If you're looking for a quick and easy exercise routine, you may end up asking yourself, "Do vibration exercise machines work?" The answer is yes, but not in the way you may assume.
Fifty Years of Vibration Exercises
The concept of vibration to help you lose weight and sculpt muscle is not a new one. While the technology has changed, and the way that the exercises are promoted has been updated, vibration exercises have been around for decades.
The earliest vibration exercise machines were thought to help you lose weight by a fast, jiggling motion designed to melt and eradicate the fat. Frequently these machines were large, consisting of a platform and a belt that was hooked around your bottom. While you stood, holding the rails of the machine, the belt would shake with the hope that your fat would simply melt away.
The fat loss-obsessed 90s brought vibration belts that were designed to target your abdominal muscles while you relaxed. Claims boasted that highly charged electrical pulses caused your muscles to contract on their own, sculpting and toning while you watched TV.
Today's total body vibration machines work differently, and are more effective. Rather than a belt vibrating a single area of your body, a platform beneath your feet vibrates, causing your muscles to react quickly to the changing speeds.
Do Vibration Exercise Machines Work?
Vibration exercise machines can be beneficial, but not to help you lose weight or do a great deal of muscle sculpting. While not a lot of research has been conducted on this type of exercise, preliminary reports do show some promising results.
What a Vibration Exercise Machine Does
By standing on the vibrating platform, you activate the fast twitch muscles in your legs. This no impact exercise does have the following benefits:
- Strengthening bone density in postmenopausal women
- Improved muscle strength in elderly adults
- Improved balance in elderly adults
What a Vibration Exercise Machine Does Not Do
While there are definitely some benefits to a total body vibration exercise machine, there have been little results shown in additional benefits. Using a vibration platform has not been shown to help with the following:
- Weight loss
- Muscle toning
- Muscle sculpting
Using a Total Body Vibration Machine
With preliminary results showing some benefits to total body vibration machines, many gyms are beginning to include vibration equipment with other resistance and cardio equipment. For those with knee joint problems, low bone density or poor balance, standing on a vibrating platform while performing other upper body exercises may help with these problems.
While standing on a vibrating platform, it is possible to use free weights, resistance bands and other light equipment. The additional weight and concentration required by the body to maintain balance on the vibrating platform can help increase the benefits of other exercises.
Total body vibration machines are also available for home use. The footprint or space it takes up is much smaller than the machines first introduced 50 years ago, allowing many the opportunity to use one at home. The cost of a total body vibration machine runs about $400, and they can be found nearly anywhere that exercise equipment is sold.
While it's tempting to look at a vibration machine and ask yourself, "Do vibration exercise machines work?" with the intent of losing weight or toning muscle, the results shown thus far do not look promising. Small gains may be found through the use of this equipment, although the same gains can also be achieved through yoga, Pilates and other types of low or no impact exercise, and strength training. While the technology has made several gains, and it appears that benefits are beginning to emerge, it may be several more years before vibration equipment achieves what most gym goers find through more strenuous work.