Do Vibration Machines Actually Work?


Susan Barrett |

Photography by Jonathan Taylor

You’ve seen peeps at the gym shaking away 
on those vibing plates, but how legit are they?

The sell

Apparently, doing body-weight moves on top of the buzzing machine (called whole-body vibration training or WBVT) activates fast- and slow-twitch muscle fibres, which proponents claim can get you 30 minutes’ worth of exercise in just 10.

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How does it work?

With whole-body vibration, you stand, sit or even lie on a machine with a vibrating platform (you’ll find these in certain gyms, but they’re also available to buy for home use). As the machine vibrates, it transmits energy to your body, forcing your muscles to contract and relax dozens of times every second. So it feels like you’re exerting yourself. But are you?

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The science is still uh, shaky…

Small studies suggest WBVT can improve balance and muscle strength in five weeks. Others show it’s no better than traditional resistance workouts.

Plus, whole-body vibration can actually be harmful if you’re pregnant or suffer from certain health problems, so it’s always better to check with your doc before stepping onto a buzzing platform…

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So is there much point to vibration machines?

Make it the warm-up: WBVT boosts blood flow. And, if you’re time-crunched, doing one-legged squats on the machine can increase leg-muscle activation by up to 360 percent.

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