Speed Not Enhanced by Whole Body Vibration Training

A review of research prompts New Zealand-based researchers to conclude WBV training doesn’t increase athlete’s speed.

In a review of existing studies researchers from the Institute of Sport and Recreation Research, Faculty of Health and Environmental Science and Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand conclude that whole body vibration training does not increase speed for trained athletes.  This literature is published in the March 2009 (Volume 23, Number 2) edition of the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s, “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.”

According to the NSCA’s Editorial Mission Statement, “The NSCA publishes brief reviews by scientific experts in the field.  The reviews should provide a critical examination of the literature and integrate the results of previous research in an attempt to educate the reader as to the basic and applied aspects of the topic.”  The title of this review is, “Vibration Training: Could it Enhance the Strength, Power or Speed of Athletes?” 


Online access to the journal is provided for NSCA members-only. The authors of this paper conducted a review of WBV research. Due to a variety of problems with the current state of WBV research – small sample size, questionable methodology, lack of long-term studies, prominence of studies featuring untrained subjects and the lack of a standard WBV training protocol – there were only six studies that met the author’s criteria for inclusion in this review. 

All of these six studies were underpowered in terms of subjects. With regard to improving an athlete’s speed the authors found only two studies that met their criteria for inclusion in this review.  According to the authors, “Both studies observed that WBV training produced non-significant and trivial changes in these speed measures.”

Muscle stiffness has been identified as being beneficial to athletes looking to produce high rates of force development or rapid transmission of force, and athletes who perform short sprints, plyometrics (jumping drills), and power movements will benefit from increased muscle stiffness.

One of these WBV studies measured changes in muscle stiffness over a 6-week period and found that squatting on a vibration platform did not change muscle stiffness when compared to the non-vibration group. This serves to counter the theory that vibration training enhances neural potentiation, and that speed and muscle stiffness should improve more than other performance factors as a result of WBV training.

Many WBV proponents have used short-term studies as the basis for their claims that vibration training enhances muscle potentiation.  The authors of this review point out that short-term effects do not guarantee a performance improvement over the long-term, and that “vibration training does not seem to enhance muscular potentiation in well-trained athletes.”


The authors – scientific experts in the field – conclude, “The practicality of vibration training also should be taken into account in terms of time, cost, and reduction of other training for what we have observed to be a small benefit.”  The words of these researchers from New Zealand are in stark contrast to the hype, “research” and faux-science presented as gospel by WBV hucksters.

Given the exorbitant cost of WBV platforms, the inconvenience of use and the paucity of reliable and legitimate research it’s clear that vibration training is not ready for prime time.

3 comments
  1. Lloyd Shaw
    Lloyd Shaw
    June 14, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    What Dr Brendan Humphries , a Senior Lecturer within
    CQUniversity’s School of Health and Human Performance in the
    Faculty of Arts, Health and Science has to say about Vibration Training…….
    Dr Humphries, who has a special interest in bone and muscle development and decided to conduct some experiments of his own with a
    group of experienced male weight trainers……..
    “I couldn’t explain what was happening in the early stages. We were finding marked changes in the individuals we were
    doing research with. I found that strength levels increased by about 30 per cent across the board. Most of the guys said
    they couldn’t just go to a gym and add a 30 per cent load –they would fail.
    They couldn’t believe this would happen to them. The more research I did, and the more experiments I conducted,
    I found positives in everything I did.”
    The application, he believes, isn’t limited to high-end athletes. Dr Humphries will soon release a paper about the effects WBV training can have on 20 to 30-year-old women to maximise their peak bone mass, the idea being it will help stave off osteoporosis in later years. Further work is also being done with the use of the therapy on post-menopausal women.

    Reply
  2. Lloyd Shaw
    Lloyd Shaw
    June 14, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Once again to clarify what you said Sal regarding the development of these machines……
    “Vibration Training shouldn’t be taken seriously.”
    “Vibration Training does nothing to improve muscle tone and balance”
    “it doesn’t matter what company makes this type of machine, as they are all junk.”
    “in an effort to clarify, I think Vibration Training is garbage. the different machines are just different brands of garbage.”
    ” the fantasy of Vibration Training.”
    “Vibration Training is useless “
    Time and research is proving you wrong Sal, and your persistent attempts to stop us helping people have not been forgotten.

    Reply
  3. Lloyd Shaw
    Lloyd Shaw
    June 15, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Studies are now showing Vibration Training to be “as good as” resistance training, but takes only 10 mins ?
    I would say that is progress in anybodies book that has to normally spend hrs training.
    Sal ……Jul 23, 2007 at 10:00 am
    ” you’ve wasted your time trying to develop a product based on such an incredibly flawed premise such as WBV. ”
    Sal …… sal Oct 04, 2006 at 8:39 am
    ” vibration training on the other hand is based in fake science ”
    And remember this one…?
    ” this is nothing more than a bigger version of electronic stim pads ”
    A clear lie to further your argument.
    Until I see as many articles by you apologizing for your attempts to stop this science, and clearly stating those comments were incorrect, as you wrote against us. I will consider you unethical and will put in a vast effort to expose you as ” The Dumbest Training in America “

    Reply
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