June 23, 2018

Dispelling Some Myths About Vibration Training

Recently, on this forum, an individual named Dave posted a series of comments related to the subject of Vibration training. Mostly written from the point of view of someone new to the industry and holding quite a bit of skepticism towards it, these posts touched on many of the beliefs that, despite an enormous body of research contradicting them, still unfortunately exist. These beliefs, which continue to prevent many individuals in need from benefiting from Vibration Training, are not only inaccurate as they pertain to Vibration Training, but also to any form of fitness training or technology.

In this post, I hope to attempt to dispel these myths once and for all. This is by no means an attack on Dave, but rather an opportunity to answer his comments more thoroughly, and in doing so, better educate the consumer and visitors to this site.

Please keep in mind that much like some of the material written below may go against what you have believe. It is also likely that in the future, newer ideas will be proposed, some of which may invalidate those contained here. This is nothing more than the process of evolution; the same process in which Vibration Training is currently playing a major role.

Comment/Myth #1:
“It would seem that the majority of vibration machines being sold are comparable to the Crazy Fit, which means my machine performs as well as those that cost thousands of dollars more.”

Response:
First off, the machine referenced here (Crazy Fit) stands among the absolute “bottom of the barrel” of Vibration Training equipment. It sits here because of several factors. Some of these factors will be addressed below, but for a more precise understanding, please read our other article titled, “How to Properly Select a Platform” (Part I and Part II).

http://www.vibrationtraining.net/2011/06/how-to-properly-select-a-platform-part-i/
http://www.vibrationtraining.net/2011/08/how-to-properly-select-a-platform-part-ii/

Although there are several ways to interpret this comment, what it brings to light is a common misconception. This being that because the majority of platforms look similar and share the same cost, they are all that one needs to enjoy the wide array of research-based benefits of Whole Body Vibration. This is the furthest from the truth.

While a machine that vibrates can certainly provide benefit to an individual, a closer look at the research indicates that only a few vibration training platforms stand behind all of the research. Of these platforms, not a single one performs or is engineered in the same way “the majority of vibration machines” referenced in Dave’s comments are. As a result, none of them have a similar price tag either.

There are two primary reasons why these platforms do, in fact, represent the majority of vibration training platforms on the market. The first being that most people on the manufacturing side of the industry care little for research or for understanding the ways in which the human body works. Secondly, with profit being their primary motive, they rely on the ignorance of the consumer to save money by manufacturing their equipment with cheap materials, weak motors, and gimmicky websites built upon deception and scare tactics.

As will be touched upon below, and has been many times on this site already, the key to vibration training is the variable of ACCELERATION WHILE LOADED. Without proper engineering, the necessary acceleration levels of a vibration training platform cannot be achieved. Therefore, the corresponding changes in the body cannot be expected. This is beautifully demonstrated in the engineering report video located on the homepage of the site. Why is acceleration so important? This will be explained below.

Comment/Myth #2:
“Galileo seems like it is the best performer on the market. But the truth is that it’s too much money for me to spend on something that I have serious doubts about…”

Response:
Yes. The Galileo (Vibraflex in the US) is certainly an expensive vibration platform. The reason of course, is the cost of manufacturing in Germany with state-of-the-art materials. Now ask why they would do this? If you are not someone that believes the Germans are just outright idiots, then you will begin to understand the obvious relationship between engineering, machine performance and the benefits yielded. I don’t see these prices dropping anytime soon, and unfortunately, for those of us in the US, as the dollar declines so does our chances of enjoying the superior quality of the Galileo. Machines with comparable acceleration levels, offered at lower prices will be the only hope.

As far as your doubts, let’s look at where they originate……

Comment/Myth #3:
“Every couple of years something new comes along in health and fitness that gets hyped to the max and then you find them at yard sales for a couple of bucks.”

Response:
There is nothing “new” about Vibration Training. The concept of using Vibration for the purposes of strength and performance was validated in the 1960’s. The benefits of Vibration Training on a platform system dates back to the mid-1990’s. A more detailed account of the history can be found here:

http://www.vibrationtraining.net/2011/08/how-to-properly-select-a-platform-part-ii/

Unfortunately, the combination of consumer (and professional) skepticism, profit driven engineering inadequacies, and deceptive marketing strategies have kept the industry in the dark. The reason more people are hearing about it now, and as a result believe it is something “new”, is that it continues to be proven effective in a growing body of international research and the demand for it is increasing exponentially.

