Download Full Text (604 KB)


Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) is a method of muscle recovery used by athletes before, during, and after competition. Active recovery is arguably the most popular recovery technique after intense exercise because of how much it reduces lactate levels in the blood. Few studies have analyzed the effects of EMS and active recovery on blood lactate levels in swimmers, and none have been found on the combination of the two. Therefore, there is an insufficient amount of information linking the two methods together for the purpose of maximizing blood lactate reduction. This study sought to analyze the effects that EMS and active recovery have on Division 1 collegiate swimmers’ blood lactate levels specifically in their quadriceps muscles. Participants completed two sets of seven 200-yard swims separated by a week, with the intensity of each swim gradually increasing until the last two which are maximum effort. Following the final swim, each participant completed the EMS and active recovery protocol. Blood samples were taken after each swim and following recovery protocol to analyze lactate levels. It was hypothesized that the combination of the two methods would lower lactate in the blood faster than only utilizing active recovery or EMS.

Publication Date

Spring 2021


Boiling Springs, NC


Medicine and Health Sciences | Movement and Mind-Body Therapies | Rehabilitation and Therapy | Sports Sciences

Effects of Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) and Active Recovery on Blood Lactate Levels