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Linear Vibration vs Pivotal Oscillation

Linear vibration and pivotal oscillation are the two dominant motion patterns adopted in whole body vibration plates.

Except for some very rare vibration plate models, all vibration plate models adopt either linear vibration or pivotal oscillation. Some models combine the two vibration patterns in one machine.

The two motion patterns have very different mechanisms. This article discusses each motion pattern in detail and compared them side by side for their attributes and impact on human body.

Motion Pattern Comparison

Linear Vibration
Eccentric Wheel & Spring Device
Pivotal Oscillation
Planar 4-bar Linkage Device
Vibration Plate 3D Linear
High Frequency
Low Amplitude
vibration plate - Pivotal Oscillation Low Frequency
High Amplitude
VT003F Demo Drawing VT027 Demo Drawing
Vibration Plate 3D Linear vibration plate - Pivotal Oscillation

Linear Vibration

linear vibration animation

A linear vibration plate use an eccentric wheel device to generate vibration.

Eccentric wheel device is the most widely used method to produce vibration. iPhone adopts an tiny eccentric wheel device to make vibration.

motor-eccentric wheeleccentric wheel device

In a linear vibration plate, a eccentric wheel set rotates and creates circular centrifugal force. The force drives the exercise board to move in a circular path. The supporting springs regulate the exercise board to move mainly in vertical direction and less in horizontal direction.

The phrase "linear" comes from the linear attribute of the spring, which means the force and the displacement are in proportion. In other words, the two parameters are in a linear relationship. This type of vibration carries the attributes of a spring. It is therefore called linear vibration.

Pivotal Oscillation

pivotal oscillation animation

A pivotal oscillation plate is essentially a planar 4-bar linkage device.

Pivotal oscillation plates are the most popular type of vibration plates sold in the market. Retailers usually call them vibration plates in general, without clarifying their pivotal oscillation movement pattern.

four-bar linkage system vibration
Planar 4-bar Linkage

In a pivotal oscillation plate, the motor rotates the crank bar through a belt, and in turn drags the coupler and rocker to move. The crank bar is connected to the exercise plate (the rocker) through the coupler bar. As the crank bar rotates, the coupler bar drags rocker point up and down, making the upper plate move like a see-saw swinging centered on a fixed pivotal axis. This motion is literally called pivotal oscillation.

actually not a vibration planar four-bar linkage

Pivotal oscillation is actually not a vibration. It lacks the characteristics of a vibration, except for its reciprocating movement.

A pivotal oscillation plate resembles an oil pumpjack, also a 4-bar linkage device. Only the pivotal oscillation plate moves much faster.

Pivotal oscillation models are more popular than linear vibration model because of its low price and low body impact effect.

VT027 pivotal oscillation Demo Drawing of VT027 Pivotal Oscillation Plate


Pivotal Oscillation Plate

For pivotal oscillation plate, most manufacturers or retailers usually call it vibration plate.

Pivotal oscillation and linear vibration are very different. It is necessary to distinguish them from each other. It needs to be properly referred by its correct product name - pivotal oscillation plate.

However, when we say vibration plate in general, pivotal oscillation type is included.

the correct product name
Lateral Oscillation pivotal oscillation animation

4-bar linkage device can also be designed to create a left-right near lateral oscillation type of motion.

In fact, it is still a pivotal motion. It is just that its pivotal axis is affixed on the base board of the vibration plate. It is designed with a very long long coupler bar, which makes the motion almost on lateral direction.

Some manufacturers make vibration plate models that have two 4-bar linkage devices to create both pivotal oscillation and lateral oscillation.

We believe the lateral oscillation type of motion can harm your knee joint cartilage and ligaments.

may harm your knee joints

Attributes Comparison

Linear vibration and pivotal oscillation each has their own unique attributes. Most significant differences are the vibration frequency and amplitude.

Frequency

Vibration frequency indicates how many reciprocating movement in one second of time. A vibration plate running on 30Hz means its exercise board move up-and-down 30 times in a second.

linear vibration plate - high frequency
vibeplate VibePlate 10-60Hz

Linear vibration plates can achieve higher vibration frequency. Most linear vibration plates in the market are designed to run at the frequency range between 15Hz to 60Hz.

Some linear vibration models run on a fixed frequency, while others run on an adjustable frequency range. Major brands that offer linear vibration plates are Power Plate, Vibeplate and Bulletproof.

Vibration Therapeutic's model VT003F and VT007 offers a low cost alternative for linear vibration. VT003F and VT007 are designed for home use. They feature adjustable frequency from 15Hz to 40Hz and two amplitude settings.

VT007 Linear Vibration Plate
VT007 15-40Hz

frequency of pivotal oscillation
pivotal oscillation plate LifePro Waver 4-12Hz

Pivotal oscillation plates are mostly designed to work in the frequency range below 15Hz. The majority of the consumer grade vibration plates available in the market are pivotal oscillation models.

Precision and material constraint make it costly to make a durable pivotal oscillation model to run at high frequency (above 15Hz). The reason is that 1) the small bearings that connect the for bar system can quickly wear out at high rotation speed; and 2) the coupler bar can reach fatigue much sooner in high speed movement.

Most pivotal oscillation plates in the market are redundant in terms of motion patters and parameters, mostly in a lower frequency range.

pivotal oscillation plate Galileo S25 10-30Hz

German made Galileo brand models are probably the only available pivotal oscillation models that can achieve frequency above 30Hz.

Galileo S25 can achieve a 30Hz high frequency and a 8mm peak-to-peak amplitude (G-force = 8.2).

