What is vibration training?

(Note: It’s Vibration Training Week here at At Home Fitness. This is the first in a five-part series in which we’ll feature information on this increasingly popular area of fitness).

If you’re interested in fitness, chances are by now you’ve heard of vibration training. If you haven’t, then vibration training is an area of training rapidly growing in popularity that it would benefit you to learn more about.
Whole Body Vibration Training (WBV), also known as Accelerated Vibration Training (AVT), allows people to exercise in an extremely efficient, safe manner using vibrations that stimulate the muscles.
This type of exercise dates back to ancient times, but regained popularity in the 1960s when Russian cosmonauts used vibration training to counteract the effects of muscle mass and bone density while in space.
Before the cosmonauts went into space, they took part in vibration training that strengthened their muscles and bones so that they’d remain stronger throughout their mission and upon returning to Earth.
Vibration trainers have been around for less than two decades in fitness clubs, but are now more and more readily available for home use as well through fitness retailers such as At Home Fitness.
Today, vibration machines are used by everyone from physical therapy and rehab patients, to professional athletes and celebrities, to the couple next door looking to stay more healthy and fit.
The easiest way to explain what takes place in vibration training is by examining the basic physics for “Force” as defined by Sir Isaac Newton’s equation: F = m * a (Force equals mass times acceleration).
To improve strength, people must expose their bodies to forces that are greater than normal in daily life.
In traditional strength training, such as lifting free weights or using a weight machine, people increase the “mass” by adding more weight.
In vibration training, it’s the “acceleration” that’s increased.
The “force” is generated by the upward vibrations coming from the platform which cause a user’s muscle tissue to activate and react up to 50 times per second. In fact, up to 97 percent of the muscle fibers are activated nearly instantaneously, compared to as little as 20 percent with traditional methods — and in a lot less time.
A person doesn’t just stand on the vibration platform. They must hold common static exercise positions such as squat, calf raise or pushup.
For more people with more advanced fitness levels, they can perform dynamic movements such as going through the motion of a squat or pushup. Vibration training has been found to be safer on joints and ligaments and to provide much greater results than traditional methods for people of all different ages and fitness backgrounds.
Coming tomorrow, I’ll explain how vibration training works.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at aaron@athomefitness.com