Whole body vibration, positive vibrations!

Posted by on Apr 20, 2009 in exercise | 0 comments

Whole body vibration. Whoa! What comes to mind are those machines from the 30s and 40s with the vibrating belt. Although they didn’t work very well, it seems the principle behind them might not have been so far-fetched after all. In fact, whole-body vibration appears to enhance the positive effect that resistance training has on body composition.

Whole body vibration (WBV) was evidently based on ancient Greek principles but more recently developed by the Russians to rehabilitate astronauts who may have lost muscle and bone mass during space missions. Around for centuries, it’s currently being embraced by sports medicine clinics and fitness facilities. A quick search on the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed database also shows that it’s caught the eye of researchers as well.

So what does WBV have to do with menopause?

In a small study that appears in the journal Maturitas. researchers examined the effects of WBV added to resistance training in sedentary  postmenopausal women. For eight months, 55 participants engaged in one of the following, three times a week:

  • Resistance only training (weight training at 80% strength, 3 sets, 10 repetitions)
  • Resistance training (as above)¬† plus WBV using a powerplate vibration platform
  • No exercise

Study findings showed that while both resistance training alone and resistance training with WBV led to significant increases in total, arm and trunk lean body mass, only the combination of training and WBV actually significantly decreased total body fat percentage.

Clearly, larger studies are needed. But this does lend hope for accessible, safe and effective ways to combat the natural loss of lean body mass/ redistribution of body fat as we age.

As Bob Marley said…positive vibrations!


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