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Vibration machines, also called shaking machines or shaking platforms, use whole-body vibrations to force your muscles to contract reflexively. They’re available in some gyms and are sold for home use.
Generally, people perform exercises like squats, pushups, or crunches on these machines while they’re vibrating.
Supporters of vibration machines say these vibrations make your muscles work harder and can help you lose fat, build muscle, and get stronger.
At this time, there’s a limited amount of high-quality research looking at the effectiveness of these devices. There’s some evidence they may help with weight loss and muscle gain, but more research is needed to understand how effective they are compared to traditional exercise.
Let’s break down what the latest research has found about vibration machines for weight loss and muscle gain.
Some studies have found whole-body vibration machines may have several health benefits, like helping you lose weight and build muscle. However, more research is needed to understand their effectiveness compared to traditional exercises.
Many of the studies currently published have small sample sizes or only look at the effects of vibration machines on people who are currently physically inactive or obese.
Here’s what the latest research has found about these machines.
They found that whole-body vibration led to a significant amount of fat loss but didn’t cause a significant change in body fat percentage in studies shorter than 6 months long.
They concluded that longer and larger studies are needed to accurately evaluate whole-body vibration machines.
Lower blood pressure
The participants either performed three sessions of vibration training for 6 weeks or were in a nonexercising control group. Participants in the exercise group performed a combination of squats and calf raises.
At the end of the 6 weeks, the women who underwent vibration training had a significant decrease in their systolic blood pressure compared to the control group.
Although it’s not clear how effective vibration training is compared to other forms exercise, it may be a good option for people who can’t perform traditional exercise.
In the same 2012 study, the researchers observed an 8.2-kilogram (18-pound) increase in maximum leg extension strength in women who performed vibration training compared to the control group.
In the 36 women who completed the study, the researchers noticed a significant improvement in standing long jump scores, which is a measurement of lower body power.
Improved body composition
In the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine study, researchers also found a significant decrease in the women’s skin folds and a decrease in their overall body fat by the end of 8 weeks.
- dieting only
- dieting and vibration training
- dieting and aerobic exercise
All three groups lost body fat, but the second and third groups lost more fat than the first group.
The researchers concluded that vibration training combined with a diet program was equally as effective as an aerobic program with a diet program over 9 months.
When the platform of a vibration machine shakes, your muscles reflexively contract rapidly. Even though this isn’t under your conscious control, it still requires energy and causes you to burn calories.
Machines called electromyographs, which measure electrical activity in your muscles, have confirmed that vibration machines cause an increase in muscular activity.
The amount of energy your body burns depends on the frequency and strength of the vibrations.
Vibration machines are generally safe. However, they may not be suitable for some people.
People who are at a high risk of falling may want to stick to exercises where they’re lying or sitting as opposed to standing.
However, these studies aren’t looking specifically at vibration machines but occupational sources of vibration, such as using jackhammers, driving delivery vehicles, and using earth moving equipment.
Repeated exposure to vibrations is also associated with an increased risk of developing:
- cardiovascular disease
- digestive problems
- nerve damage
However, most studies linking vibration to these health effects look at people exposed to vibration every day for an extended period while working. These people are also often exposed to other risk factors, like toxic chemicals and repeated heavy lifting.
More research is needed to understand exactly how vibration affects your body.
Depending on the model, you can use vibration machines while standing, lying, or sitting. Most of the time, people perform exercises on the machine while its vibrating to increase the number of calories they burn.
Many different types of exercise can be performed on a vibration machine. You can perform both static and dynamic exercises.
Static exercises involve holding a position for a set length of time. A plank is a static exercise. Dynamic exercises involve moving during the exercise. Pushups are one example.
Some potential exercises you can perform on a vibration machine include:
- calf raises
You can find vibration machines at some fitness clubs and gyms. You can also buy them for home use from many places that sell fitness equipment. Prices generally start at around $100.
It’s not clear how effective vibration machines are compared to traditional weight loss techniques. They may make a suitable addition to your fitness program, but they shouldn’t be a substitute for regular exercise and a healthy diet.
No matter how you lose weight, the aim is to eat fewer calories than you’re burning. You need to burn about 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound of fat.
People who focus on a “slow and steady” approach to weight loss are generally more successful at keeping the weight off than people who try to lose weight as quickly as possible.
You can lose weight by dieting, exercising, or a combination of the two. Combining exercise with a healthy diet is often more effective than focusing on one or the other.
If you don’t enjoy traditional forms of exercise like running or biking, there are many other activities that can help you increase the number of calories you burn each day. The following are just some examples:
- playing with your children
At this time, it isn’t clear how effective vibration machines are for helping you burn fat or gain muscle. Some studies have found that they led to weight loss, but many of these studies have small sample sizes or only look at participants who are currently overweight or obese.
Although you shouldn’t use a vibration machine as a substitute for good eating and exercise habits, it may make a good addition to an already solid workout program.