Have you seen the Power Plate yet? It’s one of those vibrating platforms that is the new Messiah in some exercise circles. You might remember way back in April of 2010 I wrote a blog post about this.
A few months back (I’ve been holding this blog post for a while), I was pointed to this pro-Power Plate article:
In the article, the author states “With nearly 200 published studies on the modality…” and then includes only 7 references in the article. None of these are reviews or meta-analyses. So, we’ve got 7 of the almost 200 published studies, or 3.5% of the available literature. Overall, the article is positive for vibration training.
Of course, there are reviews to be perused. Remember the quote I pulled from Cardinale and Wakeling? “…current knowledge on appropriate safe and effective exercise protocols is very limited, and claims made by companies and pseudo-experts can be misleading.” The truth is, for most of the claims made by vibration platform manufacturers, there needs to be more research completed before we can expect people/gyms to shell out money for these things.
What about vibration training for fat loss?
Well, since this is a fat loss website, let’s take a quick look at the research the article mentions specifically for fat and cellulite reduction.
“A recent study from the University of Antwerp that found adding WBV training to a hypocaloric diet can help to achieve sustained long-term weight loss and can reduce visceral adipose tissue in obese adults more than aerobic exercise. 4 Participants in another study achieved a 25% reduction in cellulite, using WBV machines only. 5″ (Their reference numbers)
Vissers et al (Antwerp) study vibration and resistance exercise + diet in comparison to aerobics + diet, diet only, and control. Visceral adipose tissues, the nasty stuff around the midsection that’s associated with increased CVD risk, was reduced the most in the vibration group. No adherence figures are given, but the authors allude to the fact that the groups were unequal in the number of supervised training sessions, although equal in total exercise time. So, in other words, the vibration group had all of their exercise sessions supervised and the aerobic group had 2 appointments per week and were told to take care of the rest on their own. Adherence differences, anyone? The biggest gripe I have with this study is the fact that they’re comparing apples to oranges; resistance training + vibration to aerobics. How about resistance training + vibration compared to resistance training alone? Now that would tell us whether or not the vibration had anything to do with the results!
The cellulite study, now that’s another story. I can only find the study in German and I tried to understand as much as possible. It wasn’t happening. There is a nice little synopsis of the study on Power Plate’s website, but I’m not buying it. I’m assuming this study is poorly contrived and carried out since it wasn’t included in either of the reviews I talked about last year. You see, most reviews and meta-analyses have strict inclusion criteria – meaning shitty studies don’t get included.
The deal here is that there is some potential for vibration training to have a place in the fitness and rehabilitation world. Studies are leaning toward a positive effect in the elderly with regard to bone health. Cool! Let’s just hope the fitness community doesn’t do with this what it does with everything else: blow things way out of proportion, claim panacea status, and make a mockery of what could be a useful tool.
Cardinale M, Wakeling J. Whole body vibration exercise: are vibrations good for you?Br J Sports Med. 2005;39:585–589
Vissers D, et al. Effect of long-term whole body vibration training on visceral adipose tissue: a preliminary report. Obes Facts. 2010;3: