November 19, 2017

Vibration Training: A Beginner’s Experience

Vibration TrainingWhen I came on board as one of the managers of vibrationtraining.net, I never heard of whole body vibration. The only thing in my schemata that I could relate it to was the old belt vibrating device my cousin’s mother had in the 1980’S.

As I began to work on the site, editing posts and reviewing comments, my curiosity was really peaked as I learned more and more about VT. On a side note, vibration training was also recommended by my doctor after he diagnosed me with a kidney stone.

Just over a month ago I decided to give it a go. I was still a bit skeptical that I could get a good workout on such a device for such a short amount of time. I wasn’t out of shape and have been using free weights for many years as part of my fitness routine.

When I went to the studio for my free trial, the trainer asked me to fill out a short health questionnaire and then we quickly got started. She put me in the first pose (basic squat) and she started the device. After about 30 seconds my legs began to burn and I was completely surprised about how difficult it was. I also noted that the vibrations weren’t at all uncomfortable to my teeth, eyes, or brain which is a common fear among those new to the process.

After 15 minutes of instruction and being on the platform, I felt as though I had worked out for at least 45 minutes. Needless to say, I was completely impressed. As the weeks have progressed some of the poses have gotten a little easier, but my trainer has been great in showing me some variations that allow for a harder training session.

As far as my body goes, I have noticed that my legs and glutes are more toned and developed. My upper-body seems a little more defined as well. Honestly, I’m quite impressed with the way vibration training works out my legs, but I feel as though my upper body could use a bit more. I find if I go home and lift some free weights directly after my session, I feel as though I’ve had a really good workout.

This skeptic has been won over and I’ve even recommended VT to my flatmate who happens to compete in events such as the Xterra and other biking events. He gave it a try and also was quite impressed with how much it worked out his legs.

If you’ve been wanting to give vibration training a try, but have been a bit leery, I encourage you to find your nearest reputable studio and give it a shot. I think you’ll be glad you did. Please feel free to comment here about your experience.

Comments

  1. Lets keep comments on this post related to people’s personal experiences with VT. Cheers!

  2. About the article’s question re: upper body limitations with WBV – has there been any more recent research to discover how to involve this part of the body more? Like, having more units with side bars to continue the vibration more to the upper body rather than just the straps. With more people with lots of neck and back arthritis that would help rather than attempting the more difficult positions like push up positions which a lot of older folks can’t get into.

    Thanks again.

    • I use a DKN XG-5 Pro. This unit has solid, seat belt like straps. I find that this does a good job of translating the vibration to specific areas. I prefer this method, vibration transfer, to using a stretchy band. I think vibration wins out over simply doing a resistance movement. The exercises where this works well are, Bent row, arm curl, tricep pushback, lateral raise (shoulder), and cross handle upright row (traps). The pushup is what is best for the chest, but as you say, this is not great for the less conditioned. I have found an exercise that is a great substitute, but still requires a certain amount of mobility. On my platform, I do a Yoga pose. Child’s Pose. I am sideways on the platform, knees and shins on the pad, torso resting on the thighs. This puts you in good position the grab the platform and squeeze. I do this after I do pushups, and it really brings the vibrations to the Pec muscles. Additionally, you can bear you weight down while doing this to increase the tension on the Pecs. My pecs are loving it. It has bumped up my pec development. This is a great exercise. You can put little effort into it, just relying on vibration, or squeeze harder, for isometric and vibration, and even bear down you weight while doing it to increase the tension.

  3. Hi Robyn,

    I am sorry for not having got back to you earlier on this. I have travelled almost 10,000 K’s and to 4 destinations since my email last week. I have cut & paste your questions to our physio for further comment as earlier suggested too.

    I will do my best to tackle it here…

    In my opinion correct posture for upper body is more difficult and users should be more cautious. Avoiding excessive vibration to the head is important on any machine, but is some degree of head vibration cannot be avoided. It is a matter of minimising it through correct posture. With that in mind, it is also unavoidable that you receive much more vibration to the head during upper body exercises than lower body, and it is certainly not for everyone. The trials we are currently running at James Cook University are using lower body exercise only for the same reason. I cannot comment about this with lineal vibration, as I have not had the experience.

