EMS training could give the UK fitness industry a major shot in the arm post-COVID by enabling PTs and operators to attract more clients, according to Phil Horton, Country Director for miha bodytec — a leading manufacturer of EMS training equipment.
The training method, which uses electrical currents to contract the muscles during exercise, without putting any strain on the joints, has risen to prominence in multiple European markets over the past ten years, with Germany currently home to more than 1300 studios and boasting a 60% rise in new members compared to March 2020 (before lockdown). France, meanwhile, has more than 800 studios.
However, with the UK market still very much in its infancy — and following recent changes to legislation enabling fitness operators to open on the UK’s high streets — miha bodytec argues that a huge opportunity exists for pioneering PTs and fitness operators to leverage EMS training as a way of engaging a new demographic.
“The need for PTs to diversify in the current climate is more vital than ever. And whilst that’s a lot easier said than done, one way to attract more clients is to offer something unique or innovative, and EMS training presents a great opportunity to do just that,” Horton told Welltodo.
“Not only does it incorporate some incredibly sophisticated technology into a workout, but it can also open new revenue streams because this type of training is effective for so many different types of people. There is huge potential for growth with EMS training, and I’m excited to see it become more mainstream here in the UK in exactly the same way that it has in European markets,” he added.
Currently, the UK has just over 100 EMS units in operation but momentum is building thanks to the launch of dedicated studios from established franchise operators such as Bodystreet, which currently has eight studios in the UK, and Surge which has three.
According to Mark Holland, CEO of Bodystreet, UK and Eire, before lockdown Bodystreet was experiencing positive growth in terms of both client numbers and franchise enquiries –– a trajectory that has risen since the reopening of its sites. In August alone the business experienced a 25% increase in membership numbers in comparison to pre-lockdown.
Holland argues that with more people waking up to the benefits of fitness on their overall wellbeing, this momentum is only going to continue rising. Added to the fact a Bodystreet studio can be set up in a small space, the potential for growth in town centres and other areas of higher visibility is also vast.
Within this new fitness landscape, Constantin Hampe, Director of Surge, which recently opened two new locations in central London, also believes that EMS is perfectly positioned to leverage changes in consumer behaviour.
“With only one 20 minute workout needed just once per week, great results can be achieved with minimal gym time. And as an EMS workout activates all of the major muscle groups throughout the whole session, it’s the best way to get back in shape fast once life returns to normal,” he told Welltodo.
By catering to individuals who don’t like the traditional gym environment, are time-starved, or are looking for a safe place to train, EMS operators such as Surge are anchoring themselves as ‘the perfect workout for a post-COVID world’. In doing so, they believe they have the potential to bolster the future success of a sector.