The outcomes of this case study show that the addition of mechanical vibration during cycling imposes a significant increase in the physiological and metabolic biomarkers of the aerobic performance. This suggests an increased muscle activation that results an increased energetic cost of the cycling exercise performed at similar cadence. Further studies with larger samples are currently being undertaken to deeply appraise the mechanisms behind the adaptations.
Whole body vibration training has been shown to improve several physiological biomarkers such as strength, flexibility, balance, bone mineral density in the last two decades.
In this field the development by Power Plate International of a "vibrating bike" called powerBIKETM, represents the first mechanical application of the vibration concept to cycling performance.
The focus of the present case study was to monitor the body's physiological responses to maximal cycling exercise with and without vibration.
An active male endurance runner volunteered to participate in this pilot study (32yrs, 177co, 72 kg). He performed two maximal incremental cycling tests on the powerBIKE in a random order (with or without vibration). He started with a four minute warm-up at 70 rpm followed by an increasing cadence of 10 rpm every 3 min until exhaustion. The mechanical vibration was cadence-related being equivalent to a range between 23.3 and 40 Hz.
Respiratory exchange gases and Heart rate were continuously measured using an online gas analyzer and a heart rate monitor respectively. A blood sample was collected in the last 30 seconds of each stage from the finger tip and immediately analyzed for the blood lactate (BL) concentration. The subject's rate of perceived exertion (RPE) was recorded at the end of each stage during the test using the BORG´s scale (6 to 20).
Oxygen Consumption (VO2) and Carbon Dioxide production (VCO2) during vibration and no vibration conditions are shown in (Fig. 1). A significant increase in the VO2 was observed during the vibration trial compared to the non vibration condition. Blood lactate concentration was significantly higher from the start to the end of the vibration condition when compared to the non vibration (Fig. 2). Similar patterns were noticed in the cardiac response and the RPE with the subject reaching 176 bpm and 17 in the vibration condition respectively.