whole body vibration

Whole body vibration: no use for trained sprinters

Whole body vibration (WBV) training is rapidly gaining popularity in health and fitness centres as an alternative way to improve muscle performance, and has been shown to improve knee extensor strength and jump performance in untrained women. However, a new study from Belgium suggests it offers no benefits for sprint-trained athletes in search of improved speed-strength performance.

Twenty experienced sprint-trained athletes were randomly assigned to either a Whole body vibration (WBV) group or a control group for five weeks. During that time, all the subjects maintained their conventional training programmes, but the Whole body vibration (WBV) group performed additional WBV training three times a week before their normal training. This consisted of unloaded static and dynamic leg exercises on a vibration platform.

Before and after the study period, the researchers measured all the subjects’ knee extensor and flexor strength, knee extension velocity at fixed resistances, vertical jump performance, force-time characteristics of the start action, and sprint running velocity. Quite simply, none of these parameters changed in either group, suggesting that whole body vibration training offers no added value to experienced sprinters.

The researchers suggest that the intensity and volume of the Whole body vibration (WBV) programme used in their study may not have been high enough to elicit improvements in highly trained athletes and they call for further research into the potential role of Whole body vibration (WBV) for sprinters at this level.

Int J Sports Med 2005; 26:662-668

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