You might be surprised to learn that vibration plates have been around for nearly 3 decades. Since the early 1990s, people have enjoyed the benefits of vibration plates in their local gyms, health centers, and rehabilitation facilities.
It’s only recently we’ve been able to get hold of these excellent machines for home use, and thankfully they’re affordable, no need to spend $1000s to reap the health benefits of a vibration plate.
From oscillation to linear to 3D, the choice is yours, and in today’s article, we’ll explain the difference between vibration types. We’ll also take a look at the Top 7 Vibration Plate Benefits, including weight loss and muscle toning.
Understanding Vibration Types
There are two main types of vibration machines: oscillating vibration and linear (tri-plan). Oscillating machines are the more popular choice as they are usually compact, lightweight, and can be easily moved and stored, making them perfect for home use.
We need to think of oscillating vibration as taking thousands of mini-steps every few minutes, and these mini-steps cause our muscles to contract and relax.
Oscillating vibration is the most natural of vibration types as it mimics how we walk. A gentle rocking see-saw type motion has less vertical impacts than the other vibration types. Oscillating vibration can be used by anyone, no matter their age or ability.
The next popular type of vibration is linear. Linear differs from oscillating in that it moves both sides of the body at the same time. And because of this, it’s a slightly higher impact vibration type.
Linear vibration mimics the jump reflex, which is why it is popular with sports training. Professional basketball players and football players are known to use linear vibration machines.
This up and down vibration isn’t just great for sports training. Linear vibrations also contract and relax the muscles, so it’s a popular choice for many people looking to lose weight and tone muscle.
Linear vibration machines are usually powerful machines and are most commonly seen in commercial gyms. (the ones with a center column and grab handles) Although we can get hold of them quite cheaply for home use. The BlueFin Pro is our current favorite for home.
Because linear machines have more vertical impact than other vibration types its recommended people with joint or neck issues take it easy on a linear machine as the impact can be as much as 6x the user’s body weight, and while this is great for weight loss and muscle strengthening its not so good for your joints.
3D Vibration/4D Vibration
3D vibration machines give you the choice of using oscillating or linear vibration independently or simultaneously for the 3D effect.
There hasn’t been enough research to determine whether combining vibration types is more beneficial to our health than using them independently.
However, one small study concluded that combining vibration types reduced muscle activation by 25% compared to using oscillating on its own. Still, this was only one small study; more research is needed.
For now, I’d probably avoid the 3D-type vibration machines and stick to either a well-built small oscillating vibration machine or if you’re after weight loss and muscle toning, the more powerful large linear plates are best. Both types of vibration machines can be purchased for under $300, so even the large power plates are still affordable.
Top 5 Benefits of Vibration Plates
There have been many studies into the benefits of vibration exercise, and while most of these studies were small in size, there were some promising results.
Surprisingly there were many health benefits of whole-body vibration machines, some more beneficial than others. Still, the great thing is most of these health benefits can be enjoyed by people of any fitness level, age, or ability because of the low-impact nature of most vibration platforms.
1. Weight Loss/Muscle Toning
A European study of Obesity claimed that vibration machines might help you lose weight and trim that difficult to move belly fat if used properly. One group in the study managed to lose 11% of their body weight (over 6 months) when combined with a healthy diet.
So how does a vibration plate help you lose weight? Vibration plates activate the large muscle groups in the body, causing them to contract and relax 1000s of times a minute, increasing muscle strength and metabolism.
It takes energy for muscles to contract as your body tries to balance on the machine.
The higher the speed or frequency of the vibration, the more energy your body burns. Energy = Calories. This is why linear vibration machines are usually recommended for weight loss and muscle toning. They have powerful motors that provide stronger vibrations.
While standing on a powerful vibration machine will help you lose weight and tone muscles. To get the most out of your vibration sessions it’s better to incorporate other exercises into your routine.
Try squats, lunges, press-ups, planks—resistance bands, and dumbbells. The vibrations of the machine make these exercises more changing. Your body will use more energy and you’ll see results faster.
2. Improved Bone Density
Regular vibration sessions can help increase bone mineral density. A 2004 Belgium study concluded they saw an increase in hip bone density after their subjects used a vibration plate regularly over six months.
This same study also saw a large increase in muscle strength in this same six-month period. This wasn’t a grueling workout schedule either. The participants only used their vibration plates 3 times a week for 30 minutes per session.
3. Increased Blood Circulation
Vibration exercise enhances the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to cells and supporting their functioning. Many studies have shown that the increase in circulation begins as soon as you step into the vibrating platform.
The rapid up and down movement of the vibration plate creates an increase and decrease of G-Force throughout the soft tissues of our bodies. Increasing the flow of fluids like blood and lymph.
Also, the movement of the vibration plate causes our muscles to contract. These contractions stimulate blood flow.
There are many other health benefits to better circulation, such as reducing cellulite, increasing metabolism, more efficient use of oxygen to burn fat during exercise, increased energy levels, and relief from swollen ankles and feet. Both Linear And Oscaillting vibrations help increase blood circulation.
4. Stronger Muscles
We can use a vibration plate to increase our muscle strength. These things vibrate up to 50 times per second; multiple muscle fibers become engaged in each vibration because our body needs to maintain balance.
Standing or sitting on the machine will help improve muscle strength as the vibrations are causing your muscle fibers to contract and relax. The more work the muscle fibers have to do, the stronger they become.
Still, why not make things more difficult and incorporate your favorite bodyweight exercises into your vibration session? The machine’s vibrations make these exercises much harder because your body has to try and balance while performing the exercises.
You’ll see gains in muscle mass and strength much faster when you perform exercises while on your vibration machine.
5. Lower Blood Pressure
Surprisingly there have been 6 independent studies published in the last 10 years that have documented the link between whole-body vibration and lowered blood pressure. That’s more research than any other health benefit mentioned in this article.
The most recent study by Florida university reinforces what researchers have believed for a decade,” says John Jaquish, Ph.D., chief science and technology officer for Performance Health Systems that “Whole body vibration has blood pressure-lowering benefits that transcend those of conventional exercise.”
Whole-body vibration has been demonstrated to reduce hardening of the arteries in study after study, among populations ranging from men in their mid-twenties to postmenopausal women. And in each study, the subjects’ blood pressure was lowered significantly.
To Sum Up
For years it’s been known that Vibration machines provide numerous health benefits, but it’s only in the past decade that research has been able to back up some of the hype surrounding vibration machines.
In our article, we’ve shown you the 5 most important vibration plate beliefs, but they are many others that still need some research to be worthy of a mention.
Are they any drawbacks to owning a vibration machine? Well, only if you choose the wrong type. Oscillating vibration machines are generally considered safe by the health community.
Oscillating is the most natural form of vibration and can handle more weight, has less vertical impact on the body, reduces stress on the organs, and keeps the spine more flexible and loose.
People of any age and ability can use oscillating vibration. If you have joint issues, I recommend an oscillating vibration plate over a linear. Don’t worry; you can still lose weight, tone muscle, increase blood circulation, etc., on an oscillating vibration plate.