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12 Vibration Machine Exercises for Osteoporosis Sufferers

14th October 2016
12 vibration machine exercises for osteoporosis sufferers

One of the frequent questions asked by people with osteoporosis when first trying whole body vibration platforms is whether these exercises are safe for someone with weak bones, or they’ll end up damaging the bone tissue even more.

The great majority of existing studies suggest that exercising on a vibration machine is safe for people with osteoporosis, so there’s no need to avoid this form of training if you’ve been diagnosed with this condition, or if you have been mostly sedentary until now and think your bones aren’t prepared for too intense workouts.

Contrary to what one may think if unfamiliar with WBV, this form of training is effective in improving bone mineral density in postmenopausal women with weak bones due to osteoporosis, and is widely used as a complementary treatment in people affected by this condition.

If you still doubt, take a look at this study for example, which found that 6 months of WBV exercises at a high intensity and amplitude can lead to significant improvements in the bone density of the lumbar spine. This paper concludes that whole body vibration can be a safe alternative to conventional exercises for people looking to strengthen their bones.

Also, here’s a review that explains very well the use of vibration exercises and therapy in osteoporosis patients. Although there isn’t a standard routine or treatment plan that includes whole body vibration for osteoporosis sufferers, this type of exercise should be considered by people affected by this condition.

Now, here comes another question frequently asked by first time users: how can one know what exercises are the best for osteoporosis specifically? Are some movements better than others, or should one just do any exercise on the vibration machine? Well until now we’ve seen that WBV can improve bone strength and density, and these effects, along with other beneficial health effects, can be experienced by anyone who uses a vibration platform regardless of the types of exercise they perform.

Surely, some exercises are more useful in strengthening the bones in the upper body and others are better for targeting the lower body, but there are also exercises, such as those performed in a standing position, that target multiple groups of muscles at once. The standing position, for example, may look simple and useful just for massage or improving circulation, but at a higher intensity, it can be effective in increasing muscle and bone strength as well as core strength, posture and stability.

UK researchers investigated the effects of vertical and side-alternating WBV platforms on fall risk factors and bone turnover in older people at risk of falls, and found that whole body vibration training increased leg power and bone formation. Also, this study conducted by Chinese researchers found that whole body vibration can contribute to an increase in bone mineral density of the femoral neck and lumbar spine while reducing back pain. And this article here states that vibration machine exercises are safer and more effective in strengthening osteoporotic and weakened bones than conventional weight lifting exercises.

So now that you have at least a basic idea of what whole body vibration can do for people with osteoporosis, let’s take a look at some exercises that can be done on a vibration machine for targeting and strengthening the bones in the entire body.

Whole body vibration routine for strengthening the bones

Do each of these exercises for 1 minute if you’re a beginner, or up to 2 minutes if you’re already used with WBV. Try to keep the entire routine around 10-15 minutes, and to adjust the intensity and amplitude as needed, to do all exercises with proper form and posture.

Make sure to keep your hands on the handles for balance and to decrease the frequency when doing whole body vibration exercises for the upper body. You don’t want too much vibration to go to your head. Also, decrease the frequency when sitting on the machine, to avoid spine injuries.

Here are the exercises for the whole body vibration routine:

  • Standing warm up – as its name implies, it’s done for warming up the muscles and joints and preparing your body for the more intense exercises
  • Mini-squat – targets the lower body mainly, but is also useful for strengthening the core and improving posture and balance
  • Mid-range squat – offers even more stimulation to your legs, lower abs and glutes
  • Lumbar release – helps in relieving muscle tension and reducing lower back pain
  • Modified push-ups – strengthen the bones in the upper body, shoulders, arms, chest and back
  • Lateral step-ups – target the lower body, shaping and strengthening the hips, glutes, squads and hamstrings
  • Heel raise – great for strengthening the bones in the calves and legs, as well as for improving balance
  • Biceps curls – target mainly the arm muscles but are also good for toning the core muscles, as the machine sends vibrations through the entire body and the core has to work to maintain balance
  • Triceps dips – this exercise targets the triceps, and helps in strengthening the bones and muscles in arms and shoulders
  • Bridge – a good exercise for strengthening the glutes and the core muscles, as well as for targeting the bones in the lower body and core especially
  • Plank – an extremely effective exercise that tones the entire body and can help strengthen the bones in the upper body and core
  • Dynamic squats – the squat exercise is already challenging if you just stand on the machine, but to make it even more difficult and to push your body more for maximum effects, try dynamic squats as well

These exercises can be done in the same routine or you can split them between WBV training sessions. Remember than besides strength exercises like these, it’s also important to do cardio activities and to eat healthy and get enough rest, if you want to make sure your bones and your entire body stays healthy and strong.

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