Whole Body Vibration – Does it work?

During all sporting activities, our bodies interact with the external environment and experience externally applied forces. These forces induce vibrations within the tissues of the body. Tissue vibration can be induced from impact related events where either a part of the body or sporting equipment in contact with the body collides with an object. Examples of this are the impact shocks that experienced through the led when the heel strikes the ground during each running or walking stride or the impact shock that occurs when a racket is used to hit a ball. The initial impact causes vibrations within the soft tissues, after which the tissues continue vibrating at their natural frequency.

Tissue vibrations can also be induced when the body experiences more continuous forms of vibration, such as may occur through the legs during skiing across a groomed slope or though the arms during bike riding. A continuous input force drives the soft tissue vibrations to be at the same frequency as the input force, but the amplitude of the vibrations will be greatest if the natural frequency of the tissues is close to that of the input force (resonance); however, the amplitude of these larger amplitude vibrations can be reduced by damping from the tissues.

Therefore we can expect to experience soft tissue vibrations in all sporting activities, and the amplitude and frequency of these vibrations is partly determined by the natural frequency and damping characteristics of the tissues. What this suggests is that vibration is natural form of physical activity and in fact experienced at varying degrees through daily movement.

When whole body vibration is applied at a constant level of repeated vertical displacement, expected benefits include weight loss, increased physical performance as well as injury prevention, improved circulation, and lymphatic system activation to a name a few. In referencing vertical displacement, the recommended degree of vertical displacement is between 4-6mm and vibration concentrated at an applied variance of 70% vertical, 20% sagittal and 10% frontal to simulate natural motion.


Recent studies have shown that Acceleration Training offers a 57% improvement in weight loss compared to conventional exercise and nutrition alone. The following exerpt below from a study funded by the Artesis University College of Antwerp, Belgium. “In this study we demonstrated that adding aerobic exercise or whole body vibration (WBV) to a hypo-caloric diet can help to maintain weight loss. Moreover, the addition of WBV seems to initiate an even larger loss of visceral adipose tissue (VAT).” This study shows that combining whole body vibration training with caloric restriction can help to achieve a sustained long-term weight loss of 5-10%. This preliminary data show that WBV training may have the potential to reduce VAT more than aerobic exercise in obese adults, possibly making it a meaningful addition to future weight loss programs.


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