Not only has it been shown to be effective for strength and performance, but also low back pain, bone density, circulatory disease, neurological disease, and flexibility. This includes groups of both adults and children, and those are just a few of the benefits that have been shown. Will you find these at yard sales in the future? I believe so, but only because the consumer will understand the industry better, demand quality product, and the need for massive plastic massagers will equal that of the need for $200 stationary bicycles and $3,000 Cybex bicep curl machines (talk about a ridiculous concept!).

Comment/Myth #4:
“Will a 5g machine give me 90% or the benefits of a 20g machine?

Response:
I answer this question with another question. Will your muscle growth potential lifting a 5 lb weight be 90% of that of a 20 lb weight? Does repeated jumping from a 3 inch step yield the same training effect as a 12 inch step? Not at all.

Comment/Myth #5
“I’m not an expert and I don’t know if there has been enough REAL exercise research done on vibration machines to answers that question.”

Response:
As mentioned above, the breakdown and simplification of the body of research that exists on the subject of vibration training will be available soon in part III of the article titled “How to Properly Select a Platform”. In the meantime, for those interested in exploring a substantial amount of the research available on the topic, you can view any number of the 111 studies that are available on my website:

http://equilibriumpt.com/vibration_therapy/research/

For those not interested in “combing through” the data, until part three becomes available, here are just a few examples of the conclusions drawn from several of these studies.

“The WBV-induced increases in muscle hypertrophy and isometric lumbar extension torque suggest a potential benefit of incorporating WBV into slow-velocity RT programs involving exercises of long duration
– Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2011.

“However, concerning muscle strength and power, there was a tendency in favor of the VTG. Only vibration training resulted in a significant increase of leg and trunk flexion strength compared with CG. In summary, WBV embedded in a multipurpose exercise program showed minor additive effects on body composition and neuromuscular performance.” – Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2010.

“We have shown for the first time that low-frequency, low-magnitude vibration 3×/week for eight weeks in postmenopausal women results in a significant reduction in NTx/Cr, a marker of bone resorption, when compared with sham vibration exposure.” – Journal of Osteoporosis Volume 2011

“A 12-week course of low-frequency vibrating board therapy is feasible and may represent a novel physical therapy for patients with non-specific low back pain.” – J Rehabil Med. 2011

“Combining aerobic exercise or WBV training with caloric restriction can help to achieve a sustained long-term weight loss of 5-10%. These 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.”- Obes Facts. 2010

“….yet body fat could be exclusively decreased by WBV” – Eur J Appl Physiol.

“A day with a 30-min multiple exercise WBV session increased 24 h VO2 versus a day that included the same exercise session without vibration, and versus a non-exercise day by 10 and 25%, respectively.
– Eur J Appl Physiol.

“Repeated measures analysis of the variance showed peak resultant force was 6% greater when the vibration platform was utilized prior to the start (p=0.013). – Int J Exerc Sci 2(4): 264-268, 2009.

“The current study shows that individualized whole-body vibration without superimposing other exercises is an effective method of acutely increasing lower back and hamstring flexibility. Furthermore, the applied individualized whole-body vibration over time influences the reactive strength rather than flexibility.”
– J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2010.

Now I do realize that we could take anyone of these studies, scrutinize it, and find something we don’t like about it. This is the case with all research. But at the end of the day, we will have to decide whether there is enough information here to take Vibration Training seriously and commit ourselves to trying it with an open mind. Otherwise, we can wait for the “proof” that will never come, and in the meantime, let opportunity pass us by.

Comment/Myth #6:
“Vibration Training is not going to melt pounds of fat off of you, nor give you 18″ biceps. It’s also not going to strengthen your heart. You want real results you need to do real work”

Response:
Very few exercise techniques will “melt pounds of fat off of you” or give you massive biceps. For the former, you need a strict diet and a superior metabolism, the latter requires superior genetics and extreme training methods. I don’t believe this is what most people have or are looking for when training. If so, I am more than willing to suggest that you look elsewhere. Having that been said, if you are suggesting that Vibration Training cannot successfully reduce body fat or improve muscle mass, you are sadly mistaken and once again need to review the research. Some of those studies were quoted above for your convenience.

