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Whole Body Vibration - A Workout for When It's Hard to Exercise

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Have you ever purchased home exercise equipment only to let it sit unused in the corner of your room?  That can occur when home fitness equipment is not well suited to you or your lifestyle.

Chances are that a whole body vibration machine is a piece of home fitness equipment that is unlikely to be neglected and abandoned because of its positive results and ease-of-use. Whole body vibration (sometimes abbreviated as WBV) is a fitness and training method where a person works out on a machine that vibrates the entire body. 

Because of its versatility, whole body vibration machines are becoming ubiquitous; you may have seen whole body vibration machines in doctor's offices, yoga studios or at a fitness center. Now the machines are growing in popularity and affordability so that people consider buying this piece of home exercise equipment for themselves. This article gives an overview of how whole body vibration works as both a passive and active form of exercise.

Before you begin a whole body vibration workout, it is important to check with your doctor, as you should before beginning any new form of exercise. This article is not a substitute of medical advice.

How It Works

With roots in the fitness industry, whole body vibration has a range of applications, including wellness and beauty, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and professional sports. Unlike spot or local vibrating devices that target or massage a certain muscle, a whole body vibration machine exposes your entire body to vibration. [5078]

You stand on the platform for as little as 10-15 minutes a day three days a week. [5079]

Confidence Slim Full Body Vibration Platform Fitness Machine(112861)

People usually stand on the vibrating platform with their knees slightly bent.[5080] People who are unable to stand up are able to “exercise” while sitting on a chair with their feet on the machine.  Yes, if you have couch potato tendencies like I do, you can exercise while watching the television or talking on the phone. Most machines are quiet enough so that the sound, if any, will not interfere with your tv show or bother your neighbors. 

There are different moves and maneuvers depending on what you want to accomplish. You either hold a position (static exercise) or move a certain way (dynamic exercise). Motors beneath the platform transmit vibration to you when you are on the platform. The vibration tricks the muscles into rapid contractions,[5080] efficiently activating muscles and corresponding fibers.  In contrast, when you lift weights, you are consciously contracting a given muscle, which takes both effort, discipline, and proper form so you avoid injury.

Most whole body vibration machines allow you to control the intensity and direction of the vibration depending on your fitness level. In any case, you will feel like you are exerting yourself to some degree.

What to Expect

Results will vary from person to person. If you live a sedentary lifestyle and want to get into an exercise routine, start slowly.

Certainly, the more active you are with machine, the better your results will be.  But at the very least, advocates indicate that whole body vibration can improve blood and lymphatic circulation because muscles are rapidly contracting 20 to 50 times/second.[5078] 

In addition, studies have shown that whole body vibration can help to improve muscle strength and toning, bone density, and general overall fitness. [5078][5079]

Advocates also indicate that use of the whole body vibration machine can improve flexibility, decrease the stress hormone cortisol, promote better sleep, and even aid in weight loss, although research supporting these claims is less clear.[5079]  It is therefore important to carefully examine the claims made by manufacturers when deciding if whole body vibration is right for you.  

And, despite the many apparent health benefits, some experts argue that whole body vibration is not a replacement for conventional exercise.[5079] Yet, as long as you receive clearance from your doctor, this type of passive exercise might be better for you than no exercise at all.

Exercise for all Fitness Levels

The beauty of this training and fitness method versus other conventional methods is that this home exercise equipment is suited for people of all fitness levels. This is because "loading" is minimal. That is, you do not need to place much weight on to your bones, joints and ligaments.

As a result, whole body vibration therapy is often well-suited for those who cannot participate in traditional exercise because of illness, age, injury, or weight.
For example, people who have health restrictions that preclude them from working out find whole body vibration helpful for regaining or maintaining their fitness.  Such conditions include multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and some forms of arthritis.[5079]  As mentioned above, whole body vibration machines can assist with muscle toning and conditioning.

Here’s a video of a whole body machine used by a person at a retirement center.

People at the other end of the fitness spectrum also use the machine with good results.  For example, professional athletes sometimes use whole body vibration machines to stimulate and strengthen muscles without stressing joint areas, which can be prone to injury.[5078] 

Typically, people stand or place their feet on the vibrating platform.  However, the whole body vibration machine can also be used for different parts of the body such as the arms and core.

Here’s how to do an upper arm exercises on a whole body vibration machine:

Where and How to Buy

Machines range in cost from hundreds to thousands of dollars.  Common brands include

Whole Body Vibration Machine Butterfly Shape(112862)

Power Plate, Noblerex, Confidence, and CrazyFit, but it pays to shop around. Check the reviews of people who are actually using the machine that you are looking to buy.

Consider how much space you have in your home and whether you will need to store it away.  There are models with handles, which are a good safety feature.  There are other models like the Whole Body Vibration Machine Butterfly Shape that are small enough (25.5 in. x 20 in. x 9 in.) to store in a closet when not in use.

Be sure the model you purchase is able to handle your weight.

One of the best online deals and best reviewed machines is the Confidence Slim Full Body Vibration Platform Fitness Machine that can be found at Amazon.com. As of this writing, this whole body vibration machine is on sale selling for $299, representing a 70 percent discount from its list price of $999.  Shipping is free.  This particular model requires some set up, and you will need to lift it into place, so keep that in mind before you buy.


Whatever your fitness goals, consider a whole body vibration machine for yourself if you are looking for home exercise equipment to add to your fitness regimen.

Remember, you can use this machine in a passive way (sitting or standing) while doing other things, like reading or watching television.  Or, you can learn some of the more advanced moves to work out different parts of your body.  If your health allows, couple your whole body vibration workouts with a healthful, sensible diet, and traditional exercise, such as strength training and cardio-workouts, you’ll be on your way to a healthier you!



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  1. "Whole Body Vibration." Wikipedia. 16/09/2012 <Web >
  2. "Whole body vibration: An effective workout?." Mayo Clinic. 15/09/2012 <Web >
  3. "Passive Exercise: Whole-Body Vibration and More." WebMD. 15/09/2012 <Web >

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