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Vibration Exercise Guide

... Practices, Benefits, Logics & Warning

Vibration exercise is a physical exercise that incorporates vibration stimulation to advance the effectiveness. The rapidly repeated skeletal muscle contraction induced by vibration can exercise your muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and nerves more efficiently and effectively .

The fast-pace muscle contraction also improve peripheral circulation and microcirculation. Improved blood supply and waste discharge further enhances the exercise effectiveness.

The unique muscle contraction pattern is the key that makes vibration exercise different to regular physical exercises.

Vibration exercise poses should be designed to allow the vibration plate to effectively induce rapidly repeated skeletal muscle contraction.

Due to their ground platform design format, whole body vibration plates can effectively work lower body muscles, but less effectively work upper body muscles.

To better utilize your vibration plate, you need to know what kind of motion pattern your vibration plate provides, so that you can develop the proper exercise poses to get the needed muscle contraction. Exercise poses suitable for one motion pattern may not work well for another.

There are two distinctively different motion patterns depending on what type of vibration plate you have:

  1. Linear vibration
  2. pivotal oscillation

Below are exaggerated slow motion animations of the two types of vibration pattern. They interact with your body differently.

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.

Some popular physical exercise poses you regularly use for enhancing your core strength and balance can work well on a whole body vibration plate.

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

These exercise poses have been well studied for their safety and effectiveness. They seem to easy to perform, but that is not necessarily true.

Without knowing the logics of the exercise pose you use, you may not get the right results, or even hurt yourself.

To adopt an exercise pose, you should know how it work, what muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones are exercised and what are other potential impacts.

Expert guidances of these popular core exercise poses are abundance on the Internet. Do your research and develop the best practice for your condition, and use them properly on your vibration plate.

Chiropractors know about the musculoskeletal system the best. Consult them for advice and you won't regret. You don't want to perform a wrong exercise pose on a fast moving vibration plate.

We have conducted extensive research and experiments on vibration exercise poses. We present our understanding of the logics and benefits of the exercise poses as below.

(All these exercise poses work better on a linear vibration plate than on a pivotal oscillation plate.)

Vibration Exercise - Logics & Benefits

Calf raise & Tiptoe

vibration exercise calf raise

There is probably no better way to exercise your lower leg muscles and foot muscles than performing calf raise and tiptoe on a linear vibration plate.

Because your feet directly press against the vibration plate, the vibration is fully transmitted from the machine to your feet and up to the calves. Calf raise and tiptoe on a vibration plate best utilize the vibration stimulation.

Calf raise and tiptoe are two different type of exercises. They work different muscles and are perfermed differently.

Calf raise more concentrates on working posterior lower lege muscles, while tiptoe more concentrates on working muscles in the foot.

The rapidly repeated foot muscles contraction efficiently and effectively improve foot circulation improvement, which relieves cold foot, treats foot lymphedema, and helps fight athlete's foot.

People with diabetes or spinal injury reported calf-raise exercise 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.

Injury, arthritis and aging can cause flatfeet issue, calf-raise on a linear vibration plate can enhance your foot muscles and tendons, resuming the foot arch and its functionality.

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

There is probably no better way to exercise your foot muscles and improve foot circulation than performing calf-raise on a linear vibration plate.

Squat

Squat on a vibration plate is a very effectively exercise for training most of your lower body muscles.

Strong lower body muscles provide better support to your knee joints, hip joints and their functionality.

Compared to walk and jog, vibration squat causes less impact and wear on your knee joint bones and cartilages. It is the best way to exercise muscles around knee joints effectively and safely.

The rapidly repeated intensive muscle contraction induced by vibration exercises your muscles and connecting tissues (ligaments, tendons, bones and nerves more efficiently and effectively, turning the slow-motion or isometric squat exercise to a fast-pace dynamic exercise.

Shallow Squat vs. Deep Squat

Shallow squat allows you to exercise muscles around the knee joints. It does not require a lot of strength and effort. You can hold a pair of dumbbells to increase the intensity if needed.

By performing shallow squat on a vibration plate, you can effectively enhance muscles around your knees and improve the overall condition of your knee joints.

Deep squat allows you to exercise muscles around the hip joints: posterior hip muscles (gluteal muscles) and thigh muscles. Deep squat requires more muscle strength and efforts.

On deep squat pose, you should avoid strain the tendons and ligaments around your knees by not sticking out your knees too much. Adjust your pose and gravity center to bring back your knees.

L-Squat
femoral-neck-exercise

L-squat is a deep squat with your lower legs vertical to the ground. You will need to hold a hand rail to keep the balance.

By keeping your lower legs vertical, you avoid straining the tendons and ligaments around the knee joints.

Adjust your leg curling angle to fit your strength. The most effective angle is 90 degree, but it is very challenging.

L-squat allows you to concentrate muscle tension to your posterior hip muscles, anterior thigh muscles, and hamstring muscles. These three groups of muscles connect femur and pelvis. The fast pace contraction of these muscles produces the needed mechanical stimulation for bone growth at the femoral neck. People with osteoporosis should regularly exercise muscles around the hips to make femoral neck stronger and reduce the risk of fracture.

Enhanced gluteal muscles and thigh muscles also provide better support and protection to your hip joints.

You can perform single foot squat for a more aggressive balance training.

Vibration squat lets the fast pace muscle contraction effectively and efficiently work your lower body muscles and the connecting tissues (tendons, ligaments, nerves and bone). You can slightly move up and down on your squat pose for better balance and extended exercise range.

Deadlift

vibration exercise deadlift

Deadlift exercises lower back muscles and muscles around the hips.

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.

vibration exercise push-up

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.

Reverse push-up

vibration-reverse-push-up

Reverse push-up works your triceps and shoulders. Performing reverse push-up on a vibration plate is 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 needed 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 abdominal muscles. Strong abdominal muscle improves core strength and balance.

Abdominal muscle contraction pulls rib cage, producing mechanical stimulation needed for rib bone growth.

Vibration stimulation changes the nature of V-sit from isometric exercise to dynamic exercise. The fast pace muscle contraction makes V-sit more efficient and effective.

V-sit is challenging and intensive for beginners. If it is too hard, you can do it with your legs bent.

Concentrate your mind on your abdominal muscles, adjust the posture to introduce more vibration stimulation for muscle contraction.

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 dynamics, efficiency and effectiveness 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 skeletal muscles are stretched, they spontaneously contract 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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