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Vibration Training, the new fitness frontier?

The following post was written by international presenter and educator, Steve Schiemer.

Having lived in Europe for the last 12 years, I have watched this type of training explode onto the fitness and rehab scene. It first hit the fitness market about 6 or 7 years ago. Vibration training is the act of passing a vibration through the body to elicit a series of responses, in particular to activate the deep core muscles of the body, to stimulate the nervous system, increase strength and power, reduce pain perception, increase bone density, improve circulation and lymphatic drainage and improve proprioception. The two most popular ways to do this are to either stand on a vibrating plate, such the Power Plate, and allow the vibrations to enter the body via the legs, or to use a handheld oscillating device such as a FLEXI-BAR, which is a long flexible fibreglass bar with weights on the end and a handle in the middle that you push/pull to get the bar to swing back and forth, allowing the vibrations to pass into the body via the arms.

Since the launch of the Power Plate and the FLEXI-BAR, vibration training has become one of the hottest training techniques in Europe. German physiotherapists have been using oscillating devices for 20 years to treat all sorts of neck, shoulder and back problems, as well as conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, with great success. Vibration training works via a process called the Tonic Stretch Reflex, where the vibration stretches the muscles out of equilibrium, which then sends signals to the brain via the nervous system for the muscles to contract and pull back the other way; it does this, but the vibration forces it to 'overshoot' and go too far, causing the process to happen again. Depending on the frequency of the vibration, this happens from hundreds of times per minute, to thousands of times per minute. This process also uses up to 100 per cent of a muscle’s fibre, which is why recommended training times are just ten minutes a couple of times a week. It also forces the agonist and antagonist muscles to do exactly the same amount of work, automatically addressing any muscular imbalances that may be present.

The results of training like this are pretty spectacular and explain why it is so popular in Europe. Injury recovery times are much lower, core strength increases are very rapid, and because traditional exercises such as squats, lunges or deadlifts can be performed while the vibration is passing through the body, it is a great addition to functional training programs. Research is also growing in this area. While still a little sparse, more and more is coming out, most of which seems pretty positive in regards to injury rehab, core strengthening, balance/coordination improvements, increased bone density, and reduced falls in the aged.

One of the reasons I am so into vibration training is that I suffered with a bad shoulder injury for two and a half years. I was eventually told I had torn the head of my bicep at some point, which caused painful neck spasms if I did a push-up or bench fly. Two years of treatment did nothing to really help, but within a month of playing with a FLEXI-BAR, my shoulder was fine and I have never had a problem since. It has also done wonders for my lower back. I know a couple of people who have suffered with 'slipped discs' for ages, but found the introduction of vibration training to their regime cleared it up in a few months.

Having quite a few friends who are personal trainers in England, kit such as the Power Plate and FLEXI-BAR have completely changed how they train their clients, and how they deal with injuries, both new and old. I even have a couple of friends who have bought their own stock of 20 FLEXI-BARS and now teach conditioning classes at the gyms they work at – and get paid more money because they supply the apparatus for the class! Plus, there are Power Plate studios where people attend conveniently short 10 minute classes. Vibration training is quite hard work, but it’s a lot of fun (especially trying to stop your wobbly bits from wobbling!). If you haven't tried it yet, give it a go.

Have you experienced Vibration Training? Do you train your clients using any sort of vibration equipment? Do you have any thoughts on this hot topic? If so, use the comments feature below to get a discussion happening!

To contact Steve directly or for more information visit

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Posted by: Anonymous | 04-Jun-2009 06:32 AM | 5 out of 5 stars

Hi Steve,

Good to read positive stuff about the vibration training.I was at first a bit sceptic being a personal trainer (you know what we are like) and even having a bad experience trying it out, I have been working with it for two years now intensively (We at vibragym work one on one with the clients)A lot of people use because it is short and intense, but I worked with quite a few people of which one was told she could not walk again after being paralized.She started just having her feet on the plate for months, after persevering she started to come in with a walker instead of a wheelchair.

Myself, (by the way I am 64,) if I do RPM and have not used the vibration for a couple of days my legs get quite tired during class.

Anyway I would love to learn more about vibration training for rehab as such.

Warm regards

Dineke Kleyn, FC Vibragym, Whangaparaoa,New Zealand.

P.S.The machines I work with are the only medical certified at the moment.