    The two most important factors of upper body exercise to avoid head vibration are
    1) elbow flexion
    2) positioning of the head

    My advice is to create a greater elbow flexion angle to dampen the vibrations. With regards to positioning of your head, when in a push up or plank, try shifting your head forward toward the post. The majority of the vibrations are transmitted vertically up through the arms and if you can move your head away from that path, you will experience less discomfort.

    My expertise is not in physiology so the above is based on my understanding only. You should receive a response from our physio shortly, and should you have further questions please follow it up with Glenn.

    I still plan on paying you a visit when I return home 😉

    Cheers,
    Murray

  4. Thanks Murray and Mike

    Murray
    I knew you were still away and busy, so just thought I would put it on the forum in the meantime.
    Re the pushup position, I had worked that one out, by moving more forward with my head and am comfortably able to include that one.
    I searched for as many exercise charts as I could before beginning, to see if there was any clear recommendations that were different for pivotal than for the lineal to add to what had already been said in this regard. One of the charts I came across was from a Galileo site, so I thought it would have been reliable in that department. Included on this chart were some I have queries about with regard to safety eg., those for the abdominals, and the torso twist and the single foot lunge. I will be asking the physio from Murray’s site as well, but would like the more experienced pivotal users and those just experienced their thoughts on that workout and those particular abovementioned positions.

    The chart can be found on
    http://www.galileouk.co.uk/exercises.html

    click on the chart and it opens as a .pdf

  5. No problem Robyn, I’m in Perth but have had a weekend off.

    Yep, head forward definitely will help with the head vibration, actually the Galileo pdf you linked to shows it well.

    You will be hard pressed to find anyone more experienced with pivotal vibration than the physio who provides our email support. He has also produced his own exercise guides (plank included 😉 ), so you should be able to get plenty of input from him.

    I have found some pretty unique exercises promoted by Galileo/Vibraflex. If you look on youtube you will find golf swings, jumps etc..

    I can see the need for safety programs when these machines are being used unsupervised, and I think that is the key (unsupervised) why the more extreme stuff is not recommended by some.

    There does seem to be a lot of conflicting information around. I am still trying to make sense of some of it myself.

  6. I am only new to using a pivotal machine, and have done 10 sessions to date, since the 8th March. I am using the Hypervibe performance machine, and trust that it can deliver training and toning effects as well as therapy levels that Murray assures me it can.

    I have definitely seen strengthening in my legs from a very early stage, and this happened quite quickly, and I am able to do 1 min in a small squat at 26Hz, though the last 30 secs can be an effort for me.

    The only disappointment I have is with the upper body.
    I have experimented with various positions and really only have managed to do a pushup pose successfully as the other positions are just too jarring to my head. However, I am not seeing too much ‘gain’ as far as training effect from this position on my back or arms

    The tricep dip, I can just manage sometimes but the shaking in my head makes me not want to do it — but the plank position is impossible due to what is to me quite violent head shakes and pain inside skull at those times. The pain does not stay when the machine stops, but it is not something I have ever liked throughout my life — having my head shaken. I am aware that I have a sensitivity in that area and always have — but was hoping to ‘shake’ that one out of me 🙂

    I would appreciate some suggestions re the upper body.

    Also, another querie, is with regard to the training effect on muscles the next day for example. So far, even if I have worked hard to do the whole minute in a squat at the high Hz, I have not as yet felt any muscle soreness the next day — which is what I am used to if I work my muscles more than they are used to. Is this to be expected? That there will be no soreness?

    I look forward to any suggestions and comments

    Robyn

  7. Mike Hair says:

    Robyn.

    When you are doing the press up position make sure your elbows are not locked, if your head is being shaken too much then try bringing your hands closer together, also slow the machine down untill you get used to it.

    As far as the plank position is concerned I would recommend not doing it on a pivotal machine, way to difficult to do with out risking injury, stick to the swiss ball for that one. Remember with the plank position all you are trying to achieve is destabilization of the core causing your smaller muscle groups to activate, only safe on a linaer machine.

