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Long-Term Wbv Improves Postural Stability of Young Men

03rd May 2016

How does short-term and long-term whole body vibration influence the postural stability of healthy, active men? A study conducted by Polish researchers from the Jerzy Kukuczka Academy of Physical Education in Katowice, published in the PLoS One journal, aimed to answer this question by analyzing the effects of WBV on 28 male subjects.

Participants were randomly divided into four groups, three of them receiving whole body vibration treatment, while the fourth group served as control. The men in the three vibration groups exercised at different parameters, set individually for each group, for 4 weeks: group one exercised at 20 Hz and 2 mm amplitude, group 2 at 40 Hz and 2 mm amplitude, and group 3 at 60 Hz and 2 mm amplitude. The control group performed the same exercises as groups 1-3, but without vibration.

The whole body vibration workouts were performed three times per week for 1 month, and the stabilographic signal (used for determining the postural equilibrium position) was measured before the study, after one WBV session and after the 4 weeks of vibration exercises. Each training on the vibration machine consisted in a series of 5 static exercises performed for 1 minute each, followed by a 1-min break.

The 1-min limit for each WBV exercise was chosen based on previous experiments which showed that exposing the muscles to more than 1 minute of vibration can cause muscle fatigue and lead to postural instability.

Long-term whole body vibration influenced postural stability positively

The stability parameters were measured on four different occasions: before the training, after the first session, after the fourth week, and one week after the experiment. To measure the results, participants were asked to stand comfortably and maintain a stable, neutral position, with feet shoulders’ width apart and eyes closed.

Results showed that long-term vibration training significantly shortened the rambling and trembling in the frontal plane, improving the postural stability of young, healthy adults. Changes resulted from short-term vibration exercises were insignificant.

Given the small sample size of this study (28 participants), the average age of the participants, and the fact that young males more likely have a good balance with or without whole body vibration, the hypothesis and results of this research should be further explored.

About stabilography

Stabilography is a procedure used for assessing postural control and stability, by analyzing the center of pressure movements in the frontal and sagital planes. The movements are recorded while the subject stands in a free standing position, on a posturographic platform.

Although the movement is sometimes imperceptible to the eye, the human body oscillates in the frontal and sagital planes, the displacement of the center of gravity being controlled by the nervous system. The stabilograph permits the recording of the center’s oscillations in two planes, these displacements being measured in millimeters.

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