WBV (Whole Body Vibration). DOMS, Test, GH, Cort, lactate, strength, speed, balance, etc


(PJ) #1

This is not just about weight lifting. However, athletes and weight lifters have been the primary groups pushing the layman usage and hence research on the topic, and there’s not a generic category in this forum, so I’m putting it here. :slight_smile:


A WBV platform is like a small “magic fingers hotel mattress” you stand on but it’s hard. :smiley:

WBV was originally developed for clinical use in the 1970s by the Russian space program when their scientists were looking for a way to combat the negative effects of a zero gravity environment.

I have an interest in WBV since I heard of it circa 1993. There were almost no options for it then, product-wise, and close to zero formal research available on the internet (USENET then) in english.

I really got fascinated with the idea again (2016 WWW) after my heart surgery, since I was so huge, and a lot was edema, and I could barely walk (being bedridden for a year, room-ridden a year before that, house-ridden a year before that, and sedentary for health reasons for a few years before that), or lift my arms (which I hadn’t done in a good 3-4 years).

WBV was something that could address muscular blood flow, muscle-fiber triggering, and lymph system stimulation, all without me having to be able to exercise. Since you can’t take someone with such muscle atrophy they can hardly walk 9 steps to the toilet without a herculean, rock-climbing-level effort, and give them a now >500# body, and expect them to ‘exercise.’ Merely standing up is immense exercise in that condition.

But the increase in commercial options was significant. And what little measuring had now been done suggested the muscle-fiber-triggering effect was up to 90% (normal weight lifting, outside of world-class-level power lifting, is about 40%), because the “hyper-gravity” situation sparked the fast-twitch fibers not just slow-twitch. The increased blood flow helped heal and grow the muscle. The increased muscle motion helped move the lymph. And all kinds of generally positive hormonal and other chemical results.

There were reports about weight lifters using them because the blood and lymph flow helped increase the effects of the exercise during (strength and speed), and move out some of the lactate from severe DOMS after. There was now research that showed that much like any other weight-bearing exercise, HGH was increased, testosterone was increased, and cortisol was reduced. There were improvements in proprioception, reaction speed and balance. Hand-eye coordination is another area of study… the potentials are apparently endless.

I even saw a note about them being used (on one or two legs at a time) on expensive race and show horses to help with healing and post-injury/exercise pain. In the last 10-20 years more ‘partial body vibration’ (PBV) has come around as well to target just one area (often upper body).

There isn’t a ton of research but there is some now. And some (esp for glucose and lipolysis) findings are dissimilar in different studies. One of the problems with this aside from not much research is the differences, often unstated, in the parameters being researched – the frequency, the amplitude, and motion form, the state of the person (relaxed, tensed, in motion, additional weight bearing), the length of exposure, the length of rests within exposure, and without all this being consistent or comparable it is not clear why one study finds X and another Y or not-X.

Some studies do show that if the frequency is low the amplitude needs to be higher to get some affects. At least one the opposite. I’ve seen little looking at a whole range of frequencies at the same amplitude for a given measure (alas) though a few studies look at 2-4 points. Then of course there are youth, adults, elderly, men vs. women, menopausal women, injured, trained vs. untrained etc. and every single one of these factors appears to make some difference. Studies focus on anything from ankle flexion to helping with COPD symptoms. That’s a pretty drastic range.

But by this point there are testimonials from users as well as physical therapists and chiropractors about incredible healing speeds with injuries and improvements in exercise. There are research measures of sports performance activities, statistically significantly higher if done shortly after using WBV. And platforms were now present and used by most pro sports teams, in military and other hospitals with physical therapy focus, etc.


In WBV products there are primary metrics:
– the amplitude (degree of motion from resting to max displacement),
– the motion type (vertical, oscillating, sinusoidal, triplane),
– and the motion speed (measured in Hz, motion-cycle-per-second).

type and speed also affected by the occasional product with two impossible-to-be-perfectly-synchronized-motors instead of one under a plate

((vert) vibration is transferred to both feet synchronously, with an up and down movement of the base; in another type, the base operates with a central pivot in an alternated way, like a teeter-totter; when the right foot is low, the left foot is high, and vice versa. In a third device, a triplanar machine, the movements of the base vary between up and down, forward and back, and side-to-side)

There are secondary metrics:
– the weight-bearing capacity of the plate; lower capacity means higher weight on it will suppress some motion or amplitude or both;
– the weight of the unit (which affects ability to move it around let alone transport it, and is dominantly affected by its construction materials of course, this also affects its durability under serious uses {like the horse haha}),
– the speed options (some offer only ‘variable programs,’ like with the old LifeCycle gym bikes, while some are just a dial you tune to a Hz – obviously this is the gigantic area for research, is diff Hz effects; in industrial measure, the <15-20Hz had some real problem effects on organs when done multi-hours continuously. Actually nearly anything in industry is an issue of it being done “too much” I suspect, in addition to other elements),
– the height of the plate (which affects who can get on it),
– the floor space of the plate (which affects how you can stand on it, what you can do on it, or whether wheelchairs can fit),
– and any attachments to the plate (some plates are attached to a vertical stand with controls and display, some merely to a balance grip bar, some to nothing, and this affects what you can do on it, or fit on it {with room off to the side without interference} as well).

