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Due to the overwhelming popularity of the first version of this article, I have decided to write a follow up article. In the last year Whole Body Vibration Machines known as WBV machines or vibration exercise machines have become very popular around the world. Internet companies are popping up everywhere. Most of them are selling the same machines just under various brand names. When I compare some of the specifications of these identical machines they seem very different. I was very confused about these machines as I’m sure many of you who are reading this are too. Its not as simple as looking for a treadmill or elliptical where you focus on motor power, tread, warranty and stride. These vibration machines have specific frequency settings, timers, amplitudes, vibration types and over the top health claims.

What works, what is relevant, what brands seem trustworthy? I spent months researching this stuff and interviewing trainers, Chiropractors, athletes, and vibration machine owners about their experiences. I also visited fitness equipment stores in several states. Here is what I found out.

Do vibration machines work? Yes, but like any other exercise regimen, they are only as good as the dedication their user applies to the training programs. Vibration machines take existing effective exercises and intensify them using bio-mechanical stimulation. Imagine holding a wall sit- you’re sweating just thinking about it right? Now imagine that same wall sit yet the ground below you is shaking rapidly. The forced movement below you is making it harder for you to stabilize thus forcing your muscles work even harder. There is a ton of research from a variety of companies that show some significant benefits. In my opinion, WBV is not going to replace my gym but it will help me improve my strength and flexibility for the gym. Please keep in mind that this is coming from an already fit person. For the average user, these machines can provide a great workout in a short amount of time. I will warn you that WBV exercise is no walk in the park. Contrary to the popular belief that just standing on these machine will melt away fat, you actually have to do sweat breaking exercises like squats, lunges, dips and push ups.

Going Shopping for a Vibration exercise machine?

So maybe you have researched a machine and have decided to buy one. Where do you start? I tend to trust brands that I see in Fitness stores because I know that the owners of the stores pride themselves on carrying quality products. Fitness stores are regional and are given exclusive rights to sell and carry different brands in their respective geographic areas. Some stores have smaller niche brands while others carry really well known brand names. It really comes down to what feels good to your body and your wallet.

One thing to note: The technology is still new and growing so the distribution of WBV machines still remains fairly limited. There might not be a nearby store with a machine to try. The point I am making is even if you order one online, check and see if it is sold in any stores that specialize in fitness equipment. That way you know it will have a warranty that is honored and any customer service that you may need will be handled by the store or trusted manufacturer.

Vibration machines are not all created equal. I found that there are more than one type of machine out there and they are very different in how they operate. Some machines called pivotal vibration machines teeter the platform forcing your muscles to work hard to maintain balance and posture. Others known as vertical vibration machines vibrated fast and seemed to help with blood flow, massage and plyometric movements.

One of the best deomstrations of how these machines move can be found on a vibration company’s website. www.wholebodyvibration.net/technology.htm Click the link then return back here to continue reading. Once you see the animation of the platforms working side by side, you will have a better time understanding this blog.

Pivotal Platforms-I noticed that very few pivotal machines were available in retail fitness stores. The savvy fitness stores carried both pivotal and vertical machines to offer a variety to their customers. Other stores just carried vertical platforms and seemed partial towards their vertical model. Go figure! They are after all salesmen. Most of what I encountered on the Pivotal end were- Vibraflex ( Galileo), NITROFIT, and PowerVibe. Vibraflex was the priciest but the most powerful and durable. NITROFIT was great value for the money offering the power and durability of the Galileo just in a smaller package. Powervibe wasn’t bad but seemed a little too plasticky.

Vertical Platforms. Most fitness stores seemed to carry a lot of the popular models such as Powerplate, BH Fitness, DKN, and occasionally the Wave. Powerplate has quite a selection ranging from a $2,500 intro model all the way to a $12,000 commercial model. I tried the lower two models and was a little disappointed. The My 3 was very unstable. I almost pulled the whole thing over when I leaned back to get into a squat. The model up was good but for $4500, I can’t wholeheartedly say its worth it. The BH fitness machine was geared a lot like power plate but leaves quite a big footprint. It is for sure a more affordable vertical machine. DKN had several models as well. This machine was great because it had a little digital coach that guided you through some of the workouts. The only downside of the DKN was that it was sometimes hard to see the screen when my head was shaking form the vibration. Lastly the WAVE had incredible technology such as a full color touch screen with frequency selection, digital coaches and a comfortable feel. The downside of WAVE though was it was very pricey and once again left a huge footprint.

Keep in mind that the larger machines are commercial. If you are a personal trainer or physician with a lot of room, then these larger models from WAVE and POWERPLATE come highly recommended. If you are a home user and looking for something more affordable and compact then check out machines from DKN and NITROFIT. Again it will also come down to your preference of vertical or pivotal machines.

WHOLE BODY VIBRATION ARTICLE # 3 IS NOW UP Click here to read.

Additional Resources. Don’t Just take my word for it- see what these other publications thought.

http://www.vibration-machine-reviews.com/ This site came about recently and has reveiwed the majority of the products that I mentioned in this blog. They highlight the pros and cons of each machine and label thier top picks with a “best buy” logo. Keep in mind that this is the opinion of the site author. I will give them credit however because they are only reviewing machines from trusted manufactureres. This site comes across as unbiased as they have no links to the manufacturer or “add to cart” buttons on the site. Unlike most review sites I come across, this site is not trying to steer you to any model its just thier reveiw.

http://www.latimes.com/news/health/la-he-gear-vibration-20100712,0,3966698.column- The Los Angeles times does a side by side reveiw of the Powerplate Pro 6 ($10,750), DKN XG 3.0($2,495) , NITROFIT Personal ($999.95), and the Turbosonic Ovation ($7,500).

www.vibration-training-advice.com- This site is an awesome resource for researching WBV companies. The site was founded by one of the major contributors to vibrationtraining.net. It goes over exercise techniques, product reviews, discussion forums and general WBV info. Take a look at the “Blacklist” and “Favorites” section of this site to see what WBV machine manufacturers they like.

http://www.Vibrationtraining.net- A cool site with a lot of information on WBV. There is a ton of information in these sites much of it is mis-information so take from it what you can. Many of the bloggers have a vested interest in their own companies so don’t buy everything they say. There is a lot of riff raff about staying away from machines built in China. While there are some cheap machines out there, most fitness equipment is built in China or Taiwan. If we applied the blogger’s patriotic concepts to the fitness world, our gyms would have almost no equipment and our retail stores would be empty. Come on people- at least half of the products in your house are made in Asia.

http://www.athomefitness.com- This was one of the stores I visited. They were one of few stores that carried both types of vibration machines and a larger selection than any other retailer I checked out. They were by far the most knowledgeable about WBV machines. I got a full rundown on Powerplate, Lifespan, NITROFIT, and Tuetonic. If you are near one of their stores, I recommend stopping by and jumping on a few of their floor models.

http://www.usingwholebodyvibration.com- This site goes along with a great book that I read which covers how to use WBV to for athletic performance and therapy. This book reviews relevant studies on WBV, breaks down the data into a clear and concise explanation of the findings and then shows training protocols based on the evidence. If you are a physical therapist, a sports performance coach, or just wanting to become knowledgeable about the technology, this book is for you !