The kind folks over at Sixpad decided that they thought I looked enough like Cristiano Ronaldo (or was it Dina Asher-Smith?) to warrant sending me over some goodies. They sent me one of both their Abs-fit and Body-fit models. As soon as they came through the door I whacked them on (after reading the instructions – promise) and got to work..
What is it?
The Sixpad products deliver electrical currents to specific areas on the body to facilitate muscle growth, strength gains and improved athletic performance. It can even help with warming up muscles or as a recovery aid. That’s a gross undersell from me there so I’ll let Professor Toshio Moritani give you the full lowdown on their 20hz EMS training.
“For over 40 years, I’ve been involved in the research of methods for electrically stimulating the muscles. When you move your muscles or exercise them, the brain sends electric current to the motor nerves, and current is then sent from the motor nerves to the muscles to move them.
The electric muscle stimulation which I am researching focuses on directly stimulating the muscles you wish to train by sending electrical currents from outside to the surface of the skin, in place of the brain and motor nerve currents. This method is what is referred to as “skeletal muscle electrical stimulation”.
‘Electrical Muscle Stimulation’ or simply ‘EMS’.
Many EMS systems that were used in the past had a major issue: the frequency used was too high. A high frequency means a high number of electrical impulses. For example, when the frequency is 60 Hz, 60 electrical impulses are delivered per second. At this point, muscles can no longer keep up with the impulses and become fatigued, which means that no effect can be expected from training. Against this background, world-leading research in sports medicine found that 20 Hz is an efficient frequency for training.
However, 20 Hz is associated with a tingling pain characteristic of low frequencies. This technical issue could not be solved, which is why it was difficult to create a commercial 20 Hz EMS training device.
Got it? Good.
My SIXPAD progress
The Sixpad abs and body fit both come with 15 levels of intensity so you can progressively overload the muscles – something which I found really handy when trying to challenge myself throughout the testing period. I started the abs fit at level 3 then worked up to 15 for the last week. I used the body fit predominantly on my arms, working up to level 6 (more on this later).
Whilst Sixpad claim that you should try out their products for at least 6 weeks I thought for the sake of getting the review out there, I’d do only 4. This still gave me a complete insight into the quality of it though (or so I’d hope…).
Weeks 1 & 2
For the first couple of weeks it was more about finding where on my body responded best to the stimulation and getting used to the novel feeling of being administered electrical currents through my body.
It was a strange feeling but definitely not too straining. I could actually feel the muscles working which was mad considering I had in my head that this would be another Slendertone carbon copy – how wrong I was.
Week 3 & 4
Come the third week I could really feel the Sixpad improving my performance. At this point I was training 6 days a week and using the Abs and Body fit models every night before getting ready for bed.
This is a massive workload, especially coupled with the fact I have to run the website, work through the week and have various other commitments. Usually, I’d do some meditation and stretches to deal with the stress my body is under but using the Sixpad seemed to do the trick.
Improves strength, muscle size and overall athletic performance
I added kilos to all my major lifts, managed to recover faster than ever despite working out 6 days per week and recorded some of my best sprint times on cardio days. I’m nowhere near professional level but the benefits I experienced in terms of my workout performance and body composition were surprising, especially considering my scepticism beforehand.
All you have to do when using the Sixpad products is sit there and watch TV if you really want. You don’t have to go on a 400 mile run or bench press 8 tonnes. You can let the gear do the work whilst you get on with other tasks – I enjoy reading whilst letting the electricity do its thing.
One thing that I do like is that Sixpad don’t just say “strap on our product, say Abracadabra and you’ll have 18 inch biceps, a 4 inch waist and a 16 inch phallus”. They don’t make these bogus claims. It’s encouraged to use the equipment in conjunction with a strong workout routine in order to maximise results which I find extremely refreshing.
Everything that Sixpad are offering is backed up by hard science – all of which is outlined on their website which displays the thought process behind each and every choice they took on their way to designing this revolutionary bit of kit.
The size of the product means that it can be easily worn under clothing whilst you’re out and about if you really want. The best part about its size is that it means you can transport your Abs and Body fit with you anywhere. They come in sealable pouches which protect the products as well which helps when bringing it round with you.
The Body fit (Sort of…)
The body fit, when used on the arms, means that you’re not going to be using that arm for the duration of the workout. It causes your forearm to flail about like you’re this guy. It’s not inherently a bad thing as it’s just part of the electrical stimulation process, however it’s always best to inform people so they don’t think they’re having a low-key fit.
Abs fit intensity
Another problem I encountered was that come week 3, I had reached the maximum intensity for the abs fit. Now, this isn’t a bad thing necessarily, as the stimulation was still noticeable and left me feeling fatigued for a bit afterwards but this does limit the progressive overload element of the product somewhat.
The final stumbling block to the Sixpad is the price. The Abs Fit costs £149.99 and the Body Fit costs £109.99. This is a pretty hefty sum even if the results are as good as those I have experienced. However, I do believe there’s no better investment than one’s own health – something I’d urge any potential customers to consider if they’re currently balking at the asking price.
Overall, I’m extremely pleased with the results that the Sixpad has given me. I’m currently bulking like a Grizzly before hibernation so my ab progress wasn’t so apparent, but the actual objective stats like my weight room performance certainly was. I added around 5kg to my bench, 7.5kg to my squat and the same to my deadlift over the month long period. These figures aren’t to be sniffed at and indicate that this gear is the real deal.