My experience with the PowerDot

October 16, 2017

My experience with the PowerDot

Powerdot was been kind enough to let me trial their device for a couple of weeks, here is a brief description of the product and what it does taken from the website

PowerDot is a wireless EMS unit used to increase the blood flow and metabolite washout and decrease the muscle tension to improve and speed up exercise recovery. Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) allows target training by placing electrode pads around the muscle and contracts it via electrical current. All sessions, Recovery, Warm Up and Strength, run from an app on your mobile (iOS and Android).

All the details can be found HERE and the full range of workouts can be SEEN HERE  but in summery the electrical impulses cause muscle contractions that improve blood flow to help flush out metabolic waste post training and speed up recovery, or to improve muscular strength, strength endurance / explosive power based on the setting used.

The device and app have a wide range of settings, these are the ones I used most frequently when using the Powerdot.

  • Massage: I used this primarily on my lower body / lower back, lats and shoulders: it is a strange sensation at first, but afterwards I felt looser
  • Pre-Activation: I used this on my quads pre-squats with the intention of getting the muscle firing efficiently before lifting. This setting builds to a pretty strong muscular contraction. I'Il be honest and say I was surprised how light and fast the first 3 reps of a 5 rep max back squat felt. I also used this setting pre 1000m row time trial to shorten my warm up time, which resulted in a new British record in my category. 
  • Active Recovery: At a recent Crossfit competition I used it straight after the first event of Rowing / thruster combo which left my legs in a bad way (to put it lightly), 20 minutes later they felt great and the barbell complex event not so long after felt light, snappy and comfortable, the same happened after the 1000m time trial and my legs were like jelly, after using this setting my legs significantly better.
  • Extended Recovery: I used this on my lower back the following day after the Crossfit competition as it was feeling pretty tight, an hour after using it felt back to normal
  • Strength Endurance:I used this on my left shoulder to bring it up to speed with my right side: It is a different feeling than the other settings and is more interval based with the length of contraction. This setting is most suited to slower twitch muscle groups like our delts
  • Explosive power: I used this on my quads as it's a setting most suited to fast twitch muscle fibres. Again it's an interval based program where your muscles contract forcefully very quickly (IE like Olympic lifting) then have a longer recover period compared to the strength endurance setting.

 

 

 

 

App features and usability:

 

The device is controlled by an app and connects via Bluetooth, from there it is simply a case of choosing

  • The setting (ie massage / recovery / performance)
  • Muscle Group
  • Manual adjusting the intensity

 

The app provides feedback of the average and maximum intensities used during that session and also keep track of previous uses, most used settings and how much of the planned session was completed. This allows a significant amount of useful data to be collected and used to get the most out of the Powerdot and for it to compliment the other parts of your training programme

 

How it's best used:

 

Like a well-planned training programme, the Powerdot allows for a structured and periodised  approach to be used: Due to the intensity being quantified on a scale of 1 - 100 and after each use the app providing feedback with regards to the average intensity of the session and the maximum intensity of a session it is very easy to note how and when to increase the intensity much like traditional training programs, this makes if perfect to run alongside your current training cycle, especially when it has a specific focus for example, 

  • During the Crossfit open using the muscular endurance setting to improve your ability during work capacity based workout out, or the strength setting to help build / maintain strength when training focuses slightly more on engine work
  • During a strength cycle, the strength protocol will compliment traditional strength work and would be a great way to allow weaker muscle groups to receive some extra attention
  • During a Olympic lifting cycle to help teach the muscle to contract quickly and forcefully, again a great way to bring weaker / inactive muscles up to speed
  • Pre-activation used as part of a daily warm up
  • Recovery / massage used daily as part of mobility program, with active recovery setting being used on rest days

Conclusion:

 

The Powerdot is a great way to compliment an existing strength and conditioning programme and allow an athlete to get some extra volume for weaker muscle groups. The Powerdot isn't designed to replace training, so don’t expect it to give you a 100kg snatch simply by using it in isolation, but when combined to supplement what’s already being done it will speed up recovery, reduce soreness and help teach the muscles how to forcefully contract which will perfectly carry over to moving yourself or a barbell faster for longer.

 

About the author: Paul Johnson, MSc, BSc, SENr

Paul has provided nutritional coaching and support to athlete in a wide variety of sports including competitive Crossfit athletes, international weightlifters in the masters age group, MMA fighters and recreational crossfitters and fitness enthusiasts just looking in improve health and body composition

In addition to Paul's experience in sports nutrition, he has a strong background in personal training, while his day job sees him delivering exercise referral sessions with particular focus on cardiac rehab, heart failure and adult weight management"

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