An example of one of the small-plate sinusoidal machines:

An example of one of the large-plate vertical machines:
This is the one I have:

Previously, about the only research I could find on the topic only existed from the industrial side, which was measuring the damage created by different motions, amplitudes and frequencies in workplace environment platforms and machines which vibrated. It was bad. But that was generally irregular motion (not vertical), and long chronic exposure (there is some indicator that there’s a point where TOO much of it starts a series of diminishing returns, eventually resulting in actual negatives – this refers to mechanical or muscle elements, haven’t seen enough about the biochemical elements to say on that topic).

The chinese sourced machines are 90%+ of the market. Same thing diff packaging. Cost vs. sale price often insane difference. They tend to be barely big enough for someone not huge to stand on. Their weight capacity is low enough that anybody >250# would suppress most of the motion. They tend to be attached to stuff that limits at least one side spacially. They tend to be high enough that you couldn’t get someone elderly on it, or anybody with difficulty stepping onto curbs never mind something 3x that high, or anyone in a wheelchair (which most of them couldn’t fit anyway), etc. The small one in the above pics looks like those.

Their motion tends to be a variety of non-vertical patterns, and pretty much everything that isn’t sheer vertical has problematic industrial research results (putting massive skewing-pressures on joints, spine, etc. plus forcing the knees and pelvis to take most of the motion impact, reducing it dramatically at the top of body). And the makers tend to brag (read: lie flagrantly haha) about their amplitude, some of which even without lying is insane, most of which is very destructive to the body. (Some must have attachments to the plate to hold on to or it would literally throw you off. Like an Urban Cowboy bronco machine without the fake horse.)


A couple years before my health crashed to house-confinement, let me skip a page of explanation here and just skip to the end, my subconscious (dream) told me (I had this specific question about my legs and lipedema and an electronic tech I’d been discussing with someone) that the frequency of 22Hz, as well as a little bit of 23-25Hz, and also 162Hz “for protection” – but mostly 22Hz – was what I should use on my body. I never had anything to apply that to my body in some way though, not really. (You could barely even get it for brainwaves with audio due to sound card /speaker limits.) So this would be something I could tune to 22Hz and stand on, which just seemed like an amazing opportunity.

One day my best friend (a man) was waxing on about how, if he had more money (and he had some, just not riches) he would buy this beautiful $25K watch he’d been reading about. I waxed on in turn about how if I had money, I’d buy this beautiful $3.5-4K WBV plate for physical therapy in my tiny home gym, and it even did 22Hz so I could see if that helped. He apparently later had this huge rash of heart-tugging guilt about how he wanted a bauble and I was dreaming of something to help me learn to walk again – and actually bought it for me! OMG.

The one I chose was a large plate size (30"x48") with no attachments interfering, so I could move around on it and even someday lift weights on it. It was a sheer vertical motion form, as I felt that was the only one that was actually healthy. It was limited to a low 2mm amplitude, however the vertical form was good with that, and anything over that I felt had risk/health issues as well. It had a 10-60Hz range, done on a dial. Although it had a steel version for a couple hundred pounds, it had another in aluminum for about 80, so it was movable. And it had a weight capacity of 2400 pounds! Holy cats. And the company was a USA corp and seemed to be pretty legit. https://vibeplate.com/ for anybody interested.


Here’s a few of images I saved that were based on research papers. The endocrine one with humans, brief exposure (I think it was 60-90s at a time, 5-10x w/60s rest between. European Journal of Applied Physiology) the bone one with sheep (which was… I fuzzily think it was 20min at a time 3x weekly for a year, that one was published in Nature), and one on older women and bone (‘Inhibition of osteopenia by low magnitude, high frequency mechanical stimuli’ - couldn’t find actual paper just now, just the title) I don’t recall specs on that one. Some of the others are overviews so they’re combining diff papers.

These are the variables that need testing and declaring in a protocol. Differences in these (or lack of declaring them) are the primary reason the research is not clearer at this point.

