A question came up between some high level coaches at a seminar this weekend.

What would you do if it helped you achieve your goals?

Everyone had a response to this, the best one:

If roller blading in a pink tutu helped my overhead squat, I would be out every morning with a matching tiara.

My own response revolved around Vibration Training. “If doing a clean while on a power plate helped me lift more, I’d be going to fitness first.”

But it struck me.

I don’t know whether Vibration Training is effective. I assume it isn’t based on the fact that no high level athletes or coach I follow have ever used it.

Could it be the missing link to fighting off the principle of diminishing returns?

Curiosity got the best of me.. (I got carried away)

Luckily, “Whole Body Vibration Training” (WBVT), as it’s referred to, has research studies to back it up.

Results look promising: In the first two studies, when comparing resistance training to WBVT in untrained female participants, there were increases in strength and lean body mass (not muscle mass) and there was no change in body fat. So there is a measurable effect.

In trained males trying to develop explosive power in the squat (!) there’s an effect as well. When training static bodyweight squats and isometric contraction, there was an increase in force output directly after WBVT.

Slight issue: The effect dissipates after 8 minutes.

That would mean that to take advantage of higher force output, use WBVT immediately before lifting. Doable.

Except. Highly experienced sprinters who supplemented their normal training regimen with WBVT vs. a group that just trained normally, showed no changes in performance over time.

This causes a problem. For a training method to be viable, it needs to increase performance in the long-term. Which it doesn’t.

Which means that all the time spent supplementing a regular training regimen with WBVT could be better spent recovering, practicing, or working on other skills.

So, WBVT won’t make you a better lifter. I can now make my WBVT training joke in all confidence.

As for increasing my Olympic lifts, I’ll stick to deliberate practice with a skilled teacher.

References:

1. Strength Increase after Whole-Body Vibration Compared with Resistance Training

2. Effects of 24 Weeks of Whole Body Vibration Training on Body Composition and Muscle Strength in Untrained Females

3. Effect of an Acute Bout of Whole Body Vibration Exercise on Muscle Force Output and Motor Neuron Excitability

4. Effects of Adding Whole Body Vibration to Squat Training on Isometric Force/Time Characteristics

5. Effects of Whole Body Vibration Training on Muscle Strength and Sprint Performance in Sprint-Trained Athletes

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