I have been very conscious over the past few months (during lockdown) that summer is fast approaching and I am nowhere near my summer body goals. With the absence of gyms and the complete inability to follow any workout regime past a week I knew I needed a solution, and this came in the form of SIXPAD’s state of the art ab belt.
Whilst the experts at the company do not promote their EMS (Electrical Muscle Stimulation) training products as a weight loss solution, rather an aid to toning, I figured with the right balance of a good diet and exercise I would be able to speed up my results, just in time for the British summer heatwave.
What is EMS?
Normally, our muscles are made to move by signals transmitted by the brain through our nervous system.
EMS uses electrical impulses to create an involuntary muscle contraction and get your workout going.
Normal physical activity uses approximately 30% of a muscle’s fibre leaving 70% dormant. EMS can effectively target and stimulate these dormant fibres.
Professor Toshio Moritani (the creator of SIXPAD) is a driving authority in the field of sports science having researched and studied the training effects of EMS (for over 40 years).
Through his research, he identified 20Hz as the optimum EMS training frequency.
Strength of muscular contraction is at its highest affording enhanced muscle power.
Muscle tension is maintained over time, allowing sustained efficient training – at other frequencies, fatigue quickly sets in.
More oxygen is consumed and training efficacy is higher.
Fast twitch muscle fibres that are fundamental to muscle tone are targeted without the need for heavy loading – this leads to noticeable changes in appearance.
This allowed him to develop SIXPAD’s unique 23-minute automatic programme cycle calculated for efficiency. Intensity gradually increases over time through warm-up, training and cool down phases.
How it works
EMS training works by transmitting external electrical stimuli to the muscles in the body, causing them to contract and relax just as they would during exercise. Each device is paired up via Bluetooth to a SIXPAD training app on your phone, which allows users to visualise their muscle training from start to finish with the ability to increase and decrease their training settings.
How does it feel?
The belt itself was easy enough to set up alongside the training app. Via the app you can change the intensity levels of your training before starting a session. On my very first session my pain threshold was rather weak, I couldn’t get past a 7 (out of 20).
Each training session lasts 23 minutes. As time went on, I was able to increase the intensity until after around 2 weeks of using the belt around 5 times a week I was finally at 20.
The training sessions can feel rather uncomfortable at times however the programme cycle does ease you into it. After the 15-minute mark the programme does feel more intense and at times I found myself counting down the seconds praying for death and wondering why on earth I was putting myself through such torture.
However, when the programme ends and the final beep sounds, I feel a rush of relief and a sense of achievement – I’ve had a core workout and I haven’t even left my bed.
I have used the belt 5 times a week for the past 8 weeks. Whilst my abs are still non-existent, I can feel my core muscles working and since using the ab belt I have noticed that I look less bloated and my core feels stronger than it ever has before.
Interestingly, I have noticed that when I stopped using the belt, I saw a decline in my stomach muscles, and they were beginning to revert back to normal. Overall, this may not be the magic solution to a perfectly toned tummy as quite frankly that does not yet exist (as far as we know) it certainly is an effective aid.
Going forward I will definitely continue to use the SIXPAD and alongside a balanced diet and regular exercise I’m sure eventually I will see the results I’m after.