Vibration Training Machines: Do They Actually Work?

05/05/2016 10:50 AM AEST | Updated 28/09/2016 9:59 PM AEST
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It's time for everyone who likes fitness shortcuts to cry sweaty, salty tears. Vibration training machines, those vibrating thingimijigs that are meant to make your work-out 8 billion times* more effective, don't appear to actually do anything.

*Yes. 8 billion times.

"There is absolutely no evidence that they do anything whatsoever. As far as I know, there has never been a study, and everything they say they can do is purely anecdotal," co-owner of Sig Fit Bondi, Matthew Boon, told The Huffington Post Australia.

"I'm sure some people have fantastic experiences, but if you're asking me if I think [training on a vibration training machines] more beneficial than weight training or cardo, the answer is no, I don't."


This is a vibration training machine.

For those not in the VTM loop, they claim to transmit waves of energy through the body, making muscle fibres work harder. Which is great for those trying to get results at the gym, because if you're going to go to all the trouble of doing a squat in the first place, why not get more bang for your buck?

"The thinking is basically by training on an unstable surface, you promote the activation of more muscles," Boon said.

"Their biggest claim -- which they actually do do -- is to activate more of the deeper muscles.

"However that in itself has kind of been proven to take away from the core movement as it were. So if you are squatting on something that is unstable, your squat won't actually get any stronger. However, your ability to squat on something unstable will improve."

So unless you're planning on showing your new love interest how well you can train in earthquakey environments, it looks like the old VTM isn't really upping your fitness ante. However, that's not to say they aren't without some uses.

"They shouldn't be covered in kerosene and burned or anything," Boon said. "In fact, they can be good for people with circulation issues, as they promote extra blood flow.

"The lower end of rehab, that's where they ideally should live.

"For those seeking to maximise their fitness training, using a [VTM] is like jumping on one leg and trying to touch your toe while doing a crossword. It doesn’t make you any better at crossword puzzles.

"There's simply no need to add these extra elements to it."

Instead, Boon recommends sticking to traditional, tried-and-tested work out methods.

"Just all over body compound work is usually the best," Boon advised. "In my opinion, resistance training is best form of working out.

"However, because everyone is so different, it's always better to seek professional advice."

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to all vibration training machines as 'power plates.' A Power Plate is actually its own brand. Research on the effectiveness of the Power Plate can be found here.

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