As for strengthening your heart, or more specifically, improving your level of cardiovascular (CV) fitness, the effectiveness of Vibration Training for this purpose would depend on the individuals starting point. For example, a deconditioned client that I worked with recently was huffing and puffing after both a one minute squat and a one minute pushup. She had fatigued on both exercises very rapidly. If this had been the intended goal of the exercise then this would be considered High Intensity Training (HIT). This form of “anaerobic” training, growing in popularity in both fitness and rehabilitation, has been shown in a growing body of research to be as effective, if not more, than traditional “steady state cardio” exercises (treadmill, elliptical, bicycle etc.) at improving CV fitness. Up until now these “cardio” machines have been considered the only way to strengthen the heart. Not surprisingly, the rules are changing.

Speaking of Vibration and HIT, in a soon to be published study out of Switzerland, researchers were able to use the Galileo platform in a very unique manner to create a wide array of aerobic power benefits. Among these benefits included increased “graded cycling test power”, “cycling time to exhaustion”, “ventilatory threshold”, “capillary-to-fiber ratio” (improved oxygen delivery), and “slow twitch muscle fiber hypertrophy”(growth of aerobic muscle fibers). Oh…by the way, the subjects exercised for 3 minutes total from what I understand.

Putting this unique study aside, the bottom line is that both aerobic and anaerobic systems work together. While one system may be used more than the other for a specific activity, they can both be improved through the proper manipulation of variables. This includes those associated with HIT. HIT requires that the individual be SAFELY “pushed” hard while training and this can only be done with proper Vibration Training equipment, that which can deliver strong forces (high acceleration levels) on the body, and in some cases, maintain the acceleration levels with increasing loads (through use of weighted vests, dumbbells etc.) . I can assure you that this level of intensity will never be reached on a Crazy Fit or any other low acceleration platform.

At this point, with researchers being overly conservative in their protocols, there are not a lot of HIT and WBV studies being performed. I believe that will change in the future however, so stay tuned. Once the results are in, I am confident the idea of Vibration Training not being a “cardio” tool will disappear along with the televisions everyone stares at while they barely break a sweat on their favorite elliptical machine. You think that strengthens the heart…think again! Even more is the growing amount of belief that people who rely on stationary bicycles and ellipticals at the gym as their primary form of fitness may actually be losing muscle mass and bone density. Both of which can be obtained with Vibration Training on proper equipment.

Comments

  1. Hey i just had a question because this is the most informing website i have found on whole body vibration and i feel like you will be the best to help me 🙂
    im a 21 year old female, i go through stages where i am im my normal weight range to being a little over my BMI but no matter if im skinny or not i still have flabby, untoned, cellulite thighs and bum. I work out, and even after doing an hour cardio class of RPM 3 times a week, it doesnt seem to improve the look of my legs at all. Ive been told that after you exercise if you touch the back of your bottom/thighs and they are ice cold compared to the rest of your body (which is hot and sweaty from your workout) then you have poor circulation in that area. I am a poor university student, so dont have alot of money but i was wondering if im just wanting to use the machine for circulation, cellulite and toning, is it alright to buy a cheaper machine? im not a seriously athlete and i dont expect this machine to magically make me lose weight but if it helps tone my legs and get rid of my cellulite id be so happy 🙂

    Thank you in advance for you time
    Bri

  2. Hi Bri,

    Let me begin by pointing out that the effects of VibrationTraining on reducing cellulite are not supported by any research. All evidence of these effects are purely anecdotal. Having that been said however, by improving circulation to these areas, they are more likely to be influenced positively.

    So…for the purposes of increasing circulation to your legs, an inexpensive machine is okay. The one thing to consider though is that the potential for a machine to break increases with the lowering price. Be sure to buy one with a good warranty. Pivotal or lineal should be fine.