Another Galileo model S40 can achieve 33Hz and 9.4mm amplitude. Being both high frequency and high amplitude, the model S40 can achieve a G-force of 11.3, probably the highest among all vibration plates available in the market.

Vibration Therapeutic makes VT027 pivotal oscillation plate. The big difference for VT027 is its patented all aluminum twin-coupler design. VT027 is a high performance machine built inside a slim machine body but still offer a large and flat exercise board.

VT007 Linear Vibration Plate
VT027 5-14Hz

Amplitude

amplitude of linear vibration
vibration-plate-control pannel VT003F amplitude: 1.5-3mm

Linear vibration plates are designed to work at low amplitude, usually less than 3mm. The supporting springs need to maintain a certain rigidity in order to support and stabilize the body weight. The needed rigidity limits the achievable amplitude. At higher frequency, the damping effect of the forced vibration also limits the amplitude.

Nevertheless, low amplitude is desirable for a high frequency vibration plate for the health and fitness improvement purposes.

A linear vibration plate can be designed to have adjustable amplitude settings by changing the weight or number of eccentric wheels. For example VT003F are VT007 are designed to offer two amplitude settings (Hi and Lo).

amplitude of pivotal oscillation

rigid link of pivotal oscillation plateVT027 amplitude 0-10mm

Pivotal oscillation plate, with its 4-bar linkage structure, can be designed to achieve higher amplitude.

Because of its pivotal motion, the amplitude is zero at the center of the exercise board, and reaches the highest value at the two sides.

When standing on a pivotal oscillation plate, the user can adjust the distance between his/her two feet to get a different vertical displacement.

Most pivotal oscillation plates on the market have the amplitude between 8mm and 10mm.

Rigid Link, Flexible Link & Power Consumption

flexible link system
power plate linear vibrationPower Plate My3 160W

Linear vibration plate is a flexible link system. Its spring supports allow the vibration amplitude to yield to the body weight. Theoretically for a linear vibration plate, the motor power consumption is nearly constant, irrelevant to the body weight. A linear vibration plate requires a smaller motor because the tolerance requirement for power surge is low.

For example, Vibration Therapeutic's linear vibration plate model VT007 only needs a 80W motor to generate powerful vibration. Even for a large size vibration plate like Power Plate My3, the motor power consumption is 160W.

Linear vibration plates are less likely to get the motor burned.

rigid link system
rigid link of pivotal oscillation plateVT027 Steel Frame

Pivotal oscillation plate is a rigid link system. The planar 4-bar linkage system consists of rigid bars. The oscillation amplitude is fixed, regardless the load (body weight).

User body weight affects the motor power consumption. Extra motor power capacity is needed to accommodate the situation of sudden load increase, such as when the body weight falls on just one side of the platform. Therefore the motor power capacity needs to cover power surge tolerance for the protection of the motor.

For a pivotal oscillation plate that runs max 15Hz frequency and 10 mm amplitude, designed for body weight below 265LB, a 200W motor is sufficient.

The belt that transmits the movement from motor to crank bar is a also flexible link. It provides a layer of protection to the motor for over load. In normal use, the belt holds well. Over time the belt can become loose.

speed compensation

As a protection design, when there is a sudden load surge, the motor will rotate faster to compensate the needed motor power. The speed change is more evident when the machine osicillate at a very low frequency. This design is to protect the motor by reducing the electric current in the rotor coil.

So when you put your entire body weight on one side of a pivotal oscillaiton plate, the machine will speed up the oscillation. You feel more difference when the frequency is like 5Hz. Your machine is programmed this way, not a malfunction.

Impact on Human Body

Linear vibration and pivotal oscillation each have its own unique impact on the human body. Their user experiences are very different.

Linear Vibration
Vibration Plate 3D Linear
Pivotal Oscillation
vibration plate - Pivotal Oscillation

Frequency: 15 - 50Hz

Amplitude: 1 - 3 mm

Frequency: 5 - 15Hz

Amplitude: 8 - 12mm

Vibration frequency range matches human tissue natural frequency. The resonance effect induces intensive muscle contraction.

Small range of motion; The muscle is tight.

Vibration energy transmitted deep into tissue. Muscle contraction damps the vibration.

The high amplitude motion swings the body and tissues high, but not enough frequency to effectively induces muscle contraction.

Large range of motion; The muscle is loose.

The motion shakes the entire body vigorously. Muscles swing high in a whole piece.

High impact.

Intensive skeletal muscle contraction enhances muscle and bone strength.

Vertical motion transmitted to upper body and head, causing nausea and dizziness for some people.

Low impact.

The alternate movement resembles walking motion, benefical for gait training.

The see-saw motion does not transmit to the upper body, very relax to use.

Vibration evenly distributed on the entire exercise board, accommodating many exercise postures.

The exercise board swings high on the two sides, but still at the center, limiting many exercise postures.

High noise

Low noise

Design Comparison

Linear vibration plates and pivotal oscillation plates do not have many differences in style design.

Pivotal oscillation plates are more towards a long rectangular, in order to get a higher amplitude at the two ends. Some pivotal oscillation plates have the exercise board designed as a slightly curved shape to work better with the pivotal motion.

Linear vibration plates are more toward a short rectangular or round square shape.

Some models of both types are designed with handrails.

Most designs are redundant in terms of motion patterns, parameters and functions.

Linear Vibration Plates

linear vibration plate
Vibe Plate Mini
VT007
bulletproof vibration plate
PowerPlate Pro7

Pivotal Oscillation Plates

lifepro vibration
Linear vibration

pivotal oscillation
Mix pattern vibration
Other Rare Types

Mixed Motion Vibration Plates

lifepro 4D plate
bluefin 4D plate
Jintuo mixed motion
Jintuo mixed motion

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