Electrical muscle stimulation exercisers

Electrical muscle stimulation

I happen to love electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) exercisers! They are taken seriously now. These types of exercisers are commonly used for rehabilitation and also for pain management in addition to muscle toning. Most of these types of exercisers have 3 programs, many have more than that. As a beginner you start at the low intensity and progress as you like. I am dealing with the equipment for muscle toning here. If the equipment say T.E.N.S., then that equipment is for pain management. The last group on the page has both EMS and TENS.

They are not painful, but can exercise your muscles in a way that is an unusual feeling. It feels very much like when you have a muscle twitch. If you raise the intensity high, it can have a slight electrical tingle feeling added to this. With use, you will come to know what intensity level is proper for you. You are in control of the intensity level and what feels comfortable.

Did my research…

I did a vast amount of research on this subject before I got one. All the negative articles were by folks who never tried them. I read reviews where there was such appreciation and love for them. One thing that always sticks in my mind is the story of how Bruce Lee experimented in this area and was one of the earliest. He was a believer and he was incredibly fit and toned. Like me, he had a base fitness program and had added this tool.

All exercise is beneficial

All exercise is beneficial to your health and well being. Even if core exercise doesn’t give you a six-pack, ab exercise will strengthen your core. It is always great to have strong muscles to support your back and hold in your gut. Having good muscle tone to your whole body is a great idea. If you are not a fan of exercise and only want to use this equipment, try to make taking walks a part of your routine.

Exercise Pluses

Better health
Improve circulation
Better blood pressure
Stress relief
Good sleep
Weight control

The way I started

The first electrical exerciser I got was a FaceMaster. That was my first step into this realm of fitness. There is simply no better way to accomplish this task for the face… period. Now that is not to say that I do not do face exercises. There are some really good ones, and some really silly ones that aren’t so good. (I have good face exercises in my home page for you if you want to try them.) Next I went on to the ab toner belt. I absolutely love both the face exerciser and ab belt!

My experience has been extremely positive. It has improved my fitness. I have been an avid exercise nut since the early 1980s. In 1984, I became a weight-lifter at the school weight room. I joined gyms and outlasted my lifetime membership. This gave me a feel for what exercise and equipment was my thing, and then I built up my home gym. I know what I enjoy and what works very well for me. This exerciser makes a difference. It is an easy addition to your results whether you have a fitness program or not. What is not to love?

Why to be a fan of these…

Face exerciser

The most effective method to tone the face
Lift and tone the facial muscles
Control what you accomplish well (toning muscles, softening wrinkles, build up muscle – fuller or higher cheeks for example)
Tone up the muscles without stretching the skin

Ab belt

Get a little more added on exercise to a workout
Great for those days when you want to do your stomach some good and are maybe feeling tired
Easy to fit in some exercise while you are doing other things (multi-task)

Easy use


I love this idea! My weight-lifting does great in this area, but no longer get the results I used to get when I was younger. This could probably make a big improvement.
Slendertone has an arm exerciser that is compatible with the Abs7 belt controller (any of their hand held controllers). There are arm exercisers that are complete systems too. With Slendertone there are exercisers for both bicep and tricep or ones that are just for tricep. The bicep and tricep model is compact and works the front and back upper arm. This model has two contact points centrally located on each side of the upper arm. The tricep model works on exercising the back part of the upper arm with two contact points for top and bottom end of the muscle.


The electrical muscle stimulators will come with great instructions. Understanding the muscle anatomy is very valuable to using these exercise tools effectively. I have 2 types of face exerciser equipment. If you use this for your neck area, avoid the voicebox/thyroid location in the central front region. You must be careful to use a lower level of intensity for the eyelids. I have one that can do the proper low level for that purpose and one that is more efficient for exercising the whole face.

FaceMaster – I have this

This electrical stimulator is great for using on whatever muscle length desired. It is very effective for using at lower intensity levels. For this reason it is well suited for use around the eye area. It can do the needed intensities for the whole face as well and uses a 9V battery.