    As far as toning, I cannot recommend something cheap for this purpose. Although to some extent these effects are likely on some level with a cheaper platform, the extent is questionable as the accelerations is very low and therefore the muscle respone will be limited. However, as long as you can keep up with your “other” strengthening exercise programs, you will be fine.

    Good luck.

  3. Your response to the research and the honesty of your answers along with your knowledge has really impressed me. I am a fitness PT instructor, and Sports massage Therapist so I have been looking into this subject on WBV for a while. I bought a comprehensive book done by independant medical boards that was imparcial to any manufacturer and written for Therapist’s alike the name of the book is “using whole body vibration in physical therapy and sport” Churchill Livingstone ISBN 978-0-7020-3173-1. The only negative thing I have to say is it never went into enough detail on “contraindication” ie can anyone who has had spinal spacers put into replace removal of disc’s…..now I know the answer is probally “No” but what if someone has had a Vertebrae fused or Scoliosis etc? or if they have a pace maker that only kicks in on demand, one of my clients haven’t for 6 years. There was access to online exercises but no support for therapist’s or a contact point. I do place only feet on the platform if any really bad spinal problems and would not go outside any normal bounderies but I feel more info should be put out there regarding. Can you tell me if there is a web site to go on for any help. For example, I have just spent an hour on one site and they are wearing trainers now surely it is better to go barefoot or socks to get the max vibe benefit? Could you tell me if a horizontal Oscillation is better than tilt mechanism? I would be grateful for a reply thank you.

    • Hi Debbie,

      Glad you found the site helpful. As far as contraindications are concerned, you will find as you search through the various sites on this subject that there are quite a few discrepancies and I am unaware of any “official site” for this information. My personal belief is that since the majority of research has been done on the Galileo platform, and it was the first platform used, I choose to follow their recommendations (with three exceptions). They are as follows:

      – Acute Inflammation of the pelvis or lower extremities
      – acute thrombosis
      – bone tumors
      – fresh fractures
      – fresh implants
      – gallstones, kidney stones, and bladder stones
      – neoplastic disease of the spine
      – pregnancy

      Besides these, I also don’t use with a pacemaker (personal choice) or if someone has an open wound or infection.

      So…as far as spinal spacers go, I am ok after 1 year with these. Of course, I always clear it with the doctor and recommend this to you. Scoliosis is no problem. Fusion no issues after a year with MD approval. Pacemaker – I don’t train someone with one.

      As far as sneakers go, you are absolutely right. Should only use these if the person requires them (extreme sensitivity of feet or fear of using the platform). Otherwise, they only reduce the effectiveness of the vibration. When it comes to fear, there are also better ways than putting sneakers on also.

      Finally, as far as which is better, do you mean vertical? A horizontal platform would move side to side as opposed to up and down. If this is what you mean then absolutely not. Horizontal platforms would be far inferior to tilting (pivotal). If you did mean vertical (vs tilting), it would depend upon your goals. What do you hope to do with the platform? What are your goals of using it with your clients?

      Hope this helps.

      So..if you follow these.

      • Hola Gabriel,
        Thank you for your kind reply very useful info and pleased you addressed the issues of trainers, I say to my clients if they are only wearing “deck shoes” they can leave these on if they like. Most my users stay in socks and I put a washable rubber mat on the platform or they use their towel. All my equipment is non impact, and have water rowers, and hybrid bikes and elliptical trainers so they need something for bone density that’s why this machine is so important to me for them.

        I have had a search about the different types of Oscilations and have chose the K1 as the reviews are fab and I think the “triangle” movement would be great as apposed to the piston (re lorry drivers bad back that I have seen with severe deteriation of the disc’s etc. The tilt mechanism that I have now was recommended as with Galilieo when I bought my home use one for 350.00 euros for a trial to see results. I have to be fair it has never broke down and still going strong but I de railed it as the arms got in the way and it forced my clients to use their core. I have a program that my clients use with medicine balls and dumbells as mine had no bands. The column gets in the way with some exersises so I was going for just a platform but viewing the K1 it is great with the positoning of the hand bars and a lot more can be acheived. My client base is mixed but mainly over retirement age so I need a machine that is versitle but friendly. Could you recommend the K1? Anyway thanks again I am chuffed you answered all my questions. Take care. Deb’s
        Ps I would like to say some of my clients have varicose veins and these have almost disapeared using vibe, but I notice it’s not on anyones list of benefits.