A few white paper pics from a review paper

This is a different overview but probably approx the same studies (as both these papers doing a review excluded a lot for insufficient data/controls and there’s not a ton of english research):

A few super-brief note(s).

Effects of whole body vibration training on body composition, skeletal muscle strength, and cardiovascular health
Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation 2015 (Korea)
This one’s worth reading if you’ve interest in the subject as it is a very succinct “overview” of field research, not much detail/info but mentions results and theories in many different areas and has links.

The Effects Of Vibration Exercise On Anaerobic Performance Using The Wingate Test
Uni North Dakota Theses and Dissertations
(vert:VV sinusoidal:SS) …VV stimulation shows greater transmission through the trunk and upper body because SV causes the pelvis to rotate slightly which dampens the vibratory waves… VV platforms have a larger effect size for long-term protocol while the SS platforms have a greater effect size for acute treatments… In an examination of exercise protocols, Enoka (2008) suggested utilizing a moderate frequency of 30Hz in conjunction with higher amplitude of 8mm versus using other common frequencies of 40Hz or 50Hz, and amplitudes of 2mm or 4mm.


Last night I was reading this research paper

Growth Hormone-Releasing Effects of Whole Body Vibration Alone or Combined with Squatting plus External Load in Severely Obese Female Subjects
WBV alone stimulates GH release and lactate production in severely obese female subjects, with no additive effect when combined with squatting plus external load. {PJ: With or without load, growth hormone increased either way; lactate increased either way; but lactate increased a lot more with load where GH didn’t.}

I did not know of this tidbit about obesity until I read this paper:

It is well known that abdominal obesity is associated with decreased spontaneous 24-hour GH release and reduced GH responsiveness to pharmacological stimuli and exercise. The GH hyporesponsiveness of obese subjects restored after significant weight loss, thus suggesting that the obesity-related neuroendocrine alterations are secondary to the obese status and reversible. Although the matter is controversial, this somatotropic hyporesponsiveness has been attributed to a central (hypothalamic) somatostatin hypertone or GHRH deficiency and/or peripheral factors, including the elevated plasma levels of nonesterified fatty acids (NEFAs) and free IGF-1, previously reported in obese subjects.

Like it’s not freakin bad enough to be fat but the body actually reduces growth hormone if you are. Grrr. But it seems WBV doesn’t have that same factor going on – it is not yet known why.

…the main finding of this study was the significant WBV-induced increase of GH levels in severely obese females. Although the GH peak range was wide, the whole pattern of GH responsiveness was comparable among all the subjects. It is noteworthy that the GH-releasing effect of WBV in this group of obese subjects was quantitatively comparable to that previously observed by our group in healthy normal-weight subjects receiving the same WBV stimulus (GH peaks 4.3 ± 3.5 ng/ml vs. 5.1 ± 1.9 ng/ml). Differently from other GH-releasing stimuli which are negatively influenced by the BMI degree, these findings seem to suggest the scarce influence of the body mass excess on the WBV-stimulated GH secretion.


Some gyms have these, although the type varies. Weight lifters wanting to increase muscle fiber recruitment, increased NO and circulation, increased power and speed and coordination, and reduction of DOMS (due to lymph flow) may find WBV useful.


Low-Motion HIIT (WBV+WeightVest+KB/DB)
(Diane) #2

I found this very interesting. I wonder if this is something that might help me. I have CFS/ME/fibromyalgia. I’ve been struggling to find a way to improve my mitochondrial function without triggering a relapse of my CFS with the excercise required. This might be an productive avenue to pursue.

While I can’t afford to buy the equipment (certainly not now, maybe not ever), I did find a location that offers 10 minute sessions for $15 (this was just a quick search). I’m going to contact them a about the specifics of the equipment and treatments).

In the meantime, I’ve got some reading and research to do.

Thanks for sharing this information.

(Jane) #3

Interesting info, PJ!

How long have you had yours? And have you noticed any improvements yet?

(PJ) #4

Had it for about 2 years.
Have never done any ‘targeted experiment’ since I have no control group for that. My use of it varies depending on mood and more, in cycles.

I’m pretty sure it’s made a radical difference in my life. Understand I had such severe issues with muscle and lymph it almost couldn’t help but do so. But to be fair and skeptical, jumping on my bed probably would have done that too. :smiley: …if I had been able to do that.

I am certain that this triggers endorphins or some other feel-good chemical in the brain, because after a short time of using it daily, now, when I step up on it in the morning (my body told me (intuitive meditation) to use it in the morning after awakening, even if just for 60 seconds), I get a sense of “relief” I kind of “lean into” as a mild pleasure.

