While vibration exercise has been touted as a sure fire way to tone muscles and lose weight for years, it appears that recently the vibration exercise craze has begun to gain popularity. While vibration exercises appear to be easy to do, how effective are they, really? Here are three common types of vibration exercises with an evaluation of their effectiveness.
Platform Vibration Exercise
Platform vibration exercises are just that. They involve a platform that shakes, tilts, and vibrates, forcing the participant to hold their body in various positions to maintain their form on the board and prevent falling to the ground. In the sphere of platform vibration exercise machines, there are even several differences. Oscillating machines are those that provide the most natural movement. The machine tilts side to side, providing the highest level of comfort and efficiency. Tri-planer vibrators are another piece of equipment that simply move vertically and horizontally, but is slightly less efficient that the oscillating machines. Finally, horizontal vibration equipment is the most inexpensive form of platform vibration equipment, and as the name suggests, only moves on the horizontal plane. Platform vibration machines are very expensive, costing thousands of dollars, and typically only found in doctor's offices or spas. While research has found that they actually may be effective in increasing muscle tone due to the requirement of the user to contract muscles in order to maintain balance, it may take several sessions to really see any results. Sessions are often expensive and can reach over one hundred dollars a session.
Targeted Vibration Exercise
Targeted vibration exercises are typically found in spas, but can now sometimes be purchased for use at home as well. They typically involve a motorized band which is placed around the stomach, thighs, or chest. Targeted vibration exercises claim to increase muscle tone and decrease fat content. While these machines may be much easier to use than the platform vibration exercise (you simply strap yourself into the machine and let it do its work), there has been no research to suggest that these types of machines are actually effective for people who are trying to lose weight or increase muscle tone. Save your money and go to the gym.
Handheld Vibration Exercise
Finally, handheld weights, such as the "Shake Weight" are beginning to grow in popularity due to their appearance on late night television and the home shopping network. Handheld vibration exercises have the same claims as the other machines listed above. They state that by holding the piece of equipment and trying to keep it steady while it is shaking, you will increase muscle tone, which will in turn produce weight loss. Like targeted vibration exercise, no research has yet been done to determine if these claims are actually based on reality.