        • Hi Debbie,

          Thanks for your post. Yes, I agree that it is important to incorporate vibration training into your approach and I am glad you are having success. Sounds like you are developing some great programs too!

          As far as the K1 goes, while it may provide some nice massage and balance benefits, we do not support it on this forum for anything else. The Noblerex is yet another platform to deceive the public with fake specs.
          and in a soon to be released engineering report, you will see that the Noblerex reached a max frequency of somewhere between 12-14 hz and 7G’s. Until they improve their platforms performance or become honest about their products lower level performance, we cannot recommend the Noblerex to anyone.

          As far as varicose veins, while I agree it is something that can be addressed with vibration training, it is not a subject that has been researched yet. Therefore, like the “testimonials” you referenced above, it is only anecdotal at the moment. Maybe just a better of time.

          Keep us posted on everything.

          • Hi Gabriel,
            Thanks again for your reply I am so glad to have you to ask advice from very much appreciated. So what machine would you recommend as a good all rounder? My clients needs all vary but for most it would be fat loss! distort those cells.

            Can I also ask I have a fireman who is waiting for a knee op but too overweight nearly 22 stone. He has an old injury re his job and retired early but got lazy and loves his food. I am looking into a healty eating plan along with no impact exercise. He is too big to go on my Octanes (elliptical trainers) so I need to get his weight down first. He has had arthroscopy on his knee but it is bone to bone ….. could I sit him on a chair and just put his feet on the platform?

            And can I just confirm anyone that has had a knee op or hip or plates or pins must never go on the plate or is this possible after the post op time of a year? Also hernia or epilepsy are noted on the K1 contra-implications would you agree with this?

            I look forwards to hearing from you.
            Debbie

  4. Hi Debbie,

    In my studio, you will find the Galileo (Vibraflex), The Hypervibe, the Powerplate, the Hypergravity, and the DKN. Each one so different from the rest and with its own specific use. The bottom line is that lineal and pivotal coexist quite nicely and allow great versatility for program design. At the end of the day however, if I had to choose one type, I would go with a pivotal platform. We have listed the ones we support on this site.

    The reason I choose this is because its only weakness is upper body training positions (specifically planks and pushups) as far as I am concerned. They can be tough because of the varying amplitude of a pivotal. However, Lloyd Shaw instructed me on using a step to offset the other arm a while back and this works quite well to eliminate those issues and also can be quite a workout for the client when done with other exercises. For example, I now superset the pushup done this way with a single leg strengthening exercise such as the lunge or single leg squat (varies based on the client/patient). Planks are done differently as well. That’s it though. All other training purposes can be done with pivotal, but not necessarily with lineal.

    As far as body composition goes, the little research done so far has been with a Powerplate commercial model (around $10K). To be true to the mission of this site, to be “research based”, I would say that this model has the “lead” for this benefit. Having that been said, with proper diet, all that is needed is a proper intensity of training to promote these changes. Therefore, a high acceleration platform is in order. Using the Galileo in my studio has resulted in quite a bit of “fat loss”. Only however, when the program challenges the client. If you think you can “shake your fat off”, you will be quite displeased.

    This is why we don’t support the K1. It is very low acceleration. Good for massage, circulation, balance, and lymph perhaps. As far as adding any additional training effect as compared to doing exercises off of a platform, it is questionable.

    Now..on to your client….

    He is a big boy! You need a commercial platform to train him. A platform that can withstand a mass of that size without losing performance specs. Again, I would suggest pivotal here because of the severe knee issues. If you just sit him in a chair, it will help with massage and circulation, maybe some pain relief, but I wouldn’t expect any significant effects on the muscles. Some mild fat loss in time, but likely nothing substantial.

    I wait one year for metal implants, screws etc., but this is a silly rule because it can’t be so black and white. Here in the US however, everyone looks to sue so we play it safe. Where you are, it is your call. In the end, I think we will be seeing a lot of joint replacements vibrating day 1. Have to wait for the research however. Hernia and epilepsy are the same. How are you using it? What intensity etc.These are all questions that would need to be considered with these scenarios. For now, follow thew manufacturer’s instructions to play it safe.

