Whole Body Vibration—Muscle Strength & Flexibility
Used as a training method, Whole Body Vibration has been shown to increase bone density, muscle strength and flexibility in a remarkably short amount of time: 10 minutes with this system is the equivalent of 30-60 minutes of weight lifting. Standing on a vibrating plate, every cell in your body vibrates at the same speed the plate is vibrating (20-50 times/sec). All muscle fibers involuntarily tense and relax at this speed, thus creating an intense workout without the person actually having to move at all. Sounds too good to be true, but extensive research supports these claims, and as anyone who has used this system can tell you, it is hard work! Many different positions have been developed to target different muscle groups. These targeted exercises involve getting into a position on the plate and holding your body weight against the vibration. The vibration multiplies the work done by your muscles dramatically. Holding a sit-up position for one minute on this vibrating plate, for example, feels like you’ve done 40 sit-ups in one minute.
Marked strength increases have been seen using this system, even when used for short periods of time (less than 3 min/session, twice/week for 3 weeks). A process of neurological adaptation leading to improved communication between the nervous system and muscle fibers is thought to be the explanation for these early strength increases. After several weeks of training the muscle fibers themselves begin to increase in size and number creating larger, stronger muscles.