Category: Vibration exercise

Two new papers

Apologies for radio silence. It has been a buys few months with loads happening. I have now left Team GB and moved on to new adventures (I will talk about it soon). In the meantime two papers have been recently published and the abstracts are here.


Horm Metab Res. 2013 Apr 15. [Epub ahead of print]

Combination of External Load and Whole Body Vibration Potentiates the GH-releasing Effect of Squatting in Healthy Females.

Giunta M, Rigamonti AE, Agosti F, Patrizi A, Compri E, Cardinale M, Sartorio A.


Istituto Auxologico Italiano, IRCCS, Laboratorio Sperimentale di Ricerche Auxo-endocrinologiche, Milan and Piancavallo (VB), Italy.


In recent years, whole body vibration (WBV) has become an efficient complement or alternative to resistance training. Very limited data on the effects of different WBV protocols on anabolic hormones are available. In this study, we compared the growth hormone (GH), blood lactate (LA), and cortisol responses to different protocols involving WBV. Six healthy women recreationally active performed 10 sets of 12 dynamic squats in the following conditions: squatting alone (S), squatting+vibration (SV), squatting+external load (SE), and squatting+external load+vibration (SEV). All responses at the different stimuli determined acute increases in GH, cortisol, and LA. In particular, GH secretion significantly increased in all 4 conditions immediately after the exercise session compared to other time points. Furthermore, a significantly larger increase was identified following SEV as compared to the other conditions. Cortisol concentrations significantly decreased after S, SV and SE whereas they increased significantly following SEV. LA peaks occurred immediately at the end of each condition. However it reached statistical significance only following SEV. The results of our study demonstrate that the combination of squatting+external load+vibration (SEV) could represent the most suitable modality to potentiate the somatotropic function and, indirectly, to obtain an increase in muscle strength and positive changes in the body composition. Further studies are necessary in order to determine the chronic effects of this exercise modality on the hormonal profile.


Eur J Appl Physiol. 2013 Jan 24. [Epub ahead of print]

Neuromuscular fatigue induced by whole-body vibration exercise.

Maffiuletti NA, Saugy J, Cardinale M, Micallef JP, Place N.


Neuromuscular Research Laboratory, Schulthess Clinic, Lengghalde 2, 8008, Zurich, Switzerland,


The aim of this study was to examine the magnitude and the origin of neuromuscular fatigue induced by half-squat static whole-body vibration (WBV) exercise, and to compare it to a non-WBV condition. Nine healthy volunteers completed two fatiguing protocols (WBV and non-WBV, randomly presented) consisting of five 1-min bouts of static half-squat exercise with a load corresponding to 50 % of their individual body mass. Neuromuscular fatigue of knee and ankle muscles was investigated before and immediately after each fatiguing protocol. The main outcomes were maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) torque, voluntary activation, and doublet peak torque. Knee extensor MVC torque decreased significantly (P < 0.01) and to the same extent after WBV (-23 %) and non-WBV (-25 %), while knee flexor, plantar flexor, and dorsiflexor MVC torque was not affected by the treatments. Voluntary activation of knee extensor and plantar flexor muscles was unaffected by the two fatiguing protocols. Doublet peak torque decreased significantly and to a similar extent following WBV and non-WBV exercise, for both knee extensors (-25 %; P < 0.01) and plantar flexors (-7 %; P < 0.05). WBV exercise with additional load did not accentuate fatigue and did not change its causative factors compared to non-WBV half-squat resistive exercise in recreationally active subjects.

New article published #3: whole body vibration effects on obese subjects

This article was published on Obesity Facts. It is the result of a collaboration i have with the Italian Auxological Institute. An organisation working every day to help obese patients and trying to develop innovative approaches to weight management. In this experiment we showed how whole body vibration with and without additional loading can induce acute increases in Growth Hormone which is very difficult to obtain with other forms of exercise in this population. In the obese, some endocrinological disturbances during acute endurance and resistance exercise have been identified inmany studies: a blunted growth hormone response, atrial natriuretic peptide and epinephrine release, and greater cortisol and insulin release. These hormonal disturbances might contribute to a suppressed lipolytic response, and/or suppressed skeletal muscle protein synthesis, as a result of acute endurance or resistance exercise, respectively. Our finding suggests that this form of exercise has the potential to be effective at least in the initial stages of an exercise programme in this population.

Obes Facts. 2012 Aug 24;5(4):567-574. [Epub ahead of print]

Growth Hormone-Releasing Effects of Whole Body Vibration Alone or Combined with Squatting plus External Load in Severely Obese Female Subjects.

Giunta M, Cardinale M, Agosti F, Patrizi A, Compri E, Rigamonti AE, Sartorio A.


Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Laboratorio Sperimentale di Ricerche Auxo-endocrinologiche, IRCCS, Milan, Italy.


