Calvin, M., Brooks, K., Dawes, J., Randazzo, K., & Carter, J. (2013). Electrical muscle stimulation and performance in collegiate football athletes. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 45(5), Supplement abstract number 2134.

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"NFL scouts view performance tests such as the 40-yard sprint and the vertical jump in judging potential of future NFL athletes. A popular device called the Compex Muscle Stimulator (Compex) contains a preset setting that is called “potentiation,” described by the developers as being able to increase the muscle activation rate of force development by potentiating the muscles closer to the action potential."

This study assessed whether using an Electrical Muscle Stimulation device, directly before performing football-tests would increase the performance of athletes. Ss included 14 Division I collegiate male football players, aged 18-22 years. The potentiation cycle (3.5 minutes) was chosen for Group 1. Group 2 did not use the Compex. Both groups were given up to two minutes to prepare for the 40-yard sprint on their own. Ss were allowed two trials at the 40-yard sprint with two minutes between the trials, and were measured with an electronic timing device. Ss next performed the vertical jump test. Reach height was measured and two attempts were given for each S to test their vertical jump using the Vertec. The best trial for each test was used for data computations. Procedures were repeated one week later with Group 2 using the Compex while Group 1 did not.

No significant differences between groups, trials, or between athletes for the vertical jump or the 40 meter dash were found.

Implication. A single use of the Compex on the hamstrings of Division I collegiate male athletes did not significantly increase performance in the 40-yard sprint or vertical jump tests. This study did not support the use of Electrical Muscle Stimulation to increase performance.

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