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Can I mix vibration training with other forms of exercise?

07th January 2016

Mixing whole body vibration training with other forms of exercise is not uncommon. In fact, fitness trainers recommend adding vibration exercises to aerobic routines, as the former are great for strengthening the muscles and building lean mass, while the latter are good for accelerating the metabolic rate and supporting faster weight loss.

Vibration machine exercises can provide the same benefits as conventional strength exercises, but the routine is usually shorter, so if you only have 30 minutes per day for physical activities, an intense workout consisting of 10 minutes of WBV and 20 minutes of aerobic exercises may be a good choice.

But what happens if you mix strength workouts with vibration training? Is this recommended, are there studies to support this practice? What about people suffering from different ailments, will they see additional benefits from combining whole body vibration with physiotherapy, or is this contraindicated?

Some research suggests that mixing vibration training with physiotherapy programs can accelerate the recovery, while other papers say WBV doesn’t add any benefit to conventional physiotherapy sessions. Given below are some studies on the effects of mixing vibration exercises with classical aerobic or strength programs.

Japanese researchers investigated the effects of vibration training in combination with squat exercises on muscle power, balance and walking ability, in elderly people. Their study involved 28 ambulatory patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis or spondylosis, who were randomly divided into two groups.

The first group received whole body vibration at a frequency of 20 Hz, for 4 minutes per session, 2 times per week, while the second group performed 20 squats during the WBV training session, the parameters being the same. No side effect was noticed during the trial, and after 6 months of vibration training with or without additional exercises, the participants in the second group experienced more significant improvements in walking ability, balance and muscle strength than those in the WBV-alone group.

Exercises were well tolerated by all participants, including the seniors in the WBV/squat group who had to put in more effort. The results of this first trial suggest that mixing vibrating machine training with regular exercises is more effective than WBV alone in improving body balance and muscle power in the elderly.

German scientists also investigated the effects of adding vibration plate exercises to endurance and strength training, and concluded that WBV may be a safe and feasible form of physical activity even for people with lung transplantation. This paper showed that exercising on a vibrating plate may enhance the effects of classical exercises.

The study involved 83 participants (average age 56 years), who performed 4 weeks of rehabilitation exercises, with 5 training sessions per week. One group performed dynamic squat exercises on a vibration plate, in addition to the classical endurance and strength rehabilitation exercises, while the other group performed the same program but without vibration.

Researchers from Spain found that adding whole body vibration to cardio exercises can increase the activity of muscles in the legs, trunk and upper body. Their study involved 28 recreationally active students who performed 20 seconds of battling rope undulation with or without WBV. Results showed that the exercise stimulus of performing battling rope exercise can be augmented by completing the routine while being exposed to vibration.

Researchers from Taiwan published a study in the Journal of strength and conditioning research, that showed that WBV mixed with extra-load training can enhance muscle strength and the speed of trained athletes more efficiently than vibration workouts or loaded training alone.

Finally, a study conducted by researchers from Chile showed that adding whole body vibration exercises to conventional training programs may be useful in promoting weight loss and improving muscle mass, the method being safe and well tolerated.

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