When looking for explanations about Vibration Training, health professionals and consumers quite often find lots of technical terms and jargon floating around. Probably just written to impress and dazzle you. But unless you have specifically studied in that area ( even top trainers may not have covered it at Uni ) , most would find it hard to get their head around and maybe even just boring. Turning you off Vibration Training before even trying it. So this is a simple guide to what vibration training really is, no fancy words, just a real world explanation everybody can understand. Is it a new form of training....?
Well actually the answer is no. You have done this "type" of training before. You just cant remember learning it because you were very very young. And you did not consciously choose to do it.
The first thing you learnt to do as a child, on the way to learning to what you think of as "exercise" now, is just simply "not falling over" while trying to sit up. This is a learned response that is achieved by your brain communicating with your muscles and other senses ( eye sight, inner ear etc...) . Every time you fall over, your body learns to correct itself with very fast muscle movements. Muscle contractions you do not have to think about called " reactions".
This is called "accidental exercise".
Over a period of time as a child you utilize these involuntary contractions in ever increasing intensity to allow you to balance, swing, play on jungle gyms, jump off a chair and land on the ground etc... all fun stuff you didn't think of as exercise, ( and would do for hours until your parents made you stop ). All this stimulation contributes to healthy bones and joints, healthy muscles, increased circulation and burning energy etc.... In fact you were already quite fit and strong from playing, long before someone told you to "exercise" to be fit and strong. Something to think about.
But something happens to us as we get older, we get "too cool" to play on jungle gyms and we start to shy away from those forms of exercise. And its not until you think about it that it stands out how illogical that is. I mean they got you through life so far, why stop. Especially when you consider these reactions are many times faster and stronger than when you try to "think" to move. How fast are they ?
Well when you jump off something you get pulled down by gravity at 35 km per hr. A speed your muscles have to match for you not to fall down when you hit the ground.. To put this in perspective, the fastest punches in the world, by martial arts experts who train for years only travel at approx 45 km per hr. So an untrained kid can almost do the same without thinking. How strong are they ?
Again the physics figures are startling. If you drop off something only 1 meter high your legs muscles have to produce approx 6 times your own body weight to catch yourself. The strongest man on earth can not squat 6 times his own weight. When you swing on the monkey bars you have to produce 3 times your own body weight, through one arm just to hang on.
It was all about power to weight ratio. The bigger you got the stronger your body had to get, no real effort involved. So as a child you were already competing like an Olympic athlete, you just didn't know it..
That is why children seem so fast and strong for their size. And children that continue to do gymnastic type exercise into their teens seem to keep high quality muscle and little body fat. Because they put their body through a lot more on a daily basis than most fit adults could handle. Most so called "athletic" adults would not last 5 mins on a jungle gym let alone 5 hrs while children think confidence courses are fun.
The fact is as humans we get weaker from the moment we stop "playing". Sounds silly but it is true. But if I stopped using these reactions as a form of exercise years ago, can I still use them now ?
Yes you can. The good news is these reactions do not degrade with illness or age, or non-use. You developed them as a child and they are yours to keep. The only thing that will change is what type of machine you need to use to start off with. Read below for more details on this..... How does Vibration Training fit into all of this...?
Well there are various types of machines, with various types of vibration directions all designed to simulate different environments you react to involuntarily. But they all work on the same principle. Your body is designed to adjust to its moving environment. These machines just tap into those reflexes and put some "play" back into your lives.
Some are Pivotal
( move under your feet like a see-saw or balance board )
These force you to re-balance over and over again. A reaction you will do without thinking, just like when you were young. Some of these models move slowly and you can just stand on them, so it is very good for people with balance problems or any condition that would stop them going for a walk. They are designed to be very gentle. This is not hard work at all, and as a result is super safe but of course they only do so much. Others move at a faster speed, where you then go into exercise poses and they replicate you jumping from side-to side quickly. Obviously harder work and gives greater exercise benefits. Some machines are Lineal
( move under you feet with an even vibration all over the plate )
These feel like doing little jumps over and over again on the same spot, and some even manage to replicate you dropping off a certain height. On these types of machines the energy ( how powerful the vibration is ) makes all the difference in how the machine feels and what kind of results it can give. Some vibrate very lightly and you can again just stand there. They will help certain things like bloodflow and bone health. But if you want to get exercise benefits, you need a more powerful vibration and good strict workout poses.
So there you have it, a very simple explanation to something that seems quite complicated on the outside.
Always remember. Using Vibration Training as a form of exercise has the same rules as when you were a kid. The harder you play, the more benefits you will receive. No matter how technologically advanced we get, some things never change.