New York's Electric New Workout Gets Results Fastairport_transferbarbathtubbusiness_facilitieschild_activitieschildcareconnecting_roomcribsfree_wifigymhot_tubinternetkitchennon_smokingpetpoolresturantski_in_outski_shuttleski_storagesmoking_areaspastar

New York's Electric New Workout Gets Results Fast

The "Powersuit" emits electric currents to activate muscles safely and effectively
The "Powersuit" emits electric currents to activate muscles safely and effectively | © Shock Therapy
When it comes to creating sustainable health improvements, there are no magic bullets or quick fixes. Unless you’re a member of Shock Therapy – a workout studio that uses Electro Muscle Stimulation to safely condense the benefits of three hours of exercise into one 30-minute class.

New York has its fair share of unusual fitness concepts, from a refrigerated studio to a workout with bungee bands, but Shock Therapy is in a league of its own. It’s a semi-private class which utilizes a technology called Electro Muscle Stimulation (EMS) to contract and release 300 muscles simultaneously and consistently. Most exercise moves are designed to isolate a specific set of muscles. Performing them with the addition of EMS keeps the muscles firing at all times, making it an incredibly efficient full-body workout.

Shock Therapy founder Esra Cavusoglu, who was previously working as a psychologist and entrepreneur in Istanbul, was amazed by how quickly EMS gave her the body she wanted.

“I’m almost 47 and I’m very muscly so whenever I was doing hardcore workouts to get thinner I would find myself getting bulkier,” she explains. “When I found EMS it was like a magical pill to me, because it didn’t make me bulky but very defined. When I saw the type of muscle fibers the machine activates and the way it affects your posture, it made sense why I benefited from the system.”

EMS has a substantial presence in Europe, but Cavusoglu couldn’t find a studio in her current home of New York. She decided to pour her own money into devising the first wireless, group-fitness EMS concept and launched it on the Upper East Side in early 2018.

EMS technology activates 300 muscles groups simultaneously © Shock Therapy

When you arrive at the studio you’re handed a pair of special undergarments – a black long-sleeved top and matching capri leggings. Once you’ve pulled those on the instructor hoses down a Power Suit – an all-in-one that looks a bit like sci-fi body armor – fastening its zippers and velcro straps around your body.

The room is dark aside from a few spotlights and a large screen with a male avatar who will be demonstrating each move. Our instructor turns on the EMS system and adjusts the power until we feel comfortable but still challenged. It’s a strange sensation. A strong vibrating and pulsing that’s completely beyond my control.

As we perform basic compound exercises like squats, hamstring curls, rows and lunges, everything is firing. There’s no opportunity for a single muscle fiber to be lazy. We diligently copy the avatar as our instructor corrects for alignment, and suddenly half an hour is up. I’ve hardly broken a sweat but my body is warm and fired. I can tell I’ll be sore tomorrow, which is why Shock Therapy recommends taking a day or two between sessions to ensure proper recovery.

“It’s much safer, it doesn’t hurt your joints, you don’t over-exhaust yourself in a short time, but you get a lot of benefits from it,” Cavusoglu explains. “I see us as an incredible complementary support to people, whatever type of fitness activities they have. If you are a runner in Central Park, it will make your core much stronger and give your muscles more endurance. If you’re going to SLT [megaformer studio] it will protect your lower back and your arms will be stronger.”

She also believes Shock Therapy can be a great asset to those who aren’t fitness obsessed but want to improve their overall health in way that doesn’t disrupt their schedule. In New York, where time is a luxury, squeezing an effective workout into two or three 30-minute sessions a week is ideal. Perhaps it’s even worth the cost of $55 per class.

Those who claim they’re just too busy to workout are going to need a new excuse.