History of Whole Body Vibration
Whole body vibration (WBV) technology was developed in Eastern Europe by Russian sport scientists. After successful experiments they introduced WBV technology to competitive sports, ballet, and medicine in the former USSR. The world first saw its effectiveness when the Russians started winning all the Gold at the Olympic Games in 1960. By the 1970's Russian scientists further develop vibration technology to counter-act the loss of muscle strength and bone density experienced by cosmonauts during space missions. Zero gravity gives bones and muscles the message that they are not needed. They have nothing to push against. The result is a loss of muscle mass and bone density during space flights. Space researchers created various exercise contraptions attempting to imitate gravity, and found that whole body vibration technology does mimic gravity. Low frequency vibrations with low magnitude force provide enough gravity resistance to protect and build muscle and bone strength. WBV simultaneously toned muscle and improved flexibility. Scientists established a range of vibrations per second, or Hertz, that safely produces healthy results. WBV is specific to the frequency at which it vibrates. Low frequency 5-12 Hz is ideal for lymph drainage, proprioception posture system, improving balance and increase blood flow. Middle range frequency 12-20 Hz is ideal for muscular coordination, stretching, activate the stretch reflex and begin to neurologically fire muscle fibers. High frequency 20-30 Hz is ideal for increasing muscle power, muscle mass, increase muscle activity, and increase hormone production. In order for WBV to be most effective you should have the appropriate frequency range to elicit the desired response.
During WBV, the entire body is exposed to vibration, as opposed to local vibration, where an isolated muscle or muscle group is stimulated by the use of a vibration device. Whole body vibration is implemented through the use of a vibrating platform on which static poses are held or dynamic exercises can be performed depending on the type and force of the machine. The vibrations generated by the platform are transmitted to the person on the machine. The intensity, frequency, amplitude, magnitude and the direction of these vibrations are essential for their effect. The human body is designed to absorb vertical vibrations better due to the effects of gravity; however, many machines vibrate in more than one direction: sideways (x-axis), up and down (y-axis) and front and back (z-axis). The y-axis has amplitude and is the most defining component in generating and inducing muscle contractions. During conventional training our muscle movements are voluntary, however when using vibration training our muscles are stimulated to work by the involuntary stretch reflex and are controlled by the spinal cord. The number of stretch-reflexes per second is controlled via the settable training frequency. To achieve comparable repetitions in the gym would take you many weeks. The relationship between Bone & Muscle is very important, WBV training has been proven to increase bone density which is key to ensuring long-term health and fitness and to combat conditions such as osteoporosis. WBV Training places very low impact on the joints and tendons making it ideal for a whole variety of conditions.
Vibration platforms fall into different, distinct categories Oscillating also referred to as pivotal or Triangular Oscillation System and Vertical also referred to as linear or tri-planar vibration. If the machine has a fulcrum and an alternating pattern of movement, we'll refer to the machine as oscillating if not it is a Vertical vibration machine. The type of platform used is dependent on the effect and result of the training or therapy performed. Oscillating system's, operate like a see-saw hence mimicking the human gait where one foot is always moving upwards and the other one downwards, and systems with side alternation usually offer larger amplitudes and a frequency range of about 5 Hz to 35 Hz. The original vibration machine was the oscillating type. Oscillating machines can support heavy weight loads, have low impact on the body, are easy on the organs, and keep the spine supple and loose. Your body is designed around your spinal column. When you walk, you have to balance your weight from left to right like a teeter-totter. When using an oscillating vibration machine, the affected muscles contract alternately at extremely high repetition, much like when you're walking or running in place, so the same muscles on both sides of the body are never engaged at the same time. A side-alternating vibration is an extremely important component to improving balance too. The oscillating system creates a pleasant rocking motion that causes the brain to tell the muscles of the body to actively contract to maintain equilibrium (balance), creating a therapeutic, muscle-toning and strengthening workout. This unique system provides all the benefits of whole body vibration with minimal risk of damage to the joints and tendons, making it a safe and efficient source of exercise. This type of exercise helps to break up visceral fat, strengthen core muscles, and increase promotion of lean muscle mass, increase bone density and helps to burn fat.
The other type of vibration machine is vertical. While many whole body vibration machine companies claim their platforms move in "three dimensions", these are essentially vertical machines. In fact, any vibration machine that is not pivotal or oscillating needs to move in a slightly three-dimensional manner, otherwise the pure vertical vibrations in the single direction y-axis translation (up and down) would act on the body like a jack hammer. A vertical vibration machine imitates a jump reflex in the user. The muscles on both sides of the body are contracted at the same time resulting in a high impact on the body, up to 6X (or 600%) the body weight of the user. This equipment is made for a sports setting where athletes will be using it. Vertical systems offer lower amplitudes and higher frequencies in the range of 20 Hz to 50 Hz. Most of the time the vibrations are very strong and in some cases can be uncomfortable for unconditioned users. Also, under a linear pattern of movement not all muscles are engaged, it is mainly affecting the larger muscles of the body. That in mind, vertical vibration training is designed to produce fast, powerful movements, and improve the functions of the nervous system, generally for the purpose of improving performance in sports. Vertical vibration toughen tissues and train nerve cells to stimulate a specific pattern of muscle contraction so the muscle generates as strong a contraction as possible in the shortest amount of time. Vertical vibration training is effective for improving vertical jump height and horizontal jump distance. This type of exercise offer benefit to all users but is sports specific by design.
Whole Body Vibration technology centers on a recurrent change of position on a vibrating platform with the specific physical factors of amplitude, frequency and force. The muscle fibers are stimulated to work all at the same time. The muscle responds to vibration by contracting (stretch reflex) to offset the stress it imposes and is ensured to produce effective results for your physical needs. WBV increases the production of the regenerative and repair hormones. It also improves the blood circulation, increases the basal metabolic rate, strengthens bone tissue and improves lymph drainage. The result is more strength, stamina, speed, increased flexibility, mobility and coordination, rapid recovery of muscles and tissue and fat reduction. This is achieved with minimal stress on the joints and ligaments. You can perform static or dynamic movements including standing, sitting, kneeling, lying, and placing your hands on a vibration plate. Almost any exercise can be done on a vibration platform. Fast and easy exercise, 3 times a week for 30 minute duration had an increase of 60% on V02 output. WBV represents a promising modality for use in rehabilitation in persons with motor dysfunction. The use of vibration in sports training offers new possibilities to coaching science. WBV is not a substitute of resistance training, but it is an additional tool to implement in a training routine in association with all other traditional techniques. Stronger muscles usually mean stronger bones WBV helps fight osteoporosis, develops postural muscles and healthier joints. We all have the desire for good posture, flexibility and increased energy. Whole body vibration will help to achieve optimal results in sports training and overall health.