The instruction manual has information to guide your through the programs for eyes, Cheeks, jaw, mouth, forehead, and a special method that they call feathering. Feathering uses a zig zag pattern that is specialized for softening wrinkles. The new Platinum version has finger wands in addition to the wands that are basic for the system. (My older unit does not have these finger wands and is lavender color.)
Suzanne Somers Facemaster Platinum Facial Toning System
5 out of 5 stars for 2 reviews

Serious Skin Care Microcurrent Egg – I have this

This has a pair of electrical muscle stimulators so that you can do both sides of your face at the same level of intensity at the same time. To be clear, this is a pair of stimulators with a common controller. They have a set distance between the electrodes of course. Your exercise routine goes so much faster with a pair of stimulators. That is an advantage that appeals greatly to me. It may take some learning to adapt to the uses that work well with this set. With a pair, it is so easy.

The exerciser comes with a manual that has a diagram showing the locations to use the unit for each of the 3 programs. There are also videos to give instruction on Youtube. One Youtube video steps you through the introduction from opening the product box. One steps you through the programs and the patterns of use for each, as well as the benefits from each one.

Microcurrent Facial Toning System by Serious Skincare
3.7 out of 5 stars for over 15 reviews


Electrical stimulation exercisers for abs are a great tool for exercising the abdominal muscles. The Slendertone Flex first came out in 1999. Mine is a Slendertone Flex, that has a different width than the wider modern Slendertone belts. New ones even have an extension that can be added to increase that width. I have found that it really works great for me to use mine below the belly button for lower ab muscles and across the belly button for the rest. The lower ab muscles are tough to exercise well, I appreciate this focus.

What it takes to get a six-pack

In order to get the kind of muscle development for a six-pack, you have to be doing exercise for your whole body. You also have to be eating healthy food. If you are eating a lot of processed and fatty foods, you will have a difficult time overcoming that. Additional abdominal focus exercise can achieve this with the proper diet and a basic fitness program.

Exercise belt

All of the Slendertone versions have 3 electrode pad locations. These pads have location marks for proper orientation to be placed according to your waist size range within the belt size range. My early model Slendertone belt has a controller that connects into the outside of the belt. The new version has a cord to a controller and is compatible with toner belts for other body areas. They have a model called a Connect abs belt that can be controlled by a smart phone. 3 AAA batteries are used by all of them. The current models are ABs3, ABs5, and ABs7.

Older versions

The older models that are more standard, useful and easy to get gel pads for are the Flex and the Flex Pro. There is a Flex Go as well, but from what I have read of this version, it is not worth getting. It takes special gel pads and is designed with an intensity for a beginners. I interpret this to mean that it is low intensity. That is a poor idea. You can always start low and work up to higher intensity. If your belt is made to be lacking in the higher intensity levels, you can never advance and overcome this.

I use my Slendertone Flex most commonly with 40 to 50 on the intensity level for the programs I use. That is the range that is the right level of comfort and hard muscle work for me and I have been using this for a long time.

New ab belt design looks like better layout

The new designs have a much better layout for the contact points for the abdominal muscles than my belt with just 3 contact points. I use in the center and then the lower abs… The new ones cover all of them with 3 layers of 3 contact points. They even come with the arm muscle stimulators in the set! I really like these! They are also way cheaper than my old design. The big drawback to these is that they do not have the velcro belt to hold them in place like mine has. I guess it is pretty easy to get a strap to tie or velcro them in place…

New ab belt design from many brands

Black Marlin EMS Ab Stimulator & Muscle Toner Belt (Wireless) – Waist Trainer w/Included Arm & Leg Toning Pads

6 Exercise Modes & 10 Intensity Levels.
4.6 out of 5 stars with over 15 reviews

These are like my Slendertone belt… (older design)

Woolala Electrical Abdominal Toning Belts Muscle Stimulation Toner Belt Waist Trimmer Belt, Unisex Abs Fitness Trainer Wireless Home Slimmer Treatment For Men & Women
In a 6 week clinical trial, 100% of users reported firmer, more toned abs and a 72% increase in abdominal muscle endurance (core strength) when used 5 times per week for 6 weeks.
10 exercise modes and 150 different levels of stimulation intensity

