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Does Short-Term Whole Body Vibration Produce Any Effect on the Human Body?

29th March 2015
Hypervibe G10 Mini

Most studies on the effects of whole body vibration on the human body involve long-term training, with 2-3 WBV sessions per week, the duration of these sessions varying depending on the study’s purpose.

However, when someone’s just starting with vibration training, they might want to see fast results, not wait for 3 or 4 months to see whether this method “works”. So what does whole body vibration do when practised for a short time period? Does it have any noticeable effects on one’s fitness level or health state?

Healthy, active people are more likely to prefer conventional training, but vibration exercises can provide benefits even if practised for a short period. Researchers at the Gifu University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan, showed that this form of workout can reduce arterial stiffness and improve cardiorespiratory fitness when mixed with aerobic exercises.

30 healthy participants were divided into two groups, one practicing aerobic alone, the other doing aerobic and WBV exercises. Subjects in the vibration group performed 4 weeks of vibration training mixed with treadmill training (3 days/week, for 50 minutes).

The WBV sessions consisted in 10-12 exercises performed at 30-40Hz, for 30-45s each, amplitude being low. The mean total time per WBV session was 13.6 min, exercises including triceps dips, push0ups, lunges, calf raises, wide stance squats, biceps curls, pelvic bridges and abdominal crunches. The control group performed only aerobic exercises, at the same heart rate as the WBV group (60% of the maximum HR).

Results showed significantly lower body weight and BMI in the WBV group, as well as lower arterial stiffness. VO2max (maximum volume of oxygen one can use, measured in millilitres per kilogramme of body weight per minute, ml/kg/min) was higher in the vibration group, but no significant differences were observed in these parameters in the control (aerobic) group.

Other studies though showed that short-term vibration exercises don’t produce significant changes in the jump, sprint or agility performance in non-elite athletes, but can improve flexibility and strength measurements in elite rhythmic gymnasts.

In overweight and obese women, short-term vibration training was found to increase oxygen uptake more efficiently than exercises performed without vibrations. The WBV session consisted of 2 dynamic and 1 static exercise performed for 3 minutes, with a 10-min rest between exercises. The frequency used was 35Hz and the intensity was set on high, with 20 overweight women participating in this study.

Oxygen uptake (VO2) measures the amount of oxygen one uses in a minute, and it’s a good indicator of one’s overall fitness level. VO2 has a genetic component, meaning that one’s oxygen uptake is limited by one inherited characteristics, but the maximum value of this parameter (VO2 max) can be increased through regular training. Exercises practised at a higher intensity are more effective for increasing VO2 max, and people who are less fit can increase this value more than athletes and fit persons.

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