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Clin J Sport Med. 2015 Nov;25(6):e71-3. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000153.

Two Cases of Rhabdomyolysis After Training With Electromyostimulation by 2 Young Male Professional Soccer Players.

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*Cardiology and Angiology I, University Heart Center Freiburg, Bad Krozingen, Freiburg, Germany; †Department of Sports Medicine, Klinikum Westfalen, Dortmund, Germany; and ‡Institute of Sports and Preventive Medicine, Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany.


We report 2 cases of enormously elevated creatine kinase (CK) activity after training with electromyostimulation (EMS) by 2 young male professional soccer players. In one of them, a single training session with EMS caused exercise-induced rhabdomyolysis with a maximal CK activity of 240 000 U/L. These cases illustrate that unaccustomed EMS exercise may be harmful and can cause rhabdomyolysis even in highly trained athletes and even after 1 single session. Thus, EMS has to be conducted carefully especially by individuals who are known to frequently show notable increases in CK activity even after modest training stimuli. We suggest that EMS should not be applied as sole training stimulus and should not be conducted by strength training beginners. Furthermore, we recommend controlling plasma CK activity and urine color for beginners with EMS when they report strong muscle ache. Athletes with signs of rhabdomyolysis after EMS should be brought to hospital for monitoring of renal function and possible further treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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