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How Do Vibration Platforms Work to Strengthen Muscle and Bone?

What are vibration platforms and how do they work?Vibration Platforms are exercise machines which consist of a vibrating or oscillating platform, when you stand or sit on this platform or do a workout using the platform the mechanical energy oscillations are transferred to the body as a whole. This is one reason it has also been called Whole Body Exercise Vibration Training.

The vibration plate causes very rapid muscle contractions thirty to fifty times per second that work your muscles continuously. These contractions not only build muscle and bone density, but improve flexibility, burn fat, increase metabolism, improve circulation, improve cellular oxygen and nutrient delivery which slows the degenerative/ageing process!The platform drops either 2 or 4 mm. This is a very small and gentle drop.

For example, let’s say that you are standing on the vibration plate with a gentle knee bend. Once the platform drops 2 mm, your muscle is quickly lengthened, or ‘stretched’. The body reacts to this by quickly contracting the muscle. By the time it does that, the platform is already back at the first position. The platform drops again and this is repeated. Since the platform has been designed to do this 20 to 50 times per second, you can get a maximum of 50 muscle contractions per second! In one minute, you can actually get 3000 safe and gentle muscle contractions. This is the equivalent to doing 3000 knee bends. You can only imagine how long that would take without the platform.No matter what your physical condition, the subconscious stretch reflexes will tighten almost all your muscles at once with vibration exercise. That compares with just 45 per cent of muscle fibres used during conventional training.

Traditional training increases muscle strength because your body reacts to the extra resistance created by the weights over and above regular gravity. With Vibration Training your body reacts to acceleration rather than extra weight, which is many times greater than standard training stimuli. And one repeated 30 or 50 times a second. Your body has to adapt even more to overcome this greater load, and so achieve your training targets faster. Further, the vibrations increase the production of regenerative and repair hormones, improve blood circulation in skin and muscles, strengthen bone tissue, improve lymph drainage and increase the basal metabolic rate. All this results in more strength, more speed, more stamina, rapid recovery of muscles and tissue, increased flexibility, mobility and coordination, anticellulitis, collagen improvement, and fat reduction. The “more is better” principle does not apply to vibration training. You look and feel fitter, but you do not have to train more intensively.

The added value of the Vibration Plate is improved training quality and effectiveness, so you can shorten your sessions and recover faster. The superior muscle-activation that the vibration machine stimulates compared to conventional training, means that less time is required to work muscle groups completely. A one minute workout on this vibration platform burns more energy and creates strength improvements. In addition to these muscle contractions, vibration exercise is also able to work more of the muscles. Because the vibration effect makes the muscles contract involuntarily, all muscles that are being exercised will be activated. In fact, with regular training such as weight lifting, only 40% of your muscles will be working. With vibration exercise, that number can reach nearly 100%. Not only will you get more muscle contractions in a short period of time, but also more of your muscles will be working during this time. All improved his leads to vibration exercise being a safe and fast way to exercise effectively.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 it. Almost any exercise from a typical gym workout to passively sitting on a chair and resting your feet can be done on a vibration platform.

Benefits for Strength Training

Force = Mass X Acceleration

Don’t let this formula scare you! All it simply means is the following: Whenever we exercise our muscles, we are using Force to lift more or lift faster. There are two ways to get stronger: lift heavy weights (increasing the MASS to get more Force), or lift lighter weights but faster (keep the same weight but increase the ACCELERATION). WAVE vibration exercise works on increasing acceleration (rapid movement of the platform) rather than increasing the amount you lift, thereby placing less stress on your joints and ligaments. Positive benefits on circulationGentle rapid contractions allow the muscle to work as a pump, resulting in increased blood flow within the circulatory system. This results in the body to carry off waste products much faster, thereby enhancing circulation and recovery. Positive benefits on boneVibration exercise has a positive effect on bone. This is based upon Wolffe’s law, which states that bone responds to the physical stresses put on it. Rapid muscular contractions with the vibration platform will lead to increased strength and favorable stresses being placed on the bone.

Positive benefits to Geriatrics

Aging is not simply about extending life years, but increasing the quality of life. ‘Functional age’ is much more important that ‘chronological age.’ This is interpreted as the ability of an individual to maintain certain parameters as they age, such as strength, balance, and agility. Exercise has shown significant benefits in combating some of these problems.

Aging and Inactivity

Muscle loss occurs at a rate of 1% per year after the age of 40 Bone density is correlated with muscle strength. Decreases in muscle mass and strength can affect bone density Loss of muscle strength may increase risk of falls and fractures To implement an exercise program for the aging population, it must be safe, gentle, and effective. Whole body vibration has attracted increased attention as an exercise alternative to combat the effects of inactivity and aging. Current research has shown positive benefits. These results have led to continuing research around the world, reinforcing vibration exercise’s role in promoting healthy aging.

