IS IT SAFE TO TRAIN WITH ELECTROSTIMULATION?
Many people who come to the FAST centers wonder if it is safe to train with electrostimulation, either because they do not know the tool and, obviously, they have their doubts, or because they have read and heard various questions regarding Active Integral EMS .
When you arrive at a FAST center to do a test, the first thing the trainers make sure is if you can train with electrostimulation. First, they do a questionnaire asking you the basic contraindications, some derived from the fact that we use electricity, and others because the physiological responses resemble those of a high intensity training.
Even if you do not have any of these basic contraindications, the coaches will ask you if you have any other pathology, if you are taking medication, etc. This is for two reasons: the main one is because some pathologies, which are not so common, isolated or in concurrence with others, could be a reason to contraindicate electrostimulation; the secondary reason, but no less important, is because some pathologies that do not contraindicate electrostimulation require that the training be adapted and individualized in a specific way, for example meniscopathies, herniated discs, diabetes, hypothyroidism, etc.
If the trainer is unaware of any pathology indicated by the client, or does not know if it is compatible with electrostimulation , the query is automatically sent to the FAST Medical Area. In this department they assess whether the person can perform Active Integral EMS.
This is the first security filter in FAST for a client. But previously we have ensured that this tool is used in the safest possible way in all our centers. That is why the training of coaches is essential. A personal trainer, according to the documents published by the COLEF Council, must have a University Degree in Physical Activity and Sports Sciences (CCAFYDE). This is because this career, which is commonly called “inef”, is the one that specializes a person on all aspects of training (Anatomy, Biomechanics, Physiology, Training, Pedagogy, Psychology, etc.). How else can you make sure that your coach has the necessary knowledge?
In addition, all coaches are internally trained in electrostimulation, since in the CCAFYDE career this is not studied. Physiotherapists (some of our trainers are too) do study electrotherapy, but therapy is not the same as training … the use is completely different, although the base has a common link. That is why the highly specialized training that FAST provides to its coaches is based on scientific evidence. It is not only an initial training, but also a periodic training (distance and face-to-face) that updates content and improves protocols.
FAST trainers learn to control all the parameters that are capable of handling in our electrostimulators: frequency, chronaxia, ramp, impulse time and rest time. But not only that, but learning to take into account that also with Integral EMS the training progression is essential to avoid issues such as excessive muscle damage.
And it is because of this muscle damage that some people have alerted the population, since cases of rhabdomyolysis have been reported after performing comprehensive electrostimulation: a woman, with a history of myopathies, who registered more than 85,000 U / L of CPK, and two professional footballers who, without prior adaptation to this type of training, registered 240,000 U / L of CPK. Rhabdomyolysis, according to DaherEde et al. (2005) is “a severe and life-threatening condition in which skeletal muscle is damaged due to breakdown of muscle fibers and release of their contents into the bloodstream.”
But it is that rhabdomyolysis and electrostimulation DO NOT GO TOGETHER. Not only have cases with Active Integral EMS been reported in exercise (which are the least), but in a clinical letter to the Semergen magazine they echoed a case of a 24-year-old boy, who after an indoor cycling session, presented rhabdomyolysis with CPK levels of 237,617 U / L (Peña Irún et al. 2013). And what is more curious, a 24-year-old, healthy man was admitted to the emergency room with muscle aches and weakness, as well as coca-cola colored urine, three days after carrying out the low intensity exercise. The diagnosis of rhabdomyolysis was made with CPK levels of 214,356 U / L (Karre and Gujral. 2011). Activities such as indoor cycling and long-distance running are those that accumulate more cases of rhabdomyolysis after exercising.
Rhabdomyolysis is not only caused by muscle trauma (that is, muscle damage after excessive effort), but can also be caused by drugs, infections, toxins, seizures, hyperthermia, electrolyte disturbances, and acidosis.
The doctor will consider acute muscle pain, coca-cola colored urine, and elevated serum creatine kinase (CPK) levels for diagnosis (Patel, Gyamfi and Torres. 2009). Hence, when cases are reported, the CPK values are indicated.
It must also be taken into account that CPK rises to a greater or lesser extent depending on various conditions, such as genetic conditions, the possibility of subclinical myopathy, excessive intensities, etc. For this reason, progression in training is essential, and if symptoms are detected that are out of the ordinary, go to the doctor, because there may be an undiagnosed myopathy, for example.
For this reason, our coaches are prepared to do safe workouts, adapting the intensity to the physical condition of the clients, as well as the parameters, and making, in turn, an adequate progression.