Exercise Programs




Whole Body Vibration FAQ

What is Whole Body Vibration?
Where did Whole Body Vibration come from?
Is WBV training credible?
Are all WBV machines the same?
Why do the prices of WBV machines vary so greatly?
What frequency range is best for muscle strengthening?
How long do I have to use WBV in any one session to get a benefit?
Do I need to do fancy exercises to gain any benefit?
How do I get a stretching effect?
Can I exercise all my muscles?
Which machine should I buy?
Where can I find more information about WBV?
Are there any contraindications to whole body vibration?
Q.  What is Whole Body Vibration?   
Whole Body Vibration (WBV) is possibly the greatest single exercise revolution we will see in our lifetimes. Accessing the body's in-built automatic anti-gravity systems, WBV produces significantly better exercise outcomes in shorter time frames.

"Vibration-based training will become the hot new fitness tool," said James Thomson when forecasting the next big things in BRW magazine (Dec 14 2006 - Jan 10 2007). "Users stand on a vibrating plate and perform exercises such as squats and abdominal curls. The vibrations trigger rapid muscle contractions, which means a harder work-out than on a static surface. Ten to 15 minutes on a vibration machine is said to be worth an hour in the gym... ... unlike many (fitness) machines, there are scientific studies to support their use."
Q.  Where did Whole Body Vibration come from?   
Versions of Whole Body Vibration have been around for over one hundred years, however the modern version was developed by the Russians in the 1970's to combat the problems of bone and muscle wasting in their cosmonauts as a result of spending time in zero gravity. The rapidly accelerating platform creates a form of hyper gravity that stimulates the muscles to work faster and challenges the body to work harder. The result is a more effective and efficient physical training program.

Impressed by the speed with which the cosmonauts regained their strength, Russian athletics trainers saw the potential for their athletes and used Whole Body Vibration to gain a competitive strength advantage over those outside the Eastern Bloc.

Upon the fall of the Berlin Wall the West became aware of Whole Body Vibration and a German company first commercialised its production. Since that time Whole Body Vibration has been used by elite sports clubs, world class athletes, hospitals, gyms and physiotherapy centres.
Q.  Is WBV training credible?   
The Russians have been using WBV since before the fall of the Berlin Wall to strengthen their athletes. In Europe and North America WBV is widely used in Gyms, by Sporting Teams and by Health Professionals. Many people will choose to go specifically to Gyms where WBV is available because of its unique benefits and time-efficiency.
Q.  Are all WBV machines the same?   
No. The first machines developed utilised a tilting platform, to simulate the up down action of the pelvis during normal walking. This technology is patented so other machines have created different mechanical motions, such as vertical. The feel is very different. The extensive research supporting the use of WBV has essentially been performed on the tilting platform of Galileo (Vibraflex). Despite their piggy-backing onto research conducted on specific WBV machines not all machines produce the same results. Be sure to check upon what machines the research has been conducted.
Q.  Why do the prices of WBV machines vary so greatly?   
The WBV machine is a precision piece of equipment that requires precise engineering and quality components. The success of the first models has seen a flood of copies onto the market that utilise price as a point of difference. But like most things in life you get what you pay for. Cheaper machines use cheaper components and thinner materials, and as a result their effects are questionable and their longevity limited.

The claims of benefits achieved from the WBV are quite extensive. Can this really be true that one machine has such wide and varied benefits?

Yes. The wider the variety of frequency and amplitude settings the greater the range of achievable benefits. We get different effects with different settings. Low frequencies are better for balance control and slow twitch muscles and higher frequencies better for fast twitch muscle fibres and gaining post activation potential. The claims made are all as a result of research from over 30 Universities worldwide. These results cannot be taken to be valid for all WBV devices because of the different mechanisms, frequencies and amplitudes available.
Q.  What frequency range is best for muscle strengthening?   
Muscle strengthening is achieved primarily through stimulation of the stretch reflex. Stimulation of the reflex will not occur for frequencies below 12Hz - the stimulus isn't sufficiently quick enough.

As the stretch reflex takes 40-50 msec to complete, frequencies above 27Hz produce superfluous vibrations and may even be potentially dangerous as the muscles are incapable of responding to dampen the extra vibrations. The extra vibration may then have deleterious effects on the joints.

Therefore the optimal range lies between 12 and 27Hz, however from our experience we would narrow this further to 18 -25Hz.
Q.  How long do I have to use WBV in any one session to get a benefit?   
You will notice benefits almost straight away; often after 1 minute we can note changes. A full work out takes 5 - 10 minutes. This work out will be fully functional and can be used as a stand-alone program or in conjunction with other strength training. For time poor individuals this can be a significant bonus. This work out can be made more or less intense by changing your foot position or by adding weights or theraband resistance.
Q.  Do I need to do fancy exercises to gain any benefit?   
No, but you will get better outcomes if you do. We advise any exercise be functional in nature. People require strength in functional positions therefore we should train in these positions. Some people just like to stand on the platform, whilst others perform squats, lunges, jumps, running, golf shots, etc. An instructor can assist you with ways to maximise your gains.
Q.  How do I get a stretching effect?   
WBV will give you a significant increase in muscle length just from standing on the platform. If you want you can sustain a regular muscle stretch position on the platform to increase the stretching effect.
Q.  Can I exercise all my muscles?   
Yes. The vibration does not discriminate different muscle groups, eg. quadriceps and hamstrings. They both work together. The vibration is highest closest to the plate and will dampen as it travels up the body. For arm strengthening we place the hands on the plate and just as with the legs can hold a static position or you can perform an active exercise such as a push-up.
Q.  Which machine should I buy?   
Purchasing a WBV Machine is a significant cost, so ensuring you buy the right machine is essential for long term success. Whilst price is important, the upfront cost is not necessarily the most important consideration over the life of the machine. Other factors to consider include effectiveness, usability, design, applications, quality, longevity, warranty, research and business support. In our extensive report we offer expert advice on what to look for in a machine and can save you thousands of dollars.
Q.  Where can I find more information about WBV?   
  1. For a comprehensive review of Whole Body Vibration, including the scientific literature, download Module One of our Training Manual

  2. For a central point of the best scientific research visit our sister site at www.vibotherapy.com.au
Q.  Are there any contraindications to whole body vibration?   
At this stage there have not been strong reports of conditions being made worse by whole body vibration. However most manufacturers recommend people with the following condtions avoiding whole body vibration:

Some metal implants
Gall or kidney stones
Recent fractures
Acute inflammatory conditions