Posted by: Di Heap | 04-Jun-2009 06:59 AM | 5 out of 5 stars

A dedicated site with articles (lots of info) and comments. You can also get all your questions answered (Note: the site does NOT sell anything)

Posted by: Pam Robinson | 04-Jun-2009 07:31 AM | 5 out of 5 stars

I have a client who required knee surgery so cardio training was impossible for her. After using my vibration technology she lost a few kilos in a few weeks, and it definitely wasn't because of her diet! So put it down to the vibration techniques.

Posted by: Anonymous | 04-Jun-2009 10:27 AM | 3 out of 5 stars

Have made vibration training available to members as an added value, however they were rarely used as most feel they get more out of functional exercise. We also have a large rehab based membership, along with Physio's, who never use these platforms. Have noticed that the vibration training studio continually move to smaller and smaller premises - so are not doing very well. All in all vibration platforms very over rated.

Posted by: David Driscoll | 04-Jun-2009 10:56 AM | 2 out of 5 stars

Could we have a reference for this quote please
"This process also uses up to 100 per cent of a muscle’s fibre, "

The reason we have science is because people's anecdotal stories aren't reliable as evidence. Just read what the majority of papers say, vibration training has its place but the claims made by most people selling and promoting it (like this article appears to be) are massively exaggerated.

I predict this will mostly be another trend trainers will move on from in a few years; to the next pseudo-scientific gimmick.

Posted by: Sean | 04-Jun-2009 11:31 AM | 1 out of 5 stars

Vibration training is a fad, a rip off. It is snake oil of the lowest order. It lacks any credible research back up and has no physiological rationale behind it whatsoever.

Its success is entirely because it is easily marketable - both clients and wanna-be trainers can be produced en masse thanks to bogus certification programs and cheesy marketing - all working towards the ultimate goal of making the people who manufacture these contraptions a large amount of money.

Compare this with say kettle bell training - incredibly effective but nowhere near as successful in the fitness market - why? Because it requires a lot of knowledge to coach effectively and safely - and because its bloody hard work, therefore unsuitable for silly ads showing slim ladies mid exercise smiling happily like they are on drugs or something.

Posted by: Nick | 04-Jun-2009 11:31 AM | 2 out of 5 stars

Vibration training is not the future of training and has very little use in anything beyond rehabilitation work or massage.

Posted by: Jamie | 04-Jun-2009 11:39 AM | 2 out of 5 stars

I believe it is pointless as it is limited (new fitness frontier lol). If a larger plate were to be made say 6m by 6m there would be some benefits as variety from your normal work outs as whole work outs/routines could be done on this larger vibrating plate.

Although all of these new gadgets and thingamabobs are just so people can get rich as there is nothing like old fashioned hard work and sweat. TTFU which is short for Toughen The F&*% Up (excuse the language) we are all looking for the quick way (including myself on occasion) out, around and through the obvious, which is TTFU do the hard work get the pain, common sense with food and you will be rewarded with results.

I believe any activity if it gets people off their bums is good so to contradict myself if all these gadgets helps people to get up and move great but I do believe people do get ripped off with most of these things quite regularly which gives us all a bad name and makes me sad .

Posted by: Cunningham Australia | 04-Jun-2009 01:05 PM |

First heard about vibration in late 90's' used extensively in Europe and was part of the Russian space program long before it was a fad! Fair amount of data regarding bone density is also available.
chill out guys, the world is already an angry place do some yoga?

Posted by: Sharyn | 04-Jun-2009 02:13 PM |

Looks like more for abs and upper body - what about glutes and hammies / quads ?

Posted by: Chris | 04-Jun-2009 02:14 PM | 2 out of 5 stars

Hi, Reminds me of the old vibrating belt that was supposed to remove fat from your hips. I didn't fall for it then and I feel skeptical now. If this works then how do we test the results, if any. I think we tend to jump to doing what's easy and not do what is necessary and that's moving and making the body work efficiently and functionally. I would like to know how a vibration can do any of the things mentioned. There are so many trendy things out there, the public go and buy these things and they never get used. I wonder if my massager at home would achieve the same result. No sounds like one of the many things that make people spend more money when our motivation should be basic fitness and well being. I will stick to what I know works and not what is trendy I think.

Posted by: Anonymous | 04-Jun-2009 02:59 PM | 5 out of 5 stars

Have been using a power plate machine for around 4 months in an attempt to lose weight and tone muscle in problem areas like thighs and stomach. I found a pilates studio nearby that offered vibration training and signed up - despite the negative connotations that come with a fitness 'fad,' I've found that not only have I lost cm from my thighs and stomach, it has improved my strength as well. It's inspired me to take a better interest in my health and well being especially now I have had an increase in confidence from using the power plate. I did some research on the machine not too long ago and also found a study in the UK that was released showing that power plates assist in weight loss.

