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Higher WBV Amplitude, Better for Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy

26th May 2015
whole body vibration amplitude effects

As shown in our Complete Whole Body Vibration series of articles, acceleration and frequency are the keys to effective vibration training. The most significant health benefits of this form of physical activity are achieved when one exercises at higher frequencies and amplitudes, and the machine generates a G-force that exceeds 6G’s.

The acceleration of the whole body vibration machine, or G-force as this parameter is also referred to as, dictates the amount of energy burned during the workout, and consequently the changes in one’s body composition, muscle strength, and body weight. Exercising at higher G forces is similar to lifting heavier weights, while WBV exercises done at lower G forces and lower frequencies can replace conventional strength exercises done at low- to moderate- intensities.

If you want to learn more about the influence of the frequency or G-force generated by a vibration machine on muscles and one’s overall fitness level, take the time to read these articles: Which frequency is the best for whole body vibration? and The most important factors to consider when choosing a whole body vibration machine.

Now, let’s discuss another parameter of WBV platforms that was also found to influence the outcomes of vibration training: the amplitude, or the distance traveled by the platform when moving up and down. The amplitude influences the amount of energy that is delivered to your body, higher amplitudes making workouts more difficult, as the body has to work harder to maintain its balance.

The total distance traveled by the platform is called peak-to-peak amplitude, and the Hypervibe machine has a displacement or peak-to-peak amplitude of 11 mm. You can adjust the amplitude during the workout by simply moving your feet or hands closer or farther from the platform’s central point; the tilting movement of the machine’s plate mimics the natural movement of the hips while walking or running, so regardless of the amplitude you train at, you will not perceive the movement as unnatural.

For building bigger and stronger muscles, higher amplitudes work better

As said, larger amplitudes cause a greater energy expenditure, but if this parameter is too high, it may cause you to bounce up and down off the machine, so your training session would become ineffective. In general, lower amplitudes are preferred for upper body exercises, while higher values are recommended for lower body workouts.

However, not everyone who uses a whole body vibration machine is interested in losing weight or in the number of calories burned during the workout. Some people use these fitness tools for improving their balance and flexibility, others rely on whole body vibration machines for improving circulation and lymph flow, and others use WBV platforms as a replacement for conventional gym machines, in strength workouts.

For the third group mentioned above, the amplitude is one of the most important parameters to consider when purchasing a whole body vibration machine, as studies have shown that exercising at higher amplitudes is more efficient for developing muscle strength and hypertrophy.

Researchers at the Catholic University of San Antonio, Murcia, Spain, have evaluated the effects of different amplitudes on the strength and mechanical power of the lower limbs, as well as on body composition, in 38 active participants. One group performed low amplitude WBV exercises (2 mm), while the other exercised at 4 mm amplitude.

Results were compared with those obtained by a control group and showed that training 2 times per week, at 50 Hz (60-s exercise, 60-s rest), for 6 weeks, can improve the adaptation of muscles for hypertrophy in a more significant manner when the amplitude is higher. Muscle strength also improved in the whole body vibration groups, but there were no significant changes in body composition or performance in vertical jumps for these WBV training parameters.

Thus, if you already own a vibration platform and want to put on some lean mass, strengthen your muscles and help them grow faster, you can increase the amplitude of the workouts while maintaining the frequency at high levels.

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