    It beats me why people try and add as many excercise as they can when it comes to vibration training/therepy, just because it is safe on a swiss ball or the floor does not make it safe on a machine.

  8. Mike,

    The plank exercise (on pivtal machines) is used here in Australia by physio’s and physiologist’s with years of experience in WBV.

    What leads you to believe this position is not safe?

  9. Robert Weg says:

    I purchased the Hypergravity Personal Trianer for my home. They were local to southern california and have been very helpful to me with set-up and installation. It is a well built unit and very solid which helps because of my size. I am 6’2″ 270lbs. I use the lowest setting to start for 2-3 minutes before moving to higher settings which has increased my motion on my back to almost 100 percent. I admit I probably am agressive about my rehab but feel that the vib therapy is the only reason I can walk normally today. Just stand used to be painful but the Personal machine used 10-15 minutes 4-5 times a day using the excercises recommended by my therapist and other people I trust. I know to change the rotation of exercises but feel stiffness in my neck at end of day.

  10. mike Hair says:

    Just tried the plank on a pivotal machine

    1. Forearms on platform, knees on the floor – 14hz. Very uncomfortable through the shoulders and neck, way to much unnatural movement to be safe, stopped after 15 seconds.

    2. Knees on platform,forearms on the floor, backside slightly risen – 14hz. Destabilization of the core through the hip flexes, Hips got tired and abs started to in-gage after 1 min, Much better position.

    Unfortunately people have been selling pivotal machines with no descent safety programs attached, I do not sell pivotal machines but have been running a studio for 3 years with both pivotal and lineal machines and we only do, and recommend, 5 excercises on the pivotal.
    1. 5 minute stand knees unlocked
    2. basic squat
    3. press up elbows unlocked
    4. tricep dip with backside on the front of the machine
    5. wide squat

  11. My point of this was, I trust that when I visit a physiotherapist, that they will not suggest I do something that is considered as unsafe.
    As mentioned, certainly some positions are not for everyone, this could be said for almost every position dependent on the user and their ability, health conditions etc.
    In my opinion the plank position can be performed safely, and from personal experience I know it is safe for me.

  12. I know we have the time limitation of 10 – 15 min. a day with 48 hrs in between sessions. But … lately I’ve been including about 5 min. with the hz in the massage area – helps bad arthritis in back – and for part of that I use the large half moon cushion Josh included for me – on back (crosswise to front of unit), leaning a bit back with legs supported on back of chair in front of me and with arms stretched out to sides. Soooo, can my time for training itself of 10 min. or more be added to this time since the massage settings don’t seem to effect much even though I do those on high.

    Another question: can the size of the person allow for more time in training since the effects on smaller persons would seem to be greater from the start than for a taller;heavier person – like Robert mentioned?

    And, in this latest current discussion, you have used the setting of 14 hz. Is this because you’ve been discussing a pivotal unit or one meant just for therapy? I ask because I didn’t think we were supposed to go below 20 hz.

    Thanks

  13. ok, an update on the upper body positions and the safe abdominal:
    I decided to try using an old piece of foam that I found instead of the rubber backed mat I had been using for the arms, and it has made quite a difference. The cushioning effect allowed me to be more practical and move forward more as well, thus the head vibration is quite minimal now for the plank. The pushup is better also with the foam as it allows me to go up to a higher Hz with it in place.
    Apart from a little elbow burn from the foam everything worked well!!

    Maybe one of these high density rubber mats should be standard to come with these machines? Otherwise, people could be put of gaining the benefits of these upper body positions.

    I tried out the safe abdo position, and yes, it is good. I managed to do it on 19 Hz without too much difficulty. I could not have done it without the foam for my knees, which have never been too good for kneeling due to out of position patellas, but somehow I managed to get into position and hold it. Maybe as my quads strengthen, the patella issue which has been there since childhood, will ease.

    I agree that an 8 sec timer would be great however, without it, at least if you set it to be 15 or 30 secs between runs, you can let the first one run without using it and use the pause for getting into position.

