Toning your abs is something that, at times, can seem impossible for women and men. If it isn’t stubborn obliques, it could be difficulty getting rid of belly fat to increase definition or just getting past a plateau to increase the tone of your abs. Of course, the best and primary solution is to continue at the gym (or at home) but to vary your muscle training regime but another option may be to add an EMS system in to the mix to help take that ab toning to another level.

Home Electronic Muscle Stimulation (EMS) systems enable you to supplement your regular workout program, without putting stress on your joints, lower back or neck and shoulders. EMS machines are ideal for today’s hectic lifestyle when time is limited and you can’t get to the gym. An EMS machine is easy to hook up to in your home or office, while catching up on paper work, talking on the phone, watching TV or surfing the net. While toning for women shouldn’t be different to men as muscle tissue reacts the same, women are often looking for a different end result than men.

EMS works to mimic the body’s natural muscle movements; signals are sent between the gel pads (on the toning belt), switching on the nerves that control your muscles and causing them to contract naturally, increasing the muscle tone. EMS technology has been used for over 40 years in hospitals, clinics and physiotherapy practices around the world to strengthen and rehabilitate muscles in just this way in both men and women.

Electronic Muscle Stimulators technically are TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulators) devices. The difference between TENS and EMS machine functionalist is which nerves in your body are stimulated during usage. EMS machines are designed to stimulate muscle motor nerves while TENS devices stimulate sensory nerve endings, making EMS the natural choice for muscle toning – especially toning your abs. Both types of treatment work by generating electrical impulses that stimulate nerves through the skin causing muscles controlled by those nerves to react by contracting.

While you may be cynical about using EMS for ab toning, there have been a number of medical studies about the efficacy of EMS machines, rather notably this study about the use of EMS in patients with chronic heart failure. Of course, if you *have* chronic heart failure do not attempt this without the full knowledge and consultancy of your doctor. The abstract of the study starts: “This investigation evaluated training responses to prolonged electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) in patients with stable chronic heart failure.”

Of course, in order to ensure the results were significant, they had to do a control and a test group. “Training consisted of electrical muscle stimulation of the major leg muscles for a minimum of 1 hour, 5 days a week” according to the abstract so there was method and tracking used in the study but what is interesting is that this is done through EMS.

There is really only one thing most readers will be interested in and that is what the answers were with regards to answering the key question of whether it was effective. “Conclusions: EMS can be used in sedentary adults with stable chronic heart failure to improve physical fitness and functional capacity. It may provide a viable alternative for patients unable to undertake more conventional forms of exercise.” Using EMS for ab toning can also be effective for helping break through a plateau or similar sticking point in a normal training regime.

Consumer opinion over these products is divided. Many have asserted that EMS did nothing for them, whereas others claim to have noticed a very definite difference. While this may come down to the effectiveness of individual products, the method of use and the age of the user, there does seem to be a researched actual effect of the machine on physiology if used correctly and over the correct period of time. If you are interested in purchasing an electric muscle stimulator for toning for women specifically, it is advisable to research the specific brand and seek the opinions of past customers.