loss or changes in appearance:

Porcari, UW-L professor of exercise and sports science, conducted a study of 24 middle-aged subjects, 12 women and 12 men, who used the belt five days a week for eight weeks. The study showed a 72 percent increase in abdominal endurance (measured by how many additional sit-ups a subject could complete), an average 49 percent increase in abdominal strength and a 1-inch decrease in abs circumference.

"These were pretty amazing results," Porcari said. "But at the same time there was no decrease in body weight or fat, and people didn't look any differently. People should not look to use this belt for weight loss or reduce body fat. It really should be used to increase ab strength and endurance."

Porcari said people should not expect to lose weight around the middle with the ab belts. "For most of us, our abs are so far buried beneath that spare tire that no matter how strong your abs are, they will never see the light of day until you lose weight,'' he said.

Bottom line: muscles are firmer, but they still won't be visible underneath the layer of abdominal fat; EMS does not burn fat.

Additional resources

Candidates

AbTronic

AB Energizer

Contour Abs

Fast Abs

Slendertone Flex

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Information from Find Articles, apparently OCR'ed from somewhere (mistakes edited below) and appended to the two articles articles:

SLENDERTONE abdominal belts are based upon EMS technology and are offered in two models, SLENDERTONE FLEX and SLENDERTONE GYMBODY abdominal belts. They are distributed by Compex, Technologies under license from BioMedical Research Inc. (BMR) of Ireland.

Both belts use BMR's patent-pending Concentrated Slendertone Innervation(R) technology, which includes the placement of three medical-grade gel pads over the abdominal muscles and external obliques. Signals from the electrodes target the nerves, which branch out and stimulate all of the abdominal muscles, causing them to contract and relax naturally. This works all of the abdominal muscles at once, strengthening them and thereby firming and toning the user's waist and midsection.

People are advised to use SLENDERTONE abdominal belts daily for four to eight weeks to obtain initial results, and then two to three times per week to maintain results. SLENDERTONE abdominal belt sessions range from 20 to 40 minutes per session; users may work, play or relax while wearing the belt. Individual results will vary. For more product information, visit www.SLENDERTONE.com or call 1-866-FLEX-NOW.

Slendertone Gymbody Abs Belt - Men's

Slendertone Men's System Abs Toning Belt (aka The Flex Belt) ★

  • rechargeable, more programmable
  • "System Abs" is the deluxe model
  • replacement pads - 9 pads for ~$30
  • how to take care of the pads (mirror) - get 50 uses from one pad instead of the recommended 10. Basically:
    • the pad covers somehow collect the skin oil and debris from the gel
    • before putting back the pad covers, wipe them clean with Windex
    • when putting them back, squeeze out any air bubbles. This keeps the pads sticky.

Slendertone Flex Go - Abdominal Toning Belt

  • 2 toning programs

SlendertoneFlex Pro - Abdominal Toning System

  • 7 toning programs
  • Strengthening intensity levels 0-99

Slendertone System Arms Body Toner

  • apparently designed for women