, Volume 108, Issue 5, pp 877-904
Date: 12 Dec 2009

Vibration as an exercise modality: how it may work, and what its potential might be

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Abstract

Whilst exposure to vibration is traditionally regarded as perilous, recent research has focussed on potential benefits. Here, the physical principles of forced oscillations are discussed in relation to vibration as an exercise modality. Acute physiological responses to isolated tendon and muscle vibration and to whole body vibration exercise are reviewed, as well as the training effects upon the musculature, bone mineral density and posture. Possible applications in sports and medicine are discussed. Evidence suggests that acute vibration exercise seems to elicit a specific warm-up effect, and that vibration training seems to improve muscle power, although the potential benefits over traditional forms of resistive exercise are still unclear. Vibration training also seems to improve balance in sub-populations prone to fall, such as frail elderly people. Moreover, literature suggests that vibration is beneficial to reduce chronic lower back pain and other types of pain. Other future indications are perceivable.

Communicated by Susan Ward.