Aging and Vibration Exercise

  • Improvement in chair rising test, indicative of improvement in muscle power
  • Improved elements of fall risk and health-related quality of life
  • Ability to promote ambulatory competence (improved walking) in elderly women
  • Beneficial for balance and mobility in nursing home residents with limited functional dependency
  • High compliance with vibration exercise

Scientific principles underlying vibration training:

  • Myotatic Stretch Reflex
  • Tonic Vibration Reflex
  • Neurological Adaptation to Exercise Excitation of the GTO (Golgi Tendon Organ)
  • Optimal Recruitment of Motor Units
  • Force and power output through increased acceleration Stretch-Shortening-Cycle (SSC)
  • Model Effects on the Hormonal System
  • Effects on the Circulatory System
  • Effect on the skeletal system through Wolff’s Law adaptation, shifting the force/velocity curve to the right (faster strength gains)

Exercise is an excellent preventative method in dealing with the disability associated with the progression of osteoporosis. Weight-bearing and resistance-training exercises are often recommended. However, with traditional vigorous exercise programs, there is a lack of long-term compliance in addition to having the potential to increase the risk of fracture. Whole body vibration exercise can be seen as an excellent alternative or complement to regular training, allowing an individual to effortlessly achieve similar results to conventional training in less time, thereby increasing compliance. Mechanical stress produced by muscle contractions plays a significant role in the maintenance of bone strength. Vibration exercises ability to improve muscle force and power, may be an effective strategy for preventing the onset and progression of osteoporosis.

Whole body vibration has demonstrated positive effects on blood flow. Gentle rapid contractions, repeated at a high rate, allow the muscle to work as a pump, resulting in increased blood flow within the peripheral circulatory system. This results in the body carrying off waste products much faster, thereby enhancing recovery.

Summary of vibration exercise effects:

  • Similar strength gains from 3 months of vibration exercise (maximum time 20 minutes) compared to 1 hour of conventional strength training
  • Doubling of blood circulation after vibration training, resulting in the body carrying off waste products much faster, thereby enhancing recovery.
  • Duration vibration exercise stimulates force and power output
  • Significant hormonal effects from training (increased testosterone and growth hormone, and decreased cortisol, ‘stress hormone’) Increased flexibility Increased explosive power
  • Explosive strength increases from 10 minutes a day of vibration training for 10 days is equivalent to those found from 200 drop-jumps from 24 inches, twice a week, for a year
  • Accelerated gains in neurological adaptation, shifting the force/velocity curve to the right (faster strength gains)

Results of a Client Study: After 12 weeks of steady use once, twice or three times per week with 20 subjects, these positive effects have been reported by those involved in this trial:1.Increased endocrine balance:

a) improved blood sugar control which may be from reduced insulin resistance

b) reduced cortisol response and improved recovery and sense of well-being from overall reduction in stress hormone

c) improved anabolic state: cosmetic hair regrowth in eyebrows, lower legs, arms and hands

d) no delayed-onset muscle soreness due to anabolic state after challenging strength exercise

e) elimination of hot flashes

f) restoration of normal female menstrual cycle

2. Increased range of motion

a) improved joint range in throacic spine in all planes of movement

b) improved flexibility in all muscle groups and in overall ROM (Range of Movement)

c) improved ability to tolerate new ranges of motion in ideal form

d) restoration of normal length tensions (tight muscles disappeared)

3. Improved circulation and lymphatic return:

a) swelling reduced in inflamed joints

b) body feels like you’ve done an hour of cardio in 10 mintues

c) improved respiration function

d) growing hair on lower legs, forearms and hands again

e) clients feel better, improved state

4. Rapid growth of lean muscle:a.) personal records in strength and performance:

a.)clients are lifting heavier than ever and able to hit the golf ball in good form further than ever before

b.) most clients have reduced their clothing by one size while gaining one or two pounds

c.) clients are and appear visibly leaner

5. Improved proprioception, balance, righting and tilting reflexesa.)

a.)clients with movement processing challenges are able to learn new motor patterns quickly and then are able to perform the new task on the ground in ideal form

b.) previous processing problems are eliminated by proprioceptive advantages of Power Plate: clients can “feel” the ideal form better and learn more quickly

6. Loss of subcutaneous fat:

a.) cellulite remodeling: dimples are vanishing

b.) “skin fits better”

7. Pain reduction

a.) clients with pain are able to diffuse pain in 30 seconds on the Power Plate, then perform their workout

b.) stabilizer muscles activate more completely and efficiently: when segmental stabilization is required, clients can “find” the fibers more easily, and stabilization occurs more like a symphony as a result

8. Increased energy

a.) Clients feel better, the report a “spring in their step”

b.) Clients are sleeping better, reporting less need for sleep aids

c.) Clients are reporting having the energy to make healthy food choices and are hungry for healthier foods

Overall, myself included, all members of the trial feel better each time they use the Power Plate.

Study participants include some individuals with training experience, some with no exercise training age. Twelve women participated whose ages range from 16 to mid-forties, fifties, low sixties. Three men participated whose ages are 19, 44, 74.

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