When it comes to building muscle, most people think of hitting the gym and lifting heavy weights. However, there is also a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS unit for muscle growth. These devices, typically used for pain relief, have gained popularity for their potential to enhance muscle development. Hence, with its adjustable settings, electrical impulses intend to stimulate muscle contraction directly. This repetitive action can potentially lead to muscle strength and growth over time.
The idea of using electrical stimulation for muscle growth is not new. In fact, it has been used for decades in physical therapy and rehabilitation settings. TENS is popular for its ability to stimulate muscles without the need for a traditional fitness routine. The theory behind this is that the electrical pulses delivered by TENS can activate muscle fibres. This article will present how TENS work for gaining muscles, including how to use it and the safety considerations.
How Does a TENS Unit for Muscle Growth Work?
TENS functions by delivering electrical current to the body through electrode pads placed on the skin. Usually, TENS works by providing a method of pain relief by blocking pain signals, prompting the release of natural painkillers and improving blood flow. However, a TENS unit for muscle growth has underlying mechanisms that could potentially lead to muscle building and activation.
Firstly, increasing muscle recruitment. When the adhesive electrodes are over the targeted area, the electric current stimulates nerves that innervate the muscles. This stimulation can lead to the recruitment of a greater number of muscle fibres. Secondly, it involves the notion of muscle plasticity. The repetitive stimulation could influence the adaptive response of muscle tissue, leading to changes in muscle tone.
Furthermore, TENS can enhance blood circulation. This aspect potentially supports muscle recovery and muscle healing, which are essential factors in healthy muscle growth. Also, TENS can trigger the release of endorphins, which are the natural pain-relieving chemicals. This can potentially allow people to push their muscles harder during an exercise routine, leading to greater muscle activation.
Main Benefits of Electrical Stimulation
- Many TENS devices are portable and can be easily used at home or while travelling. People can incorporate this into their workout training without relying on gym-based equipment.
- TENS stimulation offers a non-invasive and drug-free approach to potentially enhancing muscle growth. This may be appealing to those who prefer natural methods for improving their fitness and muscle performance.
- Many TENS machines offer customisable settings, including adjustable pulse rate, intensity levels, and duration.
- Compared to other muscle stimulation devices or services, TENS are generally cost-effective. This offers a more affordable option for people exploring electrical muscle stimulation.
How to Use a TENS Unit for Muscle Growth
Using a TENS unit for muscle growth involves a simple step process. Begin by connecting the electrodes through lead wires to the device or a smartphone via Bluetooth for wireless. Prior to placing the electrodes on the skin, people should clean the targeted area. Thoroughly drying the skin is also important to ensure optimal electrode pad adherence.
Then, carefully position electrodes on the skin, following any specific pad placement. People may consult a fitness expert or physical therapist or read the user manual. Correct electrode placement is essential for effectively targeting the muscle groups. After the electrodes are in place, users can turn on the device and adjust the settings. This may include setting the frequency, intensity, duration, or choosing a program.
Once everything is set, individuals can start the stimulation. They should gradually increase the intensity to a comfortable level, taking note of any sensations. While receiving TENS, people can also engage in light exercise. This combination of electric stimulation and physical activity may offer a synergistic approach. Once done, turn off the unit and remove the electrodes.
Setting Up the Machine and Adjusting the Currents
To optimise TENS therapy, individuals should consider setting up the machine and adjusting the setting to achieve specific needs of muscle response. Firstly, consider the frequency of electrical stimulation. To target muscle growth, the person may want to have a high-frequency current therapy (50 to 100 Hz). This higher frequency can effectively stimulate the muscles and promote muscle growth.
Additionally, adjust the intensity. When using TENS for muscle building, people may want to set the intensity at a level that produces noticeable muscle contractions. Hence, this should not cause discomfort. Also, consider the duration of the therapy. The advisable is 15 to 30 minutes.
Safety Considerations When Using a TENS Unit for Muscle Growth
When using a TENS unit for muscle growth, it is important to prioritise safety to ensure optimal use. It is crucial to consult a healthcare professional before using TENS. This is particularly true if the user has an underlying medical condition. Accordingly, people should be mindful of the placement of the electrode pads on the skin. Avoid positioning the electrodes on sensitive areas like broken skin and neck.
Furthermore, when adjusting the settings, individuals should start with conservative settings and gradually increase as tolerated. Users should be cautious not to exceed advisable settings. Overstimulation can lead to muscle fatigue, discomfort, and even potential muscle damage. Nevertheless, it is crucial to be attentive to the responses of the body during the stimulation.
Also, avoid using TENS while engaging in activities that require full attention and concentration. This includes driving, operating machinery, or sleeping. The electrical stimulation can potentially distract the user, leading to accidents, injuries, or poor sleep. Lastly, do not use TENS while in contact with water. This can potentially cause electrical shock and damage the device.
What Are the Possible Side Effects?
TENS may come with tolerable potential side effects. One common adverse side effect is skin irritation or allergic reactions at the electrode placement site. Prolonged application or sensitivity to the materials of the pads can lead to redness, itching, or dermatitis. In some cases, people may experience overstimulation. This can lead to discomfort or even temporary weakness.
Moreover, improper use of TENS can lead to discomfort or pain at the stimulation sites. Users should be mindful of their tolerance levels. Also, the electrical stimulation may interfere with implantable devices and cause further risks to medical conditions. Thus, it is vital to consult professionals before use.
The use of a TENS unit for muscle growth is beneficial and effective. This involves the use of low-voltage electrical currents to stimulate the nerves and muscles. Accordingly, this can increase muscle recruitment, involve muscle plasticity, enhance blood circulation, and trigger the release of endorphins. People can operate TENS simply. They need to connect the electrodes to the unit. Then, the user will place the pads on the skin, adjust the settings to conform to specific needs, and activate stimulation.
TENS offers a wide range of benefits. It is portable, easy to use, non-invasive, drug-free, and cost-effective. For growing muscles, modifying the settings is crucial. A higher frequency and intensity may be beneficial for muscle building. Nevertheless, it is vital to know the safety considerations and the potential side effects. This is to eliminate the risks and gain optimal results from TENS therapy. People who want to purchase TENS may look for the retailer iTENS Australia.