Vibration training isn’t new, but it’s certainly one of those exercises you either love or hate.
HellaWella decided to revisit this shaky exercise and weigh the pros and cons.
Using a vibration machine, like the popular Power Plate, you sit, stand or lie on the plate using different vibration settings to stimulate muscle activity. A.C.E Fitness’ Jessica Matthews explains that rapid mechanical vibrations are thought to cause the muscles to reflexively contract, stemming from Newton’s second law of motion whereby force equals mass times acceleration. (That’s all the math we’ll use in this story. For more on the science behind vibration training, click here.)
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, a beginner should have a progressive overload sequence that includes gradually adding either more sessions per week, more exercises per session, more sets per exercise, more intense exercises (e.g., one-legged exercises are more stressful than two-legged), greater duration per exercise or shorter rest interval between exercises.
If you’re young and athletic, vibration training alone is not enough to gain more strength and power. The ACSM recommends you use vibration training either as preconditioning before traditional resistance and conditioning training, or practice resistance training simultaneously with vibration training. (Try wide-stance squat jumps, jump onto platform and hold landing and dynamic one- legged squats.)
Check out this video for a further explanation:
While the full extent of the benefits is still under investigation, advocates for vibration training say that it’s known to enhance muscle strength and flexibility, boost blood circulation, increase metabolism and reduce back, joint pain and arthritic pain, among others.
We don’t recommend replacing your aerobic and strengthening routine with vibration training (also called whole body vibration). If you have a vibration machine at home, make sure you know how to use it! According to a study by the American College of Sports Medicine, the wrong combination of vibration parameters may cause adverse health effects, such as cardiovascular and neural symptoms and disorders.
If you’re diagnosed with coronary disease or hypertension, the ACSM suggests that you avoid vibration training until more research investigates the effects upon total peripheral resistance and coronary blood flow.
If Pilates and vibration training had a baby, what would it be called? Vibro Pilates, of course! Vibro Pilates, the creation of Istanbul-based Pilates Studio FitFiz, lets you practice Pilates on a vibration machine, resulting in increased muscle strengthening and flexibility. If you can’t make it to Istanbul, try some moves at home with your own machine.