    I have only had the machine for 3 weeks and am enjoying it and benefiting immensely. However, even with such small use I can already see how things could be improved, with regard to design, and features generally for machines.

    Only time will allow the glut on the market to calm down, and more publicity to the general public showing the importance of a machine that will do what is needed rather than a ‘dinky toy’ one.

  14. Hi Guys,

    On the road and out of range as usual.

    Thanks for all the feedback.

    I definitely agree that certain accessories are beneficial for some positions.

    We have had this on the cards for some time, however, just haven’t had the cashflow to go down that path.

    If I wasn’t trying to compete on a weekly basis, against companies misrepresenting their product, maybe we would be in a position to do so.

    There are other hurdles too. For example, we have always posted our DVD’s out seperately because our manufacturer is limited to the export of certain products, DVD’s is not one of them.

    I know our manufacturer can supply me with some form of mat, but it doesn’t do the job.

    I should also point out that our exercise guides and instructions all suggest using accessories. Particularly our new material which we have been working on since January (goes out to all clients nest week). We make reference to this constantly.

    I will take all this feedback on board, and update our accessories page to suggest that while we do not stock accessories, clients should seek to buy these through sports stores or foam/rubber shops. This is what I usually do when asked via email.

    Thanks for posting your experience, and I agree Debbie from Beach Body is great.
    Probably the first time you have felt a high speed pivotal machine, there are not many of them around. I get a lot of comments about the similarities of the lineal machines, once we get the machine up into the higher frequencies.
    I will be back to follow up, and give you my input on some other points when I arrive in NSW next week.

    C ya’s..

  15. Well, after nearly two weeks with my new machine, I am starting to have some opinions.

    We purchased a Hypergravity Elite Pro. Very high quality machine. Josh was great to work with. I don’t have a long track record, but I offer an enthusiastic endorsement of the machine.

    As for the workout…wow. On high at 43hz, that sucker will kick your tail. Period. l am wondering how you hold a Superman Squat, on high, for 2 minutes, at the end of a workout. Yikes. It will be many months before I am able to do a ‘full’ workout.

    I was struck by something, and would welcome feedback from the more experienced here. While the workout produced a really good burn, and a degree of fatigue consistent with a heavy weightlifting workout, I experienced almost no soreness afterward. A tiny bit in my triceps, abs, and legs, but nothing remotely consistent with what I would expect for the degree of fatigue I felt during the workout and for 2-3 days following. Kinda spooky actually. Several people here at the office have used the machine and all have had similar experiences.

    Beyond the ‘no soreness’ weirdness, everything is already tighter, and I’m daring to suggest, bigger. I would think that only 5 workouts wouldn’t yet manifest change, but it clearly is. Weight is unchanged, or perhaps up a bit, yet pants fit fine. More muscle already? Again, hard to justify, but unknown.

    More to come in a few weeks.

    • I have had a similar experience. In particular, when I go for a hard workout, I don’t feel it the next day, but the day after. In fact I just did a hard workout, had a FULL rest day, and wanted to do another hard one on the 3rd day, but found I was a bit weaker, not fully recovered. I think I will try a hard workout, followed by an easier workout on the 3rd day. Things are definitely a little different in Vibration Workout land.

  16. Excellent Ted, thanks. I’ve read a lot on this site, but missed that one.

    Yeah, I ended up on Hypergravity due to recommendations made here. Thanks!

  17. BobO

    Glad you are happy with your purchase and I am also looking to buy the same machine. I am wondering if you used any other machines before making your purchasing choice.

  18. No James, I did not. There was nothing locally available to try, so I trusted the opinions of more experienced people.

    Kinda crazy to drop $9k without more info, huh? I had a hunch and played it. It was a good move.

    The Elite is well made and super stout. The remote control has a certain “Radio Shack experimenters box” quality, but works fine. The controls appear to be OTS, and not purpose built, but given the comparatively low volumes I’m not surprised. (Aside: My company designs and manufactures industrial electronics, so I am a little more picky on such things).

    The low setting is strong enough to give me (@230 lbs) a good workout, and the high setting will dang near cripple you. The constantly variable speed setting (an analog knob) is a nice thing to have. If I had designed this machine, I personally would have digitally controlled it with 1Hz resolution, but it works great as is.