I put it in my squat cage and practiced bodyweight squats with it – or rather, knee bending, and I had the bars at the side to help me get up. Eventually I could start doing actual bodyweight squats. Whether this is because it helps me or not with the muscle I do not know. As noted, I have no control group so I have no way to measure whether something that was good for me was good because of the WBV or simply because I was making the physical and mental effort to do it.

It did noticeably help with my upper arms. Because I did not lift them for probably 5 years (took eons just to be able to wash my own hair all in one go in the shower when recovering), and because edema was so utterly, whale-immobilizing-massive for the last couple years before heart surgery, my upper arms make the term ‘bat wings’ sound humorous. They’re more like teradactyl wings in my case. My arms were bigger than most fat women’s thighs. Every morning I would stand on it and since it’s in my cage, I’d put my hands up on the bar in front and hold onto that, so my arms were up while the vibration was happening. This was not intentional, it was simply convenient. But I lost a good deal of edema in the upper arms over the course of a few months. Arms still gigantic, but they are loose now, whereas they were stuffed full before. I haven’t really continued this practice but really should.

On occasion when I have been able to exercise enough to get DOMS, later WBV does seem to help clear out the soreness. In fact my best friend and I finally theorized that I was problematically exercising a bit TOO much in some ways because, since I was doing it on the WBV, it might be washing out the lactic acid thanks to the major lymph circulation bonus, and I simply could not ‘feel’ the sense that I had done anything even challenging, so I kept trying to do more, feeling like I must be accomplishing nothing if it didn’t even hurt. I hadn’t consciously realized that I associate increasing your exercise limit with pain, as a measure. It helped when I was doing some 16"x16"x2" patio pavers laying and really tugged too hard on neck/rotary cuff areas.

When I first began and could barely stand for more than a minute, I either held the bar above me from my cage or sat on a stool on it. The vibe through the feet, and from bottom of spine, is just as good (maybe even better).

The only problem I’ve had with it is
a/ panic during storms – I live in tornado alley with fierce thunderstorms – given it would be a $4000 paperweight if fried, so I’m frantically running to unplug it!
b/ because I keep it in my cage, I can’t do anything with a barbell over my head, because there isn’t enough height to clear it, despite I am only 5’6" – the plate while lower than most is still 9" tall.

It makes the perfect “step up” exercise at that height though. And my stool minus the nine inches (so, sitting just off the edge) made the perfect box-squat height.

I have fervently thanked my best friend for it a good 900 times, and have often felt it simply made a big difference for me across the board. This is even still, let alone for over a year when I could do so little motion on my own. In my view it basically did a sort of ‘exercise FOR me’ when I couldn’t, improving me until I could.

(Central Florida Bob ) #5

Thanks for this post, PJ!

I’ve heard bits and pieces about WBV, but maybe 1% of what you put in this post. Tons here to read and follow up on. I used to listen to and read Dave Asprey (Bulletproof Executive) lots more than lately, and he has been selling a Vibeplate for years. I found it hard to believe what he was selling without lots more information.

(PJ) #6

Been skimming some more papers and abstracts about WBV. Have some excerpts I thought others might find interesting, and some of my own notes interspersed.

…in a study of hand held vibrating tools,12 it was found that activation of the triceps brachii was greatest between vibration frequencies of 8 and 16 Hz, coinciding with the resonant frequencies measured at the wrist and elbow (10 20 Hz).

PJ’s Notes: The frequency that gets most-results varies with every muscle, and even with age groups, e.g. older people actually respond more to somewhat lower frequencies than middle age and especially young. I haven’t seen any study on whether there is much individual variation in this or what it might be if so.

PJ’s Notes: I did (humorously) have a dream, after ‘wondering’, where some familiar characters that show up in my dreams, told me that 22 Hz was the frequency to help with my seemigingly lipedemic legs; a little bit 23-24-25, and sometimes 162 ‘for protection.’ This happened many years before I ever got the vibeplate, I was actually interested in an e-stim tech I’d heard about at the time. I have no idea if this is valid of course. But even back then it suggested to me that different body parts might have different ideal frequencies – maybe for different results. After all the result is not always to take someone who is a trained athlete and make them stronger right then. And doing so in one area might have other effects in another area.

… experiment conducted by Kerschan-Schindl et al showed a significant increase in muscle blood volume in the calf and thigh and a significant increase in mean blood flow velocity in the popliteal artery after vibration exercise on a vibrating plate (26 Hz, 3 mm amplitude). The mean blood flow measured by Doppler ultrasound increased from 6.5 to 13 cm/s, and this acute response was attributed mainly to the effect of vibrations in reducing the viscosity of blood and increasing its speed through the arteries.

