Ihate "health" products being pushed on us simply with anecdotal evidence and testimonials. One of the newest fads is 'Whole Body Vibration'. The claim is that exercising on this vibrating plate significantly increases your strength versus doing the exercises alone. There is very poor, and limited, evidence for this. For a good overview, please read Sal Merinello's excellent synopsis of the evidence over at The Healthy Skeptic. Below is a brand new journal article on this fad in regards to impact on older men over a 1 year period.
- : J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2007 Jun;62(6):630-5.
Impact of whole-body vibration training versus fitness training on muscle strength and muscle mass in older men: a 1-year randomized controlled trial.
Division of Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Tervuursevest 101, Leuven, Belgium.
BACKGROUND: This randomized controlled study investigated the effects of 1-year whole-body vibration (WBV) training on isometric and explosive muscle strength and muscle mass in community-dwelling men older than 60 years. METHODS: Muscle characteristics of the WBV group (n = 31, 67.3 +/- 0.7 years) were compared with those of a fitness (FIT) group (n = 30, 67.4 +/- 0.8 years) and a control (CON) group (n = 36, 68.6 +/- 0.9 years). Isometric strength of the knee extensors was measured using an isokinetic dynamometer, explosive muscle strength was assessed using a counter movement jump, and muscle mass of the upper leg was determined by computed tomography. RESULTS: Isometric muscle strength, explosive muscle strength, and muscle mass increased significantly in the WBV group (9.8%, 10.9%, and 3.4%, respectively) and in the FIT group (13.1%, 9.8%, and 3.8%, respectively) with the training effects not significantly different between the groups. No significant changes in any parameter were found in the CON group. CONCLUSION: WBV training is as efficient as a fitness program to increase isometric and explosive knee extension strength and muscle mass of the upper leg in community-dwelling older men. These findings suggest that WBV training has potential to prevent or reverse the age-related loss in skeletal muscle mass, referred to as sarcopenia
The results show NO DIFFERENCE between groups; but, the authors make the conclusion that
"WBV training has potential to prevent or reverse the age-related loss in skeletal muscle mass..."
Huh? I guess that is true if general exercise does (which is true). But it doesn't do it any better and at a greater cost and inconvenience. Look for the manufacturers to post this on their websites as "evidence" that WBV training prevents muscle mass loss!
I say: Buyer beware!