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Improve Your Body Composition With Whole Body Vibration

23rd August 2016
Improve your body composition with whole body vibration

Most of us aim to maintain a healthy body weight, as we know it can have a major impact on our overall health and well-being. However, we often overlook the importance of body composition, or the muscle-to-fat ratio. This aspect can affect not only our look, but also our fitness performance and self-esteem.

An optimal body composition means a lean and toned body, which looks strong and healthy. On the contrary, a body fat percentage that’s too high, coupled with a low muscle mass percentage, can make us look thin but not strong, skinny but not healthy. Focusing on fat loss and muscle development is therefore a better strategy than focusing on weight loss and neglecting or ignoring muscle strengthening.

If you want to achieve a lean body and to improve your fitness performance, you should pay more attention to body composition, and in today’s article we’ll show you how you can improve body composition with whole body vibration exercises.

Train on a vibration machine to improve body composition and strength

There isn’t an ideal body composition, but if you want to look lean, strong and fit like an athlete, you should aim for a body fat percentage of 5-15% (male) or 10-20% (female). The reduction in body fat can be obtained through a mix of diet and exercise, so the first thing you should do if you’re not happy with your current body composition is to check your diet.

Aim to create a caloric deficit so as to force your body to use more of its stored fats for energy production. To make sure you don’t compromise your muscle building efforts, cut around 200-300 kcal from your daily menu. Although weight loss will be slower this way, you can be sure your body will continue to look strong and healthy.

Now let’s move to whole body vibration and see if this form of training can indeed support fat loss and help you improve your body composition. Italian researchers found whole body vibration exercises to be effective in reducing body fat, lowering the BMI and the percentage of trunk fat, as well as the sum of skinfolds and body circumferences.

This study was conducted on 50 obese women with an average age of 46 years, who performed whole body vibration exercises for 10 weeks, 2 times per week. Each session lasted 14 minutes, the parameters used being 2-5 mm amplitude and 40-60 Hz frequency, plus or minus radiofrequency.

Their results were compared to a control group who performed no exercise. Besides showing a reduction in the body mass index and body composition, the women who performed vibration exercises also showed increased muscle strength in the lower limbs.

These findings are consistent with previous studies which showed that whole body vibration contributes to an increase in muscle mass both in young and active adults and in clinical populations (Figueroa et al, 2012; Machado et al, 2010; Roelants et al, 2004, Milanese et al, 2012). This study for example found whole body vibration exercises to significantly improve muscle strength in the lower limb of older women, while counteracting the loss of muscle and mobility associated with sarcopenia.

In young, untrained women, 24 weeks of vibration machine exercises contributed to an increase in total muscle mass. The 48 women enrolled in this study performed 3 weekly sessions of vibration exercises, at 35040 Hz and 2.5-5 mm amplitude. Their results were compared to those of a group performing conventional cardio and strength exercises for 15-40 minutes per session.

This study found no significant changes in percentage body fat or weight, but the fat free mass and strength gain increased significantly in the WBV group. The gain in strength was comparable to the one following a standard strength and cardio program.

Vissers et al. (2010) found that 6 months of whole body vibration combined with caloric restriction can lead to a significant decrease in body weight and visceral adipose tissue, results being maintained long after the study. Fjeldstad et al. also found vibration machine exercises in combination with resistance training to contribute to a decrease in total body fat percentage after 8 months of training, and Artero et al found 8 weeks of WBV to be efficient in decreasing the amount of body fat in young adults. 

WBV exercises to build lean mass and reduce fat mass

The best strategy for getting results fast is to mix whole body vibration with cardio activities and to create a caloric deficit. If your current lifestyle is sedentary, it’s ok to start with just 1 session of WBV per day, 3-4 days a week, plus 2 cardio sessions per week, for 40-60 minutes. The vibration sessions should last for 10-15 minutes but not longer.

Here are some sample exercises you can do for the upper and lower body muscles. Remember to target all major muscle groups and feel free to use light dumbbells or the elastic bands delivered with the machine for the upper body movements.

Routine 1

lower body and core whole body vibration routine

Routine 2

upper body and core whole body vibration routine

Each of these routines takes 10 minutes (1 minute per exercise), but you should also take short breaks between exercises if you’re not used to WBV. Adjust the frequency so as to feel comfortable and maintain a correct posture throughout the entire workout.

You can alternate these or mix the exercises in different workouts, based on your goals and problem areas. If you want to focus more on the core area, you can also add classical crunches, planks and other such exercises that target mainly the abs, waist and back muscles.

If you have questions or comments, post them below or on our Facebook page.

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