PJ Notes: See, that’s cool. That’s not the sort of thing I’ve seen much in research. Usually it’s assumed that the constant slow and fast-twitch muscle responses, are what’s behind the greater blood and lymph flow. But it actually reduces viscosity of blood?! Kinda cool.

WBVT applied for a total of 10 minutes (26 Hz, 4 mm) was shown to improve vertical jumping ability, increase concentrations of testosterone and growth hormone, and decrease cortisol concentrations in recreationally active people

Recent work from De Ruiter et al, in which subjects exercised on a vibrating plate for 5 one minute (frequency 30 Hz, amplitude 8 mm) with two minutes rest in between, showed an acute reduction in maximal voluntary knee extension force. Also, in their well controlled study, the authors showed that vibration depressed voluntary activation of the leg extensor muscles up to 180 minutes after the exercise bout. Finally, Di Loreto et al have recently shown that 10 minutes of WBVT at 30 Hz with a relatively small amplitude did not produce any change in the serum concentrations of growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor 1, and free and total testosterone.

PJ Notes: One thing that seems growing in evidence is that the WBV functions a lot like exercise, and in this way, there is a sort of curve of response where it gets greater until it hits whatever peak it can and then actually starts reducing, dominantly due to fatigue. Whether different Hz will bring +/- fatigue I don’t think I have seen explored. Whether quantity of load (e.g. [non-lean mass vs. lean mass] and/or [total body weight]) will bring +/- fatigue I don’t think I have seen explored. Let alone load vs. Hz.

PJ Notes: I have seen stuff where additional load added to the body did elicit greater response (because, again, that’s increasing the impact); the added weight had significantly more impact on results when it was put on the shoulders than when it was put around the waist.

…this extra muscle activity results in a greater rate of oxygen uptake during exposure to vibrations

PJ Notes: As I fuzzily recall though, the O2 uptake tends to increase for about 3 minutes after which it levels off.

It should be remembered that, according to the muscle tuning theory, the magnitude of the muscular response is related to the interaction between the amplitude and frequency of the vibration input and the intrinsic neuromuscular properties. It is possible that many studies have failed to show any positive effect of vibration because the applied vibrations did not stimulate the target muscles at their resonant frequencies. It should also be noted that most of the studies have focused on leg extensors, while neglecting plantar flexors which have been shown to increase their electromyographic activity up to five times the baseline values with vibration. It is clear that more studies are needed to ascertain the influence of the above variables on humans.

However, when resistance exercise is performed on a vibrating plate, it seems that even physically active people can improve vertical jumping ability more than by resistance exercise alone

Torvinen et al showed a net improvement of 8.5% in vertical jumping ability after four months of WBVT performed with static and dynamic squatting exercises with small vibration amplitudes (2 mm) and frequencies ranging from 25 to 40 Hz in sedentary subjects. A 12 week WBVT programme (frequency 35 40 Hz and amplitude 2.5 5 mm) induced a significant enhancement in isometric, dynamic, and explosive strength of knee extensor muscles in healthy, untrained, young adult women.

Unilateral chronic stroke patients, for example, have been shown to improve postural stability after a few minutes of WBVT at 30 Hz and 3 mm amplitude.45 Also, heart transplant patients seem to be able to exercise on vibrating plates with no adverse events.

Specific oxygen uptake (sV O2) was assessed, testing the hypotheses that sV O2 increases with the frequency of vibration …and with the amplitude … and that the VbX-related increase in sV O2 is enhanced by increased muscle force… With a vibration amplitude of 5 mm, a linear increase in sV O2 was found from frequencies 18 to 34 Hz (p < 0.01). Each vibration cycle evoked an oxygen consumption of approximately 2.5 l kg-1. At a vibration frequency of 26 Hz, sV O2 increased more than proportionally with amplitudes from 2.5 to 7.5 mm. With an additional load of 40 % of the lean body mass attached to the waist, sV O2 likewise increased significantly. A further increase was observed when the load was applied to the shoulders. The present findings indicate that metabolic power in whole-body VbX can be parametrically controlled by frequency and amplitude, and by application of additional loads. These results further substantiate the view that VbX enhances muscular metabolic power, and thus muscle activity.

PJ Notes: Notice how the O2 linear increase measure stopped at 34 Hz though. I bet if they’d tested through 60, around 38-40 it would have been dropping off, due to the issue I noted above with gravity and perceived impact of the different frequencies. The perceived vibration increases from 18-34.

PJ Notes: Most of the research on vibration on humans is from industry and it’s 1000 shades of bad for you. The lower frequencies (0-15, at least, maybe a bit higher) seemingly worst. I don’t do anything lower than 22 Hz because I have the lurking suspicion that the resonance of the lower freqs matches with some soft tissues/organs in a way that will do them harm if subjected to much in that range. I have no objective evidence for this, just the faint recall of stuff I read (during a period where due to health I don’t recall much detail) on the topic many years ago.