    The fun part is sticking folks on it the first time, knees slightly bent (but not squatting), and sweeping the frequency from 20Hz-ish through 43Hz, and watching the “Oooh!” moment when the stretch reflex activates. Our informal sampling of 8 or 10 has been from about 32Hz to 35Hz, although a couple didn’t seem to notice it at all.

    In spite of the very high energy, I haven’t noticed any rattles, although that might happen over time.

    At 43Hz, the machine has got significant volume, but not offensive. At 60Hz, you fight the urge to duck and cover (it’s loud!), but other than seeing that it would go that high, we don’t work out there. I cranked it up once just to see my stretch reflex fade. It does.

    For whatever reason, 43Hz is a pretty good number. I think you could take that up or down bit without much difference, but too high or too low and you won’t get as good of a workout, that seems pretty obvious.

    The Elite has a range of 10Hz to 60Hz. On low amplitude, frequencies lower than 30Hz aren’t painful. On high, I believe they could hurt you pretty badly. With purpose built electronics, I would prevent use of low freqs on high amplitude, but I can see some value in low freqs with low amplitude. Caveat emptor.

    I am absolutely convinced that after 5 workouts (#6 later today) I am already building muscle. I am up about 1.5-2lbs, but pants feel like I should be 5lbs lighter than I am. There is no doubt that muscles are already tighter. I have a long way to go, but I am very encouraged that this machine will take me there.

    An odd thing is already occurring. The workout hurts like crazy, and yet I look forward to it. The 10 minutes of hell is oddly cathartic, and the rapid improvement makes it easy to remain motivated.

    Biggest concern now is that this becomes an addiction. “Hi. My name is Bob. I’m a vibration addict. I’ve been still for 22.5 hours. Hi Bob…”

  19. Gabriel says:

    Bob,

    For someone new to this, that is quite a thorough review. May I ask what population you are using this platform with (i.e studio vs. rehab facility)

  20. Who are we? I am the president of a small company that designs and manufactures industrial automation products. The ‘test’ population is a bunch of us middle aged engineer types…geeks in need of a good workout with minimum time investment.

    I have been interested in WBV since I saw references to Madonna a couple of years back, but not interested enough to plunk down the money to buy a machine. My interest was renewed when Stevie Nicks recently claimed to lose 60lbs for her 60th b-day by using WBV.

    Did a bit of research and decided that I could justify getting a machine for the company. So far the response has been excellent from our employees and spouses. In fact I think I can sense the low freq rumble of the machine as I’m typing this. Need to run them off though, it’s time for my workout!

    As for the thoroughness of my review…I’m an engi-nerd…I can’t help it. *grin*

  21. Great insight BobO, really useful information. You talk about “sweeping the frequency” I am right in thinking there isn’t any automatic facility (just turn the knob) to vary the frequency unlike the some other models in the HG range that have set program levels.

    Would these extra program features be desirable and would they offer the user an advantage once he/she became accustomed to vibration training?

  22. Yes James, the frequency control is an analog dial with a frequency counter unit to show you what the current frequency actually is. I have found that control to be interesting for demonstrating where the stretch reflex activates, and for subtly adjusting the natural resonances that occur in the machine and in your body.

    One interesting observation about stretch reflex: We have a lady here who has battled MS, and although the treatment program has allowed her to substantially recover, her stretch reflex behavior was substantially different than others. Where most activate by 35hz, and continue to intensify through 40-45hz, hers didn’t really begin to activate until 42-43hz, and even then only in one leg.

    Have any of you trainer types seen that before? In a case like that would you recommend a higher target frequency, say 50hz or so, to ensure good activation?

  23. Cesar Clavijo says:

    Makes me very curious… unfortunately, my HG 360 goes in 5hz increments. 40hz, 45hz… no 43 🙁

  24. Could anyone recommend a unit purchasable in the US for under $750 that would be suitable for vibration therapy. I suffered a long term injury to my hamstring and nerves three years ago through extended sitting without standing to stretch. My leg muscles are weak and very tender to siting at this point. My friend, who will also be using the machine is a 63 year old man with congestive heart failure that has greatly weakened him. His legs retain fluid and he has great difficulty walking. Thanks for any thoughts.

