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Vibration Exercise Guide

... Practice, Mechanism & Warning

Vibration exercise is a physical exercise that incorporates vibration stimulation. Vibration induces rapidly repeated skeletal muscle contraction, which effectively exercises muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and nerves. The fast pace muscle contraction also improve peripheral circulation, and further enhance the exercise effectiveness.

The rapidly repeated muscle contraction is the key for vibration exercise.

Some basic physical exercise poses can work well on a vibration plate.

To better utilize your vibration plate, you need to know what kind of motion pattern your vibration plate provides. Exercise poses suitable for one motion pattern may not work well for another.

There are two distinctively different motion patterns for most vibration plates:

  1. Linear vibration
  2. pivotal oscillation

Illustrated below are exaggerated slow motion animations of the two types of vibration pattern. They interact with your body in different ways.

Linear Vibration Plate
(side view)
Pivotal Oscillation Plate
(front view)
linear vibration pivotal oscillation
High Frequency
Low Amplitude
Low Frequency
High Amplitude

Pivotal oscillation plate moves like a see-saw. Stepping on the center part of a pivotal oscillation plate is not a valid exercise pose, because the center of the plate does not move.

Whole body vibration plates, due to their ground platform formats, are very effective for lower body exercise (feet and legs), but less effective for upper body exercise.

Below exercise poses are suitable on a whole body vibration plate for producing the rapidly repeated muscle contraction.

  • Calf raise
  • Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Half-plank
  • Push-up
  • Reverse push-up
  • V-sit

These are the basic physical exercise poses proved to be effective in enhancing our core strength and balance. They can work well on a whole body vibration plate.

These exercise poses seem to easy to perform, but you may not do them right. Fortunately expert guidances of these poses are abundance on the Internet. Read a few of them, you may come up the best practice for your condition. Consulting a fitness expert is always a great suggestion.

Below we explain the benefits of these exercises, and discuss the differences when performed on a vibration plate.

Calf Raise

vibration exercise calf raise

Calf raise is the most effective exercise pose on a vibration plate, because your feet directly press against the vibration plate, and the vibration is fully transmitted from the machine to your feet and up to the calf.

Vibration calf raise strengthens your foot muscles, calf and the connected tendons. The exercise help protect these tissues from injury, enhance the balance, and improve the circulation.

There is probably no better way to exercise your foot than using a vibration plate.

Vibration calf raise can immediately relief cold feet condition due to circulation improvement.

People with diabetes or spinal injury reported calf raise exercises on a VT003F vibration plate has greatly eased their feet nerve pain. This is because of the improved nutrient supply to nerve cells and the enhanced neuromuscular functionality achieved through the rapidly repeated muscle contraction.

Advanced user can perform single foot calf raise for a more aggressive balance training. Holding on to a heavy chair if needed.

Squat

vibration exercise squat

Squat exercise on a vibration plate can effectively enhance your leg muscles without much impact to your knee joints.

Strong leg muscles provide better support to your knee joints and their functionality.

Compared to walk and jog, vibration squat causes less wear on your knee joints. Bending knee provides a good protection to your joint bones and cartilages.

Advanced user can carry a pair of dumbbells on the vibration plate to increase the muscle contraction intensity.

Heavy duty resistant bands like a X3-bar system works well with vibration squat. Such as combination maximizes the stimulation on muscles and bones.

You can perform single foot squat for an aggressive balance training.

Eccentric squat is much more effective on a vibration plate.

Don't lower your body too much on the squat pose. Bent your knee and move up-and-down slightly. Let vibration engage your muscle to work on a fast pace.

Deadlift

vibration exercise deadlift

Deadlift exercises lower back muscles.

Be sure to hold your back straight to avoid improper stress to your lumbar spine.

When you perform deadlift on a vibration plate, most vibration is absorbed by the legs before reaching your lower back. Try to keep your legs and pelvis tight to allow more vibration transmitted to your lower back.

Slightly move up-and-down, concentrating your mind to feel the muscles contraction on your lower back muscles, and adjust your posture and movement to enhance the muscle contraction.

Vibration deadlift can help ease lower back pain and enhance the lower back muscle. Strong muscles provide improved support to your lumbar spine.

Depending on your physical condition, you can perform deadlift with or without carrying a weight.

Carrying a pair of dumbbells, even a small one, can help maintaining the correct pose, and allow more vibration transmitted to your low back muscles.

Half-plank

half-plank-vibration

Through half-plank exercise, you can introduce vibration to your upper back muscles, especially to the rhomboid muscles.

Improved muscle condition and circulation can help ease your muscle pain between the shoulder blades.

Vibration stimulation changes the isometric exercise nature of plank. The fast pace muscle contraction makes plank exercise more efficient and effective.

Half-plank does not require strong core strength. Therefore you can hold the posture for a longer period of time and allow vibration to work your upper back muscles sufficiently. On a full plank posture, because the lower body are mainly horizontal, vibration does not actually transmit to the lower body muscles. In another words, your lower body muscles are not vibrated.

