Whole body vibration training - performed on a "classic" Power Plate® machine - leads to a significant increase in hip area bone density (1.5%), as well as an increase in muscle strength and postural control in postmenopausal women.
These research findings present an exciting solution for an ever-worsening problem in our aging population: osteoporosis, loss of postural control and balance, bone fractures from falls often resulting in difficult and incomplete recovery. As the average age of the western world's population increases, we are faced with an increasing epidemic of osteoporosis. Each year millions of people suffer from fractures due to early bone loss. One in three women and one in eight men will suffer from osteoporosis this year. In the U.S., 2.8 million people (80% of whom are women) suffer from bone loss; 1 million have been diagnosed, while 1.8 million aren't even aware that they are suffering from reduced bone mineral density (BMD).
Initial studies on whole body vibration training showed increases in strength in test subjects. Whole body vibration was shown to cause the body's muscles to contract subconsciously at 30 to 50 times per second, which can bring about a powerful training effect even while simply standing on the plate.
The 90 participants - postmenopausal women ranging in age from 58 to 70 – were divided into three research groups.
The whole body vibration group got positive results: strength increased as much as 16% in upper leg muscles, while bone density at the hip increased by 1.5%. In addition, the whole body vibration group showed an improvement in postural control and balance, increased muscle strength and lean mass while losing body fat and fat mass. The conventionally trained subjects were able to slow the rate of bone loss, which is consistent with previous published studies on weight training and bone loss. The control group subjects continued to lose bone mineral density at the average rate.
The whole body vibration group performed workouts of
30 minutes or less, including static and dynamic exercises
for the upper leg and hip area.
The whole body vibration training variables started at a low level, which was gradually intensified by:
The weight training group performed conventional weight training exercises for a total of one hour per session, including a separate warm-up and cool-down.
The whole body vibration's low-strain, comfortable, safe, short-duration protocols may allow all populations to achieve strength and power training effects by just standing on the vibrating plate. In less than 30 minutes, three times per week, users can achieve more strength, fat loss, better balance and reflexes, improved bone density and, ultimately, greater health.