These research findings reveal exceptionally positive outcomes for many populations who wish to enhance their strength for all activities in daily life. Benefits of whole body vibration training are not exclusive to healthy, untrained subjects, like those studied here. Benefits can be seen by anyone who wants to become or remain strong and perform better in life. Many populations, including the elderly, post-injury and rehabilitation patients and high-performance athletes will benefit from the simple, effective exercises performed in whole body vibration training.
Sixty-seven untrained subjects were divided into four groups, and exercised three times per week for 12 weeks.
1. The whole body vibration group used the Power Plate® machine. They performed standing knee extensor exercises at a frequency of 35-40 Hz, such as lunges and squats (figure 3).
2. The placebo group also used a Power Plate® machine, which was adapted so that it did not generate vertical sinusoidal vibration. They felt a vibration, but it was too subtle to elicit a training effect. They performed the same exercises as the whole body vibration group.
3. The resistance training group performed a cardio warm-up and knee extensor exercises on two conventional strength training machines.
4. The control group did not participate in any training.
Tests: The contractile properties of the knee extensors were evaluated at the start (pretest) and after 12 weeks (posttest). A dynamometer was used both times to measure isometric, dynamic and ballistic knee extensor strength on all subjects.
The whole body vibration group achieved a 16.6% gain
in isometric strength of knee extensors, a 9% increase
in dynamic strength of the quadriceps muscles, and a
7.6% increase in vertical jump height. There were no
reports of adverse side effects. Most subjects found the
vibration training enjoyable and fatiguing, but did not
consider it a hard or exhausting workout.
The placebo group, using a non-functional vibration machine, did not achieve strength or power gains, although they performed the same standing knee extensor exercises. The resistance training group achieved strength gains of 14.4% in isometric and 7.0% dynamic strength respectively; there was no significant improvement in power and vertical jump height.
The control group showed no improvement in any of the properties measured.
Training on a whole body vibration platform is an efficient training stimulus to increase muscle strength.
In addition, it is likely that while whole body vibration training requires little exertion and is considerd enjoyable, it does elicit a biological adaptation that is similar to that produced by conventional resistance training.
Whole body vibration provides people with all of the benefits of strength and power training without the possible negative effects of heavy loading, which is particularly important for populations who would not tolerate loading but could truly benefit from gaining muscle strength and power. Whole body vibration may be indicated for use in all strength training environments, and for a variety of populations.