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Peak performance every day with Compex

By Hammer Nutrition

What is it?

Compex is a neuromuscular electrical stimulator. As the name suggests, it is involved with stimulating nerves and skeletal muscle. Compex stimulates only motor neurons. These neurons innervate or will stimulate skeletal muscle fibers. What you will notice is the contraction of the muscle. These contractions can be quick and rapid, quick with pauses between contractions, or contractions that are held for seconds at a time. It's this variety of contraction types that will result in improved warming up, strength, and recovery.

How does it work?

Pads are placed on the skin at each end of the skeletal muscle to be stimulated. There are four channels with lead wires. Each wire is connected to two pads. Very small amounts of current runs from one pad to the next and completes a circuit using the muscle tissue as a conduit. The current runs at specific frequencies (Hz) and pulse durations (microseconds). The motor neurons found within this circuit are stimulated. The muscle fibers innervated by the motor neurons then contract.

Changing the frequencies can change which kinds of muscle fibers are stimulated. Three ranges of frequencies stimulate three kinds of motor neurons-muscle fiber types. A slow twitch muscle fiber will contract at one set of frequencies while an intermediate fast twitch muscle fiber will contract at a different set of frequencies, Likewise, fast twitch muscle fiber capable of the most rapid contractions has its own set of frequencies that it is sensitive to.

What can it do?

Compex comes pre-programmed to deliver three types of programs: warm up, strength building, and recovery programs.

Here is what the various programs are designed to do:

Pre-warm up. Increases blood flow to the muscle, thereby increasing the temperature of the muscle. All of the reactions associated with a muscular contraction will occur at a faster rate. The muscle will more easily change shape. Neural inhibition is decreased so that more muscle fibers can be recruited when the muscle contracts. Oxygen is released to the muscle at an increased rate.

Potentiation. A short program that puts minimal load on the muscle while speeding the reaction time of a muscular contraction. This program should be used ten minutes prior to a workout or competition.

Explosive Strength. Stimulates the fast twitch Type IIb muscle fiber and trains its creatine phosphate energy delivery system. This energy delivery system provides stored energy needed for the first three to five seconds of work while the multi-enzyme mediated anaerobic and aerobic energy delivery systems proceed.

Strength. This program trains the Type IIb fast twitch muscle fibers as well. It trains these muscle fibers to deliver energy anaerobically and generate a great deal of force for efforts lasting up to one minute. This is done without cardiovascular or mental fatigue. There is no risk of injury often associated with intense muscular contractions of this kind.

Resistance. This program trains the Type IIa fast twitch muscle fibers. This is the most common muscle fiber type in an average individual. These fibers can deliver energy both aerobically and anaerobically. They are well-adapted for delivering energy at a rate fast enough to support very hard efforts that last for 1-5 (8) minutes.

Endurance. This program stimulates the Type I slow twitch muscle fibers. These fibers are capable of delivering energy aerobically and therefore are the most used muscle fiber for efforts lasting many minutes to many hours.

Active Recovery. This program has three parts to it. The first part with its rapid contractions at 9Hz squeezes the blood out of the capillary beds, flushes out the waste products from the work done, and makes room for fresh blood to supply the muscle with the oxygen and nutrients it needs to recover. The program decreases the frequency every three minutes, moving to frequencies that produce endorphins for an analgesic response and finally a muscle relaxation response from 1Hz to 2Hz frequencies.

Recovery Plus. This program has both the flush and endorphin production parts found in the Active Recovery program. However, there is a greater emphasis on the endorphin production. This program was written to meet the recovery needs of those involved in very hard efforts day after day.

Massage. This program is dedicated to endorphin production. Heavy muscles will feel light. Ischemic or knotted muscles will relax to allow better blood flow to the muscle, and sore muscles are relieved.

Compex is a powerful training tool.

The involuntary contraction from Compex stimulation results from short circuiting the central nervous system. The nerves within the muscle are stimulated. The other nerves in the chain are not. The nerves within the muscle are stimulated along their entire length and sidestep the neural inhibition that may be present. An involuntary contraction from Compex can recruit more of the muscle than a maximal voluntary contraction! Since neural inhibition is removed with repeated stimulation of the nerves, Compex can do a better job of it. Since most increases in strength can be ascribed to removing neural inhibition, an involuntary contraction with Compex can do a better job of building strength than can customary voluntary contractions.

What are you waiting for? Train, compete, and recover like a pro. Compex should occupy the top shelf of your training tool box. HN

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