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**Jack Medina Seminar Alert**
|Jack Medina will be speaking in Minnetonka and St. Paul, Minnesota, and Eau Claire, Wisconsin on April 15th, 16th, and 17th respectively. For general info, go to www.PreventionTwinCities.com. For more details, contact Leslie Chermak at 651 773-0193, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Muscles work off nerve
Basically, an electrochemical signal goes from your brain down to your
muscles and uses it to contract. These "electric" signals cause your
muscles to release calcium, which causes your muscle fibers to contract.
Recently, a company developed a patch that is supposed to use electromagnetics
to enhance the signals in your muscles and improve performance. The patch's
manufacturer claims that 99% of users experience a 10% increase in strength and
stamina after only a few minutes of wearing the patches.
The company also has
unpublished studies showing 34-43% increases in muscle endurance after using
Since this does appear sensible, at least on the surface, it's
important to research this hypothetical and test it scientifically. Researchers
at Oklahoma State University decided to investigate
whether there was any merit behind the patch.
|Research on the Patch
The study was double-blind,
meaning neither the subjects nor the scientists knew who was getting the real
patches and who was getting the placebos. By the end of the study, there were
no significant effects of the patch on vertical jump, grip strength, bench
press endurance, torque-to-body-weight ratio, total work, average power, or
average peak torque. However, the researchers did report a higher peak torque
in the group on the patch. Also, the scientists reported that the gains in
torque-to-body-weight ratio and average power were near significant in the
Interpreting the Results
Do these results indicate
that there may be something to the patch? Not quite! There were several limitations to the study
making the results questionable.
First, the researchers did not use an
appropriate method for analyzing their data. Second, the peak torque patch
group started off much lower than in the placebo group. Thus, you might expect
the experimental group to improve more than the placebo group. What probably
happened was that the groups were not on a level playing field to start with,
and they simply ended up on a level playing field at the end of the study.
were there problems with the study, but there are problems with the theories
behind the patch. If this patch truly improved electrochemical signals in the
muscle, you would think it would have done it in the upper body, since this is
where the patches were placed. Yet it was the leg performance that showed a
slight improvement, which doesn't make sense.
Also, the idea behind the patch
simply makes no sense when it comes to how your body works. When it comes to
generating maximum strength and power, you are already maximally recruiting
your muscle fibers if you are putting out maximal effort; increasing calcium
release would not be of any benefit.
There is also a disparity
between what the manufacturer says the patch does and what type of performance
increases studies have reported. They have reported increases in muscular
endurance, but there is no plausible way that an increase in calcium release
would actually improve endurance.
If this patch truly improved
muscle endurance by 34 to 43% as the manufacturer stated, the Olympic and
professional athletes would be using it, but they are not. The ideas behind the
patch are so full of holes that they can never be patched up!
Jacobsen, B.H., et al.
Assessment of the Effectiveness
of Nontransdermal Energy Patches on Mscle Eendurance and Power. Journal of
Strength and Conditioning Research 22:869-873, 2008.
Best wishes for fitness and health,
Jack A. Medina, M.A.
Designs for Fitness
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