Background: Whole body vibration (WBV) has been reported to exert growth hormone(GH)-releasing effects in healthy subjects. Despite the potential of WBV to positively affect body composition changes via lipolytic effects, few studies have been performed in obese subjects to date. Methods: This study evaluated the acute effects of WBV alone or in combination with squatting plus external load (WBV+S) on serum GH levels and blood lactate concentrations in 7 severely obese women (age 22 ± 5 years; BMI 39.9 ± 2.9 kg/m(2)). Results: WBV and WBV+S determined a significant GH increase (mean GH peaks 5.1 ± 1.9 ng/ml, p < 0.001 vs. basal, and 6.5 ± 3.7 ng/ml, p < 0.001 vs. basal, respectively), GH peaks occurring immediately after both exercise sessions. No significant differences were observed between GH peaks and GH net incremental area under the curve (nAUC) after both conditions (p = 0.39 and p = 0.53, respectively), the whole pattern of GH responsiveness being comparable among all the subjects. Lactate concentrations increased after both conditions (mean lactate peaks 2.0 ± 0.5 mmol/l, p < 0.05 vs. basal, and 4.5 ± 2.0 mmol/l, p < 0.001 vs. basal, respectively). The lactate response was significantly higher after WBV+S than after WBV (p < 0.05). Baseline GH and GH peak values positively correlated to baseline lactate and lactate peak concentrations in both conditions (R(2) = 0.64, p < 0.001, and R(2) = 0.52, p < 0.05, respectively). Conclusions: WBV alone stimulates GH release and lactate production in severely obese female subjects, with no additive effect when combined with squatting plus external load. Further additional studies are required to verify the chronic effects of WBV exercise on the GH/IGF-1 system, which could represent a potentially effective approach for weight management in obese subjects. Copyright © 2012 S. Karger GmbH, Freiburg.

Vibration exercise is it all good?

Vibration exercise is now becoming very popular. Plenty of coverage in fitness magazines and websites has now created a lot of interest in this innovative training technology. Many companies now advertise vibration exercise devices and describe the effectiveness of such devices with a lot of emphasis. Unfortunately, not all the information presented is actually true and many make absurd claims on the effectiveness of this technology.

I devoted many years of my career to understand how to make best use of vibration as an exercise intervention for various populations (from the Olympic Athlete to the aged individual) performing many scientific studies published in international peer-reviewed journals. Unfortunately many companies use my articles and some published my some colleagues to advertise their equipment. A warning to everyone reading this: Make SURE you carefully read the article’s methods section and identify the equipment used in the research studies on various websites! In fact you will find out that were not performed using the equipment advertised.

This is the first of a series of articles aimed at explaining what vibration is and what are the REAL effects of vibration exercise.

First of all, let’s define what is vibration.

Vibration is a mechanical stimulus characterized by an oscillatory motion. The biomechanical parameters determining its intensity are the frequency, amplitude and magnitude. The extent of the oscillatory motion determines the amplitude (peak to peak displacement, in mm) of the vibration. The repetition rate of the cycles of oscillation determines the frequency of the vibration (measured in Hz). The acceleration determines the magnitude of the vibration.

You can download this useful calculator to find out how much acceleration is transmitted to the body by a vibrating object if you know the frequency and amplitude (

Low amplitude, low frequency mechanical stimulation of the human body has been shown to be a safe and effective way to improve skeletal muscle strength and power in healthy individuals. In fact, improvements in muscular strength and power in humans exercising with specially designed exercise equipment have been reported following acute and chronic exposure (Cochrane et al. 2004;Cochrane and Stannard, 2005;Bosco C et al. 1998;Issurin VB and Tenenbaum G, 1999;Bosco C et al. 1999a; Cardinale and Wakeling, 2005;Bosco et al. 2000; Torvinen et al. 2002b). In particular, the effects of whole body vibrations have been studied with subjects exercising on specially designed vibrating plates producing sinusoidal vibrations (e.g. Bosco C et al. 1998; Torvinen et al. 2002b). The exercise devices currently available on the market deliver vibration to the whole body by means of oscillating plates using two different systems: 1) reciprocating vertical displacements on the left and right side of a fulcrum, 2) the whole plate oscillating uniformly up and down.

Whole body vibration (WBV) exercise devices deliver vibrations across a range of frequencies between 15 Hz and 60 Hz and displacements from less than 1 mm to 14mm. The acceleration delivered from those devices reaches values up to 15g (where 1g is the acceleration due to the Earth’s gravitational field or 9.81 m•sec-2). Considering the numerous combinations of amplitudes and frequencies possible with current technology, it is clear that there are a wide variety of WBV protocols that could be used to exercise humans. In addition, vibration has also been added to conventional exercise pulley-like equipment (Cochrane and Stannard, 2005; Issurin VB and Tenenbaum G, 1999) and/or specially designed vibrating dumbbells (Bosco et al. 1999) producing low-frequency vibrations to be able to exercise the trunk and the upper limbs.

The use of WBV as an exercise intervention is not a novel idea. In fact, in the early 20th century a vibratory chair was used to cure headaches and back pain in the Battle Creek Sanitarium. Furthermore, in 1912 Snow presented in his book “Mechanical Vibration” (Available online at a series of devices and procedures able to produce beneficial effects on the human body. Furthermore, early work by (Whedon GD et al. 1949) reported some positive effects of oscillating beds on plaster-immobilized patients.

Only later, vibration was adopted in the preparation of elite athletes by Russian scientists who developed specific devices to transmit vibratory waves from distal-to-proximal links of muscle groups, mainly while performing isometric exercises (Nazarov V and Spivak G, 1985). Since then, a lot of devices have been developed and are currently marketed to provide different forms of vibration exercise to different users.