Currently, there is a lot of attention regarding the use of electrical stimulation for muscle developmental purposes. Electrical stimulation and how it can possibly affect muscle strength, tone and endurance have been met with great interest from the sports science community. Recently, there have been certain studies that have been published which looked into the effects of electrical stimulation on human muscles. Here, we will explore the findings from these research papers to conclude how this type of stimulation may be effective.
Electrical stimulation essentially involves using an electrical current to cause an excitation response within the nerves and nerve endings that are found within a particular muscle. There have long been many people that have hypothesized that using the power of electrical currents, muscle strength, tone, and endurance can be improved. Essentially, the rationale behind this is the fact that the energy that is being used in the process of stimulation can help energize the nerves found in the muscle, leading to greater performance regarding athletics and other areas of muscle application.
Studies that have been conducted looking into the effectiveness of using electrical stimulation have often involved a small sample size. Two large studies have been conducted testing the hypothesis of stimulation using an electrical current, one used five male participants while the other used fifteen. Both of these papers came to the conclusion that the use of stimulation using electrical currents can lead to an improvement in muscle strength as well as muscle toning. The research papers have a strong impact on how the world of sports science views the possibility of using such techniques for fields such as bodybuilding, athletics and generalized categories of sport.
The research was conducted using young males that were broadly defined as being healthy and fit. The research involved testing a group of these males that were subjected to using the electrical stimulation to those that didn’t receive any electrical stimulation. The idea was for the men to exhaust their muscles and then to go through a four week period of recovery where the difference in outcomes regarding the group that undertook electrical stimulation was compared with the group that didn’t receive the stimulation.
Generally, throughout the course of the experiment, the men were subject to regular electrical stimulations which were followed by them performing a muscular strength activity that would measure the amount of strength that their muscles would be able to exert. There were measurements made before the stimulation as well as after the stimulation for multiple times during the four week period. At the end of the four week period, there was a statistically significant result which showed the group that received the electrical stimulation had stronger muscle strength at the end of the period.
Furthermore, another study showed that using electrical stimulation showed that the muscle tone, size, and strength was able to be improved over the course of a few weeks. The application methods of the electrical stimulation were also provided methodically and regularly to ensure that there were no inconsistencies regarding the results that would be recorded. Hence, the results opened up the door for the wide range of possible new strategies that may be utilized in the world of bodybuilding and sports rehabilitation using electrical stimulation methods.
The problems that were encountered throughout these two studies was the fact that they use a very small sample size. The first study only used fifteen males, while the other used only five. Considering how small the sample is, there is a huge chance for there to be errors regarding the results that were found. The larger the sample size, the more accurate and reliable the conclusions of the study. This is not to say that the studies were inaccurate or were misleading in their results, rather, it simply means that there has to be more research conducted to come to a more definitive conclusion regarding the efficacy of electrical stimulation.
However, it is the general trend within most types of breakthroughs in the sports science community that they start off with small research findings which are then expanded upon. The two research papers discussed show ample evidence that there could be great use in using electrical stimulation, this will serve as a catalyst for more researchers to not only think about the possibilities and potential behind electrical stimulation but to conduct research themselves surrounding it. Likely, these initial research papers on the subject will incite more research to be conducted, but this time with a larger sample size to build upon the findings that were initially recorded.
The use of electrical stimulation could prove to be groundbreaking for such fields as bodybuilding, especially when it comes to muscle tone. Fields like bodybuilding are highly dependent on whether or not a contestant not only has a large amount of muscle size but whether their muscles are toned and defined. Hence, if it can be definitively proven that using electrical stimulation methods leads to more defined and toned muscles, whether in the short term or the long term, there will be lots of commercial and scientific opportunities that arise because of it.
One thing, however, that must be considered is safety regarding the use of electrical currents with adhesive wearable electrodes for the stimulation of muscles. Considering that the field of using electrical stimulation is still in its early stages, there is definitely a need for there to be strong guidelines regarding how to safely apply electrical currents to muscles. As is common knowledge, electrical currents can be dangerous at high voltages. Hence, an exploration of the possible effects of this type of stimulation must also be met with caution regarding how these research trials are conducted to ensure a reliable and safe outcome.
Overall, there is much information that suggests that there is a lot of potential behind electrical stimulation, especially for muscle toning. As mentioned, there has long been a hypothesis that using this type of stimulation, muscle strength, tone, and endurance can be boosted. With the recent findings discussed, more evidence is produced to suggest that this hypothesis is likely to be correct.