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PowerDot’s abominable electrical dispatch helped me balance like an athlete

Lance Armstrong has been angry legal battles left right and center with former sponsors, the US government, and ex-teammates since coming clean about his doping exploits. Last year, Armstrong assuredly acclimatized a long-running federal case – in which he was being sued for nearly $100 actor – for just $5 million. With all that behind him, what next for the Texan? Venture basic and advance in wellness tech – obviously.

Armstrong is one of the co-founders of Next Ventures, an advance firm absorption on sports, fitness, and wellness tech. Early last year, it made its first advance into a aggregation that makes electrical muscle dispatch accessories called PowerDot. 

The former cyclist often cites an early $100,000 advance in Uber for saving him and his family – financially speaking – during the acute action procedures. Doping history to one side, maybe he’s got an eye for tech? I got hands on with the PowerDot DUO over the past few weeks to see if that’s true.

I about cycle around amid 150-300c km (100 – 200 miles) per week, and play squash regularly. It’s safe to say there’s usually a part of my body – usually my legs – that’s aching; so I’m most keen to see if the PowerDot can allay some of that ache and help me take my accretion to the next level.

Electro-muscular what?

PowerDot is an electric muscle dispatch device. You’d be forgiven for cerebration it’s agnate to belly bands that affiance to cut fat, access muscle, and make your body ready in just weeks after absolutely exercising. Thankfully, PowerDot takes a altered tack. It positions itself as a “smart muscle accretion and achievement tool.” It doesn’t claim to make you fitter, but it might lend a allowance hand to your recovery.

With constant and approved use PowerDot says its device can help athletes – and me, not an amateur – balance faster, reduce muscle soreness, access backbone and endurance, and about “feel their best.”

The tech behind the apriorism is fairly simple and is annihilation new. The device relies on article called the Gate Ascendancy theory, which claims a non-painful bang (in this case electricity), can block the pathways that alteration pain signals to the brain, thus abbreviation the awareness of discomfort. Note, these systems don’t absolutely heal you, but they can lessen your acumen of pain.

Credit: PowerDot
PowerDot Duo artefact bundle

The device uses transcutaneous electrical signals (TENS) to abet neuromuscular contractions. In other words, electricity makes your muscle spasm in a controlled fashion. 

Different electrical frequencies elicit altered responses from the body and can train either slow-twitch or fast-twitch muscle fibers, accommodate a conditioning or a beating depending, and access apportionment or so PowerDot claims. 

The jury is still out on whether TENS absolutely works. The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) does accede that transcutaneous electrical nerve dispatch can reduce pain, though. Results tend to vary amid individuals and the specific altitude being treated.

At the moment, there’s not currently enough good affection studies to definitively say if TENS has a universally absolute impact on health. But what’s the worst that could happen? 

Actually, quite a lot. The PowerDot comes with a very absolute user manual (by modern standards), in which many pages are committed to all the accessible side furnishings that can be brought about from abnormal use of the device. Importantly, this device is advised to be used by already advantageous individuals, if you have any apropos please speak to a real doctor. What else is in the box besides the manual?

Well, you get two “Dots” (you only get one in the PowerDot Uno), four abutting cables, a rubberized zip-up travel case, and a set of electrode pads. On first impressions, the Dots are cute, light, and appear well-made. 

Credit: PowerDot
PowerDot carry case. A place for wires, Dots, and accessories

The travel case is a very nice touch as there are quite a few apparatus that could easily be confused and lost. 

The Dots are held in the case using the alluring connector, which is also how the Dots and cables affix to the electrode pads. 

Before you can sit down and use the PowerDot for the first time you must download the PowerDot app (available for both iOS and Android) and pair the dots to your phone. And here things got kind of frustrating. 

Getting down to business with the PowerDot

My first attack to pair the dots was challenging. Only one of the dots paired and activated as it should have. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t get the second Dot to pair.

It turns out it was faulty, PowerDot apace replaced this and are allegory the dodgy unit. I will update this piece when we know the cause of the problem. The aggregation assured me this was a freak incident, and a quick scan of the Google Play Store and Apple App store shows barter are on the whole very happy with the app and the device. 

When you’ve got the Dots affiliated and paired with your phone you can find a affairs to suit your needs. As I spend many hours each week pedaling, I’m often carriage round sore, heavy legs. I anticipation one of the PowerDot’s beating programs, advised for recovery, would suit me best.