Fifteen untrained subjects were randomly assigned to a 5 min whole body vibration (WBV) training session on a vibrating plate producing sinusoidal oscillations at 20 Hz (low frequency) and 40 Hz (high frequency) with constant amplitude. Squat jump, countermovement jump and sit andreach test were administered before and after the WBV treatment. … Low frequency WBV stimulation was shown to significantly increase hamstrings’ flexi-bility by 10.1% (p<0.001) and squat jump by 4% (p<0.05). High frequency (40 Hz) of WBV stimula-tion determined a significant decrease in squat jump (-3.8%; p<0.05) and in counter movementjump (-3.6; p<0.001).Conclusion.The results showed the influence of WBV frequency on acute adaptive responses.In particular, the untrained subjects in the presented study, showed acute enhancement in neuro-muscular performance with low-frequency WBV stimulation

PJ Notes: Curious that the 20 Hz was great for that part of the legs (note my dream about 22Hz) whereas the higher frequency was actually more harm than help. Another indicator that the hz vs part of body matters a lot.

Whole-body vibration (WBV) training uses a vertically oscillating platform and reports suggest that this perturbation elicits reflexive muscle contractions that augment muscle activity and contribute to increased strength. No WBV study has measured both upper- and lower-body muscle activation. The purpose of this study was to determine the optimal WBV stimulus (frequency × amplitude) to increase electromyography (EMG) in upper- and lower-body muscles for three distinctive unloaded actions: isometric semi-squat, dynamic leg squats, and static and dynamic bilateral bicep curls. Surface EMG was measured for the vastus lateralis (VL), biceps femoris (BF), biceps brachii (BB), and triceps brachii (TB) in 10 recreationally active male university students (24.4 ± 2.0 years; mean ± SD) when WBV was administered at 2 and 4 mm and at 25, 30, 35, 40, and 45 Hz. EMG changes are reported as the difference between WBV and no WBV EMG root mean square expressed as a percentage of maximum voluntary exertion (%MVE).

In static semi-squat, WBV increased muscle activity 2.9%–6.7% in the VL and 0.8%–1.2% in the BF. During dynamic squatting, WBV increased muscle activity in the VL by 3.7%–8.7% and in the BF by 0.4%–2.0%. In a static biceps curl, WBV had no effect on BB EMG, but did increase TB activity 0.3%–0.7%. During dynamic biceps curls, WBV increased BB EMG activity by 0.6%–0.8% and TB activity by 0.2%–1.0%. The higher WBV amplitude (4 mm) and frequencies (35, 40, 45 Hz) resulted in the greatest increases in EMG activity.

highest effect size frequency: ~37.5 hz
highest effect size duration: 6-7 minutes
highest effect size amplitude: the higher amplitude the more effect size.
Female groups gained similar muscle power compared with combined groups.
Changes in training parameters (frequency or amplitude vibration) during the training program resulted in a larger ES, when compared with no modifications; however, this different was not statistically significant.
The use of dynamic movements plus isometric muscle contractions resulted in a larger mean ES than isometric contraction alon, nevertheless, this difference was not statistically significant.

Differences were noted in both acute and chronic changes in power when vertical vibration platforms are compared with oscillating platforms. Vertical platforms elicit a significantly larger treatment effect for chronic adaptations (ES = .99) as compared with oscillating platforms (ES = .36). This difference between a moderate effect and a small effect is notable and is similar to platform differences noted in a meta-analysis of vibration exercise effects on strength.

PJ Notes: Below they are comparing ‘chronic’ with ‘acute’ power differences, I mention that so reading it is not so confusing

Chronic improvements in power with vibration exercise, especially when vertical platforms are used, are quite impressive. … No positive impact on acute power output was noted for either vertical or oscillating platforms. Both vertical and oscillating platforms demonstrated a slight decrease in acute power output. Insufficient data were available to make a detailed evaluation of moderating variables of this effect…

PJ Notes: Not enough info to get much from the third sentence there because ‘of course’ it will reduce with fatigue but we don’t have any idea what the details are.

PJ Notes: ES = “effect size”

…the time between the vibration application and the test for acute power changes is of utmost importance. The studies included in this meta-analysis used rest periods of 0 to 3,600 seconds {1 hour - pj} post-treatment before testing. This timing could dramatically alter the acute response measured

The evaluation of sex as a moderator of the chronic treatment effect (vertical platform only) demonstrated that no significant difference existed between the sexes. … it appears that both men and women respond with chronic power adaptations similar to each other.