    Hope that helps.

    • Hola Gabriel,
      That’s all very helpful advice you have given, and I can see much more clearly where you are coming from now. I will definately op for a Pivotal platform and I know this puts you on the spot but if it were you which one would you choose overal? Which ones have the better acceleration …… I am on a tight buget so that will be a factor as well, but want value for money. I know that sounds a scapegoat but like you say it not just about the price it’s getting the right machine. I do lots of floor work with my clients as I do only small group personal training so the straps and other exercises are no big deal. I have the equipment that really works them out and gets them in shape without the impact. I use the medicine ball and dumbells on the platform to give them variety rather than their body weight as I really feel it is far more effective. Have to sign out now got my massage client in so speak again soon.
      Deb’s

  5. Hi Deb,

    The pivotal platforms that we support on this forum are as follows:

    Galileo/Vibraflex (all models) – VERIFIED (high acceleration)

    Hypervibe Performance – VERIFIED (high acceleration)

    Maxuvibe MX7 – VERIFIED (high acceleration)

    Globus Physiowave 500 – VERIFIED (high acceleration)

    Based on what you have told me, I believe all of them can withstand the demands of your business. With a high acceleration platform, I think you all find body weight is enough of a challenge.

    Hope that helps.

    • Hi Gabriel, long time since we last spoke, hope you are well 🙂 I am still looking at buying a new vibe machine and have take on board all your advice. I am however looking at costs as well with the current climate we live in. I have seen a Vibration/Ossilation plate on Amazon for £999.00 …. it is the jtx salon fit S2 machine. Its 1500 w and 12mm amplitude ….. on the review the client has had the lesser model which is the S1 and say’s they are very pleased but the S2 has the advantage of having 2 motors ….. am I right or wrong does that mean that it can go on 2 different planes? It does says it Ossilates and Vibrates? Sorry for sounding silly but can you comment? Thanks again and hopefully I will make my mind up soon as my other Vibe machine is about to hit the dust!!!
      Cheers Deb’s

      • Hi Debbie,

        Nice to hear from you. While I understand the financial situation, I also know that, based upon your business (personal training), the only way to improve your financial stability it to yield results to your clients. Therefore, you get what you pay for and if you want to save money by buying low quality equipment, you can almost guarantee you will get the same results. This machine is for recovery (circulation and massage etc.). Forget muscle strengthening and body composition/weight loss results! That is, of course, if it lasts more than a month or two.

        If you want to properly use Vibration Training with your clients, you need to make an investment in a proper machine. The lowest price machines that we recommend are the DKN XG10 (note: engineering tests show it needs to be used at 50 hz for proper acceleration levels) and the Hypervibe. My preference is the Hypervibe of course, but I want to remain unbiased as I am involved with distribution of the Hypervibe in the US.

        This is the best answer I can provide. This is the reality of this industry. No fancy terminology, testimionials, or marketing tactics will be able to cover this up for much longer.

        • Hi Gabriel,
          that is great I really apprieciate your honesty and you have saved me from making a bad investment. I will research the Hypervibe and see if I can stretch myself a little further ….. is there any model I should be looking at? and do you know what the cost of distribution and carriage to Spain would be? ….. have you a contact number or email address I can write to?
          Many thanks again.
          Deb’s

  6. Great informative website – I have learned so much from your articles and look forward to reading more! I didnt know you could go into so much detail about vibration plates.

    Sarah

  7. Very informative! I recently heard about Whole Body Vibrational Training and am very interested in learning more. I have learned a lot from your site. I have some concerns about using it. Your site says that people with pacemakers and epilepsy shouldn’t use it. Technically, I have neither. I do have a mechanical aortic valve (a medtronic hall valve, tilting disk type), have had 2 strokes while running caused by the valve (and a grand mal seizure during the first stroke). I need to keep my heart rate under 130 when I exercise. My current exercise routine has helped keep my resting heart rate in the low 50s and stroke free for over 10 years. Could I be a candidate for using Whole Body Vibrational Training to supplement my current routine? Is there any evidence of people with mechanical aortic valves using vibration training?

    Thanks,
    Steve

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