So, one evening, I sat down in my chair and began. I peeled off the electrode pads, followed the easy-to-use admonition in the app on where to stick them on my quads, absorbed and wired up the Dots, clicked the wires to the alluring connectors on the electrode pads, and started the program.

Credit: PowerDot
PowerDot absorbed to user’s thigh

It’s also worth pointing out that the electrode pads don’t stick well over hair. I had no problems on my legs, but I won’t go into more detail than that, for now. 

If you’ve never used a TENS system before you will apparently be abashed by the sensation. Imagine that activity you get when you stick your tongue on a nine volt array (please don’t), but coursing through your muscles. 

It’s not painful, it’s not really even afflictive after a while, but it’s absolutely unusual. Don’t worry about that though, in the app you can ascendancy the all-embracing backbone of the stimulation, and you can even adjust each electrode approach (left or right) to dial in a level of dispatch that works for you.

Just out of curiosity, I turned the power up as far as I dared. I wimped out with severe able-bodied assurance long before I accomplished PowerDot’s full potential. 

The beating ambience is fairly simple, it runs for about 20 account and goes through three phases. Each phase causes your muscle to arrangement in a hardly altered way. The first phase instigates fast and common contractions, the second phase contractions are slower and less frequent, the final phase is even slower still.

After active the beating program, my quads felt lighter and fresher, continuing up out of my chair feels less arduous than it did before. The next morning was even more remarkable, as I woke and climbed out of bed, I accomplished my legs were boilerplate near as stiff as they are usually. Typically, first thing in the morning I need to move around and amplitude off a bit to loosen up.

Long term verdict

Over the course of three months, I used the PowerDot during the black after bike rides and squash games, usually just as I’m ambagious down to go to bed. I can safely report, the fresh activity the morning after wasn’t a one off. I consistently awoke activity more airy and looser than I would commonly expect to, it’s almost as if the antecedent day’s conditioning wasn’t quite as acute as it absolutely was.

The beating ambience is just one of many settings accessible on the PowerDot. The TENS device also has muscle strength, endurance, and wellness programs. The backbone and ability programs claim to access able-bodied achievement and muscle hypertrophy (eg, gains). Wellness programs are a little less clear on what they’re declared to do, and are advised to target your joints rather than large muscle groups. 

As it happens, during a 300 km week on the bike and two 90-minute squash sessions an old injury on my left knee started to present a bit of discomfort. Normally, this injury starts to rear its ugly head when I’m doing too much and not convalescent adequately. However, using the PowerDot’s wellness affairs for the knee a couple of times seemed to take the edge off my usual discomfort. This was along with icing, stretching, foam rolling, and added use of the PowerDot on my iliotibial band (the fascia that runs down the alfresco of your thigh).

Fresh like a daisy

After using PowerDot consistently after workouts, I absolutely felt fresher than I would have otherwise. In some ways though, it lured me into a false sense of security. 

Following a hard ride of about 60 km, I used the PowerDot to balance from the day’s effort. Come Sunday, I felt active and fresh. So I saddled up and went for addition long and hard ride.

It became bound evident, about one minute into the first of four 10-minute intervals, that I did not have the backbone or energy to complete my advised workout. Even though I felt great, I didn’t have any energy.

While the PowerDot might make you feel fresher, it’s not a backup for a structured training plan and recovery.

It isn’t going to transform you into an able-bodied hulk who can smash every workout, but for me, it sped up accretion and let me go about my post conditioning days with far more ease and less discomfort. It’s absolutely a tool I’d acclaim to people who have the cash.

But as ever. There’s a catch.

A $350 one to be precise. Yeah, the PowerDot Duo costs $350 US.

For an app and what is in absoluteness a fairly simple accumulating of electronics, that feels pretty steep. A quick search for a TENS device will throw up a raft of cheaper alternatives. It should also be noted that the electrode pads have a lifespan of about 30 applications, you can buy replacements of course, for about $18 a set. It’s atomic in the grand scheme of things, but it’s a active cost worth befitting in mind.

I must admit, I’m far more afflicted with this device than I anticipation I would be. Besides being well-made, it has absolutely taken my accretion to a new level. Having the device means I take accretion actively which undoubedtly helps too.

While it might not transform me into an athlete, I absolutely feel like one.

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Published January 9, 2020 — 13:18 UTC

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