Despite the skeptics, I'm a convert. It may be the 'trendy' exercise regime but it sure works for me.

Posted by: Dean Jolly | 05-Jun-2009 06:07 AM | 2 out of 5 stars

Chris Cunniham is correct, Eastern block found use for it, BUT definitely NOT as a tool for all the claims being made, nor would anyone who actually uses common sense in their understanding of physiology favour it over self enhancement application. SAID principle.

Still it's there as part of the learning process, and usually they lead on to discovering more about self-applied action, I mean what else does one do when they cant get relief for shoulder issue from local knowledge, then some how vibration helped.

I get it, BUT there is more applied science available, most in industry just don't know it.

Posted by: Anonymous | 05-Jun-2009 08:30 AM | 5 out of 5 stars

There are now over 100 published research articles on the proven benefits of Whole Body Vibration (WBV).

In this months issue of Womens Health p13 Michelle Bridges comments on vibration training as the future of fitness.

When I visited the UK last July I was staggered at the results my friends had achieved using WBV and subsequently set up a studio last Sept running classes on the machines or one on one.

I have been overwhelmed by the huge benefits my clients have achieved in joint mobility, pain relief, balance and co-ordination in the elderly , sustained weight loss and toning particularly with females (yes, you can get into those inner thighs!) right through to core strengthening and improvements in sports performance for athletes.

Yes there are some machines out there that are gimmicks or toys and some just suited to vibrational therapy. You need a machine that will get to 26Hz which is the maximum number of times your muscles can contract and relax in one second.

For those skeptics out there near the Eastern Suburbs in Sydney come and visit me and I'll give you a free punishing workout that you'll feel for days, oh, and you'll sweat too!

Posted by: Ed | 05-Jun-2009 09:21 AM |

Have look at the 'Research Review' article by Dr Mike Climstein in the Spring 2007 issue of Network magazine (go to the Publications tab at the top of this page and select Network magazine). Mike evaluates a study entitled ‘‘Influence of Vibration Training on Energy Expenditure in Active Men’ and, although questioning some manufacturers’ unsubstantiated claims, he also directs readers to check out research studies that have been conducted with regard to whole body vibration exercise and their specific areas of interest online at the ncbi website.

Posted by: Di Heap | 05-Jun-2009 09:36 AM | 5 out of 5 stars

I'm a registered fitness consultant working as a Vibration Training Instructor at Vibra-Train's Auckland City Studio.

All are welcome for a free first session. Be prepared to work-out very hard. On our high force, lineal, purpose designed Vibration TRAINING machines this is not easy, s*xy, soppy exercise for the lazy! I can guarantee you pain and can, in one session, prove to doubters that Vibration Training on Real Machines is a great addition to your fitness regime.

The above commenter said that machines must get to 26Hz. This is when using Pivotal Vibration machines for fitness training. It is essential to differentiate between that and High Energy Lineal Machines where 43Hz is the premium for Work-Out although frequency is only one factor in the design equation.

I encourage all fitness professionals to learn all they can about Vibration Training. It's a training method that's here to stay. Scientific studies are now providing the evidence to back up what Users already know.

Posted by: Di Heap | 05-Jun-2009 10:11 AM | 5 out of 5 stars

There is a HUGE difference between Vibration TRAINING and Vibration THERAPY. That's the big problem with the this article. It's good to stimulate discussion but the writer is a seller of a handheld vibrating device - which is NOT Vibration Training at all. They are either very uneducated or simply marketing to Not make the distinction. (After reading the article several times I have to comment on this). This is the worst sort of marketing for this industry as it adds to confusion for the general public rather than educating.

Posted by: Di Heap | 05-Jun-2009 11:50 AM | 5 out of 5 stars

Quote from above: "For those skeptics out there near the Eastern Suburbs in Sydney come and visit me and I'll give you a free punishing workout that you'll feel for days, oh, and you'll sweat too! "

Again, I'm going to point out that this quote is from someone who has a Studio that provides Vibration TRAINING using Premium Speed Pivotal Machines. This type of Vibration Training, using a machine that has a see-saw action, involves both static and dynamic poses on the machine. It's hard work (I have tried it) and I ached the next day similar to after a weights work-out at the gym.

