What’s the Deal with Vibrating Exercise Equipment?

Fitness // Louise McDonald

Put simply, vibrating exercise equipment does exactly what the name suggests – it mechanically vibrates, to varying degrees, while you exercise.

While there’s little solid research to show what the benefits are, converts will tell you it increases intensity, shortens workout time and can get faster results.

So, what’s the deal? And does it actually work? Let’s explore this facet of training and look to the possible benefits and things to consider.

Claims:

1. Shortens workout time

Many brands of vibrating fitness equipment claim that you can achieve results similar to that of strength focused workouts in far less time put into each session, given the nature of how the body responds to the stimulation.

2. Improves balance

Due to the amount of muscles being recruited through the actions performed using the equipment, this can promote better balance and encourages proprioception ( body awareness through sensing movement within joints and joint position ).

3. Boosts intensity

The vibrating action stimulates the muscle contraction intensity and forces them to work harder. Combining the vibration with the performance of exercises can recruit more muscle fibres and offer greater output through the exercise.

4. Promotes blood flow

Improved circulation through the increased blood flow can have a positive effect on delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the body, lymphatic drainage, flexibility and muscle recovery.

5. Muscle soreness

Setting vibrating fitness equipment to ‘massage’ can help improve blood circulation and remove waste products such as lactic acid from the muscles.

6. Increased flexibility

Improvements in flexibility can be achieved due to the chaos caused within the stretch reflex system under the stress of the vibration.

With this process, the stretch reflex is overridden ( this is a signal to the brain to inhibit stretching ) and allows the body to ease past this point.

7. Hormonal regulation

 Stimulating the nervous and skeletal systems increases repair and regeneration to hormone levels.

This promotes higher performance of effective production of hormones and can help to reduce the amount of cortisol ( stress hormone ) being created.

More human growth hormone stimulates weight loss and in turn assists with healthy bones, muscle growth and assists with body composition regulation.

Considerations:

  1. Supervision is recommended, especially for those who have never exercised.
  2. Not recommend for those with health concerns without medical clearance/supervision.
  3. Excessive use can lead to back pain. Where there seems to be many benefits to training this way to help strengthen and support a functional system with postural improvements, there is research to suggest that overuse may be unhelpful for optimum results.
  4. No proven benefits to cardiovascular fitness.

It can be detrimental for those with certain conditions or considerations, such as:

  • Pregnancy
  • Blood clots
  • Head injuries
  • Previous stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Eye conditions
  • Sprains/strains/tears

The takeaway:

There are some obvious benefits to using this style of training, yet this seems to be best combined with a structured approach to exercise, used in conjunction with traditional exercise styles for the best outcome.

As everyone has different levels of strength, fitness and considerations to exercise, this makes the conclusion a personal perspective and it’s always nice to have variables to how we tackle our health and fitness.

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