Quadruple amputee prepares for intense fitness challenge with help of EMS training
Posted on: April 19, 2019 by Action pr
Alex Lewis nearly died in 2013. After contracting what he thought was a common cold turned out to be a devastating Strep A infection, a rare bacterial infection which causes a person’s flesh to eat itself, Alex was given just days to live. He miraculously survived, undergoing over 120 hours of intense surgery, having all four limbs amputated in the process.
Since surgery, Alex has taken his situation in his stride, preparing to tackle a number of intense physical challenges. In September 2019, Alex will be climbing one of Africa's tallest mountains, Ras Dashen in Ethiopia, and the following year, hopes to travel over 800 km in 10 days across the Gobi Desert. He is looking to raise awareness for The Alex Lewis Trust, his charity raising funds for wheelchairs, home adjustments and prosthetics for amputees. The money will go towards opening a wheelchair factory in Ethiopia.
To train for his upcoming challenges, Alex regularly exercises using a range of cardiovascular, physiotherapy and Pilates training. He also attends a 20 minute weekly Electro Muscle Stimulation (EMS) session with trainer, Tom Corcoran, Owner, Fast Track EMS in Hampshire. In just three months, Alex has seen dramatic improvements in his strength and mobility from EMS training, noticing changes to his body far faster than anything he had previously felt through more traditional methods.
As a result of his condition, Alex’s arm and shoulder muscles had collapsed down one side and he has been working with his physio for years to build up the muscles and level his shoulders again. After his first EMS session, Alex’s Pilates instructor noticed a positive difference and within a few weeks he was holding a much stronger position and regaining normal postural alignment.
EMS training works by providing an external stimulus via the miha bodytec EMS machine to help individuals engage muscle fibres they might otherwise struggle to target through normal exercises. When Alex climbs Ras Dashen, he will be using a hand-propelled moon buggy which requires him to use a lot of upper body and core strength to power the wheels with his prosthetic arms. EMS training is helping him to activate and build muscle that his traditional training, Pilates and physio programmes together couldn’t do.
Alex Lewis explains, “I wish I had found EMS when I was in rehab as I think it would have helped me to become much more independent a lot faster. The kit is incredible in that it works different areas of your body at varying levels. It’s a perfectly targeted workout that allows me to engage muscles I haven’t felt since I lost my arms and legs! Every day I feel stronger and I’m no longer suffering from ongoing back pain. Completing the challenges will be a real test of both physical and mental strength, but I’m really excited to put my training to the test and see how much more I can progress.”
The origins of EMS training lie in rehabilitation, but it is quickly gaining recognition across the UK and Europe as a diverse and efficient training method perfectly suited for a wide range of clients. PTs, and indeed Fast Track EMS, are using it to help their clients with multiple goals, including athletic performance, weight-loss, muscle toning, strength improvement, power output gains, posture correction and back pain relief. Elite athletes like Usain Bolt, as well as top athletes, including IRONMAN competitors use EMS as a safe, effective way to increase performance across strength, speed and endurance, supporting faster muscle recovery. Jens Vatter, Head of Education EMS International at Glucker College, miha bodytec, will be speaking on the role EMS can play in athletic human performance on Thursday 9th May 15:50 - 16:30 at Elevate. The full miha bodytec team will also be available on their stand, J40, throughout the event for more information.