EMS: The Ultimate Fitness Trend

With the opening of new Santa Monica studio Manduu, Europe’s hottest fitness trend has now reached L.A. EMS Training promises to help you lose weight and tone up, all in just 20 minutes per week. With Heidi Klum and Madonna already swearing by the new workout, Malibu Magazine’s Dirk Manthey gave it a try.

Written by Dirk Manthey | Photographed by Julie Wuellner


What a feeling! My whole body starts to tingle! While it doesn’t hurt, it is a bizarre sensation to have an electrical current pulsing through your body every few seconds. The muscles contract and start to shake. As we begin our session, Manduu manager and personal trainer, Jason Hickey, turns on the EMS device that is connected to me via electrodes. Wearing a whole-body suit, somewhat like Lara Croft, the electrodes then connect to my arms, legs, stomach, back and behind. They deliver the electric current that stays on anywhere from four to 20 seconds and then turns off. While the electricity is pulsing through me, Jason asks me to mimic his motions and exercises. For 20 minutes we do squats, lunges, bicep curls and other muscle-building exercises. 20 minutes can feel pretty long.

The studio is operated by husband and wife duo Jason and Wilbirg Hickey (pictured).

The studio is operated by husband and wife duo Jason and Wilbirg Hickey (pictured).

At the start of every session, Manduu takes your complete body measurements. This full-body analysis-system, InBody, lets you quickly see improvements in fat percentage, muscle mass, and water weight. Especially useful to know is how much visceral fat you have, as cardiologists will warn you that too much of this fat type can lead to heart attacks. InBody sends all your measurements directly to your phone through its app so you can easily track them from week to week.

“EMS has many benefits, the main one being that it attacks the fast-twitch muscles directly where the fat burning occurs,” Hickey said. “Many people cannot activate these on their own for various reasons. Being able to do a 15 to 20- minute workout while working both slow and fast-twitch muscles simultaneously is what separates EMS training from conventional workouts.”

While EMS training will quickly help you build muscle and get toned, it is important to note that it does not replace cardio-training. Especially if your goal is weight loss supplementing EMS training with cardio such as running, walking, biking or swimming can be extremely beneficial. In our experience, EMS builds muscle mass in less time than other forms of training. This is why there are already hundreds of thousands of people who use EMS training in Europe. Celebrities, models and top athletes swear by it. Even Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, uses EMS training to stay in top shape. Even though celebrities are frequent users, EMS training is especially great for the average person.

The Hickeys' Main St. studio is the first E.M.S. location in L.A.

The Hickeys' Main St. studio is the first E.M.S. location in L.A.

It is even ideal for people with back pain and seniors with muscle atrophy. In fact, EMS training originated in the rehab industry and is often used after injuries to build back muscles. The quick results EMS training can quickly provide make it somewhat addictive. In just 15 minutes, you can have the same effect it would usually take you two hours of weight training to achieve. However, the intense nature of the training makes it important not to overdo it. Doctors and trainers recommend no more than two EMS training sessions per week.

Manduu Studio is located at the end of the Main St. in Santa Monica. The studio is operated by husband and wife duo Jason and Wilbirg Hickey. Even from far away, it’s is easy to spot by its bright green awning. Manduu originated in Austria, where it has a large chain of EMS studios. Currently the franchise is working on expanding their presence in the U.S. Manduu opened their first stateside studio in Miami, and along with the Santa Monica location currently have a third studio in Franklin, Tennessee.

EMS will undoubtedly play a role in the future of fitness, even if today’s techniques leave some room for improvement. The next generation of EMS is said to be cable-free, which will help streamline the technique. Perhaps the biggest current downside, however, is the price tag; twice a week sessions at Manduu will cost you $300 per month. However, the price becomes well worth it once you see your results. MM

2721 Main St., Santa Monica | (844) 462-6388 | manduu.com

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