Anyone that has read through the posts and/or articles on this site will notice the emphasis that has been placed on the ACCELERATION output of a given Vibration Platform. While there are some other variables that need to be considered such as the frequency used to achieve higher levels of platform acceleration, the primary purpose of this article is to more clearly describe:
- What acceleration output is when it comes to vibration training.
- How the principle of acceleration relates to the force of gravity.
- How the force of gravity acts on us and influences our body.
- How increasing gravity with WBV safely strengthens our body.
With a thorough understanding of the above concepts, you will better comprehend what makes Vibration Training so effective, efficient, and evolutionary. Also, you will understand why one of the most innovative training methods we have ever seen, despite a continuous barrage of skepticism, will only continue to grow in popularity. It’s growth directly proportional to the number of people living longer lives and keen on living them with maximal health and wellness.
What is acceleration output?
Acceleration output (measured in G’s as in “G-Force”), as it pertains to Vibration Training, describes the rate at which a given platform speeds up as it moves from it’s lowest point to it’s highest point. Measured with an accelerometer, it reflects the variables of both the platform’s amplitude and it’s frequency.
To better simplify the concept, if a platform has to move at a frequency of 30 Hz (30x per second) over two different amplitudes (2mm and 4mm), it must achieve a higher level of acceleration to cover the greater distance. This is why most lineal platforms on the market, which operate at lower amplitudes than specified, produce lower acceleration levels when tested.
Likewise, if a platform must cover two of the same amplitudes (distances), it must have a higher frequency (move faster) to achieve a higher level of acceleration.
This is why most pivotal platforms on the market, which fail to achieve greater than 13-14 Hz, produce lower acceleration levels when tested.
How does acceleration relate to gravity?
For those few platforms that do succeed in producing higher levels of acceleration output, when considered with Newton’s 2nd law that states that Force = Mass x Acceleration, they deliver a higher FORCE to the user’s body and therefore result in stronger bodily responses.
Why is this important?
To answer this, it is important to try to better understand a FORCE that we are all familiar with. A force that we experience every moment of our lives on earth; one that our fight against helps maintain our bone density, muscle strength, and cardiovascular efficiency; let’s also not forget our balance and stability, neurological acuity, and finally, our good metabolism. That’s right, we are talking about GRAVITY!
Whole Body Vibration Training, when done on a high acceleration platform, is a means to simulate an environment of increased gravity and therefore help us better maintain our body’s integrity.
The force of gravity on our bodies.
Gravity, or gravitation, is a force that attracts all physical matter and pulls the universe together. All objects, including human beings, have a gravitational field. The strength of a gravitational field is proportional to an object’s mass. Due to the mass of the earth and its much higher amount of proportional gravity, we can only experience this force being exerted on our bodies. This is what’s known as the “pull of earth’s gravity”.
It is pull of earth’s gravity that causes us to drop back down to the ground when we jump, fall when we are off balance, have arthritis pain when we are standing and walking, and, perhaps most dramatically, struggle climbing stairs and getting up from the floor as we grow older.
Do we actually feel the force of gravity?
Our bodies cannot actually feel gravity’s presence or its force. The only indication of its existence is what we refer to as “contact force,” or the more apt term, “pushback,” caused by gravity.
The contact force is felt by the pressure that the earth places on us when it pushes back into our bodies. This pressure is felt, for example, when we are standing. When sitting, we feel the “pushback” of the chair against our buttocks.
An even more illustrative example is walking. The “pushback” of the contact force is the pressure placed on our legs as our feet alternately hit the ground. If we land harder, the contact force is greater. If we land softer, it is lessened.
How do our bodies perceive the contact force created by gravity?
There are incredibly complex systems of nerve receptors throughout our bodies. Among them, are a group known as “proprioceptors” that permeate our muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
These nerve cells are constantly relaying information about the amount of gravity acting on our bodies and the contact force it creates. They relay this information through our nervous system to our brain. With this information, our brain determines many things, including how hard and fast our muscles have to work, how dense our bones need to be to support us, and how well our hearts need to pump to deliver oxygen and nutrients as well as remove waste. In essence, all the necessary information needed to sustain our lives and maintain the body’s integrity.
This system is what enables a baby to develop the strength to sit up, the ability to stand up, to walk, and eventually to run and jump. It is also the same system that causes the harmful loss of muscle and bone, as well as the dangerous changes to the cardiovascular systems of astronauts when they travel to lower gravity environments, such as the moon, where gravity is one-sixth (1/6th) that of the earth.
For these astronauts, among the earliest and continued users of Whole Body Vibration Training, this equates to 1/6th the contact force being placed on their body, thus signaling to the brain that only 1/6th the amount of muscle, bone and circulation is needed to sustain life.
What do we have in common with astronauts?
While most of us have never stepped foot on the moon, we have done an excellent job convincing our brain that we are there. Through our increasingly sedentary lifestyles and countless hours in front of our computers, we have stopped moving, and, as a result, significantly reduced the amount of gravity acting on our on our muscles and bones. More specifically, the amount of contact force acting on the muscles and bones of our legs and spine.
As a result, as we age, like astronauts on the moon, we experience a gradual loss of muscle (or “sarcopenia”), a loss of bone density (or “osteopenia” and osteoporosis”), and reduced circulation leading to internal toxicity, swollen limbs (or “edema”) and poor physical endurance.
What can we do about this?
To answer this question, let’s think about what would happen if we sent an astronaut to Jupiter, where gravity is 2.5 times that of the earth. On Jupiter, the pull of gravity would create two and a half times the contact force on their bodies. In time, their bodies, exposed to these environmental variables, would most likely develop larger muscles with which to move, denser bones for support, and a stronger heart to pump their blood against this increased gravity. They would also likely burn more fat to provide the energy needed to function in this environment.
On earth, the goal is the same. To fight against this physical decline, we must expose ourselves to higher amounts of gravity. Up until now, this has only been done in one way, through the use of weights. By using weights, we increase our bodies total MASS and therefore increase the strength of the force of gravity. As a result, the contact force on our body increases, telling our brain to make the necessary changes to our body so that we can successfully move with the weight.
Unfortunately, however, the more weight we add or the older we are, the more likely we are to injure ourselves with this approach. This makes weightlifting as we grow older quite risky. It is for this reason that most individuals prefer to avoid loaded squatting or lunging, or pressing heavy weights overhead. Fighting the long, exhausting battle against gravity as we age or if we are physically disabled, becomes increasingly frustrating and leaves some people feeling hopeless.
How can we increase gravity with Vibration Training?
Through the upward movement of a high acceleration platform against our body, we experience a higher contact force. We change the variable of acceleration instead of mass (remember F=MxA) as a means to increase force. Like the first moments when an elevator moves up under our feet and we feel heavier, this upward platform movement simulates a higher gravity environment and therefore, like on Jupiter, forces our muscles, bones, and cardiovascular system to grow stronger.
With a proper, high-acceleration platform system, capable of creating up to
10-25 times the contact force of the earth, these effects have been shown to occur with less than 30 minutes of exposure per week. This is the true value behind Vibration Training and hopefully when better understood, will finally be capable of changing the lives of so many people in need.