Gel Pad Refills

The center pad is larger and more rectangular shape, the 2 outer pads are more oval shaped and smaller. They can be revived with a few drops of water. I think there is a lot of confusing information on the replacement pads. When they are the wrong sized pads, the electrical stimulation exerciser might not work properly. They usually state that these last 20 to 30 uses. I do much better than that…

My Slendertone flex takes P/N: 0706-9607
709 & 710 & 710 pads
710 pad is 3” X 4.5” oval
709 pad is 4.25” X 4.25” rectangular
4 out of 5 stars for 325 reviews

The modern models (ABs3, ABs5, ABs7, Connect) takes P/N: 0706-9631
732 & 733 & 733 pads
732 pad is 5.9” X 7.3” rectangular
3 complete sets of pads (3 left, 3 right, and 3 center)

Slendertone Triceps Toner Accessory takes P/N: 0718-0400
There are a quantity of 4 gel pads 5” X 8”
4.2 out of 5 stars for over 75 reviews

Stimulators that have electrode pads to stick on the locations as needed

Muscle stimulators are extremely versatile. They are adaptable to any muscle needed. This includes the wearable apparatus that makes the usage easy (like Slendertone) and the more clinical/medical ones. With this tool, you can do muscle toning or rehabilitation from injuries. The clinical/medical ones are great for toning up muscles anywhere needed. These are usually stated to last 20 to 30 uses.

Compex Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS)

These seem to be a highly rated brand for the electrode pad EMS equipment.


Color: Silver/ 3 programs / 4.1 out of 5 stars for 80 reviews

Color: Recon Green/ 3 programs/ 4 out of 5 stars for 7 reviews


Color: Blue/ 5 programs/ 4 out of 5 stars for over 55 reviews

Sport Elite

Color: Matte Black/ 9 programs/ 4.1 out of 5 stars for over 65 reviews

Wireless USA

Color: Black/ 9 programs/ 3.6 out of 5 stars for 19 reviews

Easy snap electrodes 2″ X 4″ & 20 count/ 5 pack/ 5 out of 5 stars for 2
reviews. These have 2 electrodes in each pad.

Complex EMS + TENS

If you think that you want to get an EMS exerciser and you think the pain management is also valuable to you, these are a good idea. The addition of the TENS is not much more on some of these. TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.

Edge 2.0/Performance 2.0/Sport Elite 2.0

4 programs / 6 programs / 10 programs

Wireless USA 2.0

10 programs

Conducting gel

The conducting gel is something that is used for both the facial exercisers. I have learned over time that this is not truly essential. It is fine using the exerciser without the gel, but just having oily skin. I think that oil can do this task well enough. You can certainly get the gel for your equipment if you like.

There is an easy recipe for making the conducting gel that is very inexpensive. All you need is a pinch of salt in some aloe vera gel or your favorite oil. A pinch of salt in water will work as well.

Gel Pads

The gel pads incorporate a contact for electrical pulse of the exerciser as well as conductive gel to disperse the pulse appropriately for the area of contact. They can vary in size and design layout according to the exerciser and area involved. It is important to get the proper gel pad for your equipment. The wrong gel pad can adversely affect the performance of the equipment greatly. You can revive old pads with a few drops of water spread on them.

The gel pads come on a plastic sheet with individual plastic covers for each pad on the other side. Once they are placed in the belt, the individual plastic pad covers are handy to keep on them. You can remove them when you use the belt and place them in the container bag. Once you are finished, you can place the plastic covers back onto the pads. This makes it easy to keep them clean and in good condition. Mine last a very long time with this kind of care. Be aware that with the Slendertone models, there are differences in the widths and size of pads.

Time for new gel pads

The gel pad no longer sticks to your skin

Gel pad surface becomes uneven
Intensity of the pulses has declined
Pulses do not distribute evenly