Friday, December 5, 2014

Whole Body Vibration Training as an Adjunct to Classic Resistance Training is Particularly Effective in the Early Phase of Training - New Exercise Stimulus, News Gains!

If strong is the new skinny, adding vibration training to your regimen may help you to get "skinny" ;-)
You will probably remember the post about hydraulic resistance training and my plea to stay open minded with respect to new training techniques. Now, I have to admit that I have not always followed my own advice in the past. Whole body vibration training is, as I told you only recently, something I have never taken seriously... in my own defense, I do have to say that there is still no evidence that it will ever fully replace classic resistance and/or cardiovascular training, though. Due to its ability to reach muscle groups regular resistance training exercises won't stimulate optimally, the idea of using whole body vibration as an adjunct to classic resistance training as it was pursued by Margarett T. Jones, recently (Jones. 2014) sounds legit.
Learn more about building muscle and strength at

Tri- or Multi-Set Training for Body Recomp.?

Alternating Squat & Blood Pressure - Productive?

Pre-Exhaustion Exhausts Your Growth Potential

Exercise not Intensity Variation for Max. Gains

Battle the Rope to Get Ripped & Strong

Study Indicates Cut the Volume Make the Gains!

The purpose of Jones' study was to examine the effects of progressive-overload, whole-body vibration (WBV) training on strength and power as part of a 15-week periodized, strength training (ST) program.
To this end, Jones recruited eighteen collegiate women athletes with at least one year of strength training experience who had not spent a single minute on one of the fancy vibration platforms you will find in more and more gyms these days and assigned them randomly to one of the following groups:
  • WBV + ST combined - combined whole body vibration + strength training
  • SHAM + ST combined - same as above but without active WBV training
During the WBV sham + ST protocol, athletes completed the same volume, tempo, and duration of exercises selected for the WBV + ST protocol without the inclusion of WBV, which is described by Jones as follows:
"Twice weekly, separated by 48 hours, WBV was administered during team lifting sessions via a vibration platform (Pro5 AIRdaptive; Power Plate, Irvine, CA, USA) that produced vertical sinusoidal vibrations with a frequency range of 25–50 Hz and a vertical displacement range of 2–6 mm (i.e., amplitude). After completion of the Bod Pod testing session, each athlete was introduced to the 6 exercises of WBV1 (Table 1) by performing each exercise for 30 seconds (i.e., 30 Hz, low amplitude).
Table 1: Whole-body vibration off-season training program; D = dynamic exercise; SH = static hold exercise; midtesting and 5 days of active rest occurred between WBV1 and WBV2 (Jones. 2014)
For WBV training, subjects performed 2 separate 3-week training phases (WBV1, WBV2) that consisted of dynamic and static hold exercises for the upper and lower body for a total of 12 WBV training sessions (Table 1). Exposure time was limited to 6 minutes for any given workout, as has been recommended for the improvement in muscle power. All WBV sets were 30 seconds in duration followed by a 60-second rest (1:2 work-to-relief ratio). Whole-body vibration protocol exercises did not use an external load, only body weight. Frequency and amplitude progressed in intensity from the first 3-week training phase to the second 3-week training phase." (Jones. 2014)
As you may already have gathered based on the study duration, we are dealing with a cross over study, where after 2x3 weeks in the one arm, the women were crossed over to the other arm of the study. In that, exercises, frequency, and amplitude progressed in intensity from the first 3-week WBV training to the second 3-week phase (see Table 1-2).
Table 2: Off-season 15-week strength training program;LB = lower body;
UP = upper body; w:r = work:rest ratio (Jones. 2014)
Unlike you may have expected the ST workouts (see Table 2) were not the usual sissy stuff you often seen in scientific studies. With O-lifting, core work, squatting and some pushing and pulling, they workouts may in fact look much like a wild mix of what some of you are probably doing at the gym.
Figure 1: Percent change in tests across testing periods; in that's it's important to note thet (maybe due to the somewhat messed up cross-over protocol where one group had already gained a significant amount of strength during the ST + SHAM period) Jones did not find significant inter-group differences. The conclusion that ST + WBV was better than ST + sham is thus unwarranted.
So, useful, or not useful? If we assume that this resemblance would exist not just for the training protocol, but also for the results, the data in Figure 1 would indicate that a similar two-phased 3-week periodized, progressive-overload WBV + ST training may also help you make significant power gains in the "off season" or whenever else you're devoting all your training resources to the gym. A significant inter-group difference and thus advantage of adding the vibration to exercise day 2 and 4, however, was not detected. Comment on Facebook!

In view of the fact that the greatest improvements in performance tests occurred in the initial WBV phase, it does yet not appear to be feasible to include whole body vibration training in your training routine year-round. Rather than that it would appear prudent to file it under "things to keep in mind, when I plan my next macrocycle".

Apropos "macrocycle" and periodization, you do remember that there is a SuppVersity Series on "How to Design a Workout Routine According to Your Goals & Needs" (learn more), do you? The article series discusses how to incorporate your exercise sessions into your working life, training type, combining different forms of training and more. And when you're at it, you may also want to consider that vibration training has recently been shown to help you lose fat, as well.
  • Jones, M. "Progressive-Overload Whole-Body Vibration Training as Part pf Periodized,Off-Season Strength Training in Trained Women Athletes." Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 28.9 (2014):2461–2469