In July of this year I was at the National Strength and Conditioning convention which was held in Providence, Rhode Island. The convention included lectures and an exposition of fitness equipment. One of the exhibits that caught my eye was a whole body vibration machine. Whole body vibration is relatively new in the fitness world but its uses are ever expanding. It can be used in the personal training setting, athletic strength training, and in rehab settings. So what is whole body vibration? Whole body vibration training requires the exerciser to stand on a power plate that vibrates. This vibration helps the participant to develop strength and stability.
Whole body vibration training has been shown to be beneficial for people with osteoporosis. People with osteoporosis have decreased bone mineral density. Reduction in bone density leads to increased risk of bone injury. In fact, whole body vibration training was invented for astronauts in space so that their bone mineral density would not decrease. Aside from the fact that whole body vibration helps to increase strength and muscle tone while preventing loss in bone density, the vibrations help the body create total stability. The majority of time bones are broken in the elderly population because of falls. A fall might not affect the younger population but once bone mineral density starts decreasing the likelihood that a fall will break a bone increases. As mentioned earlier, vibration training helps to create full body stability. While vibration training may be new the idea of training on unstable surfaces to increase joint stability is not. As we get older we become less confident in single leg stance so our base of support gets wider and our steps get shorter. We start to drag our feet instead of picking them up to walk all in an effort to avoid falling.
Balance training is crucial to prevent falls. In studies on whole body vibration in young basketball players the testers found significant increases in single leg stability after whole body vibration training. These results have been shown to be consistent across all ages. When we seen increases in single leg stance stability we will see improvements in walking confidence and with that comes decreased falls and therefore decreased injury. Couple that with increases in strength and the improved bone mineral density that comes along with it our odds our injury are markedly decreased. As a trainer and a coach a lot of people come to me with movement dysfunction that could lead to injury. What they need is increased strength and stability, something that whole body vibration has been proven to provide in VibraSlim power plate fitness.