Relax your lower back muscles so the vibration can be more concentrated to your upper back muscles. Feel the contraction, and adjust the distance between the elbows to allow more vibration to work on your rhomboid muscles.

Push-up

You can enhance your upper body muscle strength by doing push-up on a vibration plate.

Push-up mainly works your chest muscles and triceps. By adjusting your hands and arm position and angle, you can also exercise your shoulder muscles and back muscles.

Just like with plank posture, your lower body is mainly horizontal in a push-up posture, vibration does not actually transmit to the lower body muscles on a full push-up posture.

If a full push-up is too hard for you, you can do half-push-up. So that you can do more repetitions and allow vibration to work your chest muscles and triceps for a longer period of time, for therapeutic purpose.

vibration exercise push-up

Reverse push-up

vibration-reverse-push-up

Reverse push-up works your triceps and shoulders.

Vibration plate makes reverse push-up easier and more effective.

If it is too hard, you can rest your hip on the floor, but still push the vibration plate with your arm as much as you can to produce the essential muscle contraction.

To make it more easier, you can do isometric reverse push-up. Vibration will make it a dynamic exercise and increase the effectiveness.

Reverse push-up on a vibration plate can also help your relax your tense neck and back muscles (trapezius and rhomboids).

V-sit

vibration-V-sit

V-sit exercise targets all your ab muscles. It helps build your core strength and improve balance.

V-sit is very challenging and intensive for beginners. If it is two hard, you can do it with bent legs. The fast pace muscle contraction makes V-sit more efficient and effective, producing more rewarding results.

When you perform isometric v-sit on a vibration plate, vibration changes it to dynamic exercise.

Concentrate your mind on your ab muscles, adjust the posture to introduce more vibration to the abdominal muscles.

Exercise poses designed for strength and balance training are usually slow-motion or isometric. Such a nature is changed when vibration is incorporated in the exercise. Vibration stimulation adds dynamic to the exercise.

The Mechanism

Vibration can induces skeletal muscle contraction because of the muscle's stretch reflex response.

Stretch Reflex Response

As a mechanism of maintaining body stability and balance, our skeletal muscle fibers (cells) naturally tend to keep a constant length. Therefore, when the muscle is stretched, it spontaneously contracts to resist the stretch. This is skeletal muscle's stretch reflex response.

The fast reciprocating movement of vibration can be used to stretch and relax skeletal muscles, and produce rapidly repeated muscle contraction.

This rapidly repeated muscle contraction effectively activates the muscles and the connecting tissues (tendons, ligaments, bones and nerves). The reaction exercises the musculoskeletal system and the neuromuscular system, enhancing their functionality. The tissue activities also promote the peripheral circulation of blood, lymph and interstitial fluids.

Again, the essence of vibration exercise is to produce rapidly repeated skeletal muscle contraction.

In order to produce muscle contraction, the direction (or a vector component of the direction) of vibration needs to be aligned with the length direction of the muscle fiber, to induce the muscle's stretch reflex response.

Therefore, when posing your body on a vibration plate, you would try to align your target skeletal muscles with the vibration direction. Muscle direction usually aligns the bone direction, mostly on vertical direction.

So now you know what vibration exercise poses are effective, what are not.

Some vibration plate models designed to move on left-right lateral direction. Such a movement does not induce muscle contraction.

Caution

Vibration exercise pose needs to be designed to keep vibration from directly impacting your bones and cartilages.

Instead, the vibration exercise should be designed to only stretch your skeletal muscles, and let the muscle contraction to press the bones and cartilages.

Always keep your knee bent to avoid vibration from directly impacting your knee cartilage discs.

Adding vibration to physical exercise makes the exercise more effective due to the fast pace repetitive muscle contraction and the impact of extra G-force.

On the other hand, the repetitive movement and the extra G-force can also amplify the negative results if your exercise pose or the vibration movement is wrongly designed.

Although all kinds of body movements are the results of skeletal muscle contraction, some movements are not well supported by the design of our musculoskeletal structure. Habitual use of these not-well-supported movement can cause injury. Remember what happened in Dolphin Tale?

[Example] Lateral and twist movements on knee joint are not well supported by the muscle groups connected to the knee joint. Without muscle support, the movement can injure the ligaments and wear the cartilages. Lateral and twist movements on knee joint should be avoided by adjusting the pose, in a way that the movement is supported by the connected skeletal muscles.

Warning - Lateral Oscillation
horizontal impact on knee joint
lateral oscillation

Some mixed motion vibration plates are designed with lateral oscillation motion. We believe using a lateral oscillation is harmful to knee joint. It causes the wear and tear between the patella (kneecap) and femur trochlear groove. It also stresses the knee ligaments (LCL, MCL, ACL and PCL) in a wrong way and can cause injury.

The musculoskeletal structure of our legs is designed for making up-and-down and forth-and-back movement. Left-and-right lateral movement on our knee joints is against their designed structure. This kind of posture should be avoided in our daily physical activities, let alone doing it on a repetitive motion vibration plate.

Lateral oscillation does NOT induce skeletal muscle contraction. It does not exercise muscles.

Always bent your knees when you are on a vibration plate.

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