The other Premium category of Vibration Machine is the High Energy Lineal (Upright Vibration only) platform. Positions on this machine are usually static (non moving). The user feels intense burn (pain like pressure) in the targeted muscles during the 60/120 second poses but most do not feel any "after exercise ache" the next day.

Physicians tell us that aching and pain is a warning mechanism, it's existence tells us NOT to repeat the action that caused it yet we expect to feel it after exercise! We justify this because of the micro-tear in muscle fibres to promote growth process. In my job I really enjoy vibration training body builders - those who go hard in the weights room. They get a workout that compliments their program and no added after-pain. Pain felt after a lineal vibration training session is usually because the person was outside of perfect position on the machine, or had a pre-existing injury that I was disturbed (not a major as ongoing training or vibration therapy will help with healing). Of course there are many different brands of machines, some very good, but others give high frequency uncontrolled vibration that goes up/down, left/right, back/forward - quite severely pushing/pulling the user in many directions at once. Still other "as seen on tv" contraptions are usually so low force that they neither hurt nor help for training and can sometimes be useful for gentle therapy/rehab purposes. Marketing these machines as Vibration Training is a big stretch and results in the type of comments people have written above - fad etc.

Posted by: Lloyd Shaw | 05-Jun-2009 12:35 PM |

This type of article is highly misleading and is at the very essence of why others in the fitness industry think Vibration Training is a crock.

Here are some major facts to consider...

(a) Just because it moves and elicits a response that does not make it Vibration Training. That's like saying horse riding is Vibration Training and the horse is the device ?

Light Vibration = Vibration Therapy ( released approx. 1870 ) Never shown potential to build muscle or burn fat. But fantastic Physio values.

Flexi-Bar / Wobble boards or any other device that elicits this response through Gravity , Body weight or your own exertion = Involuntary Reflex Training. True it elicits close to 100% stimulation, but that does not equate to training. Without the pressure in the movement no anabolic activity can take place. ( been around forever )

Heavy Mechanical Vibration + Working directly against gravity in given pose = Vibration Training ( new )

Health professionals / Marketers etc.. only out to make a buck deliberately blur the line between these technologies, attach the catchphrase "Vibration Training" to it in an unethical bid to confuse the consumer.

They are the enemy of our industry and the consumer.

Why can I say this with such conviction?

Because I was Power Plates Product Manager and only got involved with this technology through my mortuary work ( don't ask ) I left when they deliberately decided to blur the lines all in the name of profit and go from a small steel machine with dense mass which showed promise ( now the Vibro-Gym ) to a plastic low mass machine from China ( much cheaper to build ). Right at a point when we were getting close to moving forward into better designs, we were sold out and they went backwards 40 years.

The industry has suffered ever since.

All previous machines had massive limitations both in design, size, max weight ( could not take obese people ) and results that could be obtained But it was a beginning.

Note: Power Plate had previously trademarked "Vibration Therapy" but we were working towards a "Training" system. I originally wanted to set up studios called Vibra-Train that carried the newer larger commercial Power Plates I had designed and hoped they would build. We were obviously not going in the same direction so I set up Vibra-Train with the original steel Power Plates, Vibro-Gyms and Body-Shakers to continue my research into commercial training machines.

I have since continued to support companies like Vibro-Gym , Body-Shaker, Fit-Vibe , Galileo, Hyper-Gravity , Hyper-Vibe , WaveExercise and other companies doing their best to move forward while being as close to honest as you can ask from any company. Not being involved in the retail market has allowed me to be unbiased and write numerous articles for , in theory , training and consumer protection.

It is this simple folks...

Anyone saying that all 250 brands on the market, no matter how they are designed or built , all do the same thing, are not being up front and honest.

I have personally designed 25 machines, and they do not do the same thing, or why would I bother ?

My best advice, try before you buy, do NOT listen to the marketing, and be skeptical of everything you hear. Even those trainers out there who do not get it, be "old school" but not "ignorant" ( there is a difference ). At least test a proper training unit before you make a decision as to weather this science has merit of not.

Posted by: Lloyd Shaw | 05-Jun-2009 01:10 PM | 1 out of 5 stars

And in case anyone thinks I am being to hard on the Flexi-Bar guy, go and read his history page. Only ever used and shown results on rehab . In their own words it is just a cheaper version of a popular Physiotherapy tool. No leap forward in design or function.

Versions of this has been around for centuries in Asia where they used bamboo poles. But all of a sudden it has a new name. Vibration Training.

