When we first experienced the Marc Pro, we had our doubts. Could this device really make a difference in our recovery? Turns out, it really did. With said, if you haven’t read our review of the Marc Pro, we suggest you start there for background. Since we were such fans of the original, we were more than happy to give the Marc Pro Plus a try as well.
Like the Marc Pro, the Marc Pro Plus is a unique Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) device designed from 30 years of medical device experience and research, as well as feedback from athletes and trainers. In other words, it’s gone through some pretty rigorous testing. In fact, both the Marc Pro and the Plus are very different than most electrical stimulators you’d find on the market. This isn’t a device designed for muscle re-education, which is similar to what you’d find at your physical therapist’s office. Sure, those devices are great for muscle rehab. But they will fatigue muscles quickly rather than encourage recovery. And of course this is also not anything like those magic electronic stimulating ab devices you’ll see on late-night TV that claim to give you a six pack while you lounge around on the couch.
The Marc Pro utilizes a proprietary dynamic decaying waveform. This type of signal comfortably contracts muscles and then slowly releases them over a period of time. The net result is that using the Marc Pro or the Plus is similar to a lite warm-up or cool-down workout. The muscles are working, but they’re doing so at a very low level. This is quite a bit different from the static square waveform that contracts the muscle at full power, holds it at that full power, then instantly and fully releases the muscle (found in those devices we’d mentioned earlier that you’d find in your PT’s office).
So what’s the difference between the Marc Pro and the Marc Pro Plus? The Plus uses the same waveform, voltage levels, and the long pulse duration as the Marc Pro. The key difference is that the Marc Pro has a single locked low frequency ideal for recovery and conditioning, while the Plus adds additional high frequencies that are intended for shutting down more stubborn pain. When we first tested the high frequency on the Plus, it was a bit intense. Although we did find that it was more effective for soothing more intense soreness and aches we suffered from after an especially tough week of training or even after race day. We had to start slow with the high intensity frequency, gradually dialing it up bit by bit. Once our muscles acclimated to the intensity, we were good to go. The high-intensity setting felt similar to a strong “buzzing” sensation, which again was especially nice in those areas that were very sore or achy.
Our multisport editor tends to suffer from a lot of soreness in her legs due to past injuries, and she’s found the pain relieving abilities of the Plus to be very effective in cutting down on that pain after workouts. After a 30-minute session on high intensity, she’s found her pain and soreness to be significantly less. And as we mentioned earlier, head over to our original review of the standard Marc Pro for a more comprehensive testing explanation.
So what do you get with the Marc Pro Plus? In addition to the device itself, you’ll get six packages of electrodes, two lead wires, one recharger, a user’s manual, as well as a zippered carrying case. This is the same package as the original Marc Pro, but the difference is that the Plus offers the high-intensity settings the original lacks. The price of the Plus is also quite a bit more at $949.95 (the original Marc Pro retails for $649.95).
We know what you’re thinking, is the Plus really worth another $300? The answer is: it depends. If you’re looking for extra help with tired and sore muscles, then chances are that the original Marc Pro will serve you very well. However, if you’re suffering from more chronic aches and pains, and you’d like an alternative to pain relieving drugs, then you might give the Plus some serious consideration. The Plus is intended for pain relief beyond what the standard Marc Pro can deliver. The folks at March Pro also have some good reading on the Plus’ pain relieving abilities as well here.
Like us, many of you push your bodies to the limit on a weekly basis during your training and racing. And spending the time on adequate recovery is a crucial piece (or at least it should be) of your overall training plan. We’ve found that both the Marc Pro and the Plus have become essential tools in helping our bodies recover better and faster. So if you can budget for it, we’d highly recommend giving Marc Pro a try.