Products Review: The Complete Marc Pro Review

Marc Pro Review/ Marc Pro PLUS+ Review

In this post I conduct a Marc Pro review. The Marc Pro and Marc Pro PLUS+ are portable devices that use electrodes to stimulate sore and achy muscles. This theoretically enhances the recovery process by increasing passive blood flow to these muscles. Here are my thoughts on the Marc Pro after putting it to the test over the past year, along with a tutorial of how I use it as part of my recovery protocol.

marc pro review

The Marc Pro and Marc Pro PLUS+ are available for purchase here.

How it works

For purposes if this Marc Pro Review, the Marc Pro and the Marc Pro PLUS+ "Low" setting are identical. This is the setting that athletes should use for recovery purposes. The way it works is an electrical current of a given frequency passes through the electrode pads, stimulating the target muscles and creating a pulsing sensation as the muscles contract. The stimulation only occurs locally, so you won't feel any effects on non targeted body parts. The best way to describe the feeling and effects is a "localized heartbeat." It feels like you have a heart right next to the target area pumping blood directly into the muscle. 


"It feels like a localized heartbeat...pumping blood and nutrients directly into the muscle."


While the Marc Pro and Marc Pro PLUS+ "Low" setting use a fixed 2 Hz frequency (2 stimulations per second), there is a dial to control the intensity of this electrical current, ranging from 0 to 9.0. At 1.0-3.0, most will notice a faint pulsing, without a noticeable increase in blood flow, while at the extreme end from 7.0-9.0, the pulsing will be so strong that it borders on uncomfortable (some will enjoy this feeling, and it does vary depending on the individual and the muscle being stimulated). For most, I'd recommend sticking to a moderate, comfortable range where you can feel the muscle getting a nice firm contraction - generally about 4.0-6.0.

Isn't it just a more expensive TENS unit?

While similar, in theory, to a TENS unit, the main difference is the frequency of the electrical current. TENS units claim to mask pain and/or build muscle, and employ a higher frequency electrical current which feels like a constant "buzz" (similar to the "high" setting on the Marc Pro Plus+) rather than a rhythmic pulsing where the muscle contracts and relaxes. The Marc Pro is focused on accelerating recovery via enhanced blood flow, which clears metabolic waste and brings healing nutrients and oxygen to the fatigued/recovering tissues. By contrast, TENS units can cause the muscle to tetanize, or stay locked in a constant contraction, which may help with pain sensitivity in injured athletes, but lead to muscle fatigue - the opposite effect that healthy athletes are looking for. I can also personally attest (and you can see for yourself in the video below) that this type of contraction is nothing like the standard TENS units that have been on the market for a decade.

Does it work?

While there is limited research available on the Marc Pro, preliminary studies support its effectiveness. One study found that immediately following intense exercise designed to create lower body muscle soreness, one hour of stimulation with the Marc Pro on a single leg decreased following day muscle soreness significantly, as compared to the leg that wasn't stimulated. Subjects also scored slightly higher on next-day muscle endurance testing, for what it's worth.


1 hour on the Marc Pro immediately post-exercise reduced next-day soreness, on average, from 3.3 to 1.5 out of 10

See full study


This research is a good start, but the authors of the study admit that larger sample sizes are needed, and more research needs to go into the actual cellular mechanisms by which these effects are occurring. It's not enough to show that an effect is happening in a small group of individuals - the next step will be understanding exactly how these changes are occurring.

Before we get too carried away, recognize the magnitude of these differences - from about a 3-3.5 out of 10 next-day soreness to a 1.5 or 2. This is on par with my personal experience - while significant, the perceived recovery bump is not taking trashed muscles and fully recovering them overnight. I tell my athletes they can expect to notice a slight boost in recovery speed from typical training and throwing-related soreness, but stress that it can't alone make up for poor sleep, nutrition or other recovery habits. 

Our Marc Pro Protocol

The video and Marc Pro view below will show you how we use the Marc Pro for a post-throwing arm flush. This can range from 15-60 minutes, depending on time availability. Because it's non-fatiguing, more isn't necessarily a bad thing, but you're not going to want to be strapped to electrodes all day long. I typically do 15-30 minutes either immediately post-throwing before I lift, or a couple hours later once I have finished all of my training for the day.

How we set up and use the Marc Pro for post-throwing arm recovery.

Summary

  • Attach the electrodes in the proper locations
  • Turn to "low" setting  (Marc Pro PLUS+)
  • Adjust dial to a comfortable, moderate intensity
  • Relax as much as possible to allow muscles to passively contract
  • Hang out for 15-60 min while attempting to eat with your non-dominant hand

The Cons

I only real downside I've found to the Marc Pro is that the electrode pads lose their stickiness relatively quickly (one set may last several weeks or a month for a single daily user). This means that athletes doing a full arm flush every day will likely run through all six sets of electrodes in six months. While Marc Pro does sell relatively inexpensive replacement electrodes, I've found that using an ace wrap to hold old electrodes in place works just as well if you're looking to extend their shelf-life.

Who should buy it?

The Marc Pro doesn't pretend to cater to the casual athlete - priced at $650 (Marc Pro) or $950 (Marc Pro PLUS+), this definitely constitutes a significant investment. Athletes who haven't already dialed in their nutrition, sleep and training habits need to first get these priorities straightened out before considering the Marc Pro, as this will have a more immediate and dramatic impact on recovery. For athletes who have dialed in these factors and are still looking for whatever recovery advantage they can get, the Marc Pro is an effective option.


"Athletes can expect to notice a boost in recovery from typical training and throwing-related soreness...but it can't alone make up for poor sleep, nutrition or other recovery habits"


If you're on the fence, Marc Pro does have a 30-day trial period, where you can return the device after a month if you don't notice a difference. We have also set up a discount code for athletes and coaches to use (see below).

** To save 5% on a Marc Pro device, use promo code: "TREAD"

The Marc Pro and Marc Pro PLUS+ are available for purchase here.

Thanks for reading my Marc Pro review!​