Posted by: Di Heap | 05-Jun-2009 01:25 PM |

A question for Dineke Kleyn-Langeveld, VibroGym. As I am involved in this industry I like to know where other studios are located. I understood that Maxe Jansens Studio had closed. Have you taken it over? It would be good to meet you.

Posted by: Kylie Morrison | 05-Jun-2009 09:40 PM | 4 out of 5 stars

After researching vibration training for almost 18 months I took a leap of faith and purchased a Power Plate for my home studio. I use it primarily to enhance functional movement patterns and increase intensity in Pilates based exercise. For the cynics who think it is a fad with no credibility I suggest you start reading the research. My clients also love the feeling of being invigorated after they exercise rather than simply exhausted. Anything that increases adherence to exercise, decreases stress hormone response, and assists in increasing bone density, lean muscle mass and circulatory response in otherwise sedentary populations, for me, is worth it's weight in gold!

Posted by: Steph | 05-Jun-2009 10:23 PM |

All I have to say is the Flexi-Bar is a fantastic tool. I do use in my studio at this present moment on the Gold Coast and of course just like anything else, there are the people who love it and there are the people who hate it. Basically the people who "hate it", are people with poor coordination and basically impatience. It takes time for some people to grasp the connection between the body and the bar. Sure fighting isn't going to help. Once you got it, you can take to a higher level and that's when it becomes more of a workout. It's for sure a great tool to add to a Pilates/ Yoga classes or to a PT session.

Another toy to add to the collection and great with swiss ball, and Bosu balance work!

To make a full Flexi-bar class you basically you need to combine with squats, push up, core and balance work.

And of course do not forget how great is for rehab work!

One more point: 100 times better than the Bodyblade.

Posted by: Jay Bonaretti | 06-Jun-2009 08:47 AM | 1 out of 5 stars

Unfortunately, whilst there may be some research out there to back up the effectiveness of this for rehabilitation purposes, there is a lot of misinformation floating around the industry to suggest that it is an effective tool for weight loss.

I published a comprehensive review of the currently available research of this technology in regards to weight loss where I also considered some of the highly misleading advertising that is currently being aired:

Posted by: Lloyd Shaw | 06-Jun-2009 05:15 PM |


You did a review on weight loss studies done on rehab machines. What is exactly your point , that you have just figured out they would fail

That was predicted in 2004 and already written about extensively over the last 5 years and quite a few people have worked hard to expose it.

Doing some homework and at least some legwork, plus testing multiple products, both old and new, and then commenting might have given you a better understanding of what a massive subject you were writing about. Not just sit behind a desk and "read some stuff".

This is exactly the kind of slack research marketers rely on to rip off the public, just in some strange reverse.

Read this....

So not all studies have shown no promise, and instruction and better machinery is coming all the time. You could have at least mentioned part of that.

I understand everyone's concern over allot of the lies out there, and an overview of the industry is always welcome, but to not understand how technology develops, and the hurdles it faces , makes it look like you don't appreciate how everything you take for granted get perfected.

Nothing you use in the gym as "traditional" methods of exercise was perfected or even understood straight away. Joseph Pilates developed his system in 1910, he died in 1967 with no one knowing who he was.

It was not till the early 90s that Doctors cleared people to do weight training, up till that point most thought it would damage your joints.

I can bet your Grandparents did very little " traditional " exercise their entire life. It just a catchphrase trainers like to use for " nothing I don't understand ".

Our Industries Eg progression .......

1875 > Steam powered Vibrational Therapy devices used in the medical and gymnastic industry, Dr Gustav Zander put up centers across Europe and the U.S. Dr George Taylor and J.H. Kellogg was his competition in the U.S. . Their main focus was simple stimulation. Mainly blood flow. The entire gym system , with exer-cycles , indoor rowers, etc.. ( all which were ridiculed by athletes at the time ) collapsed due to the war and following depression.

Vibro-Therapy was used quite a bit in rehab centers across Europe after WW1. were a James, Alexander Alexandrovich also researched it help with Asthma and other disorders.

But generally it was sold as a cure all for everything including tumors by dodgy salesmen. (These people probably sell cheap machines on E-Bay now).

1960 > Hyper-Gravity loading principles applied to various space programs. Evidence of some sporting scientist/coaches looking at potential for athletes.

1995 > Commercial interest in products , but due to lack of exact science , marketing hype outdoes potential of existing units.

2004 > New era of “exact function” education into Training and design begins.

It still has a long way to prove itself, maybe 50 good honest , well thought out studies by researchers not so grant hungry they take anything that moves , and we might convince some people.

