Russian scientist, Dr. Yakov Kots developed Russian current in 1977s, for increasing muscle force that increases the maximum voluntary contraction. It is a medium frequency current.

It is an intermittent alternating sinusoidal current with a carrier frequency of 2500Hz and delivered in bursts or series of pulses. So, it is known as medium frequency, burst alternating current.

Russian Current

Russian current is most often used to strengthen muscles. it is also commonly used to re-educate muscle groups after a nerve pathway has been damaged, such as in the case of someone who has had a stroke

It provoked much interest because the very successful Russian Olympic teams were using it in addition to their usual training methods and it was suggested that its use led to significant (30-40%) gains in muscle strength.

Although it is a medium frequency current, the nerve is stimulated because it is interrupted to give a low-frequency stimulation of 50Hz

Difference Between IFT and Russian Current-

IFT and Russian Current both are medium frequency current. These current have frequencies between 1 kHz and 10 kHz.

IFT and Russian current difference

Interferential Current are Amplitude modulated and Russian Current are Time modulated.

Parameters of Russian Current         

  • Carrier Frequency: 2500Hz (2.5KHz)
  • Waveform: Polyphasic sinusoidal waveform.
  • Current Amplitude: The maximum current amplitude is 100mA. Clinical used at 70mA.
  • Bursts Frequency: 50Hz
  • Burst duration: 10ms


On/Off Ratio:

The on-off ratio is defined as the ratio of the time during which there is stimulation (contraction) to the time during which there is no stimulation (no contraction). Set as 10ms:10ms.

Duty cycle: 

The duty cycle is the proportion of on-time to the summation of both the on and off time expressed as a percentage. For example 10:10 sets up a duty cycle of =10/(10+10) ×100= 50%. Russian current produced with a duty cycle of 50%.

Ramp-up and down: 

Setting the ramp time is very important to evoked contraction similar to muscle contraction. As the ramp allows a gradual increase of intensity with associated gradual increase of muscle contraction. Set for 1-2second.

Training Protocol With Russian Current

The widely and most popular clinical protocol used with Russian current is (10/50/10), 

which is-

  • 10= Muscle contraction, lasting for 10seconds.
  • 50= off time (no contraction) for 50 seconds.
  • 10= Cycle repeated for 10 times.

Duration and frequency of treatment:

The recommended duration of treatment is 10 minutes, once daily, per week for several weeks (3-6months).

Electrode placement: 

Arranged parallel to the direction of muscle fibers. so that it is at the estimated line of pull of the muscle.

Time delay switch:

  • Synchronous mode ( both channels triggered simultaneously- achieved by not setting time delay)
  • Reciprocal mode (channel 1 is on then channel 2 is off- achieved by setting time delay equal to the time of channel 1).
  • Overlapping mode (channel 2 overlaps with on time and off time of channel 1- achieved by setting time delay more than 1 sec but less than on the time of channel 1)

Physiological Effects of Russian current

The net physiological effects depends on:

  • The total number of bursts delivered per second.
  • Russian current can depolarized:
    • Sensory nerve fibers- Moderate prickling sensation
    • Motor nerve fibers- titanic muscle contraction.
  • This contraction is-
    • Painless due to sensory nerve blocked of pain gate
  • Allow use of high amplitude
    • Contraction stronger than those generated by voluntary control(voluntary contraction- motor units recruited asynchronously while in electrically evoked muscle contraction- motor units fire synchronously).

Physiological effects of Russian Current
Physiological effects of Russian Current

Therapeutic Effects/Protocol –

To achieve muscle hypertrophy and strength as well as for reduction of muscle spasm or to reduce edema the following protocols are usually followed-

Protocol for muscle strengthening/hypertrophy

  • Amplitude: Tetanic muscle contraction
  • Pulse rate (Burst frequency):5070 Hz
  • Pulse duration: 150-200µs
  • Apply current during the following volitional activities-
  • Isometric exercise at several points through ROM.
  • Slow isokinetic exercise, e.g. 5-10˚/sec.
  • Short arc joint movement when ROM restricted.
  • 10/50/10 – Rule applied

Protocol for spasm reduction-

  • Amplitude: Tetanic muscle contraction up to patient tolerance.
  • Pulse rate(Burst frequency)- 50-70Hz
  • Pulse duration: 50-175µs
  • Muscle contraction: isometric
  • On-time– 5-12seconds and off—8-15 seconds

Protocol for reducing edema(Due to lack of muscle contraction)

  • Amplitude: small visible muscle contraction
  • Pulse rate (Burst frequency): 35-50 Hz.
  • Pulse duration: around 400µs.
  • Onoff time: An on-time of 1-2 seconds and an off time of 1-2secs promote pumping of muscle
  • Treatment time: 10-15 mins/session( can be used more than once a day)


  • The only indication for using Russian currents as introduced by knots in 1977s is to strengthen the muscular system of healthy and athletic persons.
  • Post-knee ligament surgery
  • Post arthroscopic knee surgery
  • Following ligament sprain
  • Post casting
  • Muscle spasm


  • Over the anterior cervical area
  • The lumbar or abdominal area during pregnant
  • Hemorrhagic area
  • Neoplastic area
  • Metallic and electronic implant
  • Impaired skin sensation