Do Electric Muscle Toners Work?

Updated April 17, 2017

Companies that sell electric muscle stimulators promise your muscles will become strong and toned, and that you will lose fat by using their devices. The reality is electric stimulators can affect your muscles, but not enough to give you rock-hard abs.

How it Works

Applying repeated electrical currents to muscle may cause them to contract, which eventually can result in them getting stronger. Because muscles are made up of different types of muscle fibre, results vary depending on how the electricity is applied. For example, postural muscles with slow fibres are physiologically activated at low frequencies.


Electric muscle toners are intended for use by health care professionals in physiotherapy offices, not to increase muscle size or appearance. Doctors treat patients with medical conditions that might result from a stroke, a serious injury, or major surgery to help the patient recover from impaired muscle function. Using the device can help relax spastic muscles, increase range of motion and prevent muscles from losing size and strength caused by atrophy.


Electric muscle toners only work in conjunction with diet and regular exercise. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Slendertone Flex, marketed by BMR NeuroTech, Inc., is the only muscle toner that has been approved by FDA for toning, strengthening and firming your abdominals. Unapproved toners may be unsafe to use.

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About the Author

Julia Derek is a certified Manhattan-based trainer and writer. She has 14 years experience in the fitness industry. She works at Reebok Sports Club/NY or through her company Her writing has appeared in New York Post, Los Angeles Daily News, and AM/NY. She attended George Mason University.