The data show that age is a moderator of the response to vibration exercise for power. For populations under the age of 25, the ES was .43, and those over the age of 50 (both from vertical platform data) the ES was 2.24. Benefits in power among older populations are of particular importance. Risk of falling among the elderly may relate to a decrease in rate of force development as caused by aging. Their inability to rapidly respond with high amounts of force to correct imbalance, reset their center of gravity, or prevent themselves from stumbling may be positively affected by the inclusion of vibration exercise in an overall training program.

…alterations in prescription throughout a chronic training program (i.e., periodization and progression of stimulus) is known to be vital to fully achieve the benefits of vibration exercise. Programs that did not alter training variables were found to have a much smaller treatment effect (ES = .39) as compared with periodized programs (ES = 1.28).

The influence of frequency, amplitude, and volume of vibration stimulus on the resultant power adaptation is noteworthy. Because of the lack of variability and positive effect for acute power enhancement, our focus remains on chronic adaptations among those training with vertical platforms. Figures 1-3 represent the general trend in ES for 3 separate variables. Low frequencies (<35 Hz) showed less effectiveness than mean training frequencies of 35 to 40 Hz, with the effectiveness dropping when the average frequency exceeded 40 Hz, thus demonstrating a dose-response trend. Thus, it appears that mean overall training frequencies of 35 to 40 Hz are most appropriate for vertical platforms.

Amplitudes below 6 mmp-p do not result in large treatment effects as compared with the linear increase in power improvement from 6 to 10 mmp-p. With insufficient data at amplitudes above 10 mm, it is unclear whether 10 mmp-p is the optimal dose … For now, it is apparent that amplitudes from 8 to 10 mmp-p are most effective for long-term power development through vibration exercise. …one particular fact of importance when considering the reported amplitude of vibration in the published research and among the different platforms available to the public is the fact that body mass is expected to affect the vibration amplitude of vibration. Larger masses are expected to dampen the vibration amplitude generated by the platform, with potentially large variations in vibration between individuals of different body masses. For this reason, amplitude of vibration, unless specifically measured in each subject by the use of accelerometer, carries only theoretical importance with relation to exercise prescription.

Volume of training, as expressed as the total time on the vibration platform per session (s), is also an important factor to be considered when implementing vibration exercise. For power chronic power enhancement, 360 to 720 seconds appears to be the optimal range of volume per workout. The interaction between sets of vibration applications and total volume is a complex relationship, with insufficient data at this point to fully evaluate. It is uncertain as to which variable is the most important, or how best to deal with their interaction. For instance, it is unclear whether shorter sets (i.e., 15-30 s) are most effective or whether 1 10-minute set would achieve the same result. On the basis of the physiologic mechanisms to be presented later, and our knowledge of the neuromuscular expression of power, shorter bouts would appear more appropriate, mimicking highly intense, short-duration resistance/plyometric training, and avoiding the negative influence of fatigue on the neuromuscular system. However, such speculation must be examined in future research and analyses to verify its validity.

Contraindications have been reported for vibration training, including erythema, itching of the legs (45,48), edema (45), and shin pain (as experienced by 1 subject) (19) as well as a case of significant morbidity after 1 session of vibration training in a patient with asymptomatic nephrolithiasis (32); however, little research has been conducted to examine these conditions. Although the current meta-analysis demonstrates that vibration exercise can be an effective tool for increasing chronic power adaptations, we must begin to focus more attention on the physiologic mechanisms underlying the body’s response to vibration exercise. These physiologic mechanisms explaining such adaptations are important to our understanding of this form of exercise. Different mechanisms have been suggested in the literature as to how vibration stimuli can have effect on the neuromuscular system (9,46), such as a stimulation of Ia-afferents by way of spindles, resulting in homonymous α-motor neurons or perturbation of the gravitational field during the time course of intervention (9). Although these mechanisms have been suggested, and do appear valid, little basic scientific research has examined vibration exercise effects on the function of different physiologic properties.

PJ’s Notes:

  1. What has not been elucidated is whether those rare but occasional symptoms happen at the low-amplitudes which have some but much less effect size (e.g. the 2mm), or only at the really high 8-10mm amplitudes.

  2. It has also not much been tested what the difference may be between healthy but sedentary vs. healthy athletic (trained) persons in their responses in terms of both increase in stim/muscle, or their tendency to suffer the rare side effects.