  25. Dan Pelletier says:

    Hi Jordan,

    I understand how frustrating it can be to find a quality machine at an affordable price, I have spent a bit of time looking for you but a decent pivotal unit staying away from tri-planars and low energy machines that will fall apart on you after a few sessions in Canada or the States are going to run in the 1800+ range then take into account for most shipping and your going to run into the 2k+. In that range more options will open up. See if you can find a manufacturer that provides perhaps a payment plan.

    You will be sorry if you spend 750 and find the machine breaks or does not provide desired results and if you don’t get completely frustrated with the experience you’ll be bucking up for a decent machine again.

    Nothing in it for me, but Murray at Hypervibe has been very helpful and they have affordable quality built pivotal machines that are not too far out of range of your budget, click the sponsor link and have a look or send him a note. Let him know you were referred by this site. For used equipment do a search on Kijiji (Vibration Equipment) you may come accross used units closer to home that you may be able to try before you buy, negotiating is easier as well.

    Best of Luck & happy Vibes!

  26. Hi folks!

    What a fabulous site! For a change I can actually believe what I read about WBV.

    I haven’t yet purchased a machine, but I’m looking. Naturally I like to read about other people’s experiences, but I was a little confused by a new user’s statement that his doctor had recommended WBV for a kidney stone condition. I was under the impression that this type of therapy was contraindicated.

    I’m wondering if anyone else has any thoughts or experiences in this area.

    Thanks
    Gary

  27. Ted,

    Thanks for the reply Ted. At least now I have some perspective on this subject. Your own experience was all I needed to hear!

    Gary

  28. New to vibration training, my gym had a Vibroboost unit installed a month or so ago (http://www.hipower-gym.com/en/vibratory-platforms/vibroboost/YV30) and I am addicted! Definitely seen a massive improvement in muscle bulk, weight loss, and over all well being. Never had any training on it however, other than the 3 sheets of paper pinned up in front of it showing some exercise routines, so thought I had better check it out online. Have read through this site and have one or two questions, would be grateful if someone could answer.

    1. It would appear that lineal machines are the best, this unit is 3D, does that mean there is an increased risk of shear stress on joints?
    2. I am clearly an over-user, I have a routine which includes two sets of each exercise but not to fatigue, would a single set to fatigue be better?
    3. Is there an advantage to dynamic exercise? I do actaul squats, rather than hold the position, likewise with pushups, tricep dips, calf raises, and one or two I have invented for myself, is that recommended?
    4. If static is better, where can I find out the best joint angles for the recommended poses? For example squats – what should the optimum knee joint angle be?
    5. Is there an online source for training programs?

    Probably many more questions and your site has answered a great many already! Thanks

    chris

  29. Mike Hair says:

    Chris

    Looks like a china knock off of powerplate. only weighing 65kg its a light and fluffy thearepy device.

    3D is another name for uncontrolled vibration = danger = shearing of the joints.

    A high powered lineal will take you to fatigue in 60 seconds.

    Dynamic defeats the purpose of vibration training, only used on light machines to make you feel like you have done something as the machine alone is not powerful enough to give a work out.

    Vibration Training uses your involuntry reflex system for this to work you must be relaxed in a static posture, not moving. The correct posture puts you at precise angles to hit the girth of the muscle, and stop any shearing of the joints.

  30. Hello all,
    I own the vibrapro ismart unit. it uses linear and harmonic movement. Is one better than the other?
    thanks

    • Edward,

      Yes…one platform is better than another. Please see the engineering test video on the home page of this site which exemplifies this. You can also read the article just posted on the subject of purchasing a platform. The second section will help make things clear as far as engineering tests and what they mean to the consumer. It will be up very soon.

  31. I have a Lifespan machine, is it any good?

    • The lifespan is another low end training unit that delivers very low acceleration and very little benefit unless you are severely deconditioned. It can improve circulation, produce massage-like effects, and be used for balance training. That is about it.

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