In the mean time giving a more balanced view based on reading AND experience might protect the consumer a little better. Education = protection.

Posted by: Gavin Aquilina | 11-Jun-2009 10:38 AM | 2 out of 5 stars

At the ACSM conference in Seattle 2 weeks ago, there was a detailed review of research.

Findings, there are 3 primary different types of machines, there is much research out there and these are done utilising mixed protocols (many flawed) and varied objectives. At present there is not multiple research supporting each other.

The major outcomes from the presenters were:

Yes, vibration training does achieve increase and maintenance of bone density.

Yes, vibration training does increase muscle activation.

To achieve these two outcomes you require different training protocols.

The vibration frequency that provides safe and effective training is 30Hz.

The studies demonstrated that results are achieved by those who are de-conditioned but there are very limited benefits to be gained by conditioned and athletes.

One of the summaries was that you can gain great results (for both bone density and muscle activation) by performing activities without the vibration plate and that the vibration plate may ehance this. Vibration plate without these activities does not achieve the same results.

There was a presentation by a lady from the US International Organization for Standardization. She questioned the safety of vibration training as per US ISO 2631 (google this), admittedly this is exposure to vibration frequencies for prolonged periods as per work place environments but she bought about some very pertinent points questioning safety aspects, some of these:

- Avoid sitting on the vibration plate and performing activities

- Work place vibration resulted in vascular remodeling of arteries resulting in a thickening of the lumen and vessel diameter decreasing

- Standing on the plate dampens some of the negative aspects of force transfer

There was a review of approximately 60 - 70 research papers, many with flawed protocols and small study populations. Areas that the research was summarized into were:

Bone density - Positive

Muscle activation - Positive

Hormonal responses - Mixed research no support

VO2 and energy expenditure - Improvements for obese

Body fat - Non significant

Back pain - No difference between whole body vibration and core conditioning exercises

A final comment, people are using very subjective reasons for supporting vibration training, for those who indicate decreases in body fat, have you worked out whether the vibration training is a catalyst for other lifestyle modifications, if these same people did the same exercises and nutrition modifications without vibration training would they have achieved the same outcome. You see the same false positive association with people taking supplements and training, they believe the supplements achieve the results but as we know the supplements by themselves would achieve very limited results.

For bone mineral density and muscle activation for the elderly and de-conditioned there is strong support as long as you use the correct training protocols.

A good recent study:

Jnl of Strength and Conditioning Wilcock 23(2) 593 - 603, 2009

Excellent comment Gavin - Network

Posted by: Lloyd Shaw | 12-Jun-2009 12:58 PM |

There may be a small number of basic types of platforms but hundreds of variations can be made to effect different responses. And the "30hz is the best" only came from the "longest stretch reflex" according to EMG tests, which in no way means its the best. They have even failed to come up with a theory on why it would be best let alone prove it.

Something to think about...

The machine I have seen put the most muscle mass on someone according to a BCA tests only goes 43hz @ 0.7 mm

But 7 other variations were added . The kind of variations people who talk about Fq and Amplitude as the main spec points know nothing about.

"US International Organization for Standardization. She questioned the safety of vibration training as per US ISO 2631"(Google this)

Why don't you Google that with my name next to it, and see the work we did in 2003 , working out safe exposure levels "before" the safety programs were released .

Got to love these "expert" types getting on the bandwagon now years after the real work has already been done. And being so simplistic in their statement it means nothing, it just sounds good to the uneducated.


You use the same involuntary reflexes to catch yourself as you do to catch a ball. The distance between you and the thrower is the amplitude, the frequency of the throw is obviously the FQ. If you catch a volley-ball its not that hard to repeat over and over, but change that to a medicine ball and the workload changes considerably. Your form also has to be more precise or you risk injury.

So the Fq may not change, nor the amplitude , but EVERYTHING , including optimal training effects and safety poses, fatigue factors, anabolic responses etc.. can due to the simple change in mass.

And that's just 1 variation in 9 in just a very basic Lineal negative response platform. If you start introducing positive ( pulling ) responses it goes to 24 quite quickly.

The researchers who repeat that Fq and Amplitude are "everything" are only repeating what they hear from companies who have no real idea what they are playing with, so cover up their ignorance with mass marketing and buying off researchers ( with grants ) to repeat their crap.

Both groups are the lowest common denominator in our industry.

Valid Research.... ???