  3. One thing that seems clear from research is that the more “impact” the WBV has on the individual in question the more acute the responses and results. But this is important to consider:

A) As they pointed out in this meta-analysis, persons of different weight affect their WBV platform differently, and in many plates particularly those small but high-amplitude ones used in most studies, the higher the human weight, the more it ‘suppresses’ the amplitude by load on the plate. Most of the WBV on the market have a rated load of 300-330#. That’s marketing. Heh. Hence it may be 5mm in the study but heavier people might be getting dramatically less than lighter people. I’ve seen people say (and they were probably 150#) that just standing on a WBV clearly suppressed a lot of the vibe. But this depends on the plate! My vertical-motion plate is only 2mm amplitude, but its load capacity is 2400#. (They even use it for healing therapy for racehorses.) I seriously doubt its amplitude function is much harmed by a human’s weight no matter what it is. So this is an inherent likely flaw in the tools of these studies, and only occasionally do they ever spec in great detail the full parameters of the machines they are using in order for this to be taken into account. I feel this throws a wrench into the reliability of the whole field of research. I want an engineer to actually test these suckers’ amplitude with different weights up the scale prior to any study being done with something. This issue could mess up nearly everything about results, including about how useful low-amplitudes are. Because if that’s an issue, the low amps become bare, and the moderate ampls are actually low (due to weight dampening of ampl). I think you see my point.

B) Assuming a machine where the amplitude is not suppressed by higher human weight, there is next the issue of human lean mass ft. non-lean mass. Remember I mentioned impact. Someone with 100# lean mass and 20# non-lean mass, vs. someone with 75# lean mass and 45# non-lean mass, is going to be affected differently, because you are putting the same ‘load’ onto a lot less muscle in the latter case – which increases the “impact” on the muscle, comparatively. This means that for example, someone with a higher bodyfat% may get more stim/effect out of WBV than someone with low bodyfat%. Also, the more trained the muscle is (stronger not just more of it), the less impact the same load would have against it. So again this would probably be seen if we had more research in non-trained vs trained subjects that had differing levels of bodyfat and different levels of muscle strength development.

C) You will note they show that ‘35-40 Hz’ has the most effect size. On my own plate, ~37 Hz is definitely the “highest PERCEIVED vibrational effect” on the 10-60Hz dial. However: once it hits about 38-39, the “perceived effect” begins REDUCING, and this continues in scale with the increase in Hz, then slightly increases but it’s still barely perceptible. By the time it’s to ~47 Hz, it seems very mild and a bit more, you can barely feel it. Here is my complaint: this is not about the Hz purely, in my opinion it is about “the time it takes for gravity to return your body to the plate at the bottom of the cycle.” 37-38 is about the max. Once it goes above that in frequency, gravity DOES NOT return your body FAST ENOUGH to the bottom of the cycle, so instead, you are actually getting the plate as it is higher (coming back up) – and at a certain point, you hit it at the top of the next cycle and it feels like it barely moves at all – etc. My point is, it is not so much measuring the actual Hz, and this matters because SOME technologies DO use Hz applied to the body like as electrical stim, or, vibration plates used horizontally or things you grip, and they would not have the same limits of gravity-return. Those limits are specific only to a WBV that you stand on. Not to the kind you can use horizontally or even electrically instead. I have never once seen this mentioned, not sure why. I do not believe that people standing on a plate at 45 Hz are getting 45 Hz of effect, is the thing; I think it might be more like, they are getting the peak gravity return effect (let’s say about 37.5 Hz), at a lower amplitude, instead.

PJ’s Notes: Also bear in mind that it is nearly impossible to measure recovery and healing from injury, since you cannot injure multiple subjects equally to test it (or injure them at all due to human-use laws :-)). So nearly all the research is instead done on things easy to measure, such as strength via explosive power, or overall strength – you can measure their ability to do a single thing, like an isometric hold, or a jump, or a bicep curl, for example. So while these studies are great for “athletes wishing to push their limits farther,” or “elderly or slightly disabled in some form (e.g. parkinson’s) wishing to improve their pre-existing state of balance, strength etc.,” it doesn’t tell us anything about how well it helps with

(a) the healing process from injury, which is a big way WBV is used in the real world, as this allows greater blood flow, greater lymph flow, and yet as minimal-as-you-want load on the muscle in question (you can stand or sit OFF the WBV plate and merely rest a limb on it for example), or

(b) the recovery process from resistance training days/workouts, which is also fairly key to its use in the real world, for about the same reasons as above – that you can increase blood and lymph flow but minimize load on the muscle during that; WBV may equate kind of to ‘moderate walking’ exercise, except with much lower impact on the joints than actual walking would be for someone (especially someone with major DOMS in effect), or

© the recovery process WITHIN resistance training, since WBV can function as an ‘active recovery’ between sets for example, at a less-intense freq/ampl.