As fitness professionals,we should always be looking for that next tool or training method that willhelp our clients achieve a higher level of success. Whole Body Vibration (WBV) notonly helps our clients achieve a higher level of fitness -- but it does it in ashorter period of time. Although WBV has been available for the personaltraining community for over a decade, it has yet to become a standard modalityin many fitness centers.
The concept of WBV and howit relates to force production has been common knowledge since Sir Isaac Newtonpublished his famous text titled PrincipiaMathematica Philosophiae Naturalis in 1686. In this text, Newton introducedhis three universal laws of motion, the second being Force = Mass xAcceleration. Since then, this concept has been used to achieve great advancesthroughout the scientific world. In the 1960s, vibration training gainedacceptance as a viable modality when Russian Cosmonauts discovered it couldoffset the effects of being in space and facing zero gravity. At the time, theCosmonauts could stay in space up to 420 days, compared to the 120 days theAmerican astronauts could stay in space.
The basic premise behindvibration training is that when the body faces an increase in velocity, it hasto overcome that velocity by contracting more muscle fibers at a higher rate ofspeed. Acceleration is directly correlated to net force: when acceleration isdoubled or tripled, the net force placed upon the body is doubled or tripled. Inresponse to that increase in net force, there is a rapid increase of muscleactivation. This increase in muscle activation will challenge the centralnervous system and will help increase reflexive pathways.
In traditional weightlifting, the forces applied to individuals are applied by adding externalresistance to the skeletal system. One major issue with this type ofapplication of force is that it overloads the skeletal system and can increasethe chance of injury. With WBV, the force is applied by standing on a platformthat moves underneath the individual -- creating a much safer application offorce. The platform moves with the person so they can increase the amount offorce they face without having to leave the ground, as if they would have to ifthey were to perform plyometrics or jumping-based exercises.
What's truly unique about WBVtraining is that it can help almost any type of client -- from the sedentary tothe elite athlete -- with almost any fitness goal. Research has shown thatpotential benefits of whole body vibration training include an increase explosivestrength, power, weight loss and cellulite reduction, circulation, flexibility,balance and bone density.
Strength:Oneof the neuro-physiologocal responses to WBV training that increases overallstrength gains is the Tonic Vibration Reflex (TVR). When a muscle is placed onstretch, the mechanoreceptor responsible for sensing a change in length or rateof length change of a muscle is a muscle spindle. When a muscle is held understretch, as in the bottom position of a squat, the muscle spindles will have towork to keep the current length of that muscle. If load is added, the musclespindles will be forced to work harder to keep the muscle the same length. Whenusing vibration training, the overall increase in G-Forces applied to thelengthened muscle forces the Tonic Vibration Reflex to work at a much greaterlevel, causing an increase in strength. In a 2007 study, WBV led to a 7.8%overall improvement in explosive strength endurance.1
Power:Powertraining has always focused on the stretch shortening cycle of muscles in orderto increase force production. When a muscle is placed under stretch, energy isstored within that muscle, which will allow it to produce force in the oppositedirection. The stretch shortening cycle is very similar to what happens whentension is placed upon a rubber band. As a rubber band is stretched, tension isstored, and when released, it will create force in the opposite direction. Researchfound that exposure to vibration training can increase vertical jump, which isa key indicator of lower body explosive power.2 When measuringvertical jump following a WBV training protocol, the subjects' vertical jumpincreased 2.5% after four minutes and 3.8% after 10 minutes.3
WeightLoss and Cellulite Reduction: A recent study from theUniversity of Antwerp that found adding WBV training to a hypocaloric diet canhelp to achieve sustained long-term weight loss and can reduce visceral adiposetissue in obese adults more than aerobic exercise. 4 Participants in another study achieved a 25%reduction in cellulite, using WBV machines only. 5
Circulation, Flexibility and Balance: WBV has the ability to increase muscle bloodvolume (almost doubles it), as well as increase localized and core temperature.This creates an improved visco-elastic profile, allowing greater extensibilitythroughout entire myofacial lines. If flexibility is a desired goal of yourmovement preparation -- this is the way to achieve it! WBV can lead to more thanan 8% increase in flexibility.6 Looking through a larger lens, we could say thatit improves mobility, which is the precursor to stability.
BoneDensity: Vibration training can increase bone mineral densityand prevent bone loss related to aging. Participants in a study achieved a 1.5%net increase in bone density using a WBV machine regularly, compared to thecontrol group. 7
With nearly 200 publishedstudies on the modality, the research really speaks for itself. Vibrationtraining is a safe and effective mode of training that all our clients canbenefit from.
Whole Body Vibrationacceptance as a fundamental, functional training tool is increasing every dayat a seemingly exponential rate. As more machines become available and moreorganizations like NASM endorse the modality, the trainer base will grow tomeet the demand. Considering the sheer number of potential clients that canbenefit from WBV, the question shouldn't be if WBV is right for them, it's amatter of how it integrates into their program goals. Of course, the proof isin the results and like anything, you must commit to allotting the time tounderstand the modality and experimenting with how you can best utilize thisincredibly versatile training tool.>
Marty Miller, MS, ATC, CPT, PES, CES, CSCS, is a NASM Master Trainer and aPower Plate Master Trainer. He lives in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida with his threesons: Zack, Tyler and Ryan. Marty enjoysmartial arts, reading and being a dad.He is currently pursuing his doctorate in Health Sciences from A.T.Still University. Marty loves learning about new and innovative techniques insports medicine and fitness, and he uses the Power Plate machine withprofessional athletes and everyday fitness enthusiasts, seeing great results.
Power Plate is the worldwide leader in whole body vibration equipment and training. Learn more at www.powerplate.com1 Paradisis, G. and E. Zacharoqiannis. Effects of whole-body vibration trainingon sprint running kinematics and explosive strength performance. Journal ofSports Science and Medicine. Vol. 6, pp: 44-49, 2007.
2 DiGiminiani et al., (2009)
3 Torvinen, Slevanen, Jarvinen, Pasanen, Kontulainen, & Kannus, 2002
4 Vissers, D., A. Verrijkenb,I. Mertens, C. Van Gils, A. Van de Sompel, S. Truijena and L. Van Gaalb. Effectof Long-Term Whole Body Vibration Training on Visceral Adipose Tissue: APreliminary Report. Obesity Facts, The European Journal of Obesity, Vol. 3,Suppl.2, 2010.
5 Frank,H., B. Moos, A. Kaufmann, and A. Herber. Anti Cellulite Untersuch. SANADERMProfessional Clinic for Skin Illnesses and Allergies, Bad Mergentheim, Germany,2003.
6 Cochrane,D. J. and S. R. Stannard. Acute whole body vibration training increasesvertical jump and flexibility performance in elite female field hockey players.British Journal of Sports Medicine. Vol. 39, pp: 860-865, 2005.
7 Verschueren, S., M.Roelants, C. Delecluse, S. Swinnen, D. Vanderschueren and S.Boonen. Effect of6-Month Whole Body Vibration Training on Hip Density, Muscle Strength andPostural Control in Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study.Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, Vol 19, No. 3, 2004.