Do you know how many researchers " forgot" ( re were not smart enough ) to tests the machine to even see what they were doing prior to the research. They just went off the manufacturers specs , and with such companies like Power Plate faking specs left right and center. This practice from unethical marketers and lack of foresight from researchers has skewed results to such a point they are basically useless and can not be reproduced.

Direct quotes from David Basset-Jones who did studies on the Power Plate in 2005 , later to find out he was lied to........

“As far as having “engineering reports” done on machines, I would argue that it is the ethical responsibility of the manufacturer to do this testing and report the results. The blame is not on the researchers but the manufactures ”

“As far as my ( Power Plate ) study in 2005, we only measured the accelerations (which were different than the manufacturer’s claimed accelerations). This was done without an individual standing on the plate.”

” I also feel that there are some researchers (myself included) that would like to perform product testing so that consumers can be informed of the true specs.”

“We are testing it loaded and unloaded. Believe it or not, you are not the only one who has wondered if the Power Plate, being made of a softer material than steel, affects the vibration characteristics.”

“I agree that all plates should be tested before (and while, to go above and beyond) they are being used for a research study…..I can only wish that I thought of this prior to doing this study”

“I am more concerned about the errors/limitations of my research than you are. This was years of planning, testing, and analyzing that I put in to this project. I could not account for limitations in the study that I was not aware of at that time.”

Now this from 2009 to show the practice still exists....

Medscape Medical News

ACSM 2009: Whole-Body Vibration Improves Function After Hip Replacement Surgery

Jordana Bieze Foster

June 3, 2009 (Seattle, Washington)

" Exercises were performed on a Pneu-Vibe vibration platform, at manufacturer-calibrated frequencies between 25 and 40 Hz and amplitudes between 4 and 6 mm. However, Dr. Maddalozzo noted that the researchers’ independent measurements put the actual frequency between 21 and 32 Hz and the actual amplitude between 0.82 and 1.1 mm "

Unethical manufacturers + researchers pretending to be smart = my industry treading water

Posted by: Mindy Thiesen | 18-Jun-2009 08:28 AM | 2 out of 5 stars

I don't care how efffective vibrational training may be, just being on the machine gave me a headache! No thanks.

Posted by: Di Heap | 18-Jun-2009 09:07 AM |

Hi Mindy, You statement lacks all the information necessary to address it. Like, what type of machine you used or what brand? Was it a higher quality machine in a studio or gym, or was it an "as-seen-on-tv" unit?

Had you eaten before you used the machine - you really must as it's hard -out exercise if you use a higher force platform. Did you drink adequate water before, during and after your session?

Did you have the guidance of an experienced vibration training instructor or PT who knew how to use the machine correctly? Where you in correct positions on the machine with your head and neck correctly placed?

And lastly a warning, again, all machines are not created equal! Even if you eat, drink etc (as needed for all exercise) and use the machine correctly you just might have been using a crappy machine - one that has uncontrolled vibration going in all sorts of directions. I tried a bad one and it made me feel sea-sick. If you tell me where you live I will try to arrange a session on a good machine for you.

Posted by: Stephanie Pettersen | 20-Jun-2009 09:36 AM | 5 out of 5 stars

I have wrote a comment before and have been reading the latest comments. I basically think people should try the Flexi-Bar before writing negative comments. How can anyone write a comment on anything if you never seen, touch or tried?

I have used and use at this present moment in my Studio on the Gold Coast and that's why I wrote my comment before and writing again now. I think the Flexi-Bar is unique and it has a huge potential within the Australian Fitness Industry.

And again in my opinion it works better than the Bodyblade because I have tried both. Anyone can swing the Bodyblade but guess what? Not the Flexi-Bar...If you don't have the momentum with the Flexi-Bar, you got nothing...So it is great for people with poor coordination.

Stephanie Pettersen from

4 x Times World Bodyboarding Champion

Posted by: Di Heap | 23-Jun-2009 06:21 AM |

Stephanie, I agree that people should try a method or machine before being totally negative about it. I have nothing against Flexi-Bar as an exercise or therapy method BUT it's a real stretch to call it Vibration Training as the author of this article has done and to compare it to PowerPlate.

A different term is needed for hand force vibration.

Vibration Training is the term used for motorised controlled vibration delivered (usually) via a platform that the user positions on in squats and other exercise poses. Being motorised and controlled in factors like frequency, amplitude etc, it's very different to a hand powered device, no matter how good that device is. I consider this article very misleading.

Di Heap

Posted by: Steve Schiemer | 13-Jul-2009 04:21 PM |

Response written by Blog Post author: Steve Schiemer

It seems that I have really opened a can of worms with my piece about Vibration Training recently. After reading through some of the posts, I thought I should take the time to address some of the issues raised.

Firstly, I am really surprised by the number of ‘angry’ postings (for want of a better word) about a subject that very few of the respondents have actually used. If you have tried a Power Plate/Vibro-Gym or a FLEXI-BAR and don’t like it, I completely understand. Like anything, it is not for everyone. Surely though, if you haven’t actually experienced something, a final judgement should be reserved until you do? It is akin to me looking at a personal trainer’s profile and deciding that they are not a good trainer, based solely on reading their bio. I am sure the personal trainer in question would argue that they should be given a chance and allowed at least one session with me to prove themselves. In fact they would probably argue that they should do a few sessions with me so we can get to know each other and workout what works and what doesn’t. Surely any new piece of kit deserves the same response – if not for the trainer, for the sake of their client, as it may be something they really take to.

As to this being a marketing ploy because I am the director of the company which sells FLEXI-BARs in the UK, I was asked by Network to submit the piece for discussion because of this fact. I have been involved in this field for the past 5 to 6 years, have run training courses, spoken at fitness events, and spent a lot of my time speaking with physios, coaches and doctors about this type of training. We do not sell in Australia, so there is currently no real personal advantage for me to write the piece. It is also why I am confident that all bar one of the respondents has never used a FLEXI-BAR.

One area that was hotly discussed is that most vibration devices, especially the FLEXI-BAR, are therapeutic, rather than for fitness. That is, they are for rehabilitation of injuries, and not for ‘fitness’. It is absolutely correct to say that FLEXI-BAR began as a rehab tool, and is still used for that. However, it is also used as a fitness training tool, specifically to strengthen the core muscles, improve coordination and balance, and improve sport specific performance. Anyone who has participated in a FLEXI-BAR class or PT session will tell you that the addition of vibrations while performing any number of ‘traditional’ exercises makes those exercises much harder. Again, only actual experience can get this across properly. Added to that the German, Austrian and Finnish Winter Olympic Teams, the British Ski Team, the German and Austrian National Football teams, FC Bayern Munich, Newcastle United FC and many more use FLEXI-BAR as a fitness/strength tool. The Ministry of Defence in the UK began using FLEXI-BAR as part of its rehab programs for injured soldiers, but has now included it in the Basic Training program for new recruits, as the increase in core strength has improved the number of new recruits who finish the course. With today’s technology, it is possible for something that begins life as a rehab tool to cross over to the fitness world. Just look at Pilates, Aqua, the Step platform, and Dyna Bands, all of which started in the rehab world, but are now seen as mainstream fitness tools.

Finally, I really want to address the whole research issue. I am more than aware that the whole area of vibration technology needs much more research before we can be absolutely sure of just how effective it is. I have spent the last five years trying to get studies done (as has the German manufacturer). It is extremely expensive to do a full, double blind study that satisfies all the required criteria for good, solid research. What many people do not realise is that if you can find a research department who will agree to do a study (not easy to find), there is the issue of cost. A good study on a large enough group costs tens of thousands of pounds. In fact, anything up to and beyond £50,000 (AUS$100,000). It is extremely difficult for a research lab or university to find such funding. If a business can afford to pay that kind of money (mine certainly can’t), then any results are frowned upon because the research is funded by the company selling the product. As a result, getting research done is all but impossible. Occasionally a university student will ask to do a small study, but so far only one has actually followed through on this. I would like nothing more than to have more research done on both FLEXI-BAR and any other form of vibration training. Hopefully, with the increasing attention this type of training attracts, the funds will be released for research.

For the person who wanted to know where I got the figures regarding muscle fibre recruitment, see below.

Shepherd, J. All shook up – can vibration training enhance sport performance? [Accessed 3 September 2007].

Posted by: Lloyd Shaw | 24-Sep-2009 02:15 PM |

I do not think you get the reason people are "angry" at you. Its your blatant mis-use of the term "Vibration Training" to describe the Flex-Bar you sell. It has NOTHING to do with the Flexi-Bar being effective or not, ( which by the way it is ).

Please note readers...Vibration Training is specific to MECHANICAL vibration, so unless his flexi-bar now has a hidden motor built into it, he is trying to use techno-speak to fool you. And how do I know this? Try looking for the first person to ever list Vibration